Keanu (2016)

Director: Peter Atencio

Writer: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens (Screenplay)

Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: When an L.A. drug kingpin’s kitten unexpectedly enters the life of two cousins, they will have to go through gangs, hitmen and drug dealers who claim him in order to get him back.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Comedy

 

Story: Keanu starts when down on his luck Rell (Peele) finds a kitten on his doorstep he names it Keanu. His cousin Clarence (Key) arrives to try and help cheer him up the two find themselves needing to go into a world they are not used to after Keanu is taken from Rell’s apartment.

The two must take their suburban backgrounds and hide them from the drug kingpin Cheddar (Method Man) who recruits them to sell his product and show the rest of his dealers how to get the deal done, all just to get Keanu back.

 

Thoughts on Keanu

 

Characters/PerformanceRell is the heartbroken stoner that hasn’t achieved much in his life, he life is turned around by the kitten Keanu but when Keanu is taken he finds himself needing to use what knowledge he has to survive the drug scene. Clarence is the married cousin who is known for being safe, he finds a new personality within himself as he works with his cousin to rescue Keanu. Hi-C is one of the dealers that Rell and Clarence must teach how to be heartless when dealing with clients. Cheddar is the drug kingpin that has the cat, he is ruthless and impressed by the guts the two have.

Performance wise, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key show the chemistry their television is known for, but as I have never seen that I could see just how capable this pairing could be. Tiffany Haddish is good throughout as well as method Man and all the cameos going on through the film.

StoryThe story follows to outsiders of a drug world that find themselves in the middle of a drug war trying to rescue a cat, this all works for the comedy of the film as we see how different worlds collide to teach each other life lessons.

Action/Comedy The action side of the film is all what we know without being overly risky and in parts does add to the comedy. The comedy is the highlight here with the well placed jokes not taking over the film which is important for any comedy.

SettingsThe settings is mostly LA which we see the different worlds the characters come from to learn and teach the characters through the film.

Final ThoughtsOne of the good comedies of recent years and one everyone could enjoy.

 

Overall: Great comedy and one of the best in recent years.

Rating

 

 

Casey Affleck Weekend – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

manchesterDirector: Kenneth Lonergan

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay)

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, CJ Wilson, Tata Donovan, Matthew Broderick, Gretchen Mol, Heather Burns, Stephen Henderson

 

Plot: An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Casey Affleck’s Powerhouse Performance

 

Story: Manchester by the Sea starts as we meet Lee Chandler (Affleck) handyman for apartment complexes. He lives a very isolated life that he is happy with but when he gets a phone call he needs to leave town after his brother Joe (Chandler) suffers a heart attack.

Lee needs to return to Manchester to tell Patrick (Hedges) what has happened to his father but returning to Manchester means memories of his ex-wife Randi (Williams) and daughters Suzy (Dixon) and Karen.

Lee’s life is turned upside when he learns Joe’s will leaves him as the guardian to Patrick with enough money to re-locate in Manchester the town he had left all those years ago, Lee must figure out what to do and what is best for Patrick.

 

Thoughts on Manchester by the Sea

 

StoryThe story is a simple follow showing how one man must face his past to help his family, a past he never wanted to go back to. This comes off like an everyday family having to deal with what happened which is great to see because we support them through their struggles. This is a story you will need to be in the right frame of mind to see but if you do you will be rewarded.

Characters/PerformanceLee is such a brilliant character who has his own demons while having to face a new life with his nephew, he keeps to himself to himself but facing these demons on poses a challenge in his life. Patrick is a teenager who does think he is better than the other students and hates his Uncle but is mostly reacting to what has happened with his father. The rest of the characters are all part of the past and present of these two. Casey Affleck does give a career best performance that is so withdrawn from the world the other characters are living, while Lucas Hedges shines next to Affleck with ease. All the other performances are great throughout.

SettingsThe settings in this film make you fully believe that this is just a normal family that has been struggling with problems in everyday life which is very important through this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the hardest watches of the year, the story is not going to be for everyone. I will be saying you should be watching if you are a film lover.

 

Overall: Outstanding drama that keeps everything very simple for the characters involved with a powerhouse performance.

Rating90

 

 

Una (2016)

Director: Benedict Andrews

Writer: David Harrower (Screenplay)

Starring: Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn, Tara Fitzgerald, Riz Ahmed

 

Plot: A woman confronts an older man, her former neighbour, to find out why he abandoned her after they had a sexual relationship when she was thirteen.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hard to Watch Drama

 

Story: Una starts as we meet Una (Mara) a young woman with a troubled past after she was sexually abused at the age of 13. Una goes in search for the man Ray, now going by the name Peter (Mendelsohn) to learn why he did what he did. We get flashbacks showing the relationship between a young Una (Stokes) and Ray which started as friendship before it went too far, landing Ray in prison.

We follow how both Una and Ray have spent years dealing with the consequences of that moment, Ray believing he wasn’t a paedophile but branded one so much so that he had to get a new name and town, Una looks to get the closure she never received as a child and this night of conversation look like it will offer that.

 

Thoughts on Una

 

Characters – Una is the once sexually abused teenager but has spent the next 15-years wondering why, waiting for the chance to speak to the man again, we see how to confronts him to explain her feelings while dealing with the lack of closure she ever had with him. Ray was the man that sexual abused Una when she was 13, he served his time and started a new life with a new name, he also believes nothing was truly wrong with what he did.

PerformanceRooney Mara does give us an emotionally driven performance throughout the film, Ben Mendelsohn is great throughout showing us a true outline of a men living with regret.

StoryThe story does cover a taboo subject, sexual interaction between a minor and an adult, it plays along the idea that not everything is about the idea whether it was right or wrong but what the people involved must deal with later in life if it was just an encounter over abuse. There will be the questions asked about whether it was or wasn’t abuse but that will also be asked through the film otherwise this is a story that focuses on the victim not living a health life, the adult needing to rebuild his life and keep it together when the truth comes around. This is a slow burning story and isn’t going to be with the light hearted due to the sensitive subject but does show us the important message.

SettingsThe low key settings show us this could be everyday life for the people involved which is the highlight, as it never over victimises anyone.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Breaking all the safety rules but not wearing hi-vis vests in a warehouse with forklifts operating.

Final ThoughtsThis is going to be a hard watch for many, mostly because of the subject matter. Away from this it also could play an important part to life looking at how the victims could be effected by anything that happens to them.

 

Overall: Important but slow drama.

Rating

 

 

Sleight (2016)

Director: J.D. Dillard

Writer: J.D. Dillard, Alex Theurer (Screenplay)

Starring: Jacob Latimore, Seychelle Gabriel, Dule Hill, Storm Reid, Sasheer Zamata, Michael Villar, Brandon Johnson, Cameron Esposito

 

Plot: A young street magician (Jacob Latimore) is left to care for his little sister after their parents passing, and turns to illegal activities to keep a roof over their heads. When he gets in too deep, his sister is kidnapped, and he is forced to use his magic and brilliant mind to save her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Throughout

 

Story: Sleight starts as we follow young street magician Bo (Latimore), Bo looks after his little sister Tina (Reid) after their mother has died. At night to make money he is a drug dealer for Angelo (Hill) and he uses all his tricks to stay one step ahead of people.

When Bo gets to see the darker side of the drug dealing game as he learns just how territorial Angelo is, forcing him into actions he would never imagine even though this is the only option for him to make enough money to give his sister the future he wants for her. We are left to see is Bo can get himself out of this world before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Sleight

 

Characters – Bo is a young street magician, he takes care of his little sister the best he can which means he has become a drug dealer on the side, but when he starts to look for a way out he only finds himself needing to use all his skills to leave the world. Holly is the new girlfriend that walks into Bo’s life, she offers him support through the difficult decision he finds himself in. Angelo is the drug kingpin in the city that Bo works for, he starts off being a friend or father figure for Bo but he soon shows he darker side when it comes to people crossing him.

PerformanceJacob Latimore is great in this leading role, we manage to understand every emotion he finds himself needing to go through during the movie, Seychelle Gabriel is a good in the supporting role but you do feel in places we could have more from the character, Dule Hill is an actor I only know from comedy most Psych, but he shows he can pull off serious in this film being a threat you didn’t see coming.

StoryWe have seen the story of an innocent kid/young man falling into the drug dealing world before, but not many films have shown us a character in Bo that had little choice, while the consequences he faces are only he own doing. Part of myself wonders why he went on with his decision because he seems like he is making the money to make ends meet and follow his magician dreams too. While I do enjoy where this film went I did kind of wish we would see more from the magician side of everything.

Action/Sci-FiThe action side of the film does come from anything on the drug dealing side of the story, while the sci-fi comes from the magic and how it is all achieved.

SettingsLA makes for a wonderful setting to show us just how easy it could be to get caught up in a drug circle, he may not be using but he is selling and dealing with the consequences involved.

Scene of the Movie – Getting Tina back.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It feels like he didn’t need to do what he did to cause everything.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good look at the drug world people can be dragged into, it shows us responsibility that Bo needed to face and most importantly how far people will go for an art form.

 

Overall: Enjoyable movie well worth watching.

Rating

 

 

The Boss (2016)

Director: Ben Falcone

Writer: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Steve Mallory (Screenplay)

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Ella Anderson, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates

 

Plot: A titan of industry is sent to prison after she’s caught insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America’s latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mixed up Comedy

 

Story: The Boss starts as we see how Michelle Darnell (McCarthy) who has become one of the most powerful businesswoman who is self-centred and builds by stepping over the people including her business rival Renault (Dinklage). Michelle’s power is shattered when she is arrested for insider trading and spending 5 months in a luxury jail.

Once released from prison Michelle learns all her assets have been seized and the only person from her old life that will give her any time is her former assistant Claire (Bell). Michelle comes up with the idea of using Claire’s cooking ability to build her own cookie company working with Claire and her daughter Rachel (Anderson).

 

Thoughts on The Boss

 

Characters/PerformanceMichelle is a powerful businesswoman that loses her power after being be convicted of insider trader. She wants to rebuild her empire but must deal with her former business associates have turned against her. This character does become annoying very quickly and doesn’t fit between the ruthless businesswoman or the joke turning lady, we only needed one of these characteristics. Claire is the hard working assistant of Michelle that is the only one that would take Michelle in but her responsibilities to her daughter means she isn’t taken the risks Michelle can afford. Renault is the business rival and former lover of Michelle’s, he wants to see her crash and burn on every business venture.

Performance wise, Melissa McCarthy continues to play characters that just don’t seem to fit the film needed, we don’t need her to go this over the top for a story with meaning. Kristen Bell is good in her role knowing how to play this type of character well. Dinklage gets to have a lot of fun playing his role which can be over the top because of the rivalry created.

StoryThe story itself is about a ruthless businesswoman that steps on everyone who must go on a redemption story, this is all fine, it is the wildly over the top, jokes that make no sense to the context of the story that makes this all fall flat on its face.

ComedyThe comedy is weak, very weak throughout most of it just comes off awkward at times too.

SettingsThe settings are simple and show the different business world for Michelle to go through.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that doesn’t manage to send over the correct message and just turns a failed attempt to make McCarthy funny.

 

Overall: Lazy comedy.

Rating