ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – Z – The Escorts (2016)

This is under Z because of the pimp who hired Guy.

Director: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse

Writer: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Biggs, Janet Montgomery, Ashley Tisdale, Bria L Murphy, Jenny Mollen, Steven Weber, Adrian Voo

 

Plot: Guy Carter is an award-winning graduate student of architecture. He’s got a beautiful wife and a baby on the way. The problem? He doesn’t have “his ducks in a row,” which only fuels his doubts about being a good father. Guy has been trying to find work in his field for a year with no luck. At wit’s end, his wife Anne finds him a job as a ‘driver’ on Craigslist. Guy shows up for the interview thinking he’ll be delivering pizzas, but quickly realizes it’s a job driving prostitutes.


Tagline – Every job has pros and cons

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gets Good Laughs

 

Story: The Escorts starts as Guy (Biggs) an architecture hasn’t managed to find a job in this field, with his pregnant wife Anne (Mollen) is running out of insurance, Anne pushing Guy into answer a Craigslist job as a driver.

Guy gets the job with Zoley (Yarbrough) hiring him to drive Nikki (Montgomery) around, she is a hooker and Guy finds himself working as her driver for a night, which would see him make serious money, in a world that he wouldn’t have even stepped into.

 

Thoughts on The Escorts

 

Characters – Guy is an architecture graduate who has lost his job, he has struggled to find a new job in the same field and with a baby due in weeks, he needs to find a new job before the health insurance runs out. He is talked into taking a job from Craigslist which sees him driving prostitutes around with a potential pay day that could cover everything he needs, he must enter this world even if he isn’t prepared for what comes his way. Nikki is the prostitute that Guy picks up, she isn’t happy having a new driver, but over the night teaches Guy this lifestyle and slowly lets him learn about who she really is. Fallon and Jaxi are two other prostitutes that comes on the night out, they know Nikki is the boss and will do the risker jobs in the show.

PerformancesJason Biggs has made this style of comedy work for him for years now, he works well through the film always looking out of place. Janet Montgomery as the lead of the escorts does a great job, she is filled with confidence even if you can see a different side to her inside. Ashley Tisdale and Bria L Murphy both get to have a lot of fun in their roles without struggling.

StoryThe story follows a father-to-be who must take any job he can find in an attempt to keep the insurance his family requires, the first job he finds means he will be driving prostitutes around. This story does only go over one night which helps see the chaos that Guy finds himself in only adding to the laugh, with the calls from his wife only makes us laugh more. Seeing how the prostitutes act shows how they are in control of everything going on. Mixing everything together we are happy with what happened we have people from different worlds getting the laughs required. The film is based on a true story, it is very difficult to believe this is real in anyway though.

ComedyThe comedy does come from the idea that the two different worlds collide, especially with how out of place Guy looks through the night.

SettingsThe film takes Guy around the city for the night which does show him how life can be very different in the closed doors in city.


Scene of the Movie –
The end of the night.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy won’t be for everyone.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that gets enough laughs to keep us happy with the laughs that has a cast which works for the characters.

 

Overall: Fun comedy.

Rating

 

 

Maudie (2016) Movie Review

Director: Aisling Walsh

Writer: Sherry White (Screenplay)

Starring: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Gabrielle Rose, Zachary Bennett

Plot: An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wonderfully Acted

Story: Maudie starts when a shy woman Maud (Hawkins) who finds her house sold and she is left feeling worthless, until she finds employment under outsider Everett (Hawke), who is demanding when it comes to his standards, until wealthy woman Sandra (Matchett) learns of her artistic talents.

Maud ends up involved in a relationship with Everett, as the two find happiness together, while Maud’s new artwork starts to attract attention from people around, with her positive use of colours through her designs.

Thoughts on Maudie

Characters – Maud has had a lonely life, one where she is left on her own through most days, where she paints to keep herself happy, she decides to become a housekeeper, which will see her movie in with outsider Everett, here she finds an unusual love, that her talent is loved by people and that she is important in life, no matter how many times she has been hurt through it. Everett is the outside in the town, he has chance most of his housekeepers away with his demands and behaviour, not wanting to be involved with many people’s lives, he holds everything inside, even though he has so much more going on than he is will to let people know. Sandra is the wealthy woman that first sees Maud’s work and wants to show the world, she offers her a friendship, unlike anything she has received before.

PerformancesWe do have two of the best actors of a generation here, with Sally Hawkins taking the leading role shining once again, Ethan Hawke working wonders in the supporting role too, where they help increase the talents of each other through the film.

StoryThe story here follows the life of Maud, from the time she meets Everett and started making art which mad her famous with the community, as she see the struggles the couple had being outsiders in their own right. This does look at the struggles that Maud when through in her life, though however talented she was, her life didn’t seem to be eventful enough to get a feature length story out off. This is because she did keep herself to herself along with her husband, not getting herself into any trouble, just letting herself live a quiet life.

Biopic/RomanceThe biopic side of this film does show us just how quiet Maud kept her life with a love life that was never flashy about their love.

SettingsThe film does show us just how away from the world the couple live, they are happy together and never look for more.


Scene of the Movie – The interview.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – However talented Maud was, her life doesn’t seem like enough for a feature film.

Final Thoughts This does show the quiet life the couple looked to live and how they found love with what kept them happy.

Overall: Biopic 101.

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – W – Why Him? (2016)

Director: John Hamburg

Writer: John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Screenplay) Jonah Hill, John Hamburg, Ian Helfer (Story)

Starring: Bryan Cranston, James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Cedric the Entertainer, Megan Mullally, Zack Pearlman

 

Plot: A holiday gathering threatens to go off the rails when Ned Fleming realizes that his daughter’s Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend is about to pop the question.


Tagline – Of all the guys his daughter could have chosen…

Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wasted Talent

 

Story: Why Him? Starts when Stephanie (Deutch) arranges to let her Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend Laird (Franco) to her family, with her hard-working businessman father Ned (Cranston), accepting mother Bard (Mullally) and teenage brother Scotty (Gluck).

When they meet, Ned takes an instant dislike towards Laird as he must spend the Christmas holiday trying to spin him around while the hate towards him only grows.

 

Thoughts on Why Him?

 

Characters – Ned has worked his whole career to in the printing business, raised two children with his wife and hasn’t been able to fully embrace the modern technology world. He has always wanted to protect his daughter and now he takes an instant dislike to her new boyfriend, who is from a new technology heavy world. Laird is the Silicon Valley millionaire that has made his fortune on technology living in a mansion, he is loud and constantly swearing and never coming off as a likeable person. Stephanie is the daughter that has been dating Laird and now she must finally let her family meet him, she wants the best for her future dealing with a future that is wide open and following her father’s guidance. Sadly, the characters in this film focus solely on how Ned and Laird relationship goes, making the daughter/girlfriend and wife just the ones dealing with he men having their own battles.

PerformancesBryan Cranston is completely wasted in this film, we know he can nail old man comedy with his Malcolm in the Middle father character which was brilliant, this just puts him in a terrible position to react over anything he needs to. James Franco can play the weird character with ease, there is no doubt about this, this felt like an old routine which does get old quickly though. The female stars are basically wasted with their own acting being reacting to the guys behaviour.

StoryThe story follows the old favourite of a father not liking his daughter’s boyfriend, this is one of the easiest forms of comedy and the story has always worked, for the heart of the story things are solid enough, the idea that we have old school verses technology works too, the weaknesses come from just going too far with the joke which mostly become lazy extended scenes which take away from the heart. If the story had stayed on focus with the heart that could have been important because of character development for the Laird character.

ComedyMost of the jokes in the film are lazy sex driven ones that would never come up in a conversation, this does have couple of clever moments of humour which do work though.

SettingsThe film is set in the Silicon Valley which does show us clash of cultures the two generations come from.


Scene of the Movie –
Evasive Parkour

That Moment That Annoyed Me 10 Minutes of Bryan Cranston on a toilet trying to figure out how to wipe his arse.

Final ThoughtsThis is a grossed-out comedy that misses most of the jokes and wasted the talent by missing the heart of the story which should have been more front and centre.

 

Overall: Lazy comedy that doesn’t reach it’s potential.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – F – FML (2016)

Director: Jason Nash

Writer: Jason Nash (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Nash, Brandon Calvillo,

 

Plot: A pair of Internet stars embark on a cross-country road trip through the United States capturing videos of their misadventures along the way.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unbearable

 

Story: FML starts when Sam (Nash) a middle-aged man wants to give up the day job and become an internet celebrity, he has a large following, only enough to give up the job yet, working on collaborating with more famous social media star Henry (Calvillo) and the two set out on a road trip around America to meet fellow social media stars, which brings them to  meet the colourful more popular social media stars that just make them grow in their own channels. The race to one million is on can Sam make it happen or not.

 

Thoughts on FML

 

Characters – Sam is a middle aged man who has become tired of his 9-5 job, he wants to make money doing something he enjoys, being a social media star, he is getting there, but needs to work with more famous stars, the problem is they are all younger and see him as an old man. He must leave his family to get things to happen. Henry is a teenager on the verge of making the difficult decision of his future, he has his own channel but college is the smarter option, though his family lives of his pay check, this journey is the best option for him to learn about the next stage of his life. We do meet a string of colourful and annoying social media stars, a manager trying to run these stars and the family being left behind.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are mostly Vine stars, which by the time I watched this film, is no longer a thing, they are not trained actors, mostly social media celebrities that are trying their hands at actor, you can tell because too many are not the most interesting to watch never hitting the notes we need them too.

StoryThe story tries to shine a light on the problems with social media as it shows us just how it has turned into a video snippet idea that is all about clickbait popularity that focuses on people doing stupid things. This does throw the spotlight on the pointless celebrity status people have gained through social media, from just doing stupid prank videos, while showing and failing in the most part on showing what it really was about, meeting and interacting with people you could never do that with in real-life about similar passions. This film has a wonderful message, though it fails to send it, it is frustrating to see.

ComedyThe comedy misses too often with it mostly coming around being stupid on camera.

SettingsThe film takes us around America to the highlighted areas where you would imagine these social media celebrities being around.


Scene of the Movie –
The speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Most of the social media stars.

Final ThoughtsThis is an unbearable comedy that gets the message wrong with poor acting from start to finish.

 

Overall: Should have gone to YouTube.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Horror – V – Dead End (2016) Movie Review

We are under V for the character Vijah in this film.

Director: Chris von Hoffmann

Writer: Chris von Hoffman, Aria Emory (Screenplay)

Starring: Aria Emory, Drew Harwood, Monique Rosario, James McCabe, Anthony Ficco, Rebecca Fraiser, Javier Gabriel

Plot: A pair of outlaw brothers seek temporary refuge in a desolate town inhabited by a small family of psychotic cannibalistic lunatics.


Tagline – Live in fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Aggressively Violent

Story: Dead End starts as a pair of brothers Miles (Emory) and Dominic (Harewood) and outlaws racing across the desert landscape in a world where a car is seen as a luxury item for the remaining survivors.

With Miles injured, the pair look for medical help which sees them stumble into a desolate town, where Vijah (Rosario) helps and warns them about the dangers in the town, with the leader Doyle (McCabe) having a much darker side than the brothers could imagine.

Thoughts on Dead End

Characters – Miles is the younger of the two brothers, he gets wounded in the opening scene, with his brother always bailing him out of trouble, he will need to learn to step up and fight back when needed or face becoming a victim to this world. Dominic is the older of the two, he will always fight to save his little brother, being a constant threat to anybody who messy with them, until this new town, where he meets his match after failing to following simple instructions. Vijah is the young woman that offers the brothers shelter and warns them about the danger in the town, she doesn’t want to be part of what happened there but is trapped there with no escape. Doyle runs the town, he is twisted man that uses his power to control a group of cannibals, who are always waiting for their latest victims.

PerformancesWhen it comes to the performances, Drew Harwood is strongest in the film, he shows the strong figure he is meant to be and how stubborn his character is meant to be, while Aria Emory is meant to be playing the more innocent, he does work well in this role for the film. Monique Rosario is strong too, without getting too much outside the box to do, while James McCabe does bring the sinister nature of his character to life.

StoryThe story follows two brothers in a post-apocalyptic world where cars are worth killing for as are supplies of any sort, they find themselves in a desolate town where they must try and survive the locals who are cannibalistic lunatics. This story does try to borrow from films like Mad Max and Book of Eli, only it doesn’t offer enough when it comes to the bigger questions of just what is going on, what has put the world in this situation or is this just a random desert town, is it even a post-apocalyptic world or not, these are big questions that are not answered here. When it comes to the actual showdown, things just seem to focus on trying to be edgy rather than telling a proper story, with parts of this feeling like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, while not having the guts to push things to the next level. It is by the book to say the least at plays on trying to be more violent that it needs to be.

Crime/HorrorThe crime and horror elements of the film mix together, because we see what are meant to be outlaws, (Still not sure if they were) being targeted by cannibals who don’t seem to have a stop button when it comes to their violence.

SettingsThe film does create the open and abandoned feel the world is meant to be in, which does show how hopeless some of the characters are left to feel during the film.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects, we are mostly focused on the wounds the characters suffer, which does look as brutal as it is meant to, though it could have been a lot worse for the audience.


Scene of the Movie – Dominic meets his match.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Borrows from too many movies, without making anything original when it comes to the concepts borrowed.

Final Thoughts This is a violent aggressive movie that wants to show more chaos than giving us an actual story, we are left to just wait for the next violent moment to happen, while borrowing scenes from bigger and better films.

Overall: Dead End, More like Dead on Arrival.