Adam Sandler Weekend – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) Movie Review

Director: Dennis Dugan

Writer: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Ido Mosseri, Rob Schneider

Plot: An Israeli Special Forces Soldier fakes his death so he can re-emerge in New York City as a hair stylist.

Tagline – He’ll blow you away

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Insulting

Story: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan starts when Israeli Special Forces Soldier Zohan (Sandler) is getting tired of the same old battles where he captures the terrorist only to see the government to trade them, when his greatest enemy Phantom (Turturro) has been released he uses the encounter to fake his death and follow his dream.

Zohan travels to New York to become a hairdresser using the name Scrappy Coco he wants to work in the biggest salon in the city, but gets laughed out, now he needs to bring his style to the city and learning about his people’s own problems.

Thoughts on You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Characters – Zohan was once the top agent in the Israeli Special Forces he has always captured the terrorist even after the country has released them after he caught them. He does dream of being a hairdresser which his family sees as a disgrace, he fakes his death so he can head to New York to start a fresh as a hairdresser, where he saves a small business with his true style. Phantom is the greatest enemy of Zohan who always gets traded and always plans his next action, which sees him claiming his fame after Zohan faking his death. Dalia is trying to keep her small salon open and once she gives Scrappy a chance her business booms cleaning her debts out. Michael is the first person that helps Zohan in America and offers him a place to stay.

PerformancesAdam Sandler does hit what seems like an almost insulting in the leading role, just playing into the stereotypes of any Israeli person. John Turturro is the same even if his role is smaller, while Emmanuelle Chriqui doesn’t help herself standout in the supporting role. Most of the cast is terrible through the film never hitting the heights of their roles.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli soldier that wants to hairdresser meaning he will need to leave his home and start in a new life in America, where his past comes back to haunt him. This is by far one of the most insulting stories you will ever see, it tries to play along the lines of the American dream is available for anybody. We get plenty of awful racist stereotypes being played out towards anybody from Israel which is used more often or not for political gain rather than actually story. This is typical awful Sandler story.

ComedyThe comedy is in the middle of the racist and insulting towards the Israeli people that should never have gotten any laughs.

SettingsThe film is in New York where we see how small communities are trying to make a living, despite having disagreements behind them.

Scene of the Movie – End credits because it was over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything else.

Final Thoughts This is a pure insult to comedy and cinema that should never have even been made.

Overall: Awful from Start to Finish.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – W – Woochi (2009) Movie Review

Director: Dong-hoon Choi

Writer: Dong-hoon Choi (Screenplay) Ho-min Ju, Park Myeong-Chan (Comic)

Starring: Dong-won Gang, Soo-jung Lim, Yook-seok Kim, Hae-jin Yoo, Young-chang Song, Sang-ho Kim

Plot: Jeon Woo-chi, an undisciplined womanizing Taoist from the Joseon era, ends up in present day Korea causing mayhem with his knack for magic.

Tagline – World beware. The wizard is coming.

Runtime: 2 Hours 16 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Fantasy Adventure

Story: Woochi starts as we enter a world of goblins which become life sized animals like rats or rabbits and wizard of ancient times, where Woochi (Gang) a mischievous wizard that has great power to calmly take over the king if he needs to, he is wanted amongst the world with his trusted sidekick Chorangyi (Yoo) who could be transformed into any animal.

On Woochi’s latest quest he comes to save a widow Seo IN-kyeong (Lim) only to find himself in the middle of a battle between the goblins and the pipe that would give them control of the world, with Master Hwa-dam (Kim) the most powerful wizard in the land trying to take the pipe.

When Woochi is trapped within a painting for five centuries, he is summoned back after the goblins have returned for the pipe, now in the modern day Woochi must continue to master his skills to save the world from destruction from the Archgod.

Thoughts on Woochi

Characters – Woochi is a young wizard, he likes to cause trouble with his powers, he believes he is the most powerful wizard in the land, even though he isn’t and wants to use his powers to do the odd criminal action against bad people, he does get put in his place by his master, and trapped in a world that he isn’t prepared for needing to fight for the right thing once again. Seo In-kyeong was the widow in the ancient times, the woman Woochi falls for, in the modern era she is an assistant to an actress who finds herself caught in the middle of the battle, having no knowledge of what could come her way. Hwa-dam is a master wizard, the most powerful in the land, he does become consumed by the power the goblins could give him, wanting the pipe for himself, it is against him Woochi must prove his own power. Chorangyi is the sidekick to Woochi, he is a dog that has been turned into a human, with the ability to turn into other animals too, including the trust horse.

PerformancesDong-won Gang as Woochi is great to watch, he embraces the cocky side to his character which only is meant to make him look foolish, without being a fool and makes us see that the confidence he brings to the role helps his character overcome the odds. Soo-jung Lim gets to play two different characters both from different eras which does make her show off the change in how the woman was perceived between the eras. Yoon-seok Kim does well through the film as the evil master wizard, showing his ability to adapt to both worlds too, while Hae-hin Yoo will bring us the most laughs through the film as the dog figure.

StoryThe story follows a cocky young wizard that gets caught up in the middle of a battle between humans and goblins for control in the world, where he gets frozen in time to continue the battle five centuries later. This is a story that is based in fantasy and does established early on and is one we can take into what we are getting into. The idea of moving to different era does help add something to the story because of the fish out of water idea and with the lack of belief in the former traditions or mythical enemies that could come towards the modern day. We do have a character that needs to learn his place in the world and learn to use his power for good instead of just being cocky about what he could do.

Action/Comedy/FantasyThe action in this film is entertaining, it is big just like you would expect it to be, using the fighting techniques to increase everything, while using elements of the comedy to lighten the mood and the fantasy to show us the world we are in.

SettingsThe film does use to eras for the settings, first the ancient world before hitting the modern era which helps show how out of place the Woochi looks in it.

Special EffectsThe effects are wonderful to see, we get to see just how many are used for the fights which do include the elements being used, transformation through flat services too.

Scene of the Movie – The first goblin fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does have a moment of confusion in the final battle.

Final Thoughts This is a fun adventure that embraces the fantasy world we are entering and with make you laugh along the way.

Overall: Entertaining from start to finish.

Soundtrack to Sixteen (2020) Movie Review

Director: Hillary Shakespeare

Writer: Hillary Shakespeare, Anna-Elizabeth Shakespeare (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Marshall, James Calloway, Jamal Hadjkura, Jack Boal, Sean Micallef, Emily Jayne

Plot: A coming of age story of a boy and girl growing up in London in the noughties, dealing with the everyday insecurities that make your world implode at sixteen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful Coming-of-Age Film

Story: Soundtrack to Sixteen starts as we meet two different sixteen year olds, Maisy (Marshall) who has been struggling to fit in and wanting to experience her first kiss, Ben is a smart kid who has always put his studies first until he starts to struggling to hit the grades he once hit.

The two both decide they want a change in their lives, Maisy starts trying to hang around with the cooler kids, only for them to clearly use her, while Ben wants to experience becoming more laid back and letting grades take their own place, until the two meet and finally find themselves around someone who makes them feel happy.

Thoughts on Soundtrack to Sixteen

Characters – Maisy is the lonely 16-year-old, she is caught up in the middle of wanting to have her first kiss, which sees her trying to find a group of friends in her life, she finds herself being left out of parties and when invited she is just the ride, alone in the world, she finds an unlikely friend in Ben, only for her to need to learn about her insecurities in life. Ben believes he is going to study and walk through his exams, only to see himself starting to decline in grades, deciding he would rather try and coast through, while being consumed with the desire to succeed, Maisy offers him a new lease on life, someone who could challenge him in conversation, unlike anyone before. We do meet the popular girls that use Maisy, the friends, she turns her back on and the friends that Ben is trying to get more out of.

PerformancesScarlett Marshall and James Calloway are both wonderful in the leading roles, they show the insecurities they are both facing in life, we see the ups and downs they face in everyday life, both show how difficult growing up can be, when plans might not go the way they thought.

StoryThe story here follows two 16-year-olds that are showing the pressures of the final year of school and the social troubles they are facing. The story does touch on the troubles that teenagers could face, be it the pressure of exams, finding friends and understanding who will be there for them in lives. By seeing how close people can be without needing to know who is around them, means we can see how the lives are going in a direction neither Maisy or Ben planned, until they will find each other to help each other. Being set in the 90’s we have all the music I could personally remember liking, which shows the memory lane people could experience through this story, with the biggest question being, ‘where are the parents’.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film follows the two find themselves in difficult situations, while the romance is more about what could be around the corner in life for someone as young as 16, showing how they can struggle to feel accepted with their own choices in life.

SettingsThe film does use the London setting which does reflect just how busy the lives of the teenagers are.

Scene of the Movie – Awkward bus trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – These two seem to have no parents supporting them through the problems.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful coming of age film that does show us just how difficult growing up can be for any teenager who doesn’t always fit in.

Overall: Coming of Age Treat.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – V – Videoman (2018)

Director: Kristian A Soderstrom

Writer: Kristian A Soderstrom (Screenplay)

Starring: Stefan Sauk, Lena Nilsson, Morgan Alling, Martin Wallstrom, Sven Wollter, Helena Jansson, Amanda Ooms

Plot: A VHS collector and a woman obsessed with the 80s, both alcoholics, initiates a romance that helps them battle their personal failures.

Tagline – A movie can turn your life around

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Memory Lane Thriller

Story: Videoman starts as we meet Ennio Midena (Sauk) who 20-years ago had the best video shop in Sweden, now with videos out of fashion, his collection is vast, but just not giving any money, even though he continues to add to the collection, with hopes of once again opening up a Video store, believing they will come back into fashion like vinyl to music.

When Ennio gets a call from infamous video collection Faceless, he agrees to sell her some of his collection for a large amount, which would solve some of the money problems Ennio is facing, only to learn that not many people live long after meeting Faceless, putting him on edge about his own well being and the new woman in his life Simone (Nilsson) who like him, is also obsessed with the 1980s.

Thoughts on Videoman

Characters – Ennio is a businessman, who made his money from a video store back in the 80s and 90s, now with the format dying out he want to make a comeback with his video collection being amongst the best in the world. He sees part of his collection attract a huge fee which could help clear his debts, just as he meets a new woman with the similar love of the 80s as him. He doe start to question his own reality after becoming obsessed certain parts of his collections are happening to him in real life. Simone is the assistant that is getting bogged down with work that she searches social media for attention when she isn’t drinking, her love for 80s doesn’t help he situation as most people in her life have moved on, until she meets Ennio. We do meet people in both their lives, with Simone having a tragic life of lost dreams, while Ennio meets his fellow collectors who give him the conversations about movies he enjoys the most.

PerformancesStefan Sauk and Lena Nilsson both give us wonderful leading performances, they both show the problems their characters are struggling through during the film. When we look into the supporting performances, everyone feels like they are in the world they are in.

StoryThe story does follow two people with their own addictions that find love through their addictions, they must look at their own life to see what is going wrong in their life and figure out if they can fix it before it is too late. We do get to see how one person is still hung up on an aging format, much like how we are seeing streaming services take over the modern media format, the collectors will always want hard copies of their love. We do get a serious look at how alcohol has taken over bigger parts in life too. This is an interesting story and does show how paranoia can take over when addictions are getting out of control.

Comedy/ThrillerThe comedy side of this film comes from seeing how Ennio is reacting to certain things that are happening in his life, the thriller side of the film does its best to keep us wondering just what could be real or not.

SettingsThe film does show us how the two people operating in everyday life, we see how the collectors are not always going to be where you think they are too.

Special EffectsThe effects are strong through the film, we get to see a couple of clever moments which are effective to understand Ennio mentality.

Scene of the Movie – Sleeping on TV?

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The collection talk will go over some people’s heads.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at how collectors still will make room for new additions to their collection, however much money comes their way, as well as showing how addiction can work.

Overall: Thriller that shows problems with addictions.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – U – Under the Tree (2017)

Director:  Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson

Writer:  Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, Huldar Breiðfjörð (Screenplay)

Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson,
Þorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Björnsdóttir

Plot: When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control.

Tagline – Two Families. One Tree. A Bloody Mess.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Quirky Dark Comedy

Story: Under the Tree starts when Atli gets kicked out by his wife for watching porn, which happens to star him and a woman they know, he is forced to move back into his parents Inga and Baldvin who have their own problems, being in a bitter battle with the neighbours Konrad and Eybjorg about an overhanging tree.

As the battle between the family’s starts getting more personal, the mystery about Inga’s missing son starts to come to the forefront, while Atli is doing everything he can to put his life back together, without getting any success along the way.

Thoughts on Under the Tree

Characters – Atli is caught by his wife watching an old sex tap of himself with another woman, he kicked out and spends the time trying to put his life back together, trying to make sure he gets time with his daughter, with his wife not willing to give him any time of day, he will cross the lines, though he is doing this in an act of desperation. Inga has taken the rivalry with the neighbours much more personally than her husband, she gets into a battle which will see her do things she shouldn’t even consider, while deep dpwn she is dealing with grief about the loss of her own son. Baldvin is the long suffering husband that is willing to talk out the problems with the neighbours, but is caught up needing to support his wife, even turning on her with her actions. Konrad and Eybjorg are the neighbours that have simply asked for one thing and end up being the victims of all of Inga’s hate despite doing what they can to remain calm.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are wonderful, you do understand each characters mindset, why they are acting up the way they are, leading to the decisions which will only end up making their lives more difficult.

StoryThe story follows the lives of one family, the son who is trying tos save his marriage and his parents that get caught up in the middle of a battle over the position of a tree in the garden, which gets personal quickly. This does give us a story that is dealing with marriage troubles, where people get to a stage where they will make silly decisions, which could cost them everything, which does reflect just how petty the actions of the parent characters are, when it comes to the actions when arguing about a tree. We do go to a couple of very dark places in how everything unfolds, which is what makes this such a brutally honest way of seeing how people can make more out of nothing important.

Comedy/MysteryThe comedy in this film is very dark throughout, it shows the extremes that a bitter rivalry between neighbours can get, when things get out of hand. The mystery involved in the film does focus mostly on a missing cat, which is why the battle becomes more personal.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we see the neighbours going at it, trying to stay ahead of each other, keeping most of the action between the houses, with only Atli story stepping away from here.

Scene of the Movie – The Tree changes everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Inga is a truly horrible person.

Final Thoughts This is one of the darkest comedies you will see, it has a simple idea which focuses on neighbourly rivalry and how things can get out of hand so easily.

Overall: Dark comedy delight.

Small disclaimer, I haven’t used the actors names because I don’t have the correct way to spell them available on my computer.