Bad Boys for Life (2020) Movie Review

Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Writer: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano, Kate Del Castillo, Jacob Scipio

Plot: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.


Tagline – Ride Together. Die Together.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Absolute Blast

Story: Bad Boys for Life starts as we hit a new personal landmark for Marcus Burnett (Lawrence), he has become a grandfather, considering retirement once again, Mike Lowrey (Smith) doesn’t want him to retire and after he is shot in a drive by, by a vengeful Armando (Scipio) life flies by.

Mike wanting to hunt his attempted killer, must reluctantly work with a new department known as AMMO run by his ex-girlfriend Rita (Nunez) to learn who is behind this and why has he become targeted.

Thoughts on Bad Boys for Life

Characters – Mike Lowrey is still the playboy we know from the first two films, he actually even runs from the new baby showing he fear of commitment once again, he gets shot, only just surviving and comes back with hate in his blood, wanting to break every rule in the book, he must look into his own past to learn who his want to be assassin is. Marcus Burnett has become a Grandfather, now he wants to retire for good and after Mike’s shooting he follows through, only he is bored with his retirement and reluctantly helps Mike look into the case, getting all of the laughs along the way. Isabel is the escaped convict who has targeting Mike with her son doing her dirty work, she is known for believing in the dead, with her son willing to do anything for her. Armando is the son of Isabel who will do everything his mother askes him to, to get revenge for his father’s death, becoming the deadliest enemy that the bad boys have come up against

PerformancesWill Smith does take more of the centre stage this time around, but he does an excellent job, giving one of his best performances in years, if not decades. Martin Lawrence does steal the show here, he gets the laughs in every single scene, as the pair just have the chemistry producers pray to have on screen. Kate del Catillo makes for a great villain, being different to what we have seen before, while Jacob Scipio is wonderful as the deadly fighter, who will do anything for his mother.

StoryThe story here continues the adventures of the bad boy detectives in Miami, with one facing life of death and the other looking to his future away from the force. This might well be the most personal of the stories, the pair have been through. The continuing life growing situations Marcus goes through works wonderfully for the comedy side of the film, while Mike has a more intense storyline, which feels like it could be more for a vendetta based movie, even though he shows how the balance the law with the work. The story keeps us wanting to see the motivation behind why Mike is being targeted, while showing us just how the two senior detectives will need to embrace a younger approach to fighting crime.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is a nice mix of car chases, fight scenes and a big spectacle ending which continues to build up the stakes as the shoot out goes on. The crime side of the film doesn’t focus on the drug world this time, it is a criminal’s revenge mission against people they believed wronged them, which is different and nice to see. The comedy is the best in the franchise here with Martin Lawrence getting most of the laughs, while we do get a couple of generational laughs along the way too.

SettingsKeeping the film set mostly in Miami is good for the series, it is where the cops operate in, we do see them travel for the final battle, which is no different than the last one.


Scene of the Movie – Hotel fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like a better story than one of Will Smith’s recent films.

Final Thoughts This is a blast, so much fun with Smith and Lawrence hitting out the park with their performances.

Overall: Most Fun at the Cinema This Year.

Bombshell (2019) Movie Review

Director: Jay Roach

Writer: Charles Randolph (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton

Plot: A group of women take on Fox News head Roger Ailes and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network.


Tagline – Based on a Real Scandal

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant, Yet Shocking

Story: Bombshell starts as we meet three different women who work for Fox News, first Megyn Kelly (Theron) who is at the peak of her career, facing battles against Donald Trump, Gretchen Carlson (Kidman) who has seen her big spot slowly slip away, with her high points of her career going away, believing it is because of how Order Ailes (Lithgow) sees her and finally Kayla Pospisil (Robbie) an up and comer in the industry, who is looking to make it big in Fox News.

All three women are telling the story, which takes a dramatic twist when Kayla learns about Roger’s habits, which is only highlight more when Gretchen is fired, leading her to sue for sexual harassment, waiting for the other women in Fox News past and present to bring their own stories to light, to bring down one of the most successful, but disgusting men in the business.

Thoughts on Bombshell

Characters – Megyn Kelly is the lead anchor for Fox News, she is heavily involved with debates involving the Presidential candidates, including Donald Trump, which sees her own life thrown into the spotlight, when he has a Twitter breakdown fighting her. She has had Roger’s support through the battle and after the lawsuit comes out, she is the pivotal person that doesn’t speak out to defend Roger, when everybody was trying to learn the truth. Gretchen Carlson is the older (well in TV world) host that has seen her star power dwindle after complaining about the behaviour of the men in her work, she puts together the idea of a lawsuit, waiting to pull the trigger once she is released. Kayla Pospisil is the younger of the three, she is waiting for her chance to get put on the TV screen, until she is left shocked by the behaviour from her hero, Roger who would make it possible, she is left feeling helpless, as she doesn’t know what to do after her incident. Roger Ailes is the man that runs Fox News, he built the company up from the bottom, he does support his employees, though he does have a certain level of standard, especially from the women in his company. This is how he ends up being left with nothing to defend himself when the scandal about his actions come to life. We do meet plenty of employees that all have different reactions for what happened, lawyers that are calmly trying to get to the truth or at least a settlement and just how the reactions all happen.

PerformancesCharlize Theron is wonderful in the leading role, you could barely recognise her either, but her confidence in the role is important to the story unfolding. Nicole Kidman is wonderful too, in a supporting role, but out of the three leading ladies Margot Robbie steals the show with two of the most memorable scenes of the film, which are both shocking and painful to watch. John Lithgow isn’t getting the praise he deserves for the film, because he brings this character to life with ease.

StoryThe story here follows the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Roger Ailes the founder and showrunner of Fox News, which is told through the eyes of three different women, in different parts of their careers. Where this story really does shine, comes from seeing how to start with is seems to show Roger is a positive light, with how he is supporting Megyn, with her Donald Trump problems, he does give us hints the Gretchen could have been considered difficult to work with and bitter about losing her headline job and is shows the naivety of Kayla trying to get up the system quickly, all these hints show us just how important it is to see how nobody would talk, because they thought they would have been the only one. Once the floodgates open we do learn the truth, but the idea of showing us how easily sexual harassers could get away with their actions for so long, is interest and important to see. Where the story can sometimes lose momentum, is having so many different victims with their own stories, we don’t get enough time to digest what has happened to them after what has happened.

BiopicWhile certain names have been changed, it is going to take some research to figure out who hasn’t changed, it does show how a victim will trying to spin the story to being their own fault, showing how the real victims didn’t know what to do, in a world left shocked by the truth.

SettingsMost of the film is set in the News Studios, it shows how closely the people worked together, how certain safety plans were point in place to left Roger get away with his intentions and how everybody would hear, see and be involved without even knowing the truth.


Scene of the Movie – Kayla’s late night phone call.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Slightly too many characters.

Final Thoughts This is an important, brilliantly acted movie that shows just how predatory Roger Ailes was with his staff and how speaking up changed the world.

Overall: Important Movie.

Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

Director: Gabor Csupo

Writer: Jeff Stockwell, David Paterson (Screenplay) Katherine Paterson (Book)

Starring: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel, Robert Patrick, Bailee Madison, Kate Butler

 

Plot: A preteen’s life turns upside down when he befriends the new girl in school and they imagine a whole new fantasy world to escape reality.


Tagline – The beloved novel comes to life.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard Hitting Family Adventure

 

Story: Bridge to Terabithia starts as we meet Jess (Hutcherson) one of the middle children in a big family living on a farm, he is bullied at school with the new year being no different for him, when new neighbour Leslie (Robb) joins him in school, he might finally get a friend in the hostile side of school.

The two become friends and use the local woods to create their own fantasy world to escape the realities they are living in. the two learn they can remain individual while navigating everyday life.

 

Thoughts on Bridge to Terabithia

 

Characters – Jess is one of five children, the only boy from a farm family that struggles to make ends meet. He is bullied at school, left isolated for the most part, this is until he meets the new neighbour who helps him come out of his shell, explore his imagination more, learning how to unlock the potential in his artistic nature. Leslie is the neighbour that moves in, she is an outsider too with a wild imagination which helps Jess come out of his shell, she wants to be different, she accepts people who are different always willing to offer an olive branch to everybody. Ms Edmunds is one o the teachers at the school, she is the music teacher and pushes Jess to follow his potential. Jack is the father of Jess’s family he is forced to work hard through everyday, struggling to keep it together for his family, being stricter towards Jess.

PerformancesJosh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb are two of the best child actors of their generations, their performances are both wonderful and bring the heart and soul to this movie. Zooey Deschanel and Robert Patrick both bring the role models needed to the child roles.

StoryThe story follows a boy that is isolated from the world, facing a lonely future because of his family’s financial situation who makes a new school friend who helps him see the world in another light before tragedy comes his way. This is a story that felt like a coming of age movie which was wonderful only it came and throw a shocking twist in the story. we get to see how two people young teenagers learn to accept people in the world ignoring people that are trying to get to them. We do get to enter a fantasy world that only children could create to escape their worlds, which does see them deal their own problems.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure comes from the world created by Jess and Leslie to escape their world, filled with creatures that could only come from the minds of the two. The family side of the film shows the two dealing with life issues in the simple ways.

SettingsThe film shows that the two kids are in isolated locations, be it in the school or out of it and along with the fantasy location they create.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed because the creatures look fantastic, but there is a running screen that just looks difficult to watch.


Scene of the Movie –
Museum trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The running scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a shocking family adventure film that fills the coming-of-age story, which shows us how important life can be.

 

Overall: Coming of age shocker.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – B – Booksmart (2019) Movie Review

Director: Olivia Wilde

Writer: Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Jason Sudeikis, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Victoria Ruesga, Billie Lourd

Plot: On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.


Tagline – Getting Straight A’s. Giving Zero F’s.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: Booksmart starts as we meet best friends Amy (Dever) and Molly (Feldstein) who are finishing their final day at school with graduation round the corner, they believe they are going to live a better life once they get through college, but when Molly learns that the people they saw party and slack off are going to the colleges as themselves.

Molly pushes Amy into making the last night before graduation to party and make up for the last four years of their lives, including Amy getting her chance to confess her feelings for her love interest, while Molly wants to be accepted by more of her classmates.

Thoughts on Booksmart

Characters – Amy is the quieter of the two friends, she is planning on going to Africa for her next step, before college that would see her following the plan set in stone, she does enjoy her life without the wild parties, happy to follow the crowds, while dealing with being confidently out. Molly is the leader of the pair, she is class president and believes she is going to do better than all the other students. She does push Amy into a lot of different things and does believe they will follow a set path in life. We do meet a host of colourful characters from the high school and the teachers on this final day, that have all been a big part of the lives of the pair for years.

PerformancesThe film is centred on two key performances from Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein who shows exceptional chemistry through the film, they also get to show their talents in the individual moments too, with Dever showing the awkward moments her character goes through while Feldstein shines in the over-confidence moments. Billie Lourd goes close to stealing every single scene in the movie, while the rest of the support cast are flawless.

StoryThe story follows two high school friends who are ready to take the next step of their lives only to learn that they haven’t had as much fun as the other class mates and decide to spend the last night going for a party like the rest of the students, where they face life’s truths. This is a story that shows us that life needs to have fun, people will be there for people when they need them, only the pair need to learn this before it is too late. It is nice to see that the high schoolers are truly horrible to each other, while most of it is like life, you just don’t get on with everybody, but most of the time you just don’t know their story, their lives or anything about them outside rumours. Set in one 24 hour spell it also shows us just how quickly you can learn about life too.

ComedyThe comedy does come from how over the top certain characters are meant to be, without being anything you would expect to see in real life.

SettingsThe film does seem to have a large-scale setting, with all the travelling the characters must do over the single night, it shows how far away the student might live from the school and shows different parties.


Scene of the Movie – Gigi’s boat moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The high school only seems to have one year of students in.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful look at how difficult for life can be for high school students, they are always trying to fit in and stay in their comfort zones, or trying to impress people, it does have the message about making sure you find time for fun in life too.

Overall: Heartfelt teen comedy.

Blitz Spirit (2019) Short Movie Review

Director: Sean Ramsden

Writer: Sean Ramsden (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellie Jeffreys, Marie Wilson, Amelia Donovan, Mitchell Sullivan, Sam Casse, Maximillian Davey

Plot: At the dawn of the Blitz, a tender young bar pianist struggles to justify his war efforts to his stubborn Mother.

Runtime: 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Spotlight on War

Story: Blitz Spirit starts in 1940 England, World War II is underway and the people of London are struggling through their days, waiting for a potential air raid, Pianist MG (Davey) entertains the crowds in the bar, not going into battle, when an air raid strikes the city, joining his Mother (Wilson) and sister Myra (Donovan) they look at his position in the war.

Thoughts on Blitz Spirit

Final Thoughts This is a nice short that is shot like it would have been on the same film that news reports for the era would have been presented, it does show how not every person would have been for the conflict of war and the taboo that was left forced upon the young men, despite the love in a family only wants people to be safe. We do get strong performances, we get ideas of how much more to life they have from their characters and we get to see just how conflicted families could be. This could easily be an extended story, dealing with more emotional impact that MG must go through, which we only get early glimpses at through the short.

Overall: Beautifully Shot.