Adam Sandler Weekend – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) Movie Review

Director: Dennis Dugan

Writer: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Ido Mosseri, Rob Schneider

Plot: An Israeli Special Forces Soldier fakes his death so he can re-emerge in New York City as a hair stylist.


Tagline – He’ll blow you away

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Insulting

Story: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan starts when Israeli Special Forces Soldier Zohan (Sandler) is getting tired of the same old battles where he captures the terrorist only to see the government to trade them, when his greatest enemy Phantom (Turturro) has been released he uses the encounter to fake his death and follow his dream.

Zohan travels to New York to become a hairdresser using the name Scrappy Coco he wants to work in the biggest salon in the city, but gets laughed out, now he needs to bring his style to the city and learning about his people’s own problems.

Thoughts on You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Characters – Zohan was once the top agent in the Israeli Special Forces he has always captured the terrorist even after the country has released them after he caught them. He does dream of being a hairdresser which his family sees as a disgrace, he fakes his death so he can head to New York to start a fresh as a hairdresser, where he saves a small business with his true style. Phantom is the greatest enemy of Zohan who always gets traded and always plans his next action, which sees him claiming his fame after Zohan faking his death. Dalia is trying to keep her small salon open and once she gives Scrappy a chance her business booms cleaning her debts out. Michael is the first person that helps Zohan in America and offers him a place to stay.

PerformancesAdam Sandler does hit what seems like an almost insulting in the leading role, just playing into the stereotypes of any Israeli person. John Turturro is the same even if his role is smaller, while Emmanuelle Chriqui doesn’t help herself standout in the supporting role. Most of the cast is terrible through the film never hitting the heights of their roles.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli soldier that wants to hairdresser meaning he will need to leave his home and start in a new life in America, where his past comes back to haunt him. This is by far one of the most insulting stories you will ever see, it tries to play along the lines of the American dream is available for anybody. We get plenty of awful racist stereotypes being played out towards anybody from Israel which is used more often or not for political gain rather than actually story. This is typical awful Sandler story.

ComedyThe comedy is in the middle of the racist and insulting towards the Israeli people that should never have gotten any laughs.

SettingsThe film is in New York where we see how small communities are trying to make a living, despite having disagreements behind them.


Scene of the Movie – End credits because it was over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything else.

Final Thoughts This is a pure insult to comedy and cinema that should never have even been made.

Overall: Awful from Start to Finish.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Q – Three Kingdoms (2008) Movie Review

Clutching at straws again here, we are going with Q because of Maggie Q.

Director: Daniel Lee

Writer: Ho Leung Lau, Daniel Lee (Screenplay) Guanzhong Luo (Novel)

Starring: Andy Lau, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Maggie Q, Cunxin Pu, Andy Oh, Rongguang Yu, Hua Yueh, Lung Ti

Plot: His country torn asunder by civil war, Zhao Zilong, a common man heeds the call of duty and from the humblest of roots rises through the ranks on wings of courage and cunning to command an army charged with liberating the land from an evil warlord. Inspiring by action, honor and a dream of unifying his divided nation, Zhao Zilong’s heroism becomes legend, but as the years pass and the throne changes hands the war still rages on. When a newly enthroned king decides peace can only be achieved by defeating the warlords once and for all, the aging Zhao Zilong embarks on his final and greatest campaign, a road to adventure that will crown his name in glory for all time.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice History Lesson

Story: Three Kingdoms starts in the middle of a three kingdom war going on in ancient China, common man Zhao Zilong (Lau) joins Liu (Yueh) army which is winning the war with the circle opposing forces, where he meets a fellow country man Luo Ping-An (Hung) as they prepare for battle against Cao’s army.

After Zhao braves going alone to search and rescue the Emperor’s wives and child escaping the capture of the enemy army, making himself an icon in the war, and somebody Cao promises to capture one day. After decades of fighting, Zilong is the last remaining general under the Emperor and now he wants to go into one more battle which could finally unity China against Cao’s granddaughter Ying (Q).

Thoughts on Three Kingdoms

Characters – Zhao Zilong was just a small town common man that went to war to fight for peace so he could start a family, his acts of bravery saw him rise the ranks to become one of the most trusted generals for Emperor Liu, his abilities in battle show why he was the longest lasting of the generals and why he made himself a legend in the eyes of the people. Luo Ping-An was the first friend Zilong made in the army, he understands directions and stays by his side for every battle with his knowledge of the landscapes unlike anybody else. Cao Ying is the granddaughter of the enemy general, she has seen her family fall and now leads the army to finally end everything from her side of the battle. Zhuge is one of the original generals that Zilong learns from, one who would go between soldier camps to help them win battles they were outnumbered in.

PerformancesAndy Lau in the leading role shows off his fighting skills with his serious side to his character to his performance, he is the star of the film, which sees him being the best performer even though most of the cast don’t put a foot wrong.

StoryThe story shows us just how one common man turned into one of the most famous generals in ancient Chinese history, we see his rise from the bottom right to his position of legend status. This is an interesting look at one of the great wars in history, seeing how both sides were trying for something that would unit a country, even though decades of fighting didn’t help them achieve this. We mostly focus on just one man’s journey from the bottom to the top and how he became a legend in the war because of his abilities in combat and ability to motivate his army. We do skip a lot of time through the film which does take away from trying to get all the details of the war though

Action/History/WarThe action is massive when it comes to the numbers involved in the battle sequences, they look beautiful to watch too, when it comes to the history of the war we do skip over large parts of it which can be disappointing at times.

SettingsThe film here recreates the ancient Chinese era with ease, making us feel like we are part of this bigger battle.


Scene of the Movie – The escape.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The large time jump.

Final Thoughts This is a good interesting look at history and just how much was risked during these wars, we see one man’s journey to find his own position in power too.

Overall: Strong History film.

Franchise Weekend – The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (2008)

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Writer: Marco Schnabel, David N Titcher (Screenplay)

Starring: Noah Wyle, Brice Davison, Stana Katic, Bob Newhart, Jane Curtain, Dikran Tulaine, Jason Douglas

 

Plot: Losing his girlfriend because he was at an auction dramatically getting the magical philosopher’s stone instead of a date, he needs a vacation – New Orleans but finds himself busy saving Earth from the curse of the Judas chalice/vampires.


Tagline – The world’s most unlikely hero is back for his biggest adventure.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Embraces Itself

 

Story: The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice starts as Flynn (Wyle) is struggling with balancing his personal life with his career, Judson (Newhart) gives him some vacation time, which sees him heading to New Orleans.

Flynn’s vacation is cut short when he meets singer Simone Renoir (Katic) who has been guarding a relic, which just so happens to be what Kubichek (Tulaine) and Professor Lazlo (Davison) are trying to bring Vlad the Impaler back to life to build their own undead army.

 

Thoughts on The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice

 

Characters – Flynn is the Librarian who has been struggling with the stress of everyday life and personal life after getting dumped by his latest girlfriend. He gets to go on vacation, only to find himself in the middle of yet another quest only this time in New Orleans, where he must deal with the idea that vampires could be real. Simone is the beautiful singer that summoned Flynn to New Orleans, she needs help to keep her secret and she has a secret that not even Flynn was ready for. Professor Lazlo is one of the worlds smartest men, he is forced into helping Kubichek until he learns about Flynn, Judson knows this latest quest could well be the one that Flynn makes him or ends his interest in the role.

PerformancesNoah Wyle continues to be strong in this role where he can have fun in his role. Bruce Davison is strong enough in his role, while Stana Katic brings us a different love interest for Flynn. Bob Newhart continues to be entertaining in his role through the film franchise.

StoryThe story here follows Flynn the librarian as he tries to take a vacation from this job, only to find himself in the middle of another quest against Russians that want to bring vampires back to life creating their own undead army. This story does start to accept that these films are meant to be out there, slightly crazier than Indiana Jones, while not as wild The Mummy movies. We do get a more interesting case than the previous films and we get villains that are fighting for a course that could bring back evil to the world. this is a fun story without being too serious.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action is one the largest level with the battles being bigger than before, while the adventure does keep the action closer to home in America. The comedy is mostly light-hearted humour that keep everything running smoothly through the film.

SettingsThe film uses the New Orleans setting like we know it to be, one location filled with religious mystery and eerie settings.


Scene of the Movie –
Vampire fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The generic accents.

Final ThoughtsThis is the most fun of the Librarian movies, it has finally embraced the idea it has been trying to create, making it lighter, while also being darker too.

 

Overall: Fun filled adventure.

Rating

 

 

Robert Downey Jr Weekend – Tropic Thunder (2008) Movie Review

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Etan Cohen (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr, Jay Baruchel, Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Coogan, Brandon T Jackson

Plot: Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.


Tagline – The movie they think they’re making… isn’t a movie anymore.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Funny

Story: Tropic Thunder starts as three very different actors, the academy winner Kirk Lazarus (Downey Jr), Tugg Speedman (Stiller) who has is trying to recover from flops and grossed out comedian Jeff Portnoy (Black) are working on a war epic under rookie director Damien Cockburn (Coogan), when the filming becomes a disaster after only one week.

The plan to get the actors to take things serious, it to leave them in the jungle without assistants or contact to the outside world, only they find themselves in the middle of a real war against the locals who still believe the war is going on.

Thoughts on Tropic Thunder

Characters – Tugg Speedman is an actor who has always been trying to make a bigger name out of himself, only he has been on a string of flops and clashes with Kirk’s style on screen. He does come off like a dumb actor who will believe in only what he thinks to get through the shoot, while becoming the leader his character is meant to be in the film. Kirk Lazarus is a method actor that has had black pigmentation put into his skin for the latest role as a black man, his style does clash with Tugg, understanding the situation more than anyone else. Jeff Portnoy is the grossed-out comedy star who is battling his own addiction with drugs and drink, always getting himself into trouble in the press. Less Grossman is the studio head that demands money from his investment, he is loud and will abuse anyone who doesn’t follow his orders.

PerformancesBen Stiller does give us a wonderful role, which does give us moments that feel like Zoolander, poking fun at certain actors reality of life. Robert Downey Jr is great too, as he got an Oscar nomination for playing an actor who will go to extreme lengths to get the job done, Jack Black does give us a little bit too much at times, while Tom Cruise could well have given us the most surprising of his career.

StoryThe story here follows five actors who believe they are making a war movie, only to find themselves trapped in the jungle being hunted down by the locals and they must put together everything they have learnt to make it out alive. The story here does manage to turn the filmmaking process on its head, by showing us just how difficult the actors can be to work with and then only to become more extreme when they must fight against people who want to kill them, while also showing the behind the screens process too, while also willing to leave everything as over the top as it could be.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film does give us military and over the top action clichés which is fun to watch and does add to the comedy we are experiencing through the film.

SettingsThe film use the jungle setting to show us just how alone the actors become after trying to become a more extreme shot.

Special EffectsThe effects are used for the explosions, which are cinematic just like the idea behind the movie being made.


Scene of the Movie – The rescue.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Jeff’s character is a lot to deal with.

Final Thoughts This is a clever comedy that manages to build up the idea of making a film and the switch to a reality through actors who will do anything to get the perfect shot.

Overall: Comedy that hits.

Michael Caine Weekend – Is Anybody There? (2008)

Director: John Crowley

Writer: Peter Harness (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey

 

Plot: Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten year old boy growing up in an old people’s home run by his parents. Whilst his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat, and his father copes with the onset of mid-life crisis, Edward is busy tape-recording the elderly residents to try and discover what happens when they die. Increasingly obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife, Edward’s is a rather lonely existence until he meets Clarence, the latest recruit to the home, a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. Is Anybody There? tells the story of this odd couple – a boy and an old man – facing life together, with Edward learning to live in the moment and Clarence coming to terms with the past.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 34 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Touching Drama

 

Story: Is Anybody There? Starts as we meet young Edward (Milner) a by that lives in a nursing home run by his mum (Duff), he likes to investigate the existence of ghosts which he gets to witness death in the home. When recently widowed Clarence (Caine) moves into the home, Edward doesn’t like him to start with.

When Edward learns that Clarence is a magician, he strikes up an unlikely friendship, as Clarence tries to teach Edward that he needs to make contact with the living not the dead.

 

Thoughts on Is Anybody There

 

Characters – Edward is being raised in an old people’s home, he doesn’t have any friends away from this world which has seen him turn to investigate the afterlife, he is determined to prove ghosts are real, he sees his parents struggle to hold everything together and Clarence gives him a new reason to focus on life. Clarence is the recently widowed former magician who doesn’t want anything to do with being in the home, with the only person that will give him attention being Edward, he doesn’t want Edward to follow in his footsteps and wants him to learn to make friends with the living. Edward’s mother is trying to run the home, she is dealing with the pressure of just what is going on with work and with her husband, while his father is on the verge of an affair.

PerformancesMichael Caine is the biggest name in the film, he does an excellent job in his role and work very well with young Ben Milner who is strong as the young boy struggle to find his place in the world. Anne-Marie Duff also deserves praise because of the strong scenes she must go through.

StoryThe story focuses on a young boy that has been raised in a nursing home, where he is starting to learn about life after meeting on of the new guests. We see how people need to be shown how to fit in life and just how hard they work to make sure they can go and enjoy life. The idea of them being in a nursing home does make it harder for Edward to make friends which is understandable and seeing the money problems almost taking its toll on the family comes through strong. The story gets to teach the lesson about making sure you enjoy your life and teaching others to not make the same mistakes one did.

SettingsThe film uses the nursing home as the main settings which shows how uncomfortable both Edward and Clarence are being in this position.


Scene of the Movie –
The end of the magic show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The beginning of the magic show.

Final ThoughtsThis is a charming little drama that teaches the lessons about enjoying life rather than chasing the afterlife.

 

Overall: Sweet and Charming.

Rating