Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

You killed my wife and left my baby outside?

Year Released : 2014

Director : Scott Foley

Cast : Donald Faison, Patrick Wilson, Scott Foley, James Carpinello, Dagmara Domińczyk and Greg Grunberg

So whilst browsing Netflix I found a film that looks different to what I normally review, in other words a comedy. Many of you that read this site on a regular basis will know that I don’t really like comedies, often finding them anything but funny. I have a very specific sense of humour and find it hard to really enjoy a film aimed to make me laugh. I enjoy a more subtle or intelligent form of comedy.

That’s one of the reasons that I didn’t really enjoy films such as “Deadpool”, it tried far, far too hard to be funny and this caused it not to be for me.

If you went through my collection of roughly 70 Blu Rays and several thousand DVDs you would find very few comedies at all, and the ones that are there are several decades old. It is arguably my least favourite genre.

Then again, this might turn out to be an hidden gem.

Plot 

Ward (Faison) is a very likeable man who is married to Stacy (Domińczyk), a woman that everyone hates due to being abusive, rude and abrasive, including Ward himself. After he is denied the opportunity to play golf, Ward’s friends Ronnie (Carpinello), David (Wilson) and Tom (Foley) start speculating what it would be like to kill Stacey and the positive impact it would have on everyone concerned. David won’t let the idea go though, but it is actually Tom that succeeds after he strangles her following a slip.

The group and their wives then have a lengthy discussion about how to get rid of the body. After making their decision, they start breaking down the body, but Ward’s neighbour Bruce (Grunberg) is a police officer and is becoming suspicious of the unusual behaviour.

So is it a hidden gem?

No, it is definitely not.

The film currently has a rating of 5.4/10 on IMDB and I find that to be very, very generous indeed. This film is a mercifully shortly 82 minutes, but not once does it get anywhere near anything that’s worth laughing at. It’s stale and largely lifeless, and there is no intention of irony in that statement given that it’s a film about killing someone.

Let’s start with one of the key problems with the film, none of the characters are worthy of your time. They’re all completely one dimensional and even after the death of Stacy, none of them really act like any differently than what they did before, other than obviously being slightly more panicked than they were previously.

Stacy is not a believable character. Whilst I firmly believe that there are some women somewhat like her out there, there isn’t a single secondary characteristic and I find it hard to believe that she would ever convince someone to fall in love with her, or be friends with her for an extended amount of time. I sort of get that Ward would want to stay with her after they have a kid together, but there is precisely nothing forcing anyone else to interact with her when she is not here. The very fact that no-one really gives a shit after she has died says it all. Even Ward ends up urinating on her at some point.

You actually want her to be killed, but the actual scene in which she does actually die is so underwhelming that it doesn’t feel like a satisfying outcome. More to the point it is a bit ridiculous as she basically slips on a piece of cake and smashes her head open on the floor. However, rather than slipping in a natural way, she sort of casually falls over.

I can’t think of a single redeeming feature from this film other than the aforementioned runtime.

Summary

A painfully unfunny comedy, “Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife” is an attempt at the genre that I can’t imagine anyone actually enjoying. I can see why it’s only got a 5.4/10 on IMDB at the time of writing, and even then I think that rating is being exceptionally generous.

There characters are one dimensional and it’s hard to really care about any of them. It makes the whole film a bit pointless when they eventually killed Stacy and their lives are barely affected.

Just don’t waste your time.

You can’t keep putting aside what you want for some imaginary future. You’ve gotta suck it up and go with you gut

Year Released : 2014

Director : Lynn Shelton

Cast : Kiera Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Rockwell and Mark Webber

Those of you that read my breakdown of 2016 will remember/see that whilst I like Chloe Grace Moretz as an actress, it is very rare that I see her in a good movie. Infact, off of the top of my head I think it’s only the first “Kick Ass” and to a lesser extent “If I Stay” that I’ve enjoyed.

This isn’t the first time in which I’ve reviewed a film with her in for this site, but the other one, The Poker House, was one of the more boring movies I’ve reviewed for this site.

I can’t really put my finger on it because she is certainly not bad, I do enjoy her even in films that aren’t that good, but how long can someone go on making films that aren’t good and continue to have a career. Having said that, this might be the rare exception and it’s been on my Youtube list of films I want to watch for some time, and I’ve finally got around to it.

We’ll see…….

Plot

Working as a street-advertiser for her father’s accountancy firm, Megan (Knightley) is an unambitious young lady that is considerably less mature than her friends. She freaks out when her boyfriend (Webber) proposes to her and she sees her dad kissing another woman, and she goes to the local store. Outside she is approached by Annika (Moretz), who begs that she buys her and her friends some alcohol. Afterwards she decides to hang out with her and the two bond.

Several days later Annika calls Megan and asks she to pretend to be her mother in a parent-teacher conference, in which she realises that she is not happy and needs to assess her life, and she asks Annika if she can stay at her’s for a few days, and despite being initially appalled, her father Craig (Rockwell) agrees to this.

Megan and Craig eventually start to bond over the unusual situation.

Another Moretz flop?

I hate to say it but I’m struggling to find evidence that she makes great films and this isn’t going to strengthen any form of argument I have for the positive side.

‘Laggies’, alternatively known as ‘Say When’ is one of the least ambitious movies that are along a similar theme that I’ve seen in a while. I won’t claim to be a fan of romantic comedies, but at least with the ones I have seen there is generally something memorable about them, whereas ‘Laggies’ is ultimately as forgettable as the three main characters.

Let’s start with Megan, who to be fair is played relatively well by Kiera Knightley, is a pretty much one dimensional character, who despite seemingly not being arsed to go through anything at all, somehow managed to get an advanced degree. The character just isn’t believable because if you’re going to get qualified to that extent, you’re not a lazy person, and yet she is shown to be just that for most of it without making any real effort to find a meaningful job, and yet you’re expected to get behind her. She treats her boyfriend like crap for no good reason and doesn’t really have any likeable qualities.

Annika is a reasonable attempt at what I imagine an American teenage girl to be like, and to be fair CGM is probably the best thing about this otherwise lacking film, but even then her problems all seem inconsequential. Granted, her relationship with her mother is unique, especially as the mum tries to mend their relationship by giving her free lingerie, but it isn’t really explored any further after that.

They are the only characters that are really explored, with any male character just being a walking cliche. The thing is that no-one actually puts in a bad showing, everyone’s performance is fine, but it’s just the awful story that they have to work with.

The romance between Megan and Craig just isn’t believable and feels beyond forced. Knightley and Rockwell have pretty much zero chemistry and it’s hard to believe that they would ever be in a relationship either on or off screen. I’m in my 30s and can’t ever picture letting my teenage daughter (if I had one) hang out with people in their mid-twenties, let alone allow one to stay in my house and then start a relationship with them. It feels implausible, a word that I’m pretty certain I’ve never used on this site before.

Summary

‘Laggies’ is about a girl that feels lethargic in pretty much every aspect of her life, and unfortunately that level of energy finds its way into the way the film is presented. It’s lazy film making in many ways and you’re never once convinced that the build of the relationship is genuine.

Whilst not awful, ‘Laggies’ is very forgettable to say the least and other than a credible performance from CMG, there is nothing to really get excited by here. The acting is fine, but that’s about all that is.

There are much better romantic comedies out there.

You are so deeply in bed with the tea party, you’d let Bill O’Reilly teabag you.

Year Released : 2014boy_meets_girl_2014_film_poster
Director : Eric Schaeffer
Cast : Michelle Hendley, Michael Riley, Alexandra Turshen, Michael Galante, Randall Newsome and Joseph Ricci

I delved into Netflix again recently and found many films based on the LGBT genre, and I found something that I’d never thought I’d see, a film that shows the being transgender has nothing to do with sexuality, which is something that I’ve always found strange about the term “LGBT” as it makes it seem like it is linked. The reason I say that is because you can be transgender without being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and yet the term seems to lend itself to appearing as though they are inexorably linked.

The reason the term frustrates me so much is that being transgender, I have never found myself attracted to men, and yet people make that assumption all of the time. Sexuality is not linked in the slightest to being transgender. It is something that does annoy me beyond belief, and so I was intrigued by the premise of a film that breaks that perceived element of transgenderism.

That being said, that was something that looked mighty predictable, and that somewhat bothers me, but I have been wrong in the past and I hope that it’s the same this time around.

If you wish to follow my personal journey from male to female, please visit my personal blog.

Plot

Ricky (Hendley) is a young transgendered woman living in rural Kentucky. She dreams of moving to New York to follow her ambition of being a fashion designer, and she has the full support of Robby (Riley), her best friend since she was six, although it’s obvious to everyone that Robby is poorly hiding that he wants more.

One day Ricky receives a customer into her coffee shop named Francesca (Turshen), and despite being excited about her engagement to David (Galante), she again poorly hides that she is attracted to Ricky, and the two eventually have a steamy sexual encounter. Francesca tries to hide this from David, but he is less than pleased by the fact that she is simply hanging around with Ricky after the two went to school together.

Yo-yoing between how they feel about each other, Francesca eventually invites Ricky to a party, but she is shocked when David returns home from Afghanistan early, and he eventually figures out what has happened in his absense. Already being shown to be a hot-head, how will Ricky react to this new revelation?

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So, predictable or a breath of fresh air?

I’m not going to lie, there were some parts of this film in which I was able to successfully predict what happened, but the vast majority of this movie felt relatively fresh, and at times I didn’t feel that I was actually watching a film. At times it was almost like I was watching a TV movie rather than something that was intended to be more, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

This is a very humble approach to film making and uses many elements that I found refreshing in the genre. For example, the use of music is something I have referenced in others and in particularly, Zerophilia. That film uses music a LOT, and at times it doesn’t really feel appropriate, but there wasn’t a single moment when I thought that the music in “Boy Meets Girl” was out of place, or poorly used. It enhanced the scene without dominating it.

The acting is relatively decent throughout the run time and I genuinely believed the performances were done with the utmost respect to the subject matter, rather than it simply being a payday for some, which isn’t the case with a lot of films in the LGBT genre. If you can make it through the strong Kentucky accent that every single character seems to have, there is a lot to take it.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a fast paced film and is all about the characters. It’s a wordy film, meaning that a lot of conversations take place. It’s one that takes a significant amount of time to build it’s three central characters, and the three secondary characters to the point where you feel emotionally involved in their lives, and I’ve always said on this site that I will always give props to films that do that.

My only two real issues are that the film does drag somewhat and it does start of outstay it’s welcome at times, and the character of Ricky is horrendously one-dimensional and seems to be the type of transgendered person that somehow finds a way of bringing the fact that she is transgender into every single conversation. Admittedly it is 24 hours since I watched the film, but there isn’t a single time that I can recall five minutes going by without the character being transgendered is referenced in one way or another.

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Summary

I know this was a much shorter review than normal, but ultimately there wasn’t really a lot of say about it. approvedI genuinely enjoyed “Boy Meets Girl” and it’s relatively unique take on sexuality. The acting is decent and no-one stands out as better than anyone else, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Don’t go in expecting a masterpiece, but it’s certainly worth a watch and it’s current rating of 7.1/10 on IMDB is about right, which is something that I don’t say often.

Out of all of the LGBT films that I’ve reviewed for this site so far, this is certainly one of the most unique and enjoyable, and I happily give it my stamp of approval.

 

I’m not afraid, Hector. People who are afraid of death are afraid of life.

Year Released : 2014hector-and-the-search-for-happiness-new-smiley-poster
Director : Peter Chelsom
Cast : Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno and Ming Zhao.

I commented recently that one of my favourite actresses is Rosamund Pike, who also happens to be arguably one of the most underrated actresses in the world. So when I saw that she was in a film with Simon Pegg, himself a fairly underrated actor, I knew I had to watch it. I’ve been a fan of Pegg since his days of being in a BBC comedy called “Big Train” at the back end of the nineties.

Despite reading a few reviews here and there, I haven’t watched the trailer as I want to do into it with a pretty much blank canvas. I don’t want to go in knowing everything, which is probably a mistake that I have made far too often since starting this website some time ago. Having said that, if that was entirely true then I wouldn’t have read other reviews beforehand.

The one thing that I certainly get the vibe of though is that is a less likeable version of another film that I won’t mention unless it turns out that this film isn’t very good. I sincerely hope it is, but I get the feeling that it’s not going to be.

Plot

Hector (Pegg) is an exceptionally successful psychiatrist and is in a great relationship with Clara (Pike), but despite that he is unhappy with life and feels like he has no meaning. One day he gets a reading from a psychic about going on a journey, but he refuses to believe it. He soon loss his patience at a patient’s small problems being blown out of proportion and launches a scathing rant at him, and his anger and impatience runs into other aspects of his life. He decides to travel after all.

His first destination is China, and on board the flight he meets the very rich Edward (Skarsgard) who invites him to stay with him for a few days. Hector soon meets Ying Li (Zhao) and falls in love with her, all before discovering that she is a prostitute hired by Edward. Hector sets off for the Himalayan mountains to talk to monks in a monastery.

Soon afterwards he sets off for Africa and helps one of his old friends in a clinic, but as time goes on Hector continues to find out how other people become happy, he still struggles himself and feels somewhat lost as he can’t truly open up. How long can he keep on this journey, and more importantly, can his relationship with Clara survive on purely Skype conversations?

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A worthwhile venture?

Whilst “Hector and the Search for Happiness” is great in the aspect that you get to see a lot of places around the world that you don’t often see, such as the Himalayan mountains and the Buddhist monastery within, unfortunately there isn’t a lot more going on that’s worth while.

It is very similar in many ways to a film by the name of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in that it sees a sheltered man that is comfortable in life going on an unexpected journey, but the difference is that that film felt more natural and less forced. The character of Walter Mitty is someone that is instantly likeable and you appreciate his journey more than you do with that of Hector. Hector’s journey feels more forced whilst the character is likeable, he never really seems to face the same struggles as the aforementioned Walter. This is due to virtually everyone that Hector meets is actually quite nice and goes along with everything, whereas Walter has to deal with people across a variety of different temperaments and languages.

Simon Pegg is decent as Hector and he continues his likeable nature in films, but ultimately he is working with a script that doesn’t really lend itself to his acting skills, and I would argue that it is one of the worst films of his that I have seen. Pegg does have to carry the film pretty much on his own as despite having a large and impressive cast, very few of the rest of the cast really feel like they’re in the film for very long, and other than a few scenes at the beginning and the odd Skype cameo here and there, Rosamund Pike’s contribution to the film is fairly minimal. I don’t think the lack of chemistry between Pegg and Pike makes them a believable couple either.

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I don’t really have that much to say on the film really because it really isn’t that interesting. It’s just two hours of my life that I have spent watching a film that will be totally forgotten within a few days, and the moment I realised just how irrelevant this movie is was when Hector has a gun in his face when imprisoned by a militia group in Africa, and I didn’t feel any emotion to the scene whatsoever. There was no desperation for the character to survive, and I really wouldn’t have been disappointed if he had been killed at that point.

The movie keeps on blasting music out at you that is supposed to make you feel more connected to the scene, but it often feels completely forced, with situations feeling completely far fetched and something that wouldn’t happen to ten people combined, let alone a single person. That’s the main problem with this film, it doesn’t have a natural flow to it at all. Nothing feels realistic and it is a blatant attempt to invoke wanderlust in those that watch it.

Before watching this film I saw that had a score of 7.0/10 on IMDB, but generally “mixed to negative” reviews everywhere else, and I unfortunately I have to agree with the latter of those.

What makes it even worse is that when it tries to do jokes, the jokes are unfunny and unoriginal.

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Summary

A supposedly life-affirming journey of self discovery that is lacking an real emotion, desire or even anything remotely interesting. “Hector and the Search for Happiness” just plods on for around two hours without really seemingly going anywhere, which is amazing given that the character travels all over the world.

If you’re going to watch a film like this then your best bet is to go to the far superior “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. Whilst “Hector and the Search for Happiness” is a well meaning movie that ultimately won’t offend anyone, it is very far from being enjoyable and other than the odd minor thing here and there, it just isn’t that enjoyable.

Don’t watch this unless you are absolutely desperate.

Stop playing chip jenga!

Year Released : 2014what-we-did-on-our-holiday-34312
Director : Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin
Cast : Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Emilia Jones, Bobby Smalldridge, Harriet Turnbull and Ben Miller

So after years of not really seeing the point, I finally gave in and got Netflix. I had previously opened an account in 2014 but the selection was limited, putting it nicely, so I couldn’t be bothered and cancelled….but I decided to give it another chance and found a lot of films that do interest me. I then found a film called “What We Did on Our Holiday”. It sounds vaguely familiar but the number of IMDB ratings shows that this isn’t that well known, so I have decided to review it.

Other than the cast I know precisely nothing going into the film and I think this is a good thing as I haven’t even watched the trailer before I start watching (I put this section before watching the film for those that haven’t read this site before). It’s not often I do that…..infact virtually never, but there is one reason why I have done it on this occasion and that is because it stars Rosamund Pike.

I have always been impressed in particular with Rosamund Pike, and she was astonishing in the 2014 movie “Gone Girl”, hence the nomination for an Oscar that year. I’m not sold on the rest of the cast to be honest as I’ve rarely seen anything with them in that I have enjoyed, but I’m prepared to give anything a chance, well, within reason anyway.

Plot

Abi (Pike) and Doug (Tennant) are still recovering from a recent break up but they need to travel together with their three children to the Scottish Highlands to visit the latter’s father, Gordie (Connolly) for his 75th birthday. It’s possibly the last time that they’ll get to celebrate Gordie’s birthday as he is suffering from cancer, a fact that they unsuccessfully try to hide from the children.

Doug’s overly competitive brother, Gavin (Miller), is organising the party and in the mean time he and his wife are having their own issues, but nothing compared to Doug and Abi, especially when the latter reveals that she plans to move her and the children up to Newcastle. Knowing it might be the last chance he gets to see them, Gordie takes the kids to a local beach and teaches them some life lessons, however, he soon gets a vision of one of his long-dead friends and passes away there and then.

Not knowing what to do, Lottie (Jones) goes back to the house to tell the rest of the family, but she sees them all arguing and Abi’s revelation about having a new partner that she hasn’t told that kids about upsets her, and she decides that it’s her and her sibling’s responsibility to make sure that he gets a fitting funeral. Once the rest of the family find out what they’ve done, it has repercussions that no-one could predict.

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Worth not watching the trailer for?

It is certainly an unusual thing to go into a film without having watched the trailer first. Obviously Netflix put the summary of the plot into just a single sentence, but I’m mostly glad that I took the chance with “What We Did on Our Holiday”.

Now, I’m not going to to lie, despite relatively enjoying this film I am not going to be giving it the approved stamp below because of the children in the film. Now whilst the Mickey and Jess (the youngest two) are fine, the character of Lottie is just your typically self-involved child character, so much to the point that when Gordie dies about half way through the film, she sounds so unconcerned and uncaring about it. This could be due to the poor acting and delivery of the lines from Emilia Jones, but it just lacked the heart that the rest of the film tended to have. She genuinely sounded like she couldn’t give a crap. And even then, when she eventually gets back to the house, she decides not to tell anyone because she finds out that Abi is dating again.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that she’s at the Dakota Fanning level of single handedly ruining a movie, but she is pretty damn close. She is by far the worst thing about this movie.

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Outside of that character it is a very likeable film, with generally warm and funny comedy. There were a few times that I actually laughed out loud, and this isn’t something that I do on a regular basis. Let’s get one thing straight though, this is a very British movie and by that I mean that a lot of these jokes simply wouldn’t work outside of the British isles. For example, there is one joke about them being near Watford that I think anyone outside of the UK won’t get. If you’re not British then chances are a lot of the jokes will go completely over your head.

That’s not to say that it’s not an outright comedy though and there are a lot of heartfelt moments in the movie. For example, there is a scene in which Gavin and Doug go out to search for Gordie as they don’t believe that the children did a Viking funeral for him, and yet when they see that what they are saying is probably correct, Gavin breaks down and the movie takes a far more serious tone.

The cast do a very decent job, with Pike unsurprisingly standing out as the mother that is desperately trying to hold everything together, and the cautious optimism of someone who wants to try and hide how dangerous the real world is from the children. It’s hard to put my finger on what makes her so enjoyable to watch in not only this, but numerous other films, but she draws me in each time, and her speech near the end of the film (I won’t go too much into it) shows just how passionate she can be.

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Summary

A warm, vibrant and heartfelt movie that I would be comfortably be giving the approved stamp to had it not been for one character, which is a big shame as child characters tend to ruin the films that they are in.

If you can ignore that character of Lottie all together, you have a very quaint film that brings about pretty much every emotion that you get drawn into, and this is helped by the performances all of concerned…..with the exception of Emilia Jones.

I want to recommend it, but can’t give it the approved stamp due to that horrible character and performance…..I’m hoping that how many times that I’ve mentioned it puts it into perspective about how bad it is.

Who would’ve thought that if another woman came between me and Sarah, that it would be me?

Year Released : 1995dr-_jekyll_and_ms-_hyde_poster
Director : David Price
Cast : Tim Daly, Sean Young, Lysette Anthony, Stephen Tobolowsky, Harvey Fierstein and Jeremy Piven

So I’ve found finding new films to review (that I want to watch) rather difficult recently. There hasn’t been a lot to spark my curiousity enough to want to watch it and I’m not going to watch films that very few have heard of simply to produce reviews on a regular basis, I have to see at least something in the trailer that makes it worth watching. So based on that I decided to go into the past and review a film that I first watched at the age of 11 (I’m now 32 for context), “Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde”.

Now, for those that have never read this site before, or those that have only read sporadic reviews here and there, I am transgender. I am currently in the middle of the process of changing from male to female and growing up I took every opportunity I could to watch anything about transgendered people that I could, and that extended to this film. At 11 years of age I wasn’t really fussed about things such as good acting, a plot that doesn’t mistakes or anything else really……I was only 11 afterall.

Now, technically this isn’t actually a film about transgenderism because the central character has no intention of being female, and the changed form has it’s own personality, but I was young at the time and loved it. However, one thing I have discovered recently is that I had a terrible taste in films growing up (and some would probably argue that that hasn’t changed). I recently found a load of my old VHS tapes and have been watching some old films (too well known to be reviewed on here) and there are some absolute shockers that I can actually remember loving.

But anyway, onto my review….

Plot

Dr. Richard Jacks (Daly) works at a perfume company and is really struggling to come up with the next elegant fragrance for women. He soon learns of the death of a distance relative and goes to the funeral with his girlfriend, Sarah (Anthony). Whilst everyone else gets a extravagant items being left to them in the will, Richard only receives several books of scientific notes. Upon reading the notes he discovers that his relative was the infamous Dr. Jekyll, and Richard decides to use the formulas in the books to try and understand women better, all for creating the perfect fragrance.

Richard ingests the formula one night but nothing happens before he leaves for a job interview. The interview isn’t going well as Richard arrives late and the waiter spills coffee on his shirt. Richard suddenly starts struggling to get words out, and after drinking some orange juice he notices his nails growing to a very feminine length, and all of his body hair disappearing. Suddenly a pain comes from his genitalia and he sees his penis disappear. His hair suddenly grows, as does his chest, and in a panic he runs out and back to his lab, upon reaching he sees the full extent of the physical changes that have taken place.

Shortly afterwards Richard’s perverted colleague, Pete (Piven), watches the now female Richard in the shower. The new personality eventually names herself as Helen Hyde, flirts with all of Richard’s co-workers and even has dinner with Sarah. She soon notices that she is changing back into a male form. Once transformed back, Richard thinks it was just a black out and thinks nothing of it until all of his colleagues start mentioning Helen, and as time goes on more and more transformations happen, but Helen isn’t satisfied with a part-time life, and spends her time trying to sabotage the life of Richard.

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So, as good as I remembered?

Well there is one thing that I will say about “Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde” and that is that no matter what people say about it, it is a fun movie and whilst I noticed a lot more flaws than I did when I was younger, I still had a good time watching it. Make no mistake though, this is not a good movie in many regards.

Let’s start with that bits that I did like.

As mentioned above, this is a fun movie, it is one of those that you can just sit back for ninety or so minutes and not really have to think about anything.  The comedy is fairly genuine throughout and whilst being a little cruel in many places, you feel an affinity for the majority of the characters, and that’s something that you don’t get in most films. You don’t even really hate Helen and you can see things from her point of view, which makes for a good antagonist.

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Now let’s move onto the flaws and let’s start with the obvious that a lot of the characters witness the transformation from male to female, or vice versa, and just brush it off. For example, there is one scene in which Helen is about to have sex with one of Richard’s co-workers, but her breasts disappear when she opens her lingerie, and other than a bizarre moment of confusion, the character just brushes it off completely. Whilst he obviously has sex on the mind, if I was a guy that was obsessed with sex, breasts disappearing all together would confuse the hell out of me to the point where I wouldn’t want to have sex anymore.

This isn’t the only bizarre scene that is relating to sex in the film as she also somehow manages to seduce a homosexual man into having sex with her, even the man’s full on relief in the final scene makes no sense.

So based on that, I’m going to give a spoiler of the end here. To skip to the end of the spoiler simply go down to the summary section.

Ok, spoiler time (last warning). The film ends with Richard successfully coming up with a formula to keep his body male permanently, and Sarah successfully injects Helen with it. She changes back to Richard in front of everyone, and he tries to explain the situation as having to live as a woman in order to create the perfect fragrance for one. Everyone treats this as though Richard had genuinely tricked them…..but surely, surely they must have realised that it wasn’t Richard by the fact that he and Helen were completely different builds, didn’t look even remotely similar and when they were having sex with Helen, they were (forgive the blunt nature of this) sticking their penis into a vagina.

Everyone acting as though the whole situation as normal was just beyond ridiculous, especially the aforementioned homosexual man that acts as if everything was ok.

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Summary

A fun movie that keeps you entertained for ninety or so minutes isn’t enough to make me want to give it the approved stamp for the simple reason for it having too many flaws to be taken seriously.

There isn’t really much more to say about “Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde” because it is what it is. If you’re after a movie to enjoy for a few hours of your day then you can’t go wrong as it’s innocent fun, but ultimately it’s not a great film and if you’re after something with substance and more than the odd memorable scene, then this isn’t for you.

I’m not going to give it the approved stamp, but it’s still worth a watch.

I think when I masturbate I’m going to think about your mom.

Year Released : 2016swiss_army_man_poster
Director : Dan Kwan
Cast : Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe

There are some things that I never thought I’d write when I started this website two years ago, and most of which are still true because I’ve yet to even think of them, so imagine my surprise that I am able to write the words “Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting, undead corpse”. I realise that even just uttering that sentence might turn off some of those that are reading this review without having heard of this film before.

Much like a few of my more recent reviews, there is a chance that you will have heard of this film due to it’s unusual nature, not to mention Daniel Radcliffe’s admirable attempt to prove he can do more than just play a teenage wizard. Just for clarification, the reason I am reviewing a few more better known films recently is because there aren’t that many tiny films that really interest me enough to watch them at the moment.

Just to give you an idea of what I think of this film (I only decided to review it after watching it, rather than waiting until the end of the year review), this will be getting something that I stated I wouldn’t give out again just a few weeks ago.

Plot

Hank (Dano) got stranded on a tiny desert island some time ago and his “messages in a bottle” (or items to that affect) have had no response, so he decides to end his life by hanging himself. During the act, he notices a body that has washed up on shore (Radcliffe). In his desperation Hank tries to revive the long dead body, all before again going back to hang himself in despair, but at this point he notices the body doing strange actions, such as farting on a regular basis, and he soon realises when he sees the body float and seemingly move at will that this could be his way off of the island.

He rides the body like a dolphin to the nearest other landmass, but again feels suicidal when there are no signs of life anywhere near by. Soon after he realises that the corpse isn’t as dead as it would appear, and he is able to have a conversation with the person he calls “Manny”. Manny has no memory of his life, so Hank decides to try and educate him about the basics of life, and it isn’t long before Manny falls in love with the woman on Hank’s phone (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), believing it to be his own girlfriend.

With Manny’s body being the personification of a swiss army knife, Hank decides to use it to his advantage, but how long is it until Manny finds out the truth about the woman, potentially putting the friendship at risk?

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So, that sounds unique….

It sounds unique because it is. “Swiss Army Man” is one of the most original films that I have ever seen and other than an ending that (spoiler alert) sort of reminded me a bit to the ending of M. Night Shamaylan’s “The Village”, there wasn’t a single shred of anything that I had already seen before. It is one of the best original screenplays I think I’ve ever had the opportunity to unfold in front of my eyes.

The reason for this is not only because you’re watching a man using corpse’s penis as a compass (another sentence that I never thought I’d write), but you’re watching a man effectively having a father/son relationship with a dead body, teaching it about the world and life’s lessons. In that sense the film is actually somewhat beautiful, and it’s disappointing that most will be put off by the aspect of it being about a farting corpse, whereas in reality that is only a minor aspect to the film.

Comedically “Swiss Army Man” is hilarious, with Daniel Radcliffe’s completely deadpan delivery of tickeningly (if that’s even a word) funny lines proving to be very enjoyable. Deadpan has always been my preferred method of telling jokes, with some of my favourite jokes of all time being ludicrously funny, all whilst being enhanced by it being told in a completely serious manner, so in that sense it definitely works for me. For example, the quote I put at the beginning of the review “I think when I masturbate I’m going to think about your mom,” is delivery in such a way that it had me laughing out loud, which those that know me will be able to tell you I don’t do that often.

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The relationship between Dano’s “Hank” and Radcliffe’s “Manny” is actually quite complex and beautiful, especially a scene in which they are recreating a journey on a bus, and you can tell the pain in Hank’s voice as he is desperately trying to help Manny understand, whilst also hiding his own sorrow, and in many ways it is the ever opening window into Hank’s personality and mental state that proves to be rather interesting towards the end of the film, as you realise that he is actually a very lonely person and being rescued might not actually be the best thing for him.

In many ways that shows that this film isn’t just the farcical comedy that you would probably expect, and in many ways is actually quite a beautiful way of story telling. Much like another film I review recently, “Swiss Army Man” gave me a lot to think about in regards to it’s moral points, and it made me feel a lot of different emotions, which is something that I love when watching a film.

Whilst only having a very minimal soundtrack (usually just the same song), the music definitely adds to the experience of the movie and helps enhance scenes which seem life affirming, and that’s what this film is, it’s a lesson in how to help others, and how to appreciate the little things in life, such as the aforementioned mock-bus trip, in which they spend what must be at least ten minutes pretending to ride the bus.

It’s a film that I suspect most will avoid due to it’s initial appearances, but I beg you not to ignore this and watch it whenever you can.

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Summary

Brilliant and humble, “Swiss Army Man” is a pure delight and despite initially saying that you would probably never see this stamp perfect-459230_640again after Captain Fantastic, I am again rolling out the “PERFECT” stamp. It may not be the best film of all time, but for what is it trying to be, plus many different elements that are put together to make this, I couldn’t find a single reason not to give it the perfect stamp.

Yes, it’s a slightly silly concept, but it’s a worthwhile concept and one that, other than an ever so slightly familiar ending, was largely perfect. Dano and Radcliffe are perfect together, and I can’t praise this movie highly enough.

This is never going to be a popular movie for the simple reason that I think the farting corpse aspect will put a lot of people off, but I would urge you all to watch it if you can.

If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world

Year Released : 2016cf_poster
Director : Matt Ross
Cast : Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Sam Isler, Annalist Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn and Frank Langella

Yes, it’s relatively mainstream, and yes, it’s a film that goes against what I usually write about (obscure films for those that haven’t read this site before), but I just had to write a review on this exceptional film. I don’t usually write about films released at the cinema on this site, but the moment that I realised that I had to was when I was on the walk back and I had to take a deep breath and just let go following a film that could end up not only at the top of my top ten for 2016, but also enter my top ten films from my entire life (and I turn 32 on Monday to put that into further context for people).

At first I thought it was going to be one of those really pretentious films, but as the film went on I was sat in my seat at Hyde Park Picture House with a smile on my face and a sense that I was watching a movie that I would rate a perfect ten out of ten.

You did not read that incorrectly. This film gets a perfect score from me, even though I don’t really do scores on this site. It’s joins “The Fly” (1986 version), “The Thing” (1982 version), “Fight Club” and ” Nightcrawler” on that list. It is a remarkable achievement of story telling, character building, emotional involvement and just an overwhelming flood of emotions.

Plot

Ben (Mortensen) is raising his six children in the wilderness after he and his wife decided to do away with it in the search of a purer life. He has trained them to survive in nature, including killing animals, climbing mountains and various other things. Ben’s wife has been in hospital for some time when he phones her sister to find out what the latest update is, he learns that she has committed suicide. Ben is then told in no uncertain terms by Jack (Langella), his wife’s father, that he is not welcome at the funeral as he blames Ben for his daughter’s death.

When he gets home Ben breaks the news to his family and they convince him to go to the funeral anyway, especially as she is being buried as a Christian when she infact followed the Buddhist way of life, and expressed specifically in her will that she wished to be cremated. Ben’s oldest son, Bodevan (MacKay) , decides to hide the fact that he has received offers from all of the Ivy League colleges around America.

The family bonds further throughout the trip, with the exception of Rellian (Hamilton), who seems distracted and distant from the rest, but they are determined to say goodbye to their mother, even if it means upsetting the rest of the family, with Ben’s no-nonsense approach to parenting (i/e rather than lying about his wife just dying, he openly reveals to small children that she slit her wrists) proving particularly unsettling to near enough everyone.

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So why a perfect ten?

I was sat in that screen for the film’s 100 or so minute run time and in that time I felt every conceivable emotion. The film is wonderfully joyous at times, hilarious at others, depressingly sad in parts and reflective in the inbetween. There were moments when I felt serenity in joy, and then downright anger. When I go to watch a film, I want to be emotionally invested, and I can’t think of another film off of the top of my head where I felt as many emotions as I did during the run time on an emotions:minutes ratio.

The comedy is genuine and doesn’t feel forced in the slightest. For example, when a police officer boards their bus and starts questioning why the kids aren’t in school, they all start feigning being religious and sing songs about Jesus loving him, and his reaction at being surrounded by six people all singing about God and Jesus is hilarious. You’ve got children being given books about sex and the horrified looks of family members when the children do something that you wouldn’t expect from someone at that age.

But for me, whilst being emotionally invested is important, the single most important thing that a film must do is have an interesting and engaging storyline, and “Captain Fantastic” does that triumphantly  and to sum up how much that means coming from me, search through my other 200odd reviews and you will see that I have never used that word to describe a film, even on ones that I raved about.

“Captain Fantastic” is a film that makes you think and no scene sums this up more than when Ben asks one of his children to summarise the book that she is reading, which happens to be “Lolita” and she describes how you hate the central character in that for being a paedophile, but you also feel so connected to him. Just for the record, I have never read Lolita, nor seen any film based on it, so I have no idea if that’s the case, but in that scene it sums up this film in general, and life in many ways.

The film is told mainly from one perspective (more on that in a minute), but it’s only when you start to look at it from another perspective that you start to consider things that you never previous had, and that’s something that is very rare in films these days.

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My example of this is Jack. You’re pissed that he is ignoring his daughter’s wishes (cremation over burial), but you see where he is coming from as a major theme in the final act of the film is the questioning of whether Ben has raised the kids in their best interests. You don’t like the guy for ignoring how someone wanted to be treated after they had died, but as the final act goes on you start to see his point a bit, realising that he infact has the best interests of everyone at heart. Even though he’s antagonistic character, you see where he is coming from and that is the sign of a great villain, even though he’s not really villainous character when you look at it from a perspective other than Ben’s.

Viggo Mortensen plays arguably his best role of his career (in my opinion of course). I will not lie and say that I’ve seen each of his films, infact I’ve only seen four, but for me this was his best role yet and that’s because he caught the emotions of the character of Ben so well, and he nailed it. The character is a very serious one and yet some of the lines he is given make you wonder how Mortensen pulled off a straight face in the situation. For example, he tells his young daughter, who can’t be older than ten about rape and sex without flinching a muscle, whereas everyone in the audience was laughing.

The children are all very well acted, and it must be the first time in a long time where I have seen some child actors and not found their performances tedious. I mean you’ve got Jacob Tremblay in “Room” giving an exceptional performance, but the only thing that has come of that is that he is now typecast due to that performance being so convincing. These kids don’t feel like they’re going to be restricted to similar roles in the future.

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Summary

The very fact that I’m introducing a new stamp to the site should tell you everything that you need to know. This is a stamp you will not see often in the future, if at all. It’s something that I have only given to four other films in my life, and is something that even my favourite film doesn’t have.perfect-459230_640

If “Captain Fanastic” doesn’t sit at the top of my “Top Ten of 2016” list when I write it in late December then there is going to be something astonishingly good coming out within the next three and a half months, and I genuinely don’t see that happening.

It’s brilliantly acted, superbly written, is visually excellent and is so emotionally investing that I can’t even begin to do it justice with this review.

Watch it.

David smells really great, and also I am very bad at sexual intercourse!

Year Released : 2016buddymoon
Director : Alex Simmons
Cast : David Giuntoli, Flula Borg, Claire Coffee and Jeanne Syquia

So it’s been two weeks since my last review. I hadn’t intended to have a two week gap but I generally couldn’t be bothered, I started a new job and I have moved again (to another area of Leeds), so I didn’t really have the time or the desire to review a film for a while, but after watching a film at the local cinema the other night, I really needed to watch something else.

I went to watch “The Neon Demon”, a film I had no interest in watching before hand, and it hasn’t exited my head since. I’m sure anyone who has seen it will know what I mean when I say “the morgue scene”. That and the final act have stuck with me and it’s now more than 48 hours later.

So to take my mind off of it (don’t get me wrong, I did like it), I scoured the internet for something recent that came out to lighten the mood and I found this comedy. I don’t often review comedies so I thought it’d be a nice change….even if it does look a little bad.

Plot

David (Giuntoli) has just split up with Frankie (Syquia), a girl who he was going to marry a few days later. Whilst drinking away his sorrows, his best-man Flula (Borg) tries to cheer him up and eventually comes to the realisation that the two of them should still go on David’s intended honeymoon, a walk through a forest in Oregon.

Despite being initially skeptical, David agrees and intends to use it as research on Lewis and Clarke, the famous explorers, as he hopes to land a role in a new movie about their lives. Flula eases into the hike, whereas David regularly becomes exhausted, and this isn’t helped by Flula constantly acting in an unusual fashion, such as recording the sounds of the forest so he can create a song.

Eventually the pair meet up with another group of hikers, and David falls for Polly (coffee), but Flula’s unusual behaviour continues to irk at David and it puts their friendship at risk.

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Has it taken my mind off of Neon Demon?

Well, no. Throughout the entire runtime of “Buddymoon” I was completely disengaged and it felt more like an advert to get people to visit the state of Oregon (which looks beautiful by the way) rather than an actual attempt at a film.

Let’s start with the characters and where better than the main character, David? Now David is a reasonable character in principle, but there is very little development in his throughout the entire run time of the film and you never really get to a level in which you feel sorry for the situation he finds himself in. It’s hinted in a flashback that he is abusive to Frankie and yet it’s rarely addressed again. The character was more suited to a supporting character rather than the lead, and this doesn’t make for a strong start.

Then we get onto Flula, a character that is basically the equivalent of someone who is going begging you to like them, and the film tries to make you find him funny, but he just isn’t. Very little about his character drives you to like him and I wish filmmakers would realise that being zany isn’t necessarily enough to make a character not only likeable, but also engaging. He is very similar to the main character in “Frank”….infact he even copies his attempts to record random noises in order to create a song.

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At not one point during the film did I felt like I was getting the most out of either of them as characters, and this is a shame because it’s a missed opportunity for a life-affirming buddy-film, and the comedy throughout feels forced. Nothing about the film feels natural, especially the scene in which David and Flula encounter another man in the woods and the latter goes along with the joke that they have just been married to each other, and in many ways I think the actual character of Flula is the main reason that I never considered this for recommending.

He is basically a stereotype of the German people, such as what he is wearing during the entire trip, his sense of humour and so many other aspects to the character that it makes it genuinely surprising that the actor playing Flula (also called Flula…..seriously, why do filmmakers bother doing this?) is German himself. Whether it’s self-referential mocking I do not know….but what I do know is that it just isn’t particulally funny.

Visually the film is stunning, and the environment is beautiful, but again it often feels like this is intended more as an advert for Oregon rather than a film. You know those scenes in movies in which it’s obvious that there are companies paying their products to be there? Well that’s what it’s like in “Buddymoon”, there are shots that seem to be there simply to say “hey, this is Oregon, please visit us…..please.” I know nothing about the state of Oregon, other than some of the cities that are in it, but it’ll state more than being the setting for a poor film to encourage me to go.

But for me the biggest sin of the movie is that it is just predictable. I was able to accurately state how the film would end before I had even started. It’s very formulaic and just downright easy to call.

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Summary

An unfunny film that fills 80 minutes of your life and yet offers very little in terms of enlightenment or enjoyment. It’s just kind of there.

The characters aren’t particularly likeable, the story isn’t particularly interesting and the situation is non-engaging. It’s a comedy that tries hard to be different, but it ultimately fails miserably as has very little original ideas or story to it.

If you must watch it, just remember that at least it’s not even an hour and a half long.

 

I am going to graduate you to a fist****

Year Released : 2016hot_bot_uma_robocirc_em_minha_vida_2016
Director : Michael Polish
Cast : Zack Pearlman, Doug Haley, Cynthia Kirchner, David Shackelford, Danny Masterson, Anthony Anderson, Donald Faison and Larry Miller

They say that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but the same definitely can’t be said of films. You can just tell by looking at some posters just how poor the film is, and that was the case with “Hot Bot”. I noticed it instantly and thought to myself “wow, that looks like a tacky as fuck movie” and so I decided to watch the trailer. As expected, it looked tacky and immature, but I strangely still wanted to watch it.

In many ways the trailer basically strikes me as being a mash up between 80s classic “Weird Science” and gross-out comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. I like both of those films but I can’t imagine a mixture of the two being anywhere close to any good.

I could be entirely wrong and the average score of 3.4/10 on IMDB could be tremendously harsh….but yeah, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise for a lack of reviews recently. As mentioned in my last review I have left my full time role and currently only have a part time role. As well as spending most of my time applying for a lot of jobs, I am taking any hours I can at the part time role and have worked three 12+ hour shifts in just over a week, and I’ve had two shifts that total 21 hours in the last two days, with only a 7 hour gap in between. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but I just wanted to put into context why there haven’t been as many reviews as normal recently.

Anyway, onto the review.

Plot

Limus (Haley) and Leonard (Pearlman) are two sexually frustrated teenagers when one day they encounter a sex robot named Bardot (Kirchner). She actively tries to sexually arouse them and often succeeds, but she is constantly interrupted by schoolmates and family.

It turns out that the robot was actually meant to be delivered to Senator Biter (Miller), and he orders his two hence-men (Anderson and Masterton) to track Bardot down. Limus meanwhile is developing more than just an interest in Bardot and falls in love with her, although he struggles with the fact that he’s falling in love with a robot.

As time moves on, Bardot learns about further aspects of humanity, such as religion, and it isn’t long before she becomes frustrated with Limus and Leonard, abandoning them.

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So, as you would expect?

Had I seen this film when I was younger, i/e an early teenager, then chances are that I would have loved this film, but I’m not in my early teens, nor have I been in my teens for twelve years, and whilst there are certain aspects of the film that I did like and I do feel that 3.4/10 on IMDB is harsh, I would struggle to find an individual aspect to the film that I actually liked.

The humour is exactly what you would expect from a film that relates to a sex robot, and I believe that my earlier statement of being the lovechild of “Weird Science” and “Zack and Miri” is actually somewhat accurate. It’s not quite a gross out comedy, but there is definitely a LOT of immaturity to the plot.

You know, I really want to sit here and tear into this film because it’s really not a good film at all, but there are so many parts to it that I found myself liking that I thought I wouldn’t. Despite being incredibly one dimensional, I liked a lot of the characters, especially the two security personnel played by Anthony Anderson and Danny Masterton, both of whom are no strangers to the comedy genre after starring in TV comedies towards the end of the 90s/early 00s, but I think that’s also a big problem as well, the potential isn’t really tapped into.

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Every time there is a genuine chance for the film to be heartfelt, it ends up resulting in jokes about sex again, and it quickly wears very thin. Whilst the character of Limus does have a tiny bit of development, Leonard doesn’t change at all from minute one to minute ninety-one, it’s just the same tiresome act all of the way through, and it’s just so hard to get behind him. It’s strange because I really couldn’t imagine the two being friends in real life.

However, the main problem for me is that the film feels like it’s out of place. About 15/16 years ago there was a bit market for sexually-driven comedies aimed at teenagers, such as “American Pie” and “Road Trip”, amongst others, but “Hot Bot” not only missed the boat on that one, but it didn’t set off for the dock. The world has moved on from teen comedies like this, and there isn’t really a place for it these days. As I say, had this been released during that gross-out teen comedy phase then it might have stood a chance, but alas, the era is long gone.

I really want to come up with a big positive for “Hot Bot” but I can’t think of any reason to recommend that you watch the film. It’s not as bad as it would appear from the trailer and the IMDB score, but it’s certainly not much better.

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Summary

A film that I can neither praise for more than tiny parts, nor criticise too heavily and feel like I’m being fair, “Hot Bot” feels like a movie that has been specifically designed for adolescent boys to entertain themselves with. It’s like all of the teen comedies of the late 90s/early 2000s, but without the genuine humour.

Every chance to develop is quickly wasted by unfunny dialogue and a completely unrealistic situation. It is watchable, but not really enjoyable. That aren’t many likable bits, but even when there is promise of more, it quickly wastes that opportunity.

I won’t go as far as saying to avoid it, but I definitely won’t actively say it’s good.