ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – V – Vice (2018)

Director: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay (Screenplay)

Starring: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Tyler Perry, Jesse Plemons


Plot: The story of Dick Cheney, an unassuming bureaucratic Washington insider, who quietly wielded immense power as Vice President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today.

Tagline – The Untold True Story That Changed the Course of History

Runtime: 2 Hours 12 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Hugely Entertaining Biopic


Story: Vice starts in the 1960’s as Dick Cheney (Bale) is about to screw up his life with DUI after getting kicked out Yale, his wife Lynne (Adams) isn’t going to let him screw up her ambition to be involved in politics, a role a woman wouldn’t be able to do in this era. Dick sorts his life out and before long he is learning of Donald Rumsfeld (Carell) and after the Watergate scandal, he ends up landing the Chief of Staff role.

It isn’t long before this role disappears and Dick must rebuild his career, becoming a senator before the chair of the house, his political power is growing and when he meets George W Bush (Rockwell) he will get to a position he could never have imagined.


Thoughts on Vice


Characters – These characters are based on real people, only loosely though. Dick Cheney was involved in politics from the late 60s under President Nixon, until George W Bush, he took many different roles through the years, but it was his ability to stay out of the public eyes that made him one of the most powerful men in the history of America. Lynne is the wife of Dick, she pushes him into the political career, knowing it is something she would never be allowed to do. Once in his career, she supports him on every decision he makes. Donald Rumsfeld gives Dick his first chance in politics in the white house, the two do work together through the years as Donald sees just how blunt Dick has become. George W Bush is painted to be the President that can be controlled by Dick, put in a place of power which he simply isn’t ready for, he does pick Dick to be his Vice President though.

PerformancesChristian Bale is truly fantastic in this leading role, the transformation he goes through, from his almost natural look to the old bigger Dick Cheney is unbelievable and you can see why he will be up for most of the awards.  Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell in supporting roles are all wonderful and completely embrace their characters.

StoryThe story follows the life and times of Dick Cheney from his early political run, to his many different roles before being talked out of retirement to become Vice President to George W Bush. This story is told to show the many different accomplishments Dick Cheney had in life, whether he did the right thing in different roles is a different question. We might jump over a couple of issues, but we are mainly here to focus on the Vice Presidency role which is the one he will always be remembered for, this is one that will leave you surprised and not hating the guy as much as you think you will going into the film, which does feel strange. If anything, this will show us just how important moments in history will be when you look back on them.

Biopic/Comedy/HistoryDick Cheney is one of the most ambition men in American political history, this gets to show us just how far he went for his role and how much control he was able to take with little effort. This is told in a comedic tone which does work for the film, mostly because you can’t believe just what he got away with in these roles.

SettingsThe film shows us the different locations that Dick Cheney was in during different times of his life, the film uses them to make each be realistic no matter what was going on.

Scene of the Movie –
The mid film credits.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are skipped over even if we get an introduction to certain roles.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most entertaining biopics of the year, you will want to watch each moment even if he isn’t the best man to be involved in human history, a place where people will look back at his actions with shock.


Overall: Must watch biopic.





Get Hard (2015)

get hardDirector: Etan Cohen

Writer: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Etan Cohen (Screenplay) Adam McKay, Jay Martel, Ian Roberts (Story)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Craig T Nelson, Alison Brie, Edwina Findley Dickerson, Ariana Neal


Plot: When millionaire James King is jailed for fraud and bound for San Quentin, he turns to Darnell Lewis to prep him to go behind bars.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Good Odd Couple Comedy


Story: Get Hard starts as we meet the rich James King (Ferrell) and his demanded fiancée Alissa (Brie) and struggling to make ends meet Darnell (Hart) who works a professional job running his own business where he wants to make enough money give his family a good life with house and his daughter having a good education. We see the complete clash between James who has been handed everything in his life and Darnell who has worked every day just to get enough money.

Once James gets arrested and sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security prison his life starts to fall apart he turns to Darnell to teach him how he will survive in prison for the $30,000 needed to purchase the house. The problem comes as Darnell is a good man with no knowledge of surviving in prison.

Get Hard is a comedy that really works in the odd ball comedy as we see a rich man having to learn how to make it in prison rather than spending his time clearing his name. this is something I didn’t understand, because he knows he is innocent but doesn’t even bother to find a way to prove it.  Knowing this we do wonder why we only focus on the training when we know other things are going on. For a comedy the story is fine but otherwise this feels slightly flat.


Actor Review


Will Ferrell: James King is an investment banker who gets framed for fraud, he is sent to prison for 10 years but has 30 days to put everything together. He hired his car cleaner Darnell to teach him how to survive prison. James is your typical rich man who doesn’t understand who he steps on getting to the top. Will uses his comedy skills to make this work.james

Kevin Hart: Darnell is a hard working manager at a car cleaning business, he works every day to make ends meet for his family as he struggles to move his family to a better neighbourhood. When James King turns to him to train him about prison he has to pretend his has been in prison to get the money that will pay for his family’s future. Kevin continues to help his comedy reputation in films giving a good performance in this role.darnell

Craig T Nelson: Martin is the soon to be father-in-law to James who also happens to be his boss at the company. His offers to help find out the truth about who caused the fraud. Craig is solid in this role but we don’t see him enough.

Alison Brie: Alissa is the fiancée of James who dumps his pretty quickly after he gets arrested and we barely see her again in the film. Alison really doesn’t get the screen time need in the role.

Support Cast: Get Hard has a supporting cast that all work with the final story helping the moments get extra comedy throughout.

Director Review: Etan CohenEtan gives us a good comedy even if the story comes off strange when you think about it.


Comedy: Get Hard has good comedy moments throughout even if there are a lot of racial jokes.

Crime: Get Hard has had a fraud crime going on but that is the only crime side to the story.

Chemistry: Get Hard gives Ferrell and Hart a chance to show their chemistry really well.

Settings: Get Hard uses the settings to show the different classes between the two characters.
: Get Hard is one for the comedy fans to try out if you love Ferrell and Hart this is for you. (Try It)


Best Part: Ferrell and Hart work really well together.

Worst Part: Not enough of the actual crime committed.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $90 Million

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Sometimes you need a hand to get hard.

Trivia: This movie is filmed in New Orleans at a golf course, a mansion in Metairie, a prison, and the Ninth Ward.


Overall: Solid comedy that shows a new comedy partnership to take seriously.


Oscar Season Challenge – The Big Short (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.big shortDirector: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay, Charles Randolph (Screenplay) Michael Lewis (Book)

Starring: Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Rafe Spall, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo, Karen Gillan, Marisa Tomei


Plot: Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Comes Up Short


Story: The Big Short starts as Jared Vennett (Gosling) explains the how banking became the biggest industry in America until it all came crashing down in 2008. We go onto meet the few people that predicted this collapse Michael Burry (Bale) who makes a drastic step to invest against the housing bonds, Jared is has jumped on the bandwagon who tries to sell the idea to investor Mark Baum (Carell). When two young upstarts learn of the potential collapse they discuss it with former experienced banker Ben Rickert (Pitt).

We watch how Michael has to deal with his investors questioning his idea and Mark trying to expose all the fraud going on within America. Ben and his young bankers struggle to uncover what is really going on as they look like they will be losing all the money that put into this scheme.

The Big Short is a story that comes off important but is about an extremely boring subject. The story bounces between the character leaving us feeling confused about what each one is doing even when we get the characters talking to us the audience about what is happening it feels like they are just talking to us in a condescending manor. I do understand this one of the more important part of recent history but it is told in a way where we only seeing investor side rather than any of the victims of the story.


Actor Review


Christian Bale: Michael Burry is the mathematician who learns about this collapse in the future, he investors nearly all of his company’s money in capitalising on this happening as rumours start to circulate once he starts making his first moves. He is difficult to work with but know his stuff. Christian is great in this role with most of his scenes in one location.michael

Steve Carell: Mark Baum is an investor that suffered a personal tragedy but when his team learn what Jared is doing they want in as they investigate what is happening even if they start by losing money. Steve shows yet again that he can do serious roles with his great performance.mark

Ryan Gosling: Jared Vennett hears about what Michael was doing before jumping in on the idea, he sells the idea to Mark and others while trying to continue to make money himself. Ryan is good in this role without really getting enough screen time.jared

Brad Pitt: Ben Rickert is a retired banker that gets talked into helping to young bankers expose this scheme, he hates banking and the affects it has on people’s lives but believes he is helping show a real cause. Brad is good in this support role.

Support Cast: The Big Short has a massive supporting cast that all do well in the role.

Director Review: Adam McKayAdam steps out of his comfort zone of comedy to handle an interesting story, but doesn’t give us enough to make this an easy watch.


Biographical: The Big Short shows how the bankers and investors dealt with the bank crash.

Settings: The Big Short uses a mix of settings which sometimes works but other times ends up getting mixed up.
: The Big Short is only one to try because I feel people will get lost trying to keep up with. (Try It)


Best Part: The performances are great.

Worst Part: The story is hard to keep up with.


Believability: Based on the real events involved.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for 4 Golden Globes

Oscar Chances: Could get some nods.

Budget: $28 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 11 Minutes

Tagline: This is a true story


Overall: Difficult to follow but great performances.



Ant-Man (2015)

logoDirector: Peyton Reed

Writer: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby (Comic Book)

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Pena

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Small Soldiers Marvel Edition

Story: Ant-Man starts Scott Lang (Rudd) getting released from prison being picked up his old cell mate Luis (Pena). We see Scott wanting to go straight but is being pushed into the life of crime. Dr Hank Pym (Douglas) returns to his job to everyone’s surprise, he works with his daughter Hope van Dyne (Lilly) who has returned to learn that Darren Cross (Stoll) has bought his old weapon back to life. Darren has continued the research and developed Yellowjacket.

While Darren is trying to get his Yellowjacket project green lit we follow Scott as he makes the decision to do one job to get a chance to see his daughter again. The job involves stealing from Hank and Scott gets more than he bargained for when he puts on the Ant-Man costume.

Hank actually arranged that Scott steal the Ant-Man suit so he could use him to be the next Ant-Man. The plan is to stop Darren Cross using the technology because Hank does know the side effects of what will happen if the wrong person uses the suit.

Ant-Man is the alternative version of the superhero film with the anti-hero coming through this time. A lot of the story feel very similar to the Iron Man origin story and by the end of the film you feel this is the weakest link in the Marvel universe because it just feels slow and them trying to force another hero into a world crying for a villain. Mainly because I am tired of the Marvel world I found this disappointing. (4/10)

Actor Review

Paul Rudd: Scott Lang/Ant-Man is the criminal who is struggling with a fresh start in life but when he gets a chance to steal something it turns out to be the Ant-Man suit. He ends up having to be taught how to use the suit to stop the yellowjacket project. Paul does a solid job but I just didn’t get sucked into his performance. (5/10)antman

Michael Douglas: Dr Hank Pym is the creator of the Ant-Man suit who wants to stop his former protégé from stealing his ideas and becoming a danger on the Earth. Michael does well in the mentor role but isn’t the highlight of the film. (5/10)hank

Evangeline Lilly: Hope van Dyne is the daughter of Hank who is on the board of the company she wants to bring her father back into the company but knows she will have to defeat Darren before that can happen. Evangeline plays the woman in power but is kind of not involved enough. (5/10)hope

Corey Stoll: Darren Cross/Yellowjacket is the former protege of Hank who is now running the company, he has the next idea planned which will bring Hank’s technology to the world that isn’t ready for it. Corey plays the very basic villain offering nothing new to the role. (5/10)darren

Support Cast: Ant-Man has plenty of comic relief and a good cameo from Falcon but otherwise it isn’t much.

Director Review: Peyton ReedPeyton gives us a very basic superhero film that will easily be forgotten in a few years. (5/10)

Action: Ant-Man has action that is slightly comical but basic fighting we have seen before. (6/10)

Sci-Fi: Ant-Man uses the sci-fi technology to create everything going on which does work for the style of the film. (8/10)

Settings: Ant-Man uses basic corporate building locations or rich guys mansion. (5/10)
Special Effects: Ant-Man has very good effects to create the Ant-Man character and the ants. (9/10)

Suggestion: Ant-Man is one to see if you love a Marvel film but if you are finding them getting boring you can easily skip this one. (Marvel Fans Watch)

Best Part: Teasing future ideas.

Worst Part: We have seen it all before.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle

Funniest Scene: Final Battle

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: Yes

Similar Too: Most Marvel films

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $130 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: This July, heroes don’t come any bigger.

Overall: Basic superhero origin story because we haven’t seen them in a while

Rating 50

The Other Guys (2010)

logoDirector: Adam McKay

Writer: Adam McKay, Chris Henchy (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Ray Stevenson, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Steve Coogan


Plot: Terry Hoitz’s past mistakes in the line of duty and Allen Gamble’s reluctance to take risks have landed them the roles of the “Other Guys”, disgraced New York City police detectives relegated to filling out paperwork for cocky hero cops Danson and Highsmith. The mismatched duo must look past their differences when they take on a high-profile investigation of shady capitalist David Ershon and attempt to fill the shoes of the notoriously reckless officers they idolize.


Verdict: Solid Action Comedy


Story: It has been a while since we have seen a half decent buddy cop film and this offers a chance to bring it back to life. It follows the basic very well, with the odd couple going against orders of the captain to complete a case they have no business in. we have the overseas villain who is always smooth before losing patience. It has a new laughs for the genre but we have seen it all before, the glue for this film is the complete opposites Ferrell and Wahlberg other. (7/10)


Actor Review


Will Ferrell: Allen Gamble the account management officer who doesn’t want to take a chance on a real case. He has a past which caused him to be this way, but once the animal is released no one should get in his way. Good performance from Ferrell using his straight faced comedy which is easily his strongest. (8/10)


Mark Wahlberg: Terry Hoitz the angry cop who has been stuck in an office job because of an accidental shooting. He just wants to break out but Allen holds him back, but once they are on the case they show their potential. Good performance showing that Mark can do comedy with his tough guy persona. (8/10)


Eva Mendes: Sheila Allen’s wife who he is lucky to have, but like all woman find Allen attractive much too Terry’s confusion. Good supporting character but not enough screen time. (6/10)


Steve Coogan: David Ershon the man behind the crime which is leaving multiple people after him because of the money he has taken from them. Good performance from Coogan who has never quite made it in America. (7/10)


Michael Keaton: Captain Gene Mauch who tries to keep everything together but due to his second job he doesn’t take the chances the cops would like to take, but he always looks out for his team. Good performance with some increased chuckles because of his accidently song references.(7/10)


Ray Stevenson: Roger the man with the gun who is trying to keep David away from the cops to make sure his boss gets their money. Good performance in the villainous role. (7/10)


Samuel L. Jackson: P.K. Highsmith part of the popular partnership who cause all sorts of damage to the city to stop the smallest crimes before their egos get the better of them. Good small performance who gets some good laughs. (7/10)


Director Review: Adam McKay – Good direction to re-create the buddy cop genre to appeal to the new audience. (8/10)


Action: The film focuses more on the comedy than the action which works well. (6/10)

Comedy: Top comedy with plenty of what look like awkward conversations between everyone and funny moments and references. (9/10)

Settings: New York always makes a good place to have a cop film. (7/10)

Suggestion: I do think you will need to be a fan of the stars to enjoy this, it is them who carry the film rather than the story. (Try It)


Best Part: The explosion reaction.

Worst Part: Not the most original.

Action Scene Of The Film: Car chase through New York in a Prius.

Funniest Scene: Highsmith and Danson good bye scene.

Favourite Quote: The Tuna and Lion Talk.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Could have one.


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $170 Million

Budget: $100 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes


Overall: Good Buddy Cop Film

Rating 79