The Upside (2017)

Director: Neil Burger

Writer: Jon Hartmere (Screenplay) Eric Toledano, Oliver Nakache (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Tate Donovan, Genevieve Angelson

 

Plot: A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who’s hired to help him.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: The Upside starts as we meet ex-criminal Dell Scott (Hart) who needs to apply for jobs to remain out of prison, his final application sees him appearing at the wrong location for a carer for quadriplegia for Phillip Lacasse (Cranston), Phillip doesn’t like most of the candidates and forces his executive Yvonne (Kidman) to offer Dell the job.

What follows is Dell learning how to care for Phillip and teaching him to enjoy life after the struggles he has been through. The two different worlds collide to teach each other about life and offer the next steps in both their lives.

 

Thoughts on The Upside

 

Characters – Dell is an ex-con who is out on parole, his ex-girlfriend doesn’t want him around their son and with options running down he is forced into interviews, which leads him to apply for Phillip’s carer, he has no experience in this role and shows how he can learn, use his mistakes in his life to move forward in his life. He pushes Phillip into making decisions in his life to continue living. Phillip is the quadriplegia billionaire who is feeling suicidal, he doesn’t like relying on people to care for him, Dell starts to show him what life can still offer, while Phillip shows Dell what he can achieve if he puts his mind to it. Yvonne is the executive that is now running Phillip’s business, she has given up most of her life to help Phillip and doesn’t like the selection of Dell in this role. We do get to see the rest of the household who must work with Phillip to make his life easier.

PerformancesKevin Hart is selected because of his comedy, he does a very good job with the serious scenes, even if he does turn to his comedy routine too often. Bryan Cranston is a great choice for this role, he does have to use his expression to tell the story and pulls of each and everyone required for his character. Nicole Kidman doesn’t get as much time as we did want, she does well with everything she needs to do.

StoryThe story is a remake of ‘Intouchable’ which is one of the best movies you will see, this does follow the same story for the most part with a few changes that come in the final acts of the film. the core part of learning to make the most of life is still here which is the important side of the film still takes centre stage. It does show how giving people a chance can help people who never got one and by the end you will have laughed enough to ignore certain plot holes. While I mentions certain final act changes, for me they don’t work quite as well because they miss the point of the people whose lives this story is really about, but they do work for how these characters are written.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is going to divide the audience because it does have slightly too much on Kevin Hart’s routine, while the original felt like it was a man that wasn’t known to be a funny man making jokes which felt more natural, though the cinema enjoyed this a lot.

SettingsThe film is set in New York this time, which shows how rich Phillip is, though it loses a spark about the location he is living in the original offered.


Scene of the Movie –
Paragliding

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much Kevin Hart routine.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard American remake of a much loved movie, it doesn’t do much to be original in its own way, but does have great chemistry between Hart and Cranston.

 

Overall: Standard remake.

Rating

 

 

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Stan & Ollie (2018)

Director: Jon S Baird

Writer: Jeff Pope (Screenplay)

Starring: John C Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Stephanie Hyam, Nina Arianda

 

Plot: Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.


Tagline – The untold story of the world’s greatest comedy act.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comical Delight

 

Story: Stan & Ollie starts as we learn how Laurel (Coogan) and Hardy (Reilly) were the biggest comedy act in the world, they conquered countries across the world with their routines, only their contracts weren’t on a par with fellow greats of the time Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. In a rash decision Laurel tries to get a bigger deal leading to him needing to find a new studio, the pair break up.

15 years later, the careers for both men haven’t gone well, but reunited for a reunion tour of Britain and the hopes of a movie together, the friendship the men had is shown in a new light with regrets coming to light about decisions they both made through their career.

 

 

Thoughts on Stan & Ollie

 

Characters – Stan Laurel is one half of the comedy duo, he writes the material, plans more and demands more back for his work, he tires to help the duo get better pay, which only sees the partnership end, he is the one trying to work on the movie script and you can see how much being original meant to him. Oliver Hardy is the big man of the duo, he had gambling problems and like Stan they both had women problems rising to the top. He was left in a difficult position by Stan tied to a contract, but will use the tour to make up for lost time between the two friends. Lucille is the wife of Oliver who has been caring for him since the break up of the act, she is always concerned about his health, while getting tired of hearing Ida’s stories. Ida is the Russian wife of Stan who sees herself as a movie star, she seems to enjoy the spotlight more than Lucille and will play along with any act she can.

PerformancesJohn C Reilly and Steve Coogan are perfect in these roles, they show the chemistry the two can have which you feel the real partnership had. They hit the funny lines and the emotional lines showing us just how the two are two of the best comedy acts in acting today. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda both give us wonderful supporting performances showing the concern and confidence their characters required.

StoryThe story here follows the reunion of Laurel & Hardy as they embark on a tour of Britain in hopes of securing a movie deal. This is a different type of story than you would expect from a biopic because, we start with the pair on top of the world and see nothing of their rise to the top. We see what caused the break up and how over the years it has been held in by the two men who were both helpless in the situation. The one thing the pair never lost though, was their chemistry and they wowed audience across Britain in what turned out to be their farewell tour. We do see many biopic which show all the highlights of the subject’s career, this showed what happened afterwards which felt like a breath of fresh air in the biopic heavy world we have at the moment.

Biopic/ComedyThe shows us how Laurel & Hardy remained big household names even after their stars had faded, they became the duo people looked up to and always were willing to give a joke out. This does only show their farewell tour though which showed they could perform on front of any sized audience.

SettingsThe film takes the duo across the UK, each setting feels authentic to their performances in the post-war Britain and as the performance went on the venues got bigger.


Scene of the Movie –
The routines.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you did want to see their great work, you will not be seeing any of that here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful film and one that could easily be enjoyed by all, it has two perfect performances from the leads and will leave you in tears and smiles.

 

Overall: One of the best biopics you will see.

Rating

 

 

Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)

Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Writer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Rae Dawn Chong, Steve Zissis

 

Plot: Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.


Tagline –  The first step to finding your destiny is leaving your mother’s basement.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Family Based Drama

 

Story: Jeff, Who Lives at Home starts as we meet Jeff (Segel) a stoner that lives in his mother Sharon (Sarandon) basement, he is always looking for his destiny and a mysterious call from a stranger looking for a Kevin leads him to go out of his way to find the truth. When going out on to do a household chore he finds himself joining his older brother Pat (Helms) as they go on the chase to figure out if Pat’s wife Linda (Greer) is cheating on him.

 

Thoughts on Jeff, Who Lives at Home

 

Characters – Jeff is a slacker that is desperate to find a purpose in his life believing he will be given signs in life to find this goal, he doesn’t have a job and today he goes on an adventure in hope of finding his place in the world. Pat is the older brother to Pat, he has recently impulse bought a Porsche which has only continued his strain of his marriage which leads him to share his honest truth with Jeff while trying to figure out if his wife is cheating on him. Sharon is their mother of the boys who is a widow still working a day job, today she gets secret message which adds some spice to her birthday.

PerformancesJason Segel in the leading role works because he does have a good understanding of withdrawn character his playing. Ed Helms does give us a good performance in his role where he does play louder of the two brothers. Susan Sarandon does a good job with her role even if her story does feel distant from the rest of the film.

StoryThe story follows one day in the lives of the three family members, Jeff finding his place Pat facing the truth and Sharon getting an unexpected surprise in her life. The story shows how things can come together for the series of events to bring a family closer and how they need to support each other through struggles, the sprinkling of comedy helps us along the way too. This does focus on needing to express feelings for the people that are important in your life however much you feel like it is a weakness in their eyes.

ComedyThe comedy in this film helps takes moments of seriousness out of the story, which does give it elements of realness in the film.

SettingsThe film gives us an everyday city for the film to take place in, showing how these people do have to operate in an everyday situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The lunch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it shows her day, Sharon’s storyline doesn’t feel as connected to Jeff’s.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that shows the difficult decisions people will be making on an everyday basis, being it following a believed destiny, fixing a marriage or taking a chance.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama

Rating

 

 

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)

Director: Ari Sandel

Writer: Rob Lieber (Screenplay) Rob Lieber, Darren Lemke (Story)

Starring: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris, Ken Jeong, Chris Parnell

 

Plot: Two young friends find a magic book that brings a ventriloquist’s dummy to life.


Tagline – Halloween comes to life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Fun as it Should Be

 

Story: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween when college bound Sarah (Iseman) is left to look after her little brother Sonny (Taylor) and his friend Sam (Harris) who have their own business known as the ‘Junk Bros’, the two discover Slappy while on the job and must deal with the psychotic dummy.

The three soon find themselves needing to fight off Slappy and his creations, leading to them needing to uncover the book by R.L. Stine which can stop his reign of terror, bringing to life the creations from the books.

 

Thoughts on Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

 

Characters – Sarah is the older sister, she is about to head off to college if she can figure out how to write her application letter. She must reluctantly babysit her younger brother and his friend, while dealing with her own personal problems, even if this could bring her the answer she requires. Sonny is the younger brother that gets himself into trouble a lot, when it comes to his creation, along with his best friend Sam. Sam is the wise talking of the two he offers the business, he must help solve the problem of Slappy. Kathy is the single mother forced to work longer hours to make sure her kids have the future, she remains calm through the chaos going on through the film.

PerformancesThe performances are simple enough, the younger stars, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris are good for what they have to do, only to not be on the same level of the previous film. Wendi McLendon-Covey gets the basic parent role done without bring too much new to the character.

StoryThe story here sees the creations of R.L. Stine coming to life causing chaos in a city once again. This is where the story falls flat quickly because the story feels like just a remake of the first, the Goosebumps books are an amazing source of stories and maybe instead of just throwing every monster made into one story, we should think about making one of the stories into a movie, or even as an anthology. We try to have some family bonding put into the story and even elements of coming of age, with Sarah needing to decide her future. In the end this story just isn’t that interesting and by the end you won’t have missed much.

Adventure/Comedy/FamilyThe adventure takes the teenagers into a battle that only they can solve, which is basic to say the least, but they must save the town. The comedy is hit or miss without being much laugh out loud material. This plays into the family side of the film because more of the younger audience will be enjoying this one.

SettingsThe film is set in a town which is considered small where the people need to get out of if they are going to make something with their life.

Special EffectsThe effects in this film are good for the most part, the creations all look like they could be in the world.


Scene of the Movie – 
Gummy bear fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story not being original.

Final ThoughtsThis is a basic sequel that just copies the original too much, it offers nothing new and is just passable watch for the younger audience.

 

Overall: Simple and not original.

Rating

 

 

Snake Outta Compton (2018)

Director: Hank Braxtan

Writer: Hank Braxtan, Tim Johnson, James Kondelik, Jon Kondelik, Ashley Scott Meyers (Screenplay)

Starring: Ricky Flowers Jr, Motown Maurice, Donte Essien, Aurelia Michael, Joston Theney, Jon Kondelik, Tarkan Dospil

 

Plot: A rap group on the verge of signing their first record deal is the city’s only hope in a battle with a giant mutating snake monster.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hideous Parody Creature Feature

 

Story: Snake Outta Compton starts as friends Cam (Flowers Jr), Pinball (Maurice) and Beez Neez (Dospil) are preparing for their chance to get out of Compton with a record deal, where Vurkel (Essien) finds a snake egg which he hatches and supersizes it. Corrupt cop Denz (THeney) and rookie Ethan (Kondelik) are on the training day, as the three stories cross together once the snake grows to massive size cause chaos in the Compton area.

The different sides must come together to defeat the snake, but can the guys make it to their record moment before the deadline, that is the big question?

 

Thoughts on Snake Outta Compton

 

Characters – Cam is the leader of the crew, he is the one the friends always turn to when they get into trouble, he leads the crew in the fight back against the snake. Pinball is one of the two idiot members of the crew, he thinks he is the most important part of the crew, though he can’t even do a robbery correctly. Neon is the strong woman in the group, she puts the guys in their place telling them that if they don’t make it this time, they must give up on their dream. Denz and Ethan are clearly a piss take of the Training Day double act. We get character that are piss takes of many different character from with in the film that would be Compton based.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the best, we have the actors that must become parodies of more famous actors in popular films. Parody films are always difficult to perform at the top level, though these actors struggle to make themselves feel unique.

StoryThe story here brings us parodies of popular Compton based movies while a giant snake is causing chaos within the area. It brings the people together to fight a big creature which is the highlight of the film, while the parodies seem to just get in the way of a comedy that could have bought us an interesting story. This is a story that could work, only it turns into a mess that isn’t sure whether it wants to be a parody movie or a creature feature.

Comedy/Horror/Sci-FiThe comedy in this film is not very good, it is mostly parody style with the likes of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ ‘Training Day’ and many others from this genre, they feel insulting more than parodies. The horror is a creature feature and is one that could be interesting. Sci-fi comes into the mix when we see just what has been created and how the snake has become supersized.

SettingsThe film is set in Compton which does help with the creation of the parody style attempted in the film, they are simple without doing anything to make this film stand out.

Special EffectsThe effects are weak, but strangely enough you can look past this in places because it is meant to be a bonkers creature feature.


Scene of the Movie –
Cleaning up the interrogation room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Snake sex, yes this actually happens.

Final ThoughtsThis is a creature feature that wants to be a parody about films in the Compton area, the problem is the two don’t mix in anyway.

 

Overall: Well this sucked.

Rating