The Meaning of Life (1983)

Director: Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam

Writer: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin (Screenplay)

Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleverland

 

Plot: The comedy team takes a look at life in all its stages in their own uniquely silly way.


Tagline – It took God six days to create the earth, and Monty Python just 90 minutes to screw it up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for the Fans

 

Story: The Meaning of Life is a series of different ideas of the meaning of life from point of views, we enter into different class, different religions and different careers. Each chapter connects to the previous which adds to the bigger point in the comedy behind just what is being poked fun at.

 

Thoughts on The Meaning of Life

 

StoryWith this being a series of sketches it doesn’t make it difficult to talk about the story, we have so many different mini stories which are clearly put together to show the different stages of life, from birth to death as the search for the meaning of life is put together. Most of the sketches generally miss which end up feeling flat as they just don’t build up to the moment of comedy required, it has also ended up feeling very dated with the way it handles everything in a not so subtle manor.

ComedyThe comedy in this film is all about taste, if you are not a fan of the Monty Python team, you won’t enjoy the comedy through the film, bit like myself. If you are a fan you will get to laugh more.

SettingsThe film takes us to multiply locations for each sketches, each will become clear for the message trying to be told.


Scene of the Movie –
Catholic and Protestants

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the comedy misses.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sketch movie that tries to play through important moments in history and only feels too forced for anything to really be anything special.

 

Overall: Sketch show comedy.

Rating

 

 

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Maximum Risk (1996)

Director: Ringo Lam

Writer: Larry Ferguson (Screenplay)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Zach Grenier, Paul Ben-Victor, Frank Senger

 

Plot: A cop/flic discovers that he had a twin who just got murdered in Nice, France. In order to find out who did it, he takes his place including the cute girlfriend in Little Odessa, NYC.


Tagline – The other side of safe.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Van Damme

 

Story: Maximum Risk starts when a French police detective Alain Moreau (Van Damme) sees a man killed, the man looks identical to him and Alain learns that he did in fact have a twin brother. Alain must now look to investigate the murder of his twin brother with his partner Sebastien (Anglade).

Alain learns that his brother was adopted by a Russian family and that he has gone onto to raise up the Russian mob, only he is wanted by them, Alain is joined by Alex (Henstridge) his brother’s girlfriend as they look to bring down Ivan (Grenier) the leader of the Russian Mob.

 

Thoughts on Maximum Risk

 

Characters – Alain is a French police detective that lives a normal life in Nice, his life if turned upside down when he finds a body that looks identical to himself, learning that he does have a twin brother. Alain go in search for answers which leads him to New York city and the Russian mob, here Alain must learn who he can trust and why his brother is killed, while showing all his fighting skills. Alex is the brother’s girlfriend, she knows he danger Alain has walked into and will help him get out of the life of crime that his brother was part of. Sebastien is the partner of Alain back in France, he has worked with him for years, only he stays in France for the investigation. Ivan Dzasokhov is the Russian that has been hunting down Alain, he wants something that he posses and knows it could give up his freedom is the secret it released.

PerformancesJean-Claude Van Damme is the man we know for action, when he gets to fight we know we get quality scenes, when it comes to becoming serious he isn’t on the same level. Natasha Henstridge was fresh of the back of Species here and easily fit the role for looks, while never getting her chance to do much more. The rest of the cast fill their roles to help make Van Damme look good in the action sequences.

StoryThe story follows a man that must unlock the mystery behind why his unknown brother was murdered, which sees him enter the world of the Russian mob. Let’s be honest, the story isn’t always the most important part of any Van Damme movie, we just want to watch him kick people’s asses. This story puts him in a place where he just doesn’t know where each step will take him, we get plenty of people that want Alain dead which shows he doesn’t know who to trust, but we always know that he is going to come out on top, it is an easy relaxing action film for the story side of things.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action here involves Van Damme doing his thing, kicking ass regardless of the size of the opponent. We follow a police officer entering the world of the Russian mob which brings us into the crime elements of the story, while the mystery comes from just who could be trusted during this time.

SettingsThe film takes place in two main cities, Nice in France and New York, we do get the fish out of water idea with Alain in New York here.


Scene of the Movie –
The sauna fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is pretty basic.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple easy to follow action movie that we are used to seeing from Van Damme.

 

Overall: Simple Van Damme Action Film.

Rating

 

 

Harrison Ford Weekend – Morning Glory (2010)

Director: Roger Michell

Writer: Aline Brosh McKenna (Screenplay)

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson

 

Plot: An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Morning Glory starts as we follow Becky (McAdams) a new producer dreaming of one day going to the next level, when she believes she is about to get the senior producer role she finds herself losing her job instead. Not one to give up on her dreams to searches endlessly for a new job in the business and it is Jerry Barnes (Goldblum) that gives her a chance to work on saving the fourth best morning news station Daybreak.

Wanting to make an impact Becky fires the demoralising anchor, Becky must find a new anchor and her choice is going after News Icon Mike Pomperoy (Ford) who is under contract but doesn’t want to work. Becky must find a way for Mike to work with her current anchor Colleen Peck (Keaton) while making new friends with fellow producer Adam Bennett (Wilson) offering up a potential love interest.

 

Thoughts on Morning Glory

 

Characters/PerformanceBecky is an ambitious young woman desperate to make a career in producing the news. She gets her chance working on the lowest rated show and must use all of her good spirit and ideas to make the show climb the ratings, all while dealing with her own personal life that she has given up making her career important. This is a brilliant character because it shows how people can put their career before their own lives which is why this is something we have seen before but always good to go back too.

Mike is the difficult anchor to work with, he used to be a draw in the news reporting world but isn’t interested in working on anything he doesn’t think is news worth, he makes the job as difficult as possible for Becky by doing the bare minimum. Colleen is the seasoned anchor that is happy to take a chance on the wild stories that can bring in the ratings. Adam is the love interest for Becky as well as being involved with Mike before so he can give Becky advice when it comes to handling him.

Performance wise, McAdams is great in the leading role, not playing it overly funny which is how you can judge the whole cast, Ford does enjoy this role because it is different to the rest of his normal action material.

StoryThe story following a career driven woman following her dream putting everything she has into making it happen against all the odds if something that is fantastic to watch because we all like to enjoy watching someone reach that goal. Sure, most of this film does go around in the cycle you would expect but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

Romantic/ComedyThe romantic side is on the main story which I think works because it isn’t the most important part of the film, the comedy comes when needed without being a constant attempt at laughter.

SettingsThe settings for this film are mostly inside the news studio which shows how close everyone must be to work together. This helps us see how the tension looks between the characters.

Final ThoughtsI wasn’t expecting too much from this film going in, mostly because of the genres but in the end, I found myself enjoying everything as it was unfolding.

 

Overall: This is a good comedy drama that is worth watching.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Crime – M – Marauders (2016)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Michael Cody, Chris Sivertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista, Adrian Grenier, Johnathon Schaech, Lydia Hull, Tyler Jon Olson

 

Plot: When a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents dig deeper into the case – and the deadly heists continue – it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play.


Tagline – The rich will pay

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Crime Film

 

Story: Marauders starts when a bank robbery which leaves the bank manager executed, the president of the bank Hubert (Willis) has an excellent reputation and with the FBI investigating the robbery, Montgomery (Meloni) and his team Stockwell (Bautista) and newbie Wells (Grenier) try to put the clues together.

When the second heist happens, the fingers start pointing back at Hubert and a bigger conspiracy comes to the top with connection to a previous incident.

 

Thoughts on Marauders

 

Characters – Hubert is the bank president, he has always kept the face that the bank puts their customers first, but when his banks start getting robbed, he must deal with the fingers pointing back at him. Montgomery is the lead investigating from the FBI trying to get to the bottom of the heists, he has his own demons which haunt him everyday after the death of his wife and will not stop until he learns the truth. Stockwell is Montgomery’s trusted second, he is the tired cop figure, he is good at his job and hates people getting in his way. Wells is the rookie agent, with the qualifications to make him the best, he gets the jobs the others don’t want to do, while noticing things they miss.

PerformancesThe performances in the movie are mixed, we know that Bruce Willis is mostly mailing it in and it is a strange role for him. Christopher Meloni is the star of this movie, the determination and broken side of his character makes him stand out. Dave Bautista does get the funniest lines, some hit or than others, while Adrian Grenier starts strong but fades away in the biggest scenes of the middle of the movie.

StoryThe story follows the effects of a brutal heist, the FBI must investigate the heist which brings us into the new web of conspiracies which could bring down a political powerhouse. This a story which does keep us guessing from start to finish, which is something I was surprised to see, as I thought this would be a lot messier. The positive of keeping us guessing, does leave the bigger question about just why the heists needed to be as brutal as they were because of certain injuries or deaths not needing to happen for the cause.  

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action is brutal and often in your face when it comes to the gun sequences, the crime side of the film comes from the heists and just what they are aiming to achieve from the heists. The mystery is what draws us in because we don’t know what is happening which keeps us invested throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in the city which shows how the panic of the robberies starts flying around we see how things get out of hand.


Scene of the Movie –
The heists do feel very intense, which I did like.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last sequence.

Final ThoughtsThis was a surprisingly entertaining film, having no expectations going in, this did become intense and kept you guessing even if things unravel in the final scene.

 

Overall: Enjoyable crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Midsommar (2019)

Director: Ari Aster

Writer: Ari Aster (Screenplay)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Liv Mjones, Anna Astrom, Julia Ragnarsson

 

Plot: A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The Wicker Man on Acid

 

Story: Midsommar starts when young lady Dani (Pugh) has her family die suddenly, turning to the only person left in her life, her boyfriend Christian (Reynor) who has started to move away from their relationship. Christian and his friends Josh (Harper), Mark (Poulter) and Pelle (Blomgren) are planning a trip to Pelle’s home in Sweden for a special mid-summer festival.

Christian trying to do the right thing for Dani, invites her along, but it isn’t long before the festival turns into a cultural nightmare for the outsiders who have never seen the customs before.

 

Thoughts on Midsommar

 

Characters – Dani is a young lady that has suffered a heart-breaking tragedy in her life, leaving her along in the world, struggle to get over the loss of her family, she is unsure about her relationship with her boyfriend and agrees to go with him on the trip to Sweden. Dani is trying her best to get on with her life, which is seeing her have the good and bad days, while on the commune she starts to relax more in life. Christian is the student boyfriend of Dani, he is starting to question the relationship about to end it before the tragedy strikes, he invites her believing she won’t go, while also hoping to find out whether they should stay together. Josh is a student friend of Christian, who has been working on his paper on different cultures, he sees this event a major part of his studies, only he doesn’t seem to respect enough cultures. Mark is the comic relief, he wants to go to Sweden to meet women, he is quick to turn to drink or drugs, while always putting his foot in it.

PerformancesFlorence Pugh is the star of the show, she does show the grief required in her role, which shows us how hard to is finding life. Jack Reynor has finished turning his career around after Transformers, with one that must make people take him seriously now. Will Poulter will make you laugh with nearly everything he says, while William Jackson Harper will make you dislike his characters arrogance quickly.

StoryThe story here follows a young woman dealing with grief of losing her family, trying to get away from her past by getting away from the world with the festival which soon sees her trapped with her friends with a cult that has strict rules. Much like Hereditary, we are tackling grief on a personal level, unlike Hereditary we find ourselves not seeing a timeline to make us understand the recover process that Dani is trying to go through. The story does have a huge problem for me though, is that this is a story which the people should just walk or run away after seeing the first major incident, not just calmly say ‘sure this is a different culture we should see what happens next’ this is easily one of the biggest let down in any horror. We also do spend way too much time just turning to drugs as an excuse rather than trying to solve the real problems and the students just being arrogant not seemingly wanting to do anything with their lives.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film comes from graphic imaginary that we see from the injuries, we do have tension growing and the make up team should be praised for just how real everything looks. The mystery comes from just what is happening with this cult and what they will do next.

SettingsThe film is set in the Swedish countryside away from the world, the only type of place a cult could operate in around the modern day. The sets are the best thing about this film because they are crafted which such love and you can’t help but think everything you see is a clue to what is happening.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do bring us the graphic images of the injuries that people are going through. The make up team work wonders on this film.


Scene of the Movie –
Dancing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just using drugs to explain why these people are friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror that is set and created wonderfully on the outside, only to fall short on the story which only drags along without reaching any levels of scares.

 

Overall: Not reaching the potential.

Rating