ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – X – Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)

This is under X because of the character Xavier.

Director: Jay Baruchel

Writer: Jay Baruchel, Jesse Chabot, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay) Adam Frattasio, Douglas Smith (Book)

Starring: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, Marc-Andre Grondin, Liev Schreiber, Wyatt Russell, Kim Coates, Elisha Cuthbert

Plot: A hockey player plagued by injuries is confronted with the possibility of retirement when a tough new player challenges his status as the league’s top enforcer.


Tagline – Twice as hard as the first time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Misses Most the Punchlines

Story: Goon: Last of the Enforcers starts when Doug (Scott) meets his match on the hockey rink in Anders Cain (Russell) leading to fresh injuries and him thinking about retiring when his wife Eva (Pill) is expecting their first child.

With Doug out of the game the team owner signs Anders, which starts turning the team including Doug’s best friend Xavier LaFlamme (Grondin) upset with the new style of management. Doug turns to his old enemy Ross Rhea (Schreiber) to help him rebuild his career before deciding the next step of his career.

Thoughts on Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Characters – Doug is the toughest ice hockey player in the game on the rink, off the rink he is one of the nicest guys of the sport, he looks after his team, he suffers an injury from a young upstart and is about to start his own family, he must consider his future in the sport and he finds it hard to walk away from the sport he loves. Eva is his ever-supporting wife of Doug that is expecting their first child and is happy to support him as long as he is there for her. Xavier LaFlamme is the goal scorer for the team, he knows he can trust Doug to get his back only for him to not enjoy playing under Anders. Ross Rhea is the old enemy for Doug, a man that he can see his life heading down the same path if he continues with his own injuries.

PerformancesSeann William Scott is the best part of the film, he can play this character with ease being the slightly dim-witted figure, while the friendly presence to the team. Alison Pill does give us a great supporting performance as the wife that does go through the fear of seeing her husband hurt. Marc-Andre Grondin, Liev Schreiber and Wyatt Russell complete the main cast of hockey players and they are all doing what is needed.

StoryThe story here follows Doug the most famous enforcer in ice hockey only after he gets knocked out by a young upstart, he must decide his professional future as he is reaching the end of his career, or return to get one over the man that took him down. The problem with this story comes from the fact we do have a smart idea about trying to decide whether somebody wants to stay in their sport or not, which is interesting, only for the story seemingly focusing too much on Anders daddy issues, which strangely does become the most important part of the film’s story. If you don’t understand the league system in hockey either, you will find a lot of this story confusing too.

Comedy/SportsThe comedy in this film does feel like very forced jokes that are not tonally matching everything that is going on, the sports side of the film only wants to focus on the violence inside the sport of ice hockey.

SettingsThe film is set in the locations you would see hockey players, their homes, their bars and their stadiums, this all works without being anywhere that takes the film away from the story it is telling.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are mostly around the fights which show the brutal hits, blood splatter and bruises covering the faces of the players.


Scene of the Movie – The last walk.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Focusing to much on the daddy issues that Anders has.

Final Thoughts This is a simple follow up to the great comedy, it tries to show the different lives that the players now have and how older players will need to face a new reality.

Overall: Simple but not funny sequel.

Rating

Adam Sandler: Funny Guy (2020) Movie Review

Director: Danielle Winter

Plot: Adam remains a consistent favorite among fans who are comforted that they will always have a good time. Get the inside story on this fascinating actor, comedian, screenwriter, producer, husband, father, and forever FUNNY GUY.

Runtime: 1 Hour

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Adam Sandler: Funny Guy starts as we learn about the early life where he got the support from his family and had a natural ability to get a laugh from his comedy. We learn about his early career, from first television role, to his early roles.

We continue to learn about his career and how Adam dealt with the criticism from the critics, while audiences seem to always get attracted to his films.

Thoughts on Adam Sandler: Funny Guy

Thoughts – Adam Sandler Funny Guy does takes use through the career of the much talked about actor, we go through clips of his film and snippets from his interviews through the years, this is all what you would expect to see in a documentary, what might disappoint more is the fact we don’t get into any stories about the man, everything is achieve footage that you would expect to see on press tours of movies, where the whole cast is going to say he is a nice guy, works hard etc. while I don’t want to just see people bash the man, more personal stories of good or bad would have given this documentary another level, to help the audience that might well be more appealing to see how down to Earth the man is, how he doesn’t care what the critics say, only going with what the fans say. This does mostly feel like a basic view into the life of Adam Sandler’s entertainment career.

Final Thoughts Adam Sandler: Funny Man is a by the books documentary giving us a look at the basics of his career.



Lost at Christmas (2020) Movie Review

Director: Ryan Hendrick

Writer: Ryan Hendrick, Clare Sheppard (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Clark, Kenny Boyle, Sylvester McCoy, Sanjeev Kohli, Clare Grogan, Frazer Hines

Plot: Two strangers stranded in the Scottish Highlands on Christmas Eve team up to try and get home in time for Christmas. 


Tagline – Home is closer than you think.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Lost at Christmas starts as Jen (Clark) heads to her lover’s home for Christmas, only to learn he is married with a kid, elsewhere Rob (Boyle) is about to propose to his girlfriend, with her leaving him. The pair meet at train station looking to get home for Christmas, only the trains have finished.

The pair from different backgrounds team up to try and return from the highlands of Scotland to Glasgow in time to celebrate Christmas.

Thoughts on Lost at Christmas

Characters – Jen is filled with the Christmas spirit, looking to spend the time with her boyfriend, only this gets shattered when she learns that he has a secret family, she wants to get home and teams up with Rob to get home, always trying to remain positive despite being broken inside. Rob proposes to his girlfriend only to see himself dump. He is left stranded and agrees to work with Jen to get home, but he just isn’t up for celebrating Christmas in the same way Jen is, not wanting to talk to anyone about what happened. The pair find themselves in a remote hotel in the highlands, this hotel is filled with other people that are looking to escape Christmas for different reasons, this will add laughs and heart to everything that goes on through the time spent there.

PerformancesNatalie Clark and Kenny Boyle are both great to watch, they both show the pain they have both suffered through, while trying to show some joy along the way. The supporting cast are good to watch to as they add everything to each little scene without taking the spotlight from the leads.

StoryThe story here follows two people that both have their hearts broken right on Christmas who decide to try and help each other get back home from the Highlands of Scotland to Glasgow, helping each other through their struggles trying to maintain a Christmas cheer. This is a story that shows that even with heartbreak you will need someone around you to help you through the painfully time. We do get the Christmas spirit needing to be found once again after it could have gone after something outside of someone else’s control.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes more from the supporting cast with the romance being more about what has gone, from two people who thought everything has been running smoothly in their lives.

SettingsThe film starts with the Highland village to a remote hotel which is the only place the two can find shelter, it shows how people would find help in a location they never imagined.


Scene of the Movie – Christmas Day.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Jen is too Christmassy.

Final Thoughts Lost at Christmas is an enjoyable Christmas movie, that will give us all the Christmas spirit even in the weakest moments of life.

Lost At Christmas will be in UK Cinemas from 4th December and on Digital Download from 7th December

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – Why Him? (2016)

Director: John Hamburg

Writer: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Screenplay) Jonah Hill, John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Story)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Cedric the Entertainer, Megan Mullally, Zack Pearlman

 

Plot: A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming realizes that his daughter’s Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend is about to pop the question.


Tagline – Of all the guys his daughter could have chosen…

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wasted Talent

 

Story: Why Him? Starts when Stephanie (Deutch) arranges to let her Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend Laird (Franco) to her family, with her hard-working businessman father Ned (Cranston), accepting mother Bard (Mullally) and teenage brother Scotty (Gluck).

When they meet, Ned takes an instant dislike towards Laird as he must spend the Christmas holiday trying to spin him around while the hate towards him only grows.

 

Thoughts on Why Him?

 

Characters – Ned has worked his whole career to in the printing business, raised two children with his wife and hasn’t been able to fully embrace the modern technology world. He has always wanted to protect his daughter and now he takes an instant dislike to her new boyfriend, who is from a new technology heavy world. Laird is the Silicon Valley millionaire that has made his fortune on technology living in a mansion, he is loud and constantly swearing and never coming off as a likeable person. Stephanie is the daughter that has been dating Laird and now she must finally let her family meet him, she wants the best for her future dealing with a future that is wide open and following her father’s guidance. Sadly, the characters in this film focus solely on how Ned and Laird relationship goes, making the daughter/girlfriend and wife just the ones dealing with he men having their own battles.

PerformancesBryan Cranston is completely wasted in this film, we know he can nail old man comedy with his Malcolm in the Middle father character which was brilliant, this just puts him in a terrible position to react over anything he needs to. James Franco can play the weird character with ease, there is no doubt about this, this felt like an old routine which does get old quickly though. The female stars are basically wasted with their own acting being reacting to the guys behaviour.

StoryThe story follows the old favourite of a father not liking his daughter’s boyfriend, this is one of the easiest forms of comedy and the story has always worked, for the heart of the story things are solid enough, the idea that we have old school verses technology works too, the weaknesses come from just going too far with the joke which mostly become lazy extended scenes which take away from the heart. If the story had stayed on focus with the heart that could have been important because of character development for the Laird character.

ComedyMost of the jokes in the film are lazy sex driven ones that would never come up in a conversation, this does have couple of clever moments of humour which do work though.

SettingsThe film is set in the Silicon Valley which does show us clash of cultures the two generations come from.


Scene of the Movie –
Evasive Parkour

That Moment That Annoyed Me 10 Minutes of Bryan Cranston on a toilet trying to figure out how to wipe his arse.

Final ThoughtsThis is a grossed-out comedy that misses most of the jokes and wasted the talent by missing the heart of the story which should have been more front and centre.

 

Overall: Lazy comedy that doesn’t reach it’s potential.

Rating

 

 

Safe Spaces (2019) Movie Review

Director: Daniel Schechter

Writer: Daniel Schechter (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Long, Kate Berlant, Lynn Cohen, Michael Godere, Fran Drescher, Richard Schiff

Plot: An NYC professor spends a week re-connecting with his family while defending his reputation over controversial behavior at his college.


Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Safe Spaces starts as we meet the New York City creative writer professor Josh Cohn (Long) sees what looks like a positive class turn against him with the creative writing pushed one of the students the wrong way, outside of his work Josh is seeing his grandmother Agatha (Cohen) dying in a hospital, with his sister Jackie (Berlant) and brother David (Godere) visiting her daily.

Josh finds himself needing to face the reality of losing his closest family member and potentially losing his job that he has worked so hard for in an evolving world or political correctness.

Thoughts on Safe Spaces

Characters – Josh is a man in his mid-30s that has just got his dream entry level teaching job in creative writing, which looks like it is going well, until one lesson sees him offend a student causing him to try and understand what happened. His personal life isn’t going well either, with his sister needing his help, his older brother looking down on him, piling on the pressure to find something more on his life. Jackie is the sister that has turned to Josh for help after a break up with her boyfriend, she always turns to Josh for help, while still having her own problems with their father. Agatha is the grandmother that has been dying slowly in the hospital, she is still filled with plenty of positive attitude, but she knows deep down she doesn’t have much time left. David is the older brother, he has settled down starting his own family and usually takes on the more serious details of dealing with their grandmother. We do meet other family members that Josh needs to fix his relationships with or being the connection for other members that are feeling out of place. The students are the hardest part to get behind, because they are so opinionated nothing anyone does seems to be right anymore for the professor.

PerformancesJustin Long is great in the leading role, showing his nice guy persona, which will have a defensive side that will show how he doesn’t always understand how he could be wrong. Kate Berlant is strong in the supporting role, along with the whole cast that is easy to watch through the film.

StoryThe story here shows how a creative writer professor sees his career start to spiral out of control when is involved in a comment in class, while outside the college, he is having his own personal life problems, with his grandmother dying in hospital and the family not being as connected as he would hope. This is story that does show us how somebody might not know everything about someone else’s personal life, which will cause them problems that might offend, with it being reflected on how Josh is having his own problems. We do go to the extremes of what might be seen as the problems, which apart from the first person who is against the comment, the students seem like they are to opinionated about the world they know nothing about.

ComedyThe comedy in the film focuses on the life of Josh, which will have you laughing more at how extra the conversations end up being.

SettingsThe film is set in New York which shows us just how many different stories you might not know about people.


Scene of the Movie – The family together in the hospital.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Some of the students are unbearable.

Final Thoughts Safe Spaces shows how people will never know the problems in people’s lives, with Justin Long shining through the film.


Safe Spaces will be available on Digital Download from 7th December