Mark Strong Weekend – The Guard (2011)

guardDirector: John Michael McDonagh

Writer: John Michael McDonagh (Screenplay)

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham

 

Plot: An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Comic Crime Comedy

 

Story: The Guard starts as we meet slacker but smart Irish small town police officer Gerry Boyle (Gleeson) who is happen just to clean up crime scenes than solve the crime when it comes to the petty ones. When his small village has a surprise murder and the number 5 and half written in blood on the wall.

This case brings FBI agent Wendell Everett (Cheadle) from America to track down the drug shipment that went missing and is believed to be in Ireland. This brings us the unlikely pairing of Gerry and Wendell from two different worlds trying to track down drug dealer Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (Cunningham) who is hiding out in the village.

 

Thoughts on The Guard

 

StoryIf you were to bottle down this story it is just an odd couple crime comedy tracking down drug smugglers which is all fine and an enjoyable watch throughout. I have said before I am happy with simple stories and this is just that we get good characters and fun moments and is one that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Crime We get comedy from the odd couple crime story going on which has laughs from start to finish with mostly inappropriate comments from Gerry.

Characters/PerformanceGerry is a great addition to the comedic police officer genre that has many but this one is great fun to watch as you don’t know how inappropriate he will be with his latest comments. The FBI agent Wendell plans the straight honest character who is great at reacting to the comments. The bad guys are all played to be what we expect from the genre with the local drug dealer turned international drug smugglers.

Looking at the performance Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle make for a great partnership for comedy that you feel you could watch again and again, when you look at Cunningham and Strong they both enjoy taking the villainous roles.

SettingsHaving the film set in a small Irish village adds to the comedy between local and outsider from the FBI agent but this is a village not used to crime.

Final ThoughtsThis really is a darkly comic crime film that can be enjoyable by all.

 

Overall: Entertaining Irish crime comedy that will make you laugh at all the right points.

Ratingcard

 

 

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Girls Trip (2017)

Director: Malcolm D Lee

Writer: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver (Screenplay) Erica Rivinoja, Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver (Story)

Starring: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh

 

Plot: When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Heart, Slightly Too Grossed Out

 

Story: Girls Trip starts as we meet our four college friends the Flossy Posse who have gone their separate ways in life, Ryan Pierce (Hall) is well on the way to becoming one of the icons of television with her husband Stewart (Colter), Sasha (Latifah) whose journalism career has fallen into a gossip blog, Lisa (Smith) who is a single mother and nurse while Dina (Haddish) hasn’t grown up yet still partying.

When Ryan is on the weekend that is going to make her career, she brings her girlfriends out for the Essence Festival in New Orleans. The worlds between them do collide over the weekend and test their friendships will be tested as the girls learn that not everything is what they had imagined.

 

Thoughts on Girls Trip

 

Characters – Ryan is a successful author, television presenter and icon for women across America, she is going to be the speech person at the Essence Festival, she brings the friends along as they have been drifted apart. She has stood by her husband even though he hasn’t been faithful to him. Sasha is the best friend of Ryan through college but we learn that something has drawn a line between them as they have tension through the film. Lisa has past her prime by becoming a mother but this trip is going to open her up again. Dina is the wild loose cannon of the group, she gets all the jokes and usually puts the girls into the trouble they find themselves in.

PerformanceRegina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith are all great in their roles showing a side of comedy you wouldn’t expect from them as they are all playing the roles you wouldn’t expect from them, but it is Tiffany Haddish that steals the movies even if some of her jokes do go on for times, she doesn’t seem to have a pause button giving the film all the energy needed.

StoryWhen you look at the story I do feel we have the heart needed in the film to show the sisterhood between the friends which is the important part of the film. When you look at this you are left with jokes that don’t feel natural for the weekend these characters are going on. This is a story you can see people enjoy and the real-life situations the characters are going through in real life are believable.

ComedyThe comedy does go full gross out level in places and you will never look at grapefruits the same again.

SettingsNew Orleans is a wonderful setting for partying where the girls can enjoy a weekend away.

Scene of the Movie – The speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The constant use of the N word isn’t needed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that people will be enjoying, it wasn’t the style of comedy I truly enjoy but I can see people truly enjoying.

 

Overall: Comedy Fans will love.

Rating

 

 

Groundhog Day (1993)

Director: Harold Ramis

Writer: Danny Rubin, Harold Ramis (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Marita Geraghty

 

Plot: A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bill Murray Machine

 

Story: Groundhog Day starts as weatherman Phil (Murray) is reluctantly covering the fourth year in a row Groundhog Day where the people of the small town believe if the groundhog appears it marks the start of spring. O his trip Phil is joined by his faithful cameraman Larry (Elliott) and new producer Rita (MacDowell).

When a blizzard keeps Phil in the town for one more night, he finds himself waking up on Groundhog Day once again, confused about what is happening he makes nothing of it at first, but when the day keeps restarting Phil starts to question his own sanity. Phil starts by taking advantage of the situation using each day to get to know Rita better, but just how many times can he go through the same day.

 

Thoughts on Groundhog Day

 

Characters/PerformancePhil is the weatherman who wants to do more with his career, he is selfish and doesn’t care about what happened to anybody in his life. He does go through the change in the film as he continues to live the same day getting to know the whole town. Rita is the new love interest who is also career minded, Larry is the cameraman and like most of the rest of the characters are largely forgettable.

Bill Murray is the star of this movie, he has to show his range as an actor while the rest of the cast just must go through the motions of repeating their actions.

StoryThe story is good as it shows how one man can repeat one day over again, learning about people who would never take time to get to know. The story shows us just how much the character of Phil could go through he is does go through the same day.

Comedy/Fantasy/RomanceWe have good moments of laughter from Bill Murray but not too many full blown laughs, the fantasy side comes from the repeating the same day with the romance coming from Phil trying to get to know Rita.

SettingsThe film is mostly set within the small town which makes for a good setting for the big cocky weatherman.

Special EffectsWe don’t have many special effects but the ones we do have all work very well for the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is considered a classic and I can understand why but for me a lot of this film is just how great Murray can be.

 

Overall: This is a full-blown Bill Murray vehicle.

Rating

 

 

Go With Me (2015)

goDirector: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: Joe Gangemi, Gregory Jacobs (Screenplay) Castle Freeman Jr (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles, Ray Liotta, Alexander Ludwig, Lochlyn Munro, Hal Holbrook

 

Plot: An ex-logger comes to the aid of a woman who returns to her hometown in the Pacific Northwest and finds herself harassed and stalked by a former cop turned crime lord.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Moving Thriller

 

Story: Go with Me starts when Lillian (Stiles) returns to her childhood hometown after her mother’s death to start a new life only to find herself being stalked by Blackway (Liotta) a former cop turned crime lord. Turning to the Sheriff (Wilson) Lillian gets passed over to the local loggers for help, Whizzer (Holbrook) refuses to help but offers his men a chance to join her. Lester (Hopkins) and Nate (Ludwig) go along to investigate as Lillian gets to learn more about how evil Blackway is.

As the three go in search for Blackway we learn more about why Lester agreed to go on what they all say is a suicide mission and learn what drew Blackway’s attention towards Lillian.

 

Thoughts on Go with Me

 

StoryThis story is set mostly over just one day as we follow the three search for the crime lord in an act of revenge. I did think this story did come off slow but I also think this builds the tone nicely for this story. the story is also kept very simple and is character driven throughout. I think if you like a good thriller you will enjoy this one.

ThrillerThis is a slow builder thriller that shows us all the reasons before having the final act releasing all the tension built up.

Characters/PerformanceLillian is designed to be a character that has always ran from problems but this time she wants to fight back. The town’s people are all created with fear of this villainous Blackway who is meant to strike fear in anyone he doesn’t like. While Lester is, a man looking to protect a woman after losing his daughter years before. The characters do all suit this film nicely.

The performances are all good with Stiles taking on a grittier role than in her earlier career but Hopkins and Liotta never come out of their comfort zones as actors.

SettingsThe settings are all within this very small town who know how the community acts towards the man who gives them the most fear, some avoid other work for him but most wait for their chance. this setting plays into the tension being built throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very solid thriller that could be enjoyed by the fans of the genre that went completely under the radar.


Overall: Thriller fans try this one out for size.

Rating60

 

 

Gremlin (2017)

Director: Ryan Bellgardt

Writer: Ryan Bellgardt, Josh McKamie, Andy Swanson (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Hampton, Kristy K Boone, Catcher Stair, Katie Burgess, Mike Waugh, Caleb Milby

 

Plot: A man receives a mysterious box containing a terrible secret, a creature that will kill everyone else in his family unless he passes it on to someone he loves to continue its never-ending circulation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Twisted Creature Feature

 

Story: Gremlin starts as we meet the Thatcher family, Adam (Hampton), Julie (Boone), Anna (Burgess) Charlie (Stair) and grandmother Mary (Wilcox) who receive the mysterious box from their Uncle Jim (Waugh) as the family is grieving the loss of their child.

When a small creature emerges from the box it starts taking lives, one at a time as Adam must follow the warning of giving it to someone he loves to break the curse put upon his family, but the secrets will come out about what happened to their other child and the personal lives of the family. Can they escape from this curse before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Gremlin

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the husband and father of the household, he receives the box as a gift but he has been dealing with the loss of his son by pushing his family away. Julie has been dealing with the family problems at home making sure the kids are coping with the loss and understand standing her husband’s flaws. Charlie is the son of the family who hides from the reality of losing his brother. Anna is rebelling against her parents in the typical teenage mindset which shows how she is pushing away from the family. This is a normal feeling family with their own problems through the day and now against this creature.

Performance wise, I feel the whole cast give good performances through the film, with the mystery behind what is occurring covering up any flaws.

StoryThe story does come off as original because we are left to see how the family must deal with a creature or Gremlin if you like that is coming out of a box killing loved ones at a random time during the day. We get new rules to the genre too with the idea you can’t kill the creature you can only pass it on which I do think adds a new level of terror to this story. I also like how the film doesn’t hold any punches when coming for the shocks but I would have liked to have seen more on the family looking at spiritual cures for the problem.

HorrorThe horror comes from the idea that a box will keep a Gremlin in that will kill your loved ones if you don’t pass it one, leaving our characters to battle with the idea of what they should do next.

SettingsWe have the home settings for most of the film because this is needed to show us just how close to home the horror will be for the family involved.

Special EffectsWe have a lot of CGI going on here and sure it isn’t the greatest but it does work with everything going on within the film. It is mostly all used for creating the creature which is menacing and terrifying through the film.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a new and original horror movie this is one for you to watch, it has morale questions as well as having the guts not to pull any punches.

 

Overall: Great addition to the horror world in 2017.

Rating