The Birthday Cake (2021) Movie Review

The Birthday Cake – Too Slow a Build Up


Director: Jimmy Giannopoulos

Writer: Jimmy Giannopoulos, Diomedes Raul Bermudez, Shiloh Fernandez (Screenplay)

Starring: Shiloh Fernandez, Val Kilmer, Ewan McGregor, William Fichtner, Lorraine Bracco, Jeremy Allen White, Emory Cohen, Vincent Pastore

Plot: On the 10th anniversary of his father’s death, Giovanni reluctantly accepts the task of bringing a cake to the home of his uncle, a mob boss, for a celebration. Just two hours into the night, Gio’s life is forever changed.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: The Birthday Cake starts when Gio (Fernandez) is looking to celebrate the anniversary of his father’s death in the mob filled family, where he is given the honour of delivery the birthday cake.

As Gio travels around the neighbourhood, he sees the people who are always watching over the family, as well as the people who are the closest family, this will lead him to a life changing moment because of his Uncle Angelo (Kilmer) and Uncle Ricardo (Fichtner).

Thoughts on The Birthday Cake

ThoughtsThe Birthday Cake is a typical gangster movie about a younger member of the family being thrown into the mix of the business without his will, leading to him needing to make the difficult decision about his own future. This isn’t a very engaging movie in anyway, leaving the star studded cast with little to do, while feeling like a knock off of many different gangster films from throughout the years. We do get a massive reveal, only it does take too long to reach this point, leaving us wanting more than anything else to get this earlier because it would have made this a much more interesting film.

Signature Entertainment presents The Birthday Cake in Cinemas and on Premium Digital 16th July

Final Thoughts The Birthday Cake is a gangster film with a killer final act, only it drags getting there.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – J – Just Married (2003) Movie Review

Director: Shawn Levy

Writer: Sam Harper (Screenplay)

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy, Christian Kane, David Moscow, Money Mazur, David Rasche, Thad Luckinbill

Plot: A young newlywed couple honeymoon in Europe, where obstacles challenge their ability to sustain the marriage.

Tagline – It was the perfect honeymoon… Until it began.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Just Bad

Story: Just Married starts as Tom (Kutcher) and Sarah (Murphy) return from their honeymoon, which has been a complete disaster, which sees the two looking back at what made them fall in love to start with. From the first meeting, to the wedding day, where everything is perfect.

The honeymoon on the other hand is very different, as the two start to reveal other secrets about their lives and the love they once had starts to shatter.

Thoughts on Just Married

Characters – Tom has always had to make his own way in the world, working in radio for his career, he has always been through the women in his life until he met Sarah. He won’t let her family’s money get involved in their relationship and isn’t happy to enter into the cultural experience of the honeymoon. Sarah comes from a wealthy family, she has always been pressured into being with the family pick, which isn’t Tom and gets her head turned after the honeymoon doesn’t go to plan. Peter is the ex-flame of Sarah’s the man the family wanted her to marry, being the success the family always wanted for her.

PerformancesAshton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy are both entertaining enough in their roles, they have some silly comedy moments that don’t work, they do work on screen together well.

StoryThe story here follows the events of the honeymoon from hell for a newlywed couple who are left to wondering why they fell in love in the first place. This is a film that uses the comedy to try and wrap a story about different incidents, while showing the painful ignorance of the American characters, while also showing how the stereotypes are painful to play out. We even waste the backdrop of Europe for the most part, which just doesn’t get used enough, the story is more about the arguments rather than showing how things went truly wrong.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film doesn’t always work, it is mostly slapstick that just doesn’t work and feels unrealistic, while the romance is trying to show how important love can be, even if people can come from different backgrounds.

SettingsThe film wastes the settings here, with the European backdrop never getting used to show where we are in the film.

Scene of the Movie – Couldn’t find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The ignorance of the Americans in Europe.

Final Thoughts This is a poor comedy that misses so often and hopes the romance works to save it, with the only highlight being the chemistry between Kutcher and Murphy.

Overall: Lazy Comedy.

Black Widow (2021) Movie Review

Black Widow – Entertaining Throughout


Director: Cate Shortland

Writer: Eric Pearson (Screenplay) Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson (Story)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ryan Keira Armstrong, O-T Fagbenle, Yolanda Lynes, William hurt, Ray Winstone

Plot: A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Black Widow starts when Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) looks to escape after the events of Captain America Civil War, returning to Europe and Budapest, where she meets her younger sister Yelena Belova (Pugh). The pair find themselves being hunted down by their old trainer Dreykov (Winstone) who is out for revenge after what Natasha did in the past.

Natasha and Yelena must reunite with their family Alexei (Harbour) and Melina (Weisz) who got them into this world, to go up against Dreykov and his legion of Widows.

Thoughts on Black Widow

Characters & Performances – Natasha Romanoff must go on the run after the events of Captain America Civil War, this will see her escape the American threat, but will see her past come back to catch up with her, with her sister and parents sharing one common enemy, the man that created her. We do get to learn more about what made Natasha the way she is, the past she is running from for films before, showing her in the more spy skills, over the superhero side of things. Scarlett Johansson does get the most to do in any of her outings in the franchise, showing her true talent in this role. Yelena is the younger sister of Natasha, she was taken through the brutal training to become an assassin too, the pair reunite to expose the training methods they once went through. She does bring a lot of comic dead pan relief to most of the scenes in the film, using the comedy as a means to mask the pain her life has been. Florence Pugh continues to wow Hollywood by being the star of the show here, stealing each and every scene she is involved in. Alexei and Melina are the couple that raised the girls in hiding, both living in different parts of the world after what happened, waiting for their chance to become spies again. Both David Harbour and Rachel Weisz are strong in these roles, with Harbour understanding how over the top he is meant to be as the character. Dreykov is the man that has created the widows, he will eliminate anyone who tries to leave him and has the complete control over anything they do, while mostly just a generic villain, we never get to see the truly evil nature of his behaviour. One of the weakest parts of all of the performances is the random levels of Russian accents, they do seem to be all over the place for consistency.

StoryThe story here follows Natasha Romanoff as she looks to escape from the events of Captain America Civil War and ends up reuniting with her old family that have been fighting their own wars against the people that forced the young girls into the training. This does bring Natasha her first leading role in a film, which will give her a chance to return to her spy roots, which is something the character has needed for a long time, as she doesn’t always fit in the superhero world. The reunion side of the film is an entertaining watch with everything that is going on around them, being the most interesting side too. While the villain is painfully generic, he could easily have been portrayed as a much more evil presence with what he does and wants to do to people.

ThemesBlack Widow is action thriller that takes us back into the Marvel franchise with another approach to what we are going to see, taking us into the spy action thriller side of the film, which Natasha will fit better in. the action sequences are more grounded for the most part, not diving into superhero world, rather more tactical fights going on. The settings are used to make us understand the world we are entertaining, one we haven’t seen before for Natasha.

Final Thoughts Black Widow is an entertaining addition to the Marvel world, one that grounds the action back to the spy world Natasha Romanoff comes from.