Vince Vaughn Weekend – Swingers (1996) Movie Review

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Jon Favreau (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn, Alex Desert, Heather Graham, Deena Martin

Plot: Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Tagline – This movie plays reality.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Reality Check Comedy

Story: Swingers starts when two friends Trent (Vaughn) and Mike (Favreau) head from LA to Las Vegas for a night to try and help Mike shake off his breakup with his girlfriend. Trent does have a way with women, which he is trying to teach Mike for their return to LA. Joined with Rob (Livingston) the three struggling actors talk shop about how they haven’t gotten their big break yet.

We continue to follow the friends around the town as they try to help Mike rebound from his breakup, pushing him to take risks, despite the group of aspiring actors just going through the same routine, not partying till late and Mike wanting to get back together with his ex.

Thoughts on Swingers

Characters – Mike is one of the aspiring actors, he has had the most gigs of the rest of the friends, he is struggling with a break up which has been holding him back for 6 months and now, the friends are trying to help him break out of his shell, as he always ends up getting nervous about everything whenever he is put on the spot. Trent is the confident ladies man, he is always trying to teach Mike about how to pick up women, showing his confidence through any chatting up situation. Rob is the friend that followed Mike, he looks up to him and wants to follow in his footsteps despite the constant job rejections. Sue is another one of the group, he has a different attitude which could see them getting into trouble. Between the three of them of the friends they all want to help Mike in their own way.

PerformancesJon Favreau as the down on his luck actor is great to watch in this role, he makes us understand why he feels life isn’t going his way. Vince Vaughn brings all the energy to his role, showing that he was always going to be great to watch in the fast-talking roles. Ron Livingston bring gravity to his role, showing a man with his feet on the ground, while Patrick Van Horn brings a mix of the three while not knowing his own motivation.

StoryThe story here follows four struggling actors as they look for women every night which sees them trying to help one of them get over their blues of a breakup, each has their own style which they try to imprint on the others. This story mixes up the styles of helping a friend with a breakup and highlights how difficult it is to make it as an actor in Hollywood. We might spend a lot of time just watching the guys party, which is mean to highlight their struggles and watching them all give advice to Mike shows that friends will always be there for you, but you will need to make the biggest step in changing your future.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from the mishaps that happen to the guys on their adventures through the night showing how not every plan is as well exercised as the next.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA, it shows the bars that people would go to hoping for a late night party, the ones that only the locals would truly know about.

Scene of the Movie – The awkward phone, mainly because it is and can be so real for people.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t show any of their acting lives.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that shows the struggles being an actor really are, while also trying to highlight the party lifestyle people in LA like.

Overall: Strong Look at Hollywood Lifestyle.

ABC Film Challenge – Favourites – Y – Speed (1994) Movie Review

This is under Y because of the writer’s last name, these are my favourite films and Y is very limited.

Director: Jan de Bont

Writer: Graham Yost (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, Heff Daniels, Alan Ruck, Glenn Plummer

Plot: A young police officer must prevent a bomb exploding aboard a city bus by keeping its speed above 50 mph.

Tagline – Get ready for rush hour.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Brilliant Action Film

Story: Speed starts when hot shot police officer Jack Traven (Reeves) and his partner Harry (Daniels) stop the plans of bomber Howard Payne (Hopper), getting awarded for saving the lives of the hostages, believing Howard died in his explosion.

Howard isn’t finished yet and plants his next bomb, forcing Jack to find the bus her has placed it, where if the bus goes over 50mph is activates the bomb, Jack needs to keep the bus travelling over 50mph to prevent it exploding, with passenger Annie (Bullock) needing to take the wheel for him.

Thoughts on Speed

Characters – Jack is the young police officers that will always look to protect and serve, his latest job is to rescue hostages from a bomb threat, which he uses his quick thinking to stay one step ahead of the terrorist, he tries different ideas to win the battle, or so he thought. Now he must go through the same struggles as before as he has become the target of the terrorist, needing to keep a bus safe from his next target. Howard Payne is the calculated bomber, he wants money and after losing the opening dual with Jack, he has taken it personally this time around. Annie is one of the passengers on the bus, she is on the bus because of losing her licence for speeding, she takes over the driving side of everything usually screaming about what is happening too. Capt McMahon is trying to run the operation from outside the bus, he might well be Jack’s boss, but he lets him make the decision during the operation.

PerformancesKeanu Reeves is brilliant in the lead action role, showing he was always going to become one of the biggest names in this side of film, following up Point Break. Dennis Hopper will always be one of the greatest actors for villains, this is no different, while Sandra Bullock steps up in the heroine role, showing more fight than just another woman in trouble.

StoryThe story here follows a police officer that gets caught in a cat-n-mouse game with a terrorist that plants bombs around the city, with his latest one being placed on a bus that once it goes over 50mph, become active. This story is one of the more simple cat-n-mouse battles between law and criminal, it is pure simple action, we need to keep the bus over 50mph whatever the situation is, showing the officers needing to find a way to keep the bus moving whatever gets in the way, thinking on their feet, the terrorist is also well prepared for what could happen, remaining in control for most of the film. The story just keeps everything simple and this works for the film with ease.

ActionThe action in the film comes from the different problems that Jack must overcome at high speed, along with the explosion.

SettingsJack finds himself trapped on the bus for the most part of this film, here he will not find escape, rescue or disarming the bomb.

Scene of the Movie – Bridge jump.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Most of Harry’s side story.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best action films of the 90s if not of all time, it keeps everything simple, while not sacrificing the intensity level.

Overall: Fun, Action Packed Movie.

The Searchers (1956) Movie Review

Director: John Ford

Writer: Frank S Nugent (Screenplay) Alan Le May (Novel)

Starring: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood, John Qualen, Olive Carey, Henry Brandon

Plot: An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Tagline – He had to find her… he had to find her.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical Wayne Western

Story: The Searchers starts Civil War soldier Ethan Edwards (Wayne) visits his brother in a small Texan house, when he goes to investigate a local incident his family is butchered by Comanches, with them kidnapping the 9-year niece.

Ethan is joined by Martin Pawley (Hunter), Rev Samuel Johnstone (Bond) and other men looking to revenge, who are tracking down the Indians that butchered the family in search of their lost relative

Thoughts on The Searchers

Characters – Ethan Edwards is a celebrated Civil War Solider that after the war ends still holds a grudge against the Native Americans, when his family is butchered, he leads the hunting party towards them, determined to find the remaining family members, which will take him years. Martin Pawley is the young man that wants to help Ethan, despite the fact he doesn’t want help, he will leave the love that is under his nose to go on this risky business. Laurie Jorgensen is the love of Martin’s, she has always waited for him, supported him and wants him to stay back and not go on the rescue adventure.

PerformancesJohn Wayne is the lead in the film and did what he always did, dominated the screen with his performance that you will know it is him. Jeffrey Hunter is the supporting role does well without getting too much time to outshine Wayne, while Vera Miles does perform well when she gets the screen time.

StoryThe story here follows a former civil war solider that goes on the hunt for his enemies that have butchered his family and kidnapped his niece, an adventure that will take years for him to recover the truth. When it comes to the western story, we get a pretty typical idea for a story, the heroic cowboy needing to fight the ‘evil’ Indians or now Native Americans, this does everything that idea has given us without do much more around it. We really don’t get overly tested, but this formula was what worked for the release era, but just isn’t edgy enough for the modern audience.

WesternThis is everything you would imagine a western to be, it would be listed under most searches and shows just how the battle between cowboys and Indians was perceived.

SettingsThe film does bring us a couple of the most iconic movie sets of all time, with the mountain range always being something people will known.

Scene of the Movie – Over the ridge.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Just way the cowboys look at the Native Americans.

Final Thoughts This is everything you could imagine from a western, without testing the audience along the way.

Overall: By the book Western.

Stuck (2019) Short Movie Review

Director: Steve Blackwood

Writer: Steve Blackwood (Screenplay) David Susman (Story)

Starring: Steve Blackwood, Sandy Bainum, Max Schochet

Plot: George and Helen Simon are a NY advertising couple who buy a sex machine to spice up their lives but it comes with a crazed delivery boy who gets stuck in it on the night of their dinner with George’s clients

Runtime: 14 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Short

Story: Stuck starts when George (Blackwood) gets the sex machine for him and his wife Hellen (Bainum) only the delivery boy Finn (Schochet) to get over eager wanting to set the machine up, only to get stuck in it, just before a business dinner the couple are looking to host, what follows is the pair trying to figure out what to do before the guests arrive.

Thoughts on Stuck

Final Thoughts When it comes to comedy you need to grab the audience quickly when it comes to something in the short form, this situation the couple find themselves in, does feel like we are watching an idea from Frasier, where we have two people that are trying to cover up something that would become embarrassing towards them if their friends found out. The reaction does get the laughs and you could only ask yourself, what you would do if you were left in this situation, we could also see this grow into something bigger, becoming a full feature with even more comedy along the way.

Overall: Comedy Begging to Give You More.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – U – Spartacus (1960) Thoughts

We are under U today because of star Peter Ustinov.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Writer: Dalton Trumbo (Screenplay) Howard Fast (Novel)

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, Nina Foch

Plot: The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Tagline – The Electrifying Spectacle That Thrilled the World!

Runtime: 3 Hours 17 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Too Long, Too Slow

Story: Spartacus starts as young slave Spartacus (Douglas) gets sold to his latest owner Batiatus (Ustonov) who has been turning the slaves into fighters, which sees Spartacus training to become a warrior, only for him to lose his first fight, he finds himself leading a revolt against the owners, putting the Roman Republic needing to prepare for the problems they could face.

As Spartacus grows his army, the Romans put together a plan to stop the uprising, with different members of the empire using this as their own power play to become the ruler of the land.

Thoughts on Spartacus

Final Thoughts This is a film that is considered one of the classic of the art and for the time of release it would have been amazing, sure, only the problem is we have seen this story done many times since, we have seen the story trimmed to be watchable instead of nearly 3 and half hours long. This isn’t going to be a full review because after 1 and half hours, I simply couldn’t watch anymore, it is a shame because I like watching some of the classics, this one just isn’t one I could make it through.

Overall: Not for me.