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.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – The Boxtrolls (2014)

Director: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi

Writer: Irena Brignull, Adam Pava (Screenplay) Alan Snow (Novel)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Isaac Hempstead Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan

 

Plot: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.


Tagline – Dare to be square.

Runtime: 1 hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun, but Dark Animation

 

Story: The Boxtrolls starts in a rich town, where Lord Portley-Rind wants the town to get rid of the Boxtrolls that come out at night to collect trash, they get Snatcher and his team to hunt them down, when the Boxtrolls raise an orphaned boy Eggs, he grows up to question the behaviour of the town and the Boxtrolls.

When Eggs goes into the human world, he learns that truth about how the world sees the Boxtrolls and must prove to them along with the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind, Winnie, they can bring the end to the battle between the two sides.

 

Thoughts on The Boxtrolls

 

Characters – Eggs was raised by the Boxtrolls, he believes he is one, until he meets a human girl, with this new discovery, he learns why the Boxtrolls are not loved on the surface and his own identity, to whom he must end the war between the two side. Snatcher is the evil hunter that wants a higher status within the town, using the idea that he will clean up the town of the Boxtrolls, however much he is behind the whole problem within the town. Lord Portley-Rind is the highest ranked person in the town, he is completely self-centred, not seeing the biggest picture in the town, including his own daughter. Winnie is the adventurous daughter of the Lord that believes every Boxtrolls legend and the first to see the Eggs, helping his discover the truth. Each of the Boxtrolls has their ow unique look and actions through the film too.

StoryThe story shows us how one town can believe in a legend without ever learning the truth about the so-called evil in the town. We get to see the difference in classes and how they treat different parts of the society, how the lowest community is closer and willing to do everything to work together. We get a big lesson on not treating people different in life while giving us a fun adventure about making it in your own way in life.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Eggs from what he believes in his home, into the big world, where he can discover and put an end to a battle between the people of the surface. The comedy will get chuckles with each of the Boxtrolls action in the film.

SettingsThe film is set in a town where there is a clear class system in place, we see how the different classes treat each other and how they must learn to change for the better.

AnimationThe animation is stop-motion which is always a joy to see just how much commitment went into the film to make it looks so beautiful.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not sure how the Boxtrolls were seen before the event happened at the start.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun animation that will get laughs along the way, it might be darker than it needed to be, which could scary a younger audience.

 

Overall: Stop-motion at its finest.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – K – The Kid Who Would Be King (2019) Movie Review

Director: Joe Cornish

Writer: Joe Cornish (Screenplay)

Starring: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Denise Gough, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, Angus Imrie, Genevieve O’Reilly, Patrick Stewart, Rhianna Dorris

Plot: A band of kids embark on an epic quest to thwart a medieval menace.


Tagline – For kids who rule

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable

Story: The Kid Who Would Be King starts as we meet bullied school kid Alex (Serkis) along with his best friend Bedders (Chaumoo), they get bullied by Lance (Taylor) and Kaye (Dorris), with one of the latest escapes leading Alex to find Excalibur Arthur’s sword.

Alex learns that he must follow in Arthur’s footsteps in the battle against the evil Morgana (Ferguson) that is looking to reign darkness on the world once again.

Thoughts on The Kid Who Would Be King

Characters – Alex is raised by just his mum, he gets bullied at school and is struggling through life with his best friend, this changes when he finds Excalibur and learns he is the true king that must build an army to fight the forces of evil. He must bring together his enemies and learn his destiny to fight. Bedders is Alex’s best friend, he gets bullied just as much as Alex and is interested in learning magic. Lance is one of the bullies, he likes to pick on the smaller classmates, which sees him targeting the pair, until he joins them becoming on of the nights. Kaye is the other bully, one that does seem to follow more than enjoy the bullying. Morgana is the evil that is looking to bring her reign of terror to the surface world once again, sending her armies out to get the kids. Merlin does guide the kids along the way, showing them what they could achieve and how they will achieve it.

PerformancesFor a film carried by the young cast of Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor and Rhianna Dorris, none of them let the film down like they could have, all being strong through the film. We do get a couple of big names that shine in the supporting roles too.

StoryThe story here follows a young boy that learns that he is meant to be the next King of England, taking up the war of King Arthur against Morgana who wants to bring her reign of terror back to England. This is a nice spin on the King Arthur legend bringing everything to the modern world, showing how people can come together for the greater good, with the choice to make sure they bring a diverse cast, to prove this point even more. We do have a deeper story which shows how Alex is always trying to fill the void left by his absent father, trying to make something bigger of his absence. This story does feel very fun for the most part, which is the important ingredients required for this film.

Action/AdventureThe action is the fights against the evil, each one becomes bigger even if it doesn’t truly put the kids in the danger a real battle would. The adventure does take our kids on a journey they could never imagine across the UK.

SettingsThe film uses the historical settings to show us where the legends of King Arthur would have happened, using them for the quest.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are great, they never look out of place, however big the events in the film are meant to be.


Scene of the Movie – The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel about 15-20 minutes too long.

Final Thoughts This is a fun family adventure film, it breaths new life into the King Arthur legend, life other films have failed too often with.

Overall: Fun and Enjoyable.

Franchise Weekend – Paddington 2 (2017) Movie Review

Director: Paul King

Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby (Screenplay) Michael Bond (Creator)

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw

Plot: Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.


Tagline – Free Paddington

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Charming and Entertaining

Story: Paddington 2 starts as Paddington is a welcome member of the Brown family, the neighbours are always willing to accept his help and now Paddington sees a gift for his Aunt Lucy in Mr Gruber (Broadbent) antique shop and decides to get a job to pay for it.

Just about to buy the present, Paddington catches a thief breaking into the store and goes in chase, only to find himself captured and thrown in prison. Paddington soon makes friends with the prisoners including the feared Knuckles (Gleeson), while the Brown family Henry (Bonneville) and Mary (Hawkins) try to free Paddington, learning that the once famous actor Phoenix Buchanan (Grant) is behind the crime.

Thoughts on Paddington 2

Characters – Paddington is the kind-hearted marmalade loving bear living in London, he has made countless friends both human and animal, he wants to get a present for his Aunt which sees him trying to get a job. He does try to do the right thing by helping with a robbery only to be found guilty. Paddington always the people bear makes friends, while believing that everybody has good about them. Henry, Mary Brown and Mrs Bird treat Paddington like their third child and will do everything to help get him out of prison. Phoenix Buchanan is the once famous actor that has moved in next door to the Browns, he is very eccentric and trying to rebuild his fortune which sees him stealing the book and learning about the clues in the book, always trying to stay ahead of the people trying to capture him, using his different costumes from his career. Knuckles McGinty is the prison chef, he is feared by the other inmates, but Paddington breaks down those barriers showing him to be a good man inside, one that could bring the prisoners together.

PerformancesWhen we go into the performances, the original cast are all wonderfully, but it is the addition members of the cast that truly shine, Hugh Grant practically steals every scene, while Brendan Gleeson proves that he can be the funniest man on camera, these two are outstanding in every single scene they are in.

StoryThe story here follows Paddington’s next adventure as he tries to give his Aunt a present of seeing London only for him to get framed and thrown in prison, while the Brown family try to figure out who really committed the crime. This is a coming together story, it shows how somebody’s good nature can change everything in life and without them around you will notice the change in life. The idea that Paddington is facing off against an evil washed up actor is entertaining too, though it would have been nice to see more of the treasure hunt side of the story. While most of the story is largely predictable it does have a huge heart behind it and shows that good people will rub off on others to show kindness can be a change to life for the better.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure side of the film seems to be focused more on the villains adventure, more than seeing what Paddington must get up to, the comedy comes from seeing just what Paddington gets himself into and the trouble he causes with his innocent nature.

SettingsWe keep London as the main backdrop for the film, while we do have Paddington in a prison and the major landmarks being used as clues to a treasure, most places are locations we are expecting to see in any London based movie.

Special EffectsThe effects are brilliant putting Paddington in every scene like he is really there, it never looks out of place which shows just how far this technology has come.


Scene of the Movie – Lets make marmalade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Surely, Mr Gruber would be the one who decides whether to press charges against Paddington?

Final Thoughts This is a entertaining, big hearted movie that could be enjoyed by the whole family and would leave a smile on everybody’s face.

Overall: Big Heart Movie.

Franchise Weekend – Paddington (2014)

Director: Paul King

Writer: Paul King, Hamish McColl (Screenplay) Michael Bond (Creator)

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw

 

Plot: A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.


Tagline – The adventure is about to begin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful

 

Story: Paddington starts when a young Peruvian bear travels to London after his aunt and uncle lose their home, London is different to what he was expecting with the Brown family taking him in, with father Henry (Bonneville) being against the idea, while mother Mary (Hawkins) isn’t taking no for an answer.

When the family decides to start looking for the explorer that connected with Paddington’s aunt and uncle, only to learn of a cover up, while museum curator Millicent (Kidman) is trying to locate the bear to complete her life’s work.

 

Thoughts on Paddington

 

Characters – Paddington is the Peruvian bear we have all gotten to know from our childhoods, he travels to London in search for an explorer that met his Uncle and Aunt, what he finds is a busy city that has no time for stranger until he meets the Brown family. Paddington is learning about a new world in London, which sees his curiosity getting him stuck in a pickle more often than not, with his love of marmalade being the cause of most of his troubles. Henry Brown is the father that has taken Paddington in reluctantly, he has been working in risk assessment which doesn’t make a bear in the house seem safe, Paddington will help unlock the wild side that Henry once had in his youth before becoming a father. Mary is the mother who wants to take Paddington in, her heart is what makes her the reason the family will let him in, always wanting to do the right thing. Millicent works at the natural history museum, she wants Paddington so she can stuff him and add him to the collection at the museum, always thinking about herself and her family’s legacy.

PerformancesHugh Bonneville as the strict father shown that he isn’t willing to take a change, he goes against everything going with Paddington, only to show just how different a man can be once hit with parenthood. Sally Hawkins brings the light to the film as the caring mother. Nicole Kidman looks like she is enjoying the villainous figure in the film, which does show terrifying moments for the family film. Ben Whishaw does make the voice of Paddington a pleasure to watch through the film, handling the comedy very well.

StoryThe story brings the character of Paddington bear to modern day London, where he must learn to fit in while alluding an evil taxidermist. We did need to keep the story simple for the first part of the chapter here, bringing Paddington to a modern London is a fresh spin because the original story was a different time, different minds and now everybody is so busy in their lives they barely notice a bear at a train station. We do get to see how Paddington must adjust to life in London, getting himself into trouble both in and out the house, but shows that his good-natured side will keep the family together, while the villain does have a good motivation which does play into the history of the natural history museum and just how twisted the reality behind it actually is. We do also have a strong theme that shows us just how difficult deforestation will be on animal families around the world, with Paddington being a victim of this.

Adventure/ComedyThe adventure takes Paddington around the world to a new family, new country and new culture, seeing how he learns plays into the comedy of the film which will get laughs of the pickles he finds himself involved in.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in London, it shows just how big the city is for people who have never been there before, the Natural History museum is used well to show moments of fear in the film too.

Special EffectsPaddington being placed into the world looks fantastic, he never looks out of place which shows just how well the effects team worked to make this look seamless.


Scene of the Movie –
Using the facilities.

That Moment That Annoyed Me That jungle music line, seems completely out of place in this movie.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun family film that does bring to life one of the most famous childhood characters, it is filled with heart and brings the modernisation vision to the story with ease.

 

Overall: Family Fun Film.

Rating