My Spy (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Kristen Schaal, Greg Bryk, Ken Jeong, Nicole Correia-Damude

Plot: A hardened CIA operative finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family.

Tagline – He’s a Pro. She’s a Natural.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

Story: My Spy starts as new CIA agent JJ (Bautista) goes off script on his mission, leading to him needing to be scaled down to a surveillance mission with new partner, in tech operator Bobbi (Schaal), the pair must watch over a mother Kate (Fitz-Henley) and her daughter Sophie (Coleman) who have a connection which could be a lead to the man that JJ lost.

When Sophie discovers the two watching them, she decides to blackmail them into being a friend, with JJ filling a void in her life, while opening him up to letting people in his life, learning more about himself.

Thoughts on My Spy

Characters – JJ is a former soldier turned CIA agent, he does lack the undercover skills, which he does make up in his military training, he is reluctant to work with a new partner, seeing his latest mission as a bad one he has no interest in. he gets caught out and must do what young Sophie says or see his cover exposed, seeing him being a fish out of water, turning from closed off from the world to learning to enjoy it again. Sophie is the young girl that is still trying to adapt to her new life, struggling to make friends, before turning to JJ to be another adult figure in her life, showing the skills to play JJ to put the smile back on her face. Kate is the mother of Sophie, the lady that JJ is meant to be watching over, she is struggling to adapt to her new life, balancing being an ER nurse and mother, which sees her letting her down at times. Bobbi is the partner to JJ, she idolises him and can’t wait to work with him, only to find him being distant from her, with her first mission in the field.

PerformancesDave Bautista is great in the leading role showing his skill for comedy in a way that we don’t see from other action heavy stars. Chloe Coleman does a great job in her role too, showing great chemistry with Dave. The rest of the cast get their laughs when needed, working well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a rookie CIA agent who must work on a surveillance mission, only he gets caught out and must teach the young girl who caught him how to be a spy. The story is enjoyable to watch, the whole CIA versus the villain side does take a firm backseat for the story, while we focus on the unlikely friendship between the former soldier turn CIA agent and the little girl that wants to be a spy. We get to address how difficult it can be to fit in as a child in a new environment, how soldiers could see their lives becoming very isolated, with the two helping each other, showing help can come from strange locations. We could easily say we have seen stories like this before, with other big name action stars, this does do enough to stand on its own on the buddy side, but does become forgettable when it comes to the mission.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is entertaining, with the fights working well, certain scenes getting a laugh too, this is where the comedy steps up, the pairing of JJ and Sophie will get most the laughs, though the supporting people around them interact well through the film for even more laughs.

SettingsThe film uses the basic surveillance settings through the film, it is mostly an apartment building and the surrounding Chicago location, it works well enough for the film, without needing to be anything more.

Scene of the Movie – The plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The mission does seem to just be in the background too much.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining comedy that the family could enjoy, it will get enough laughs and continues to show Dave Bautista becoming a bigger name in the action comedy world.

Overall: Great Fun.

Freak Show (2017) Movie Review

Director: Trudie Styler

Writer: Patrick J Clifton, Beth Rigazio (Screenplay) James St James (Book)

Starring: Alex Lawther, Ian Nelson, AnnaSophia Robb, Celia Weston, Abigail Breslin, Better Midler

Plot: Follows the story of teenager Billy Bloom who, despite attending an ultra conservative high school, makes the decision to run for homecoming queen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Flamboyantly Enjoyable

Story: Freak Show starts when gay teenager Billy Bloom (Lawther) who isn’t afraid to show his flamboyant side, which sees him showing off this style at a new high school after needing to move away from his mother Muv (Midler). Billy doesn’t take long before he becomes the target of hate from the school with his only friends coming from a girl he never caught her name, branding her Blah Blah Blah (Robb) who fills him out about who the school hierarchy is.

Billy does make one more friend, Flip (Nelson) the star football player, who is one of the only players that doesn’t torment him, in fact he defends him the best he can, this makes Billy believe he might have found a new crush, which drives him to run for homecoming queen.

Thoughts on Freak Show

Characters – Billy Bloom is a gay teenager, he was encouraged by his mother to express himself however he feels, which sees him struggling to be accepted in his new high school, he refuses to back down however difficult the hate gets him towards him, while trying to get his father’s love, waiting for his mother’s return and dealing with his first attempt of love, while trying to change the world by running for homecoming queen. Flip Kelly is the star of the football team, he does befriend Billy trying to help him through the hate, potentially hiding his own closest homosexual, while being the hero of the school. Blah Blah Blah is the student that supports Billy the most, she will help him despite the fact he doesn’t know her name. Muv is the mother of Billy that has encouraged him to flamboyant and himself, though she does have her own motives for her behaviour. Lynette is the rival homecoming queen competition, she is the most popular girl in school and has been planning for this for years now.

PerformancesAlex Lawther is wonderful in this leading role, he embraces everything his character goes through and never looks out of place in any scene in this movie, showing the intern struggle his character is going through. Ian Nelson does bring the conflicted character who is trying to make a difference without giving away his own secrets in the world well. AnnaSophia Robb is strong though we could have seen more form her, while Bette Midler does do everything she needs to her role.

StoryThe story here follows a openly gay high school student that isn’t afraid to make a statement with his love of fashion, dealing with the hate in the new school, learning to make a difference in the school and in the mindset of his classmates, while remaining himself. Set up to be like most teen comedies about a new kid moving to a new school, needing to learn the hierarchy and usually become the target of bullying, this story follows that arc with ease, with the standing up to make a difference coming through in the end. We get the generic bully figures that spend their time trying to make his life hell, with most of the focus left on the idea of a gay student running for homecoming queen. The core of the story is everything you want, while there are clear problems with the amount of money being spent on trying to become homecoming queen is ridiculous.

ComedyThe comedy in the film feels like most teen comedy material, it might have a less crude jokes, but will look at life with a laugh at times.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, the high school where Billy doesn’t fit in and his home where Billy isn’t accepted by his father, both prove to be places where Billy needs to help make the change in mindset, which is important for the message of the story.

Scene of the Movie – The vote, even if the idea of using smart phones in a school is funny.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – People in America put too much money into a popularity contest.

Final Thoughts This is a teen comedy with the important message of accepting people for who they are, no matter what they choose to be in life.

Overall: Important Message Movie.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – M – Mutant Chronicles (2008) Movie Review

Director: Simon Hunter

Writer: Philip Eisner (Screenplay)

Starring: Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman, Devon Aoki, Sean Pertwee, Benne Furmann, John Malkovich, Anna Walton, Tom Wu

Plot: 28th century soldier Mitch Hunter leads a fight against an army of underworld Mutants.

Tagline – Welcome to the 23rd century. The new dark ages.

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Blood Soaked Adventure

Story: Mutant Chronicles starts with the world’s resources nearly depleted, a war like always is being fought between two sides trying to gain control of the remaining resources Major Mitch Hunter (Jane) is fighting on one side with his best friend Captain Nathan Rooker (Pertwee), with the enemy being led by LT Maximillian Von Steiner (Furmann), when they open a seal which releases mutants from the underworld, who are killing machines, taking the dead back to the machine to build more soldiers.

With the world facing extinction, Brother Samuel (Perlman) plays to lead a team into the underworld to blow up the machine from within, while the human race is rushing to escape the Earth. Samuel recruits, Mitch, John McGuire (Toussaint), Valerie Duval (Aoki), Juba Kim Wu (Wu), El Jesus (Echegaray), Severian (Walton) and Maximillian, all from different worlds, all willing to fight the future of mankind.

Thoughts on Mutant Chronicles

Characters – Major Mitch Hunter is one of the soldier who was fighting on the frontline when the door is opened, he witnesses first hand what the creatures can do and is lucky to escape with his life, turning to drink on his remaining days rather than escape, he will join the mission in exchange for loved ones safety, but will never give up his belief of doing the right thing for the stranded humans. Brother Samuel has the plan to end the pain and suffering from the creatures, he puts together the team to go into the hole to destroy the machine from within. Cpl Valerie Duval is a mother who uses this suicide mission to make sure her children get safety, deadly with a blade, she will be one that has the most to lose. Lt Maximillian von Steiner was once the enemy of Mitch, the two even have a showdown on the military field when the hole is opened, the two must put that difference aside to save humanity. The team is filled with other people from different backgrounds all willing to fight for what is right.

PerformancesThomas Janes was near the height of his power for the time, he is an action film leading man without a doubt and this proves this once again. Ron Perlman as the calmer religious leader is great to see, while Devon Aoki is always going to be a welcome addition for the combat side of the film. Benno Furmann is one of the unsung stars of the film where he must bring an enemy to life as one of the good guys and manages it. The rest of the cast do add things to the film, each getting a big moment to shine.

StoryThe story here takes us way into the future where mankind’s own weaknesses has led to another war for resources only for it to release a new threat to the world, one that will see mankind meet its match and need to unit to save the future, we follow one group risk everything in a suicide mission to save mankind. This might well be one of the typical mission to save the world stories, with the numbers being against the group for the most part, each one fighting for their own reason and each having their own strength and weaknesses. The most impression side of the story comes from seeing just how imaginative the world created is, showing how humanity might be known to be true evil, but what is uncovered is worse than anything imagined before and that humanity’s only hope is to run.

Action/Sci-FiThe action here is plenty of hand to hand, sword swinging and just gun blasting bodies piling up entertainment, which doesn’t hold back on the violence we get to experience. The sci-fi world is impressive as it shows how wars have reach a new level showing just how the people have been affected through the years, we also see different crafts that have steampunk around them too.

SettingsThe film sends us to a world in the future where Earth is on its final legs, humanity has run it to the ground and a new enemy is coming to destroy them, we might have a lot of green screen in use here, but we do get to see what the world is meant to look like.

Special EffectsThe effects are the biggest weakness in the film, the main problems here come from seeing just how the green screen is working, there are some horrible looking moments, but then we also have some bloody practical effects which work well.

Scene of the Movie – Going down.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The green screen looks bad.

Final Thoughts This is a highly entertaining blood bath of a movie, it knows it is meant to be violent, isn’t afraid of holding back and brings imagination to the world at war.

Overall: Highly Entertaining.