Tag Archives: No Spoilers Review

THE HOLLARS (2016): The Thing I Liked – Sharlto Copley’s Performance…

The Hollars (2016), Sharlto Copley, John Krasinski
The Hollars (2016), Sharlto Copley, John Krasinski

Directed by John Krasinski, The Hollars is a comedy / drama about a son returning to his small town after his mother falls ill. Not the most obvious premise for comedy but there are laughs to be had with Krasinki’s latest directorial effort. Besides the good humour, especially courtesy of Sharlto Copley’s brother character, I enjoyed the film’s portrait of family, sibling dynamics and all the good performances from all the cast.

Written by Jim Strouse who also wrote one of my favourites, People, Places, Things (2015)Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins, Margot Martingale and Randall Park also star.

The Hollars is fitting for when you’re in the mood for a relaxing drama / comedy with a little splash of romance – nothing too taxing.

Happy Film Loving

G

FINDING DORY (2016): The Things I Liked…

Finding Dory (2016), Nemo (Centre)
Finding Dory (2016), Nemo (Centre)

Finding Dory is a movie you watch because you loved the characters in Finding Nemo and want to spend more time with them.You will indeed have a good time. Nevertheless, the original will almost certainly remain number one in your heart. Reason being, if you’ve seen Finding Nemo (2003) then little about Finding Dory is going to feel fresh and new.

One of the things about Finding Dory that does feel quite new comes in the shape of Frank the octopus, a smart and fun red / orange creature. I also particularly enjoyed the ‘where’s Frank’ game at the very end. Another highlight involves a truck and the sea. It’s a beautiful, moving scene and feels reminiscent of a memorable moment in Inception (2010).

Watch Finding Dory for the nostalgia and because it’s not a bad sequel as sequels go.

Happy Film Loving

G

SAUSAGE PARTY (2016) Movie Review: Filthy Goodness…

Sausage Party (2016), Seth Rogen - Frank (Voice), Michael Cera - Barry (Voice)
Sausage Party (2016), Seth Rogen – Frank (Voice), Michael Cera – Barry (Voice)

Finding out the truth about one’s existence isn’t just a journey important for humans. Frank the sausage from Shopwell’s supermarket has heard some extremely disturbing news about what happens after he and his fellow food product friends are chosen and taken out of Shopwell’s and into ‘the great beyond.’ So begins the mad food horror / comedy / adventure that is Sausage Party, the latest from writing partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

Starring Rogen, Michael Cera, Kristen Wiig, Nick Kroll, Jonah Hill, and many more, I found Sausage Party entertaining and definitely filthy. It’s the clever and well written wordplay that makes the comedy. The film’s general look and animation style is another personal highlight. I particularly love the walks of Teresa Del Taco and Frank’s girlfriend Brenda. Yes, we’re  talking about animation here but the sexiness is really, undeniable. Then there’s the  villainous Douche who is nicely played by Nick Kroll (probably my favourite of his roles, ever).

There’s no writing about Sausage Party without mentioning the, let’s say… ‘good times’ that happen towards the very end. WOW! That’s a great word for it.

Sausage Party (2016), Salma Hayek - Teresa Del Taco
Sausage Party (2016), Salma Hayek – Teresa Del Taco (Voice)

After thinking a few times, ‘How on earth are they going to end this?’as the movie played, I’m not mad at what actually happens at the very end – because how else could they have wrapped it up, really? Especially since food is ultimately for eating,  potatoes need peeling and no one should ever take ill treatment.

In terms of the things I was at odds with, Sausage Party features some commentary on religion that feels a little odd and out of place. However, at the same time it makes some sense for a world where food both talks and thinks. Nevertheless, it still didn’t quite fit somehow.

 Watch this movie for the smartly written filthy, fun dialogue and the general madness of it all.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE HANGOVER (2009) Review: One Of The Very Best…

The Hangover (2009), Zach Gaifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper
The Hangover (2009), Zach Gaifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Bradley Cooper

Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Justin Bartha, there’s plenty to love about the The Hangover. In fact, the Todd Phillips directed comedy is one of those movies that left me with nothing bad to say. Just to be clear though, the above statement is reserved only for the 2009 movie and not the two embarrassing ‘get as much money out of this as possible whilst we still can’ sequels that shamelessly followed. Moving on…

The reasons I love the hangover are obvious. The story is great, I saw exactly none of the surprising twists and turns coming, excellent casting, writing and soundtrack. The music in the movie really fits. There’s the great chemistry between the four main characters. Their depiction of a realistic bromance / brotherhood really went a long way.

Everything that happened in The Hangover felt so real to me. So much so that the brilliant Inbetweeners comedy series, the UK original version came to mind because it too has that combination of the believable male friendship dynamic and comedy. There are too many great moments to pic just one. however, who after seeing this movie has been able to say the word ‘retard’ in just one way?

I haven’t watched all the movies of this genre but I’m committing to calling The Hangover one of, if not the most epic ‘bachelor party shenanigans’ movie ever made. The Hangover also helped wake me up to the charms of Bradley Cooper. By ‘charms’ I mean his acting talents… and yes, that suit in the hotel room scene when he and Justin Bartha’s character walk into Stu’s room definitely contributed to my charmed state. Looking that good combined with such evident swagger seldom goes unnoticed. You see, attention to detail has never been my problem.

Watch The Hangover again and again for an entertaining ride from beginning to glorious end.

Happy Film Loving

G

TRAINING DAY (2001) Movie Review: Good Story, Well Shot…

Training Day (2001), Ethan Hawke
Training Day (2001), Ethan Hawke

Training Day is not a movie you watch if you’re looking for a relaxing film experience. The protagonist through whom we’re introduced to the world in which everything takes place is Jake (Ethan Hawke). Since Jake is comfortable at no point in Training Day, you absolutely won’t be either.

With that important truth out of the way, Training Day is a movie worthy of your time. Not just because of the undeniable talent both in front and behind the camera, it’s a well written crime thriller that will likely leave you grateful that you get to experience the world of the characters only a screen.

Training Day (2001), Denzel Washington
Training Day (2001), Denzel Washington

David Ayer (Suicide Squad – 2016) is responsible for the screenplay Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven – 2016) directs. I’m convinced  that Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke could not have played their roles any better. Perhaps even more than the great performances, it’s the way the story comes together that I love most. From the effective shooting style to the way events unfold overall, I had an uncomfortable (in a good way) yet  positive experience.

If I had to pick something that maybe could haveimproved my experience, I’d point to the musical score which left me a little wanting. By no means is it as awkward as the score for John Q (2002), but awkward is a word that fits – in parts.

Watch Training Day for some Denzel Washington / Ethan Hawke magic and for the smart way everything comes together. Would I call Training Day my favourite buddy cop movie? It’s close but I think End Of Watch (2012) still has that title.

Happy Film Loving

G

SUICIDE SQUAD (2016) Movie Review: The Thing I Liked…

Suicide Squad (2016), Margot Robbie
Suicide Squad (2016), Margot Robbie

The trailer for Suicide Squad, a.k.a. DC Comics’s answer to The Avengers (2012) is one of my favourite movie trailers of 2016. Fast forward to the first hour of actually watching Suicide Squad and I’m thinking… ‘Why does this feel like such a big mess?

After my surprise at my initial reaction, the movie does thankfully become a little more watchable, after the first hour. Though certainly not enough to make Suicide Squad a particularly great experience.

A sizeable part of my issue with director David Ayer’s movie is linked to the fact that, unlike Marvel’s The Avengers, stand alone movies for most, if not all of the characters in Suicide Squad don’t previously exist. This then adds to the already gargantuan challenge of weaving a well constructed and engaging story featuring all the numerous players. Granted that a lot of the film’s audience are readers of the comic books on which this movie is based. That didn’t prove to help help much. I basically didn’t really realise just how much Marvel’s approach made a lot of sense until, as a non-reader of comic books, I watched Suicide Squad.

I know that superhero movies aren’t real but something about this movie was just more unbelievable than any other superhero movie I remember watching. I must admit that Cara Delevigne’s portrayal of Enchantress didn’t help matters. ‘Ridiculous’ is unfortunately the word that came to mind most times I saw her character and heard her speak.

Suicide Squad (2016), Viola Davis
Suicide Squad (2016), Viola Davis

As for the characters I did like, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is cool but I found that I didn’t identify with her as much as I thought I would. The fact that all members of the Suicide Squad are hardcore criminals, I’m sure has something to do with it. Deadshot (Will Smith) is another favourite because he too has that cool factor, thanks in large part to the nature of his particular set of skills. That combined with the way his story is shot is part of what kept me watching. Harley Quinn and Deadshot’s dynamic really helped hold the story together, where possible.

Is Jared Leto’s Joker going to be as arresting as Heath Ledger’s brilliant work in The Dark Knight (2008)?‘ This was a question I wanted the answer to and I kind of got it… but not really because The Joker is barely seen in this movie. And even though he is one of the better known characters prior to this film – thanks to Batman, Joker’s stand alone movie really should have come before Suicide Squad.

Watch this film if you’re curious enough. It’s just not as good as it should have been.

Last but not least, I didn’t want to have to say that ‘Marvel’s The Avengers did it better‘, but I’ve never really been very good at lying to myself.

Happy Film Loving

G

MASCOTS (2016): Funny…

Mascots (2016), Zach Woods, Sarah Baker
Mascots (2016), Zach Woods, Sarah Baker

As the trailer promised, Mascots has a healthy serving of quirky and entertaining characters. A very special selection of unusual people gathered in one place for the 8th World Mascot Association Championships; a sports mascot competition in which the very best sports mascots compete for the ‘Golden Fluffy Award’.

I’m one of those people who stopped watching television talent programmes because I could no longer take all the seemingly forced and inauthentic sob stories. I also decided that life’s not long enough for me to be ok with sitting through the numerous delusional performer’s unbearably cringeworthy interactions with the judges. Luckily for me, there’s none of that nonsense in Mascots.

Mascots (2016), Susan Yeagley, Parker Posey
Mascots (2016), Susan Yeagley, Parker Posey

I loved the humour and the stories of people unapologetically being their – often very peculiar selves. Sid The Hedgehog (Tom Bennett) and Alvin The Armadillo (Parker Posey) are my two favourites.

Mascots is perfect for a relaxed evening’s viewing. I spent most of the time smiling rather than laughing but in this instance, that’s not a bad thing. I like the shooting style which towards the end really had me feeling as though I were right there in the venue audience.

I’m not quite sure if Mascots is based on a real sports mascot competition of this kind but if someone had tickets, I wouldn’t be so quick to say no.

Written/ directed by Christopher Guest and also starring Chris O’Dowd,  Zach Woods, Sarah Baker and Jane Lynch, watch it because the characters are ‘unhinged’, in a good way.

Happy Film Loving

G

THE SIEGE OF JADOTVILLE (2016): Good Movie…

The Siege Of Jadotville (2016), Jamie Dornan
The Siege Of Jadotville (2016), Jamie Dornan

Until The Siege Of Jadotville, I’d only seen Jamie Dornan in one movie; the hugely successful but not particularly well regarded Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015). Since the latter film, I’ve been looking forward to finding out what else Dornan could do in front of the camera.

Directed by Richie Smyth and set in early 1960s Congo, The Siege Of Jadotville is based on the true story of Irish UN Commander Pat Quinlan and his leadership of 150 Irish soldiers against 3000 French and Belgian Mercenaries.

My enjoyment of this movie isn’t because I was blinded by the beautiful Irish accents. The entire cast delivered good performances and there’s a beautifully tense scene at a bar quite early on. There’s also the cinematography and how well director Richie Smyth and his team rose to the challenge of capturing military combat.

By the end of the movie, I was left inspired to fight my corner when necessary, happy to have found my favourite Jamie Dornan movie to date and reminded to be careful of underestimating my opponents, however in my favour the odds may appear.

Watch The Siege Of Jadotville which also stars Jason O’Mara, Mark Strong, Danny Sapani and Sam Keeley- to name just a few because there’s is more to enjoy than just the lovely Irish accents.

Happy Film Loving

G