Ben Stiller Weekend – Dodgeball (2004)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel David Moore, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole

 

Plot: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.


Tagline – Grab Life by the Balls 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Sports Comedies

 

Story: Dodgeball starts as we meet the two gym owners, White Goodman (Stiller) who is obsessed with perfection with bodies only accepting beautiful model like members, on the other side of the street we have Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) owner of Average’s Joe a gym that is open to all, with the regulars and staff including Justin (Long), Gordon (Root), Owen (Moore), Dwight (Williams) and Steve the Pirate (Tudyk).

When Average Joe’s is facing a financial crisis with lawyer Kate Veatch (Taylor) preparing to close them in 30 days with White Goodman wanting to buy it and demolish it. The only plan is to train and enter a dodgeball competition where the prize is the money they require, only problem is, White has made his own team of super-athletes to stop Average Joe’s winning.  

 

Thoughts on Dodgeball

 

Characters – Peter La Fleur is a gym owner, he is laidback and willing to let anybody join at their own pace, this mentality has left him facing financial crisis and he reluctantly accepts entering a dodgeball tournament, he can bring the team together as he gives the whole team hope. White Goodman is the owner of Globo Gym he only accepts beautiful people in his gym even offering cosmetic surgery for his members. He is completely over the top believing he is God’s gift to women with his success coming from his family’s money, he will do anything to eliminate Average Joe’s. Kate Veatch is the lawyer that is assigned to study the finances of Average Joe’s, she becomes the love interest for both men even though she has no interest in White, she joins the team to help eliminate Globo Gym. Patches O’Houlihan is the dodgeball expert, he trains the Average Joe’s to help become competitive in the competition. The rest of the cast include the Average Joe’s members Justin, Gordon, Owen, Dwight and Steve the Pirate that each have their own stories behind their characters to help motivate them to compete.

PerformancesVince Vaughn is one of those actors whose comedy can go either way, it is a laidback style which work perfectly for his character here, because he brings us a real person compared to Ben Stiller. Stiller on the other hand nails his completely over the top character that you are meant to be laughing at with everything he does and says. Christine Taylor is good in her role which like the rest of the cast shine, we get a mix of different comedies from the supporting cast which blend together to show the different styles of real life people.

StoryThe story here follows to rival gyms going to compete for a dodgeball tournament to help keep the little gym with no money a chance to stay afloat before the global franchise closes them down. The story does botte down to a simple underdog story which is fine we can all enjoy a story about an underdog, we do get moments in the film from the Average Joe’s characters that help them learn to become more than they are which is the whole point of a gym, to improve yourself in your own way and everything Globo Gym shouldn’t be. If you want a simple fun sports comedy to watch, this is going to be the one for you without a question.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from many different levels, we get moments of slapstick with the dodgeball scenes, we get over the top characters in White Goodman and his team and finally each member of Joe’s team has their own quirky to make them funny.

SettingsThe look at the different gyms helps the settings because it shows how people can be intimidated by certain gyms over others, when we head to Vegas for the tournament the competition feels are authentic as you would imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the dodgeball scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lance Armstrong scene is awkward now.

Final ThoughtsFor a sports comedy this has laughs, heart and quality performances from the whole cast, this is one that will stick with you for years to come and I hope to see everyone else enjoy it.

 

Overall: Sports comedy done to near perfection.

Rating

 

 

Le Mans ’66 (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Mangold

Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Caitriona Balfe, Jon Bernthal, Josh Lucas, JJ Field, Ray McKinnon, Noah Jupe

Plot: American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.


Tagline – They took the american dream for a ride

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sporting Classic

Story: Le Mans 66 starts as we see how Carroll Shelby (Damon) made history by winning the Le Mans 24 Hour race only to be forced into retirement because of medical problems, not wanting to walk away from the sport, he starts designing cars and turns to his friend a racer Ken Miles (Bale) to help race the cars.

When Henry Ford II (Letts) sees the sells in his car going down he turns to his team to think of ideas, Lee Iacocca (Bernthal) suggests challenging Ferrari in Le Mans, which sees Carroll hired to build a car capable of defeating them and he only wants Ken to drive for him, can they make history?

Thoughts on Le Mans 66

Characters – Ken Miles was the greatest racer of the era, the problem with him was always his attitude, never wanting to follow rules almost blacklisting him from most teams around the world, his wife wants him to race, his son looks up to him and Carroll knows he is the best man for the job, he help design the car with Carroll and his team and must prove himself on the track to get the drive at Le Mans. Carroll Shelby won Le Mans, retired from the racing side of the sport to start designing the cars, he is considered the best in America and is pick by Ford to design their race car, he will challenge the order of things because he knows he can achieve this, if he is given the chance to select who he wants in the car. Mollie is the ever-supportive wife of Ken, she wants him to drive knowing he will get bored if he doesn’t, she only asks that he is honest with her, she odes also get a great driving scene. we do get to meet plenty of executives from Ford, who each have their own agenda with Leo Beebe being made out to be the villain of the team, while Henry Ford II is made out to be strict, but will accept honesty.

PerformancesChristian Bale and Matt Damon are both fantastic proving to everyone why they are considered two of the best in the business today, they have great individual moments as well as banter between them. Outside of the two big names, nobody does get to reach their level and everybody is a joy to watch in their roles.

StoryThe story here follows Henry Ford II desire to beat Enzo Ferrari in the Le Mans 24-hour race, we see him hire a former winner turned designer to build his car, as the two sides do battle to get Ken Miles behind the wheel, in an attempt to make history. This does show how an American decided he would rather push the limits of his bank than improve the product he was making as we see how Ford changed the racing world that Ferrari had been dominating for decades and how faith in a driver is often more important that having the fastest car. The story is told over a couple of years, we get to see the important turns in the battle between Carroll and Ford’s executives to get the best driver behind the wheel, before letting us just sit back and enjoy the races. It could have had a little bit of the story chopped down to save some time though.

Action/Biopic/SportThe action mixes with the sport wonderfully to give us edge of the seat race moments that will be the highlight of the film, while the biopic side of the film seems to focus more on the car side of things only, while Ken does have a family, we really don’t learn anything else about Carroll outside of his work.

SettingsThe film recreates the iconic race track perfectly and shows us how the time relevant cars were used in nearly every scene of the film, on and off the track.


Scene of the Movie – Le Mans Race.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Give us subtitles for the Ferrari scenes.

Final Thoughts This is a high speed biopic that doesn’t let you breath through most of the action involved, it has brilliant performances from the whole cast and is a must watch for any motor sports fans.

Overall: Motor Sports Fans Must Watch.

Sylvester Stallone Weekend – Driven (2001)

Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay) Jan Skrentny, Neal Tabachnick (Story)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds, Kip Pardue, Stacey Edwards, Til Schweiger, Gina Gershon, Estella Warren, Robert Sean Leonard

 

Plot: A young hot shot driver is in the middle of a championship season and is coming apart at the seams. A former CART champion is called in to give him guidance.


Tagline – Get ready for the race of your life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Sports Drama

 

Story: Driven starts as we get to see how a racing season is going, Beau Brandenburg (Schweiger) the reigning champion starts shinning until rookie driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) starts becoming competition for the title. When Jimmy starts to fade, team manager Carl Henry (Reynolds) brings back former champion Joe Tanto (Stallone) to help keep the head on straight of the rookie driver.

With Joe back to be used as an experienced blocker to help Jimmy, it is Jimmy that will need to make the difficult decisions and with his brother and manager Demille Bly (Leonard) who is trying to control the young drivers ever movement. Can he get the title won on his rookie season or will the pressure get to him?

 

Thoughts on Driven

 

Characters – Joe Tanto was the once great driver, former champion and past his prime, still considered one for the experience factor. He needs to help guide the rookie who is destining to become champion, while facing his own personal regrets. Carl Henry is the owner of the team, he knows Jimmy will become champion and will do anything to make sure his team brings the title back. Jimmy Bly is the rookie making big waves in the sport, controlled by his brother to avoid the pressure that comes with being at the top. He makes the rookie mistakes and need guidance to become champion. Beau Brandenburg is the champion, the best in the game right now even if he can come of arrogant at times. Sophia is the girlfriend of Beau, she has been for years now and after a disagreement she befriends Jimmy adding extra tension between the two potential champions. Demille Bly is the brother and manager of Jimmy, he is trying to control every decision of his career, he is the closest to being the villain in the film.

PerformancesSylvester Stallone is solid enough for this film he fills in the mentor role well enough. Burt Reynolds as the team manager works for the film, we needed an older figure in this role. Kip Pardue does suit the rookie driver well even certain parts of the script are poor. Til Schweiger, Estella Warren and Robert Sean Leonard are good in the supporting roles which give them a chance to have fun with their roles.

StoryThe story follows a rookie facing a champion for an unlike season in race car driving, we see the good and bad moments for the whole field, the pressures thrown on the young driver, with a friendly rivalry being created between the two. We have the older mentor role needed to keep the head on the straight for the younger driver. While being a Formula One fan I can enjoy a good rivalry film which this does give us even if the races have been intensified for the cinematic audience. We get lesson to be learnt by the drivers, team and managers which this season will give us.

Action/SportsThe action in this film comes from the races, while the special effects used have dated horrendously the flat out racing is a join to watch. The sport side of the film gives us a look into the racing industry and just how dangerous it can be when racing for victory.

SettingsThe film takes us around the world to different race tracks used in the sport in real life.


Scene of the Movie –
The accident.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The special effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film the fans of racing will enjoy, it has good sequence even if the special effects are weak, it does feel like we are watch Cars the live action movie.

 

Overall: Racing fun film.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal III (2009)

Director: Andrew Morahan

Writer: Mike Jefferies, Piers Ashworth (Screenplay)

Starring: Kuno Becker, JJ Field, Leo Gregory, Kasia Smutniak, Anya Lahiri, Nick Moran

 

Plot: The heroes compete on the greatest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup Finals.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Soap Opera Boredom

 

Story: Goal III starts as we follow three footballers from Real Madrid Santiago (Becker) and two England internationals Liam (Feild) and Charlie (Gregory), they have finished their season and now the World Cup is on the horizon. Charlie gets a movie role, Liam will need to find a new club, which sees him return to Newcastle, while Santiago gets an injury which sees him ruled out of the world cup and leaving Real Madrid.

The Santiago watching from the touchline and seemingly forgotten about in this movie, we focus on the England lads who must learn life lesson while trying to make history.

 

Thoughts on Goal III

 

Characters – Santiago was the main character in the first two movies, here he is just the teammate that watches his teammates play in the world after getting injured, we have the smallest possible scene of him looking back at the love he lost in Roz, though they don’t mention names. Liam is being released by Real Madrid, returning to Newcastle, where he discovers a big surprise, a daughter he never knew he had, Liam must learn to give up his party style life to become the father he never knew he could be. Charlie remains at the big club, he gets a film role and meets the girl of his dreams, with his life turning around, he is ready to make history. Sophia is the actress that Charlie falls in love with, she is willing to make a new life with him too.

PerformancesKuno Becker has been the highlight of the franchise until this film, he is barely in the film which disappoints greatly. When we look at the newcomers JJ Feild and Leo Gregory, they both struggle in this film too. In fairness none of this acting is in any way shape or form near the standards we are used too.

StoryThe story decides to make this film become an England story by pretty much writing Santiago out of the film, with his teammates needing to sort their careers and lives out during the World Cup. First problem, this is going to be a list,

·        we have no timeline between the end of the last one and the events in this one.

·        Where did Gavin Harris go?

·        Who are these two new players, are they world beaters or just squad fillers?

·        Why did we forget Santiago’s story, which the franchise is about?

·        When did this become a soap opera?

Enough of the lists now, we do seen to have a script that feels like scraped soap opera, because everything that happens is too unrealistic, with too many, badly delivered lines. Plus that ending, really, are we ending a trilogy like that?

Romance/SportsThere is a romance in this film, it isn’t realistic in anyway though, the sports side of the film also takes a backburner here to life, we are meant to care if these players can make an impact right?

SettingsThe film is meant to be follow the England camp preparing for the world cup, we are meant to be in Germany, though we never see any locations to make us believe this.


Scene of the Movie –
Ummm, pass.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pushing Santiago to the background.

Final ThoughtsThis is a terrible finally to the franchise, this forgets the original character turning the film into a soap opera.

 

Overall: Painful watching.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Goal II: Living the Dream (2007)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writer: Mike Jeffries, Adrian Butchart, Terry Loane (Screenplay) Mike Jefferies, Adrian Buchart (Story)

Starring: Kuno Becker, Stephen Dillane, Leonor Varela, Elizabeth Pena, Carmelo Gomez, Miriam Colon, Rutger Hauer, Alessandro Nivola, Anna Friel

 

Plot: When Newcastle United soccer star Santiago Munez is offered a spot with Real Madrid, he accepts, but the move – accompanied by big money and fame – tests his ties and loyalties to family, friends and business acquaintances.


Tagline – The Journey Continues…

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Goal II: Living the Dream starts with Gavin Harris (Nivola) now playing for Real Madrid, noting having a good spell at the time. Santiago as continues to thrive in Newcastle planning to marry Roz (Friel), until Real Madrid come knocking for him.

Santiago signs for Real Madrid where he must learn to cope with added fame and fortune, a long-distance relationship with Roz and being in the headlines every night, let along a personal twist to his past.

 

Thoughts on Goal II: Living the Dream

 

Characters – Santiago has now been signed by the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid, the spotlight is now firmly on him, he has too much money for a young footballer, in another new country, he starts to become reckless, against the character Roz fell for, as well as making bad life decisions, much like what Gavin was doing. He must deal with learning about what happened to long lost family members in the most important stage of his career. He has taken a complete turn from the supportable young man trying to follow his dream in this film. Gavin Harris has made the move before Santiago, he has been struggling to make an impact in the new team, he has tried to turn his life around, he is in competition with Santiago for a place in the team. Roz is planning the wedding between the two, she struggles with the distance apart knowing it would difficult, she doesn’t enjoy the spotlight either. Rosa is the long-lost mother of Santiago, she can’t believe he has come to her town which has seen her raise a new family one with another gifted young footballer.

PerformancesKuno Becker does struggle with the character switch he goes through, he doesn’t know how to truly make us feel sympathetic to his characters decisions. Alessandro Nivola does get us plenty of laughs through the film. Anna Friel doesn’t get enough time to make impact like she did in the first film, while Elizabeth Pena does bring another dimension to the film.

StoryThe story follows Santiago in the next stage of his career, here he will play for the biggest club in the world and must learn to deal with new problems including fame and fortune, one that all new footballers will need to face at a younger age. This story does feel strange because we don’t see the time frame between the two movies, we don’t know how successful Santiago became at Newcastle, but it can only be a couple of seasons. The switch in character of the grounded Santiago is strange because he never wanted to cave the pressure and this time, he is doing everything recklessly. Add in the fact this is about reaching a cup final it just feels to cinematic to be a believable story, unlike the first film. the romantic side of the story does feel like it is just tagged on making little impact on the main story, it is the story of the long-lost mother and the truth about what happened that does make the biggest impact on the story.

SportsThe football success chasing is strong, but does feel too cinematic with the goals mostly being unrealistic.

SettingsThe film takes us to Spain and the elite living class of a footballer, we see how they can walk in anywhere to be known, but it does give weather to feel like home.


Scene of the Movie –
Meeting mum.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The goals scored are ridiculously fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing sequel, mostly because it changes the character, we got to know too much from the first film.

 

Overall: Sequel that doesn’t live up to the original.

Rating