The Secret Life of Pets (2016)

secretDirector: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, Simon Rich (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Louis C.K. Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Albert Brooks, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey

 

Plot: The quiet life of a terrier named Max is upended when his owner takes in Duke, a stray whom Max instantly dislikes.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Animated Comedy

 

Story: The Secret Life of Pets starts as we meet Max who life is all about being with his owner Katie who live in New York and have an amazing bond in his eyes but he struggles to deal with her leaving for work every day. With Max living in an apartment he has a neighbour in Gidget and well a host of other pets who get left while their owners go to daily routines.

Max’s life is turned upside down when Katie brings a new dog home Duke who throws Max’s perfect little world out the window as he is no longer the alpha of the apartment.

When the rivalry between Max and Duke reaches new levels, they find themselves taken to the pound only to be saved by Snowball a bunny who leads a gang of abandoned pets. While back home Gidget leads the party to of other pets from the building to look and save Max before their owners come home.

 

Thoughts on The Secret Life of Pets

 

StoryThe story going on here is something that is very much for kids to enjoy, we get a deeper meaning of that pets are for life but this doesn’t become the main part of the story which is disappointing. The adventure the characters goes on feels like it could just be a one off television special gone mad if I am to be honest and borrows so much for more established movies out there.

Animation/Comedy/FamilyWhen it comes to animation it is all good but you have come to expect that from animated film now. The comedy is nearly all slapstick and barely comes off while I do feel the whole family wouldn’t enjoy this as it would be more suitable for just the kids out there.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all painfully stereotypes you would think when you see the animals involved which in the end shows the writers just don’t seem to have had animals in their own lives, the voice overs all for the character they are playing by not having the biggest names behind the characters.

SettingsThe film uses New York as the setting which is a scary place for people but just think what it would be like for the animals living there, that is captured in this film well.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very kid friendly film that just doesn’t hit all the marks it should for the potential it had while it ends up being just a slack lazy story telling we have seen before.

 

Overall: Plain average kid film that just isn’t that special.

Ratingcard

 

 

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Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle

 

Plot: A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, while attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic, Maybe Not?

 

Story: Taxi Driver starts we meet Travis Bickle (De Niro) a war veteran struggling with sleep and finding peace in night shifts as a taxi driver as he becomes fascinated by campaigner Betsy (Shepherd). Travis also isn’t happy with the state of New York City and wants to see it cleaned up.

When Travis decides to get himself protection he starts to look to clean up the streets himself to protect a preadolescent prostitute Iris (Foster) which leads to the violent outbreak of his.

 

Thoughts on Taxi Driver

 

Characters – Travis Bickle is the lonely unstable former marine that is suffering from insomnia deciding to take a job as a taxi driver at night, he wants to clean up the street and his anti-social behaviour makes his isolation become a violent outrage against the city. Iris is an underage prostitute in the city that keeps crossing paths with Travis and is the one that Travis most wants to protect. Betsy is the love interest of Travis, well the woman he takes out twice only to show us how difficult he finds it to socialise.

PerformanceRobert De Niro does carry this film with a performance that could be the best of his career. Jodie Foster is brilliant in her role where she shows how talented she was at a young age. The rest of the cast are good throughout the film as De Niro works with them all.

StoryThe story here looks into loneliness in the Big Apple, a man that doesn’t fit in and wants to clean up the streets which he believes are not going the way he believes he should. We look at the underworld of prostitution and see the colourful characters that come out at night but in the end it just feels like a study of New York itself.

CrimeThe crime underworld being shown in this film is good as we see one man want to clean up the streets in his own way.

SettingsNew York is a setting I always love seeing used for settings and in this film we get to see the darker side of the Big Apple.

Scene of the Movie – You Talkin to Me?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact the film has been put on the all time greats list.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film I have only ever heard wonderful things about and sure the acting is fantastic throughout, the idea of a man feeling like he needs to clean up his neighbourhood is good to but when you look at the full picture it mostly just feels slow and dated in the storytelling process which spends over an hour building in one direction only to head off into another one for the second half of the film.

 

Overall: Brilliant acting, but storytelling leaves questions marks.

Rating

 

 

Broadcast News (1987)

Director: James L Brooks

Writer: James L Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Robert Prosky, Lois Chiles, Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson

 

Plot: Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly.


Tagline – It’s the story of their lives.

Runtime: 2 Hours 13 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Throughout

 

Story: Broadcast News starts as we follow the younger versions of Tom, Aaron and Jane who all go onto become members of the broadcast news team, Jane (Hunter) is the hungry ambitious producer who wants to make real news, Aaron (Brooks) has worked hard to become a reporter, while Tom (Hurt) has stumbled his way up the ladder to become a new anchor for Jane’s team, his looks have helped him get the TV time but he does want to better himself and has never been satisfied by getting positions solely on his looks.

As Tom continues to grab the attention his nature draws Jane much like most of the women in his life, while Aaron is looking for his chance knowing he has the stronger knowledge to be one that gets an anchor shot. In the end we see how a broadcast news station is run with its moments of chaos and calm.

 

Thoughts on Broadcast News

 

Characters – Tom is the handsome man that’s looks have gotten him the jobs through the years, this isn’t to his liking as he wants to be taken seriously, but no one seems to give him the time to learn to improve. Aaron is the hard-working member of the team, he wants to be the anchor but loses out to Tom, his reporting skills are top level but once he jealous rises he must express his own feelings for Jane before losing everything he loves. Jane is the producer of the news, she is excellent at her job and knowing how to get the best story but her new attraction for Tom questions everything she stands for.

PerformancesWilliam Hurt, Albert Brooks and Holly Hunter all received Oscar nomination for their roles and you can see why, they are all great throughout the film showing they can play a full range of emotions needed for the world they are in.

StoryThe story follows the crew of the broadcast news team, the three characters we follow are ambitious but to achieve what they want they will need to step over each other, while we never see the rivalry between them or any type of sabotage it does show us how the world can be designed with image. This story shows us the hectic world of the news and the relationships between the people involved.

Comedy/RomanceThere are moments of comedy in this romantic film but neither the sides of the genre become too apparent in the way the storyline unfolds.

SettingsMost of the film is set inside the studio as we see how the lives and relationship collide in the busy world.


Scene of the Movie –
Teaching Aaron.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The last scene with Tom.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look into the world of broadcast news in the late 80s it shows the chaos behind the scenes, the relationship between the people and the struggle to become a success.

 

Overall: Great look at broadcast news.

Rating

 

 

Finding Dory (2016)

doryDirector: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane

Writer: Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West

 

Plot: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish begins a search for her long-lost parents, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Finding Snory

 

Story: Finding Dory starts as we learn how Dory lost her parents and was spending her whole life searching for them before bumping into Marlin. We move onto after the Finding nemo where Dory gets a new desire to find her family once more.

Dory wants to travel across the ocean and is joined by Marlin and Nemo where Dory gets taken to a fish hospital. Dory has to work with octopus Hank while inside the hospital to find her parents while Marlin and Nemo as we get flashbacks from her childhood.

Finding Dory is the sequel to the much loved Finding Nemo but this time we have to find Dory as she looks for her family in a fish hospital. Yeah so this has no adventure and ends up feeling a lot like a rip off of Toy Story 2 by having one character finding their own identity with new supporting characters and the other hero needed to go searching for them. I know this all sounds harsh but we expect brilliance from Pixar and this is sadly just another cash grab sequel where there wasn’t really a sequel lined up.

 

Characters Review

 

Dory: Dory wants to continue her journey of finding her family which means to has to go on her own adventure across the ocean along with Marlin and Nemo. She finds new friends in her search as well as old one but most importantly she gets that chance to final see her parents again. Dory is the character we know from the first outing but in this one it runs as a routine of comedy lines.

Marlin: Marlin is as reluctant as always to travel across the ocean but he knows Dory helped him so this time he goes on this adventure. Marlin is pretty much the same as before always worrying about what is happening.

Hank: Hank is the octopus who is afraid of the ocean and wants to go to an exhibit to live out his life but to do this he has to work with Dory through the fish hospital. He has the similarities to the wiser characters from the tank nemo was in during the first one. Hank is a good addition to this cast being the resistant member of the cast.

Destiny: Destiny is a whale shark that was a childhood friend of Dory as they used to speak through the pipes. Destiny has good banter with Bailey in her next door enclosure. Destiny is what you would have to call a typical supporting character that gets a few laughs and is important to the final outcome.

Support Characters: Finding Dory has a new set of supporting characters who all come off well without being truly memorable.

Director Review: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLaneThe directors give us a standard sequel to the much loved Finding Nemo that just doesn’t hit the highs of the first one.

 

Adventure: Finding Dory losses part of the true adventure with nearly all the film being in the fish hospital rather than the open ocean.

Animation: Finding Dory has the high quality animation you would expect from Pixar.

Comedy: Finding Dory has a few laughs but never turns into a full comedy with most just being Ellen trying quick wit jokes.

Family: Finding Dory is one you can take the whole family to enjoy without it being the most memorable.

Settings: Finding Dory keeps nearly all of the action within the fish hospital where we get to see the range of fish their and people visiting them.
Suggestion
: Finding Dory is one to take the family see but if being honest you might as well just stick to Finding Nemo. (Stick to Finding Nemo)

 

Best Part: Hank is funny addition.

Worst Part: Lacks that true adventure the first one had.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Will get an Animated nod.

Budget: $200 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: An unforgettable journey she probably won’t remember.

 

Overall: Sequel that just doesn’t hit the marks of the original.

Ratingcard

 

 

Concussion (2015)

concussionDirector: Peter Landesman

Writer: Peter Landesman (Screenplay) Jeanne Marie Laskas (Article)

Starring: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Arliss Howard, Mike O’Malley, Eddie Marsan, Hill Harper, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Stephen Moyer, Luke Wilson

 

Plot: In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Event Changing Film

 

Story: Concussion starts as we meet Nigerian Doctor Bennet Omalu (Smith) a pathologist who has a slow method when he examines the dead, his boss Dr Cyril Wecht (Brooks) wants him to become more traditional quicker. We meet former NFL star Mike Webster (Morse) who has been struggling since retiring as have his team mate Justin.

As Bennet opens his doors to Prema (Mbatha-Raw) a successful African looking for a start in America, we see how Mike is falling further into a mess as his Dr Julian Bailes (Baldwin) is running out of ideas before he finally dies. Bennet is assigned to figure out why this once hero has died to give the how state a final answer to what happened. What he learns could change sports from a medical stand point forever.

Concussion shows how one sport can cause so many issues later in their life. We get to see how a neutral was the one person that was willing to push the limits against the NFL. We get to see how to see how the players are getting ill moments before their deaths. We don’t get into the NFL side enough as we only focus on Bennet’s story which is slightly disappointing. This is an important story because it shows yet another cover up in America

 

Actor Review

 

Will Smith: Dr Bennet Omalu is the Nigerian pathologist living and working in America, when one of his town’s favourite players dies he is assigned to examine the body, while examining the body he learns about the brain damage the NFL players are suffering from which could easily change the game forever. Will gives one of his best performance in many years here.bennet

Alec Baldwin: Dr Julian Bailes is the former NFL doctor who couldn’t understand why he former players were acting the way they were. Once Bennet releases his research he teams up with him to turn his much loved sport into something safe again. Alec gives us a great performance in this role.

Albert Brooks: Dr Cyril Wecht is the head of the hospital in which Bennet works, he lets Bennet take these chances to make sure he can protect further injury even if it puts his own career in danger. Albert gives us a good performance which is perfect in the supporting role.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw: Prema is the young African woman who comes to live in America where she gets asked to live with community man Bennet, over time the two fall in love which makes her the strong part whenever Bennet is feeling weak. Gugu is good in this role without being anything special.

Support Cast: Concussion has a good supporting performance but sometime lacks the character time required.

Director Review: Peter LandesmanPeter gives us a good film exposing the truth about a sport that many people in the world enjoy.

 

Sports: Concussion shows the affects playing the sport could have on a human body.

Settings: Concussion doesn’t make too much out of the settings with none being anything memorable to the final story.
Special Effects
: Concussion uses the effects to show how the affects happen to the brain.

Suggestion: Concussion is one to try, it is good to see how sports can be dangerous to the people playing. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Smith’s performance.

Worst Part: NFL side of the story.

 

Believability: Based on what happened and how the sport was changed.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for Best Actor in Golden Globes.

Oscar Chances:

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Tagline: Even Legends Need a Hero

 

Overall: Solid sports drama that doesn’t go into the real depths of the battle.

Ratingcard