Friend of the World (2020) Movie Review

Director: Brian Patrick Butler

Writer: Brian Patrick Butler (Screenplay)

Starring: Nick Young, Alexandra Slade, Michael C Burgess, Kathryn Schott, Kevin Smith, Luke Anthony Pensabene

Plot: After a catastrophic war, an eccentric general guides a filmmaker through a ravaged bunker.

Tagline – You have been saved. This does not mean you are safe.

Runtime: 58 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark Comedy

Story: Friend of the World starts as Diane (Slade) finds herself waking up surrounded by dead bodies on the outskirts of a bunker, she finds herself a way in, where General Gore (Young) has been living alone for so long, prepared for what has happened on the outside world.

As Diane learns to deal with Gore’s brutish ways, she starts to learn more about what has been happening in the real world.

Thoughts on Friend of the World

Final ThoughtsFriend of the World brings us the dark twist on the end of the world idea, bringing us some a person in Diane who doesn’t know the complete problem in the world, with the general that will go to extreme limits to remain safe. The two do clash easily, showing their differences through the film, while trying to put these differences aside. The environment is filled with terror, with each room seemingly offering something new, almost like a lesson for Diane along the way. Both Nick Young and Alexandra Slade are both wonderful to watch, showing us the mindsets of both of their characters. We do have a few unusual spots in the film, with certain bits trying for comedy that doesn’t seem to fit the dark mind of Gore, who when he spins iconic quotes usually gets the laughs required.

Overall: Very Dark Comedy Sci-fi.

The Death of Stalin (2017) Movie Review

Director: Armando Iannucci

Writer: Fabien Nury (Screenplay) Fabien Nury, Thierry Robin (Comic Book)

Starring: Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Jeffrey Tambor

Plot: Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.

Tagline – Russia 1953. A nation in fear of one man. 

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Basic Comedy

Story: The Death of Stalin starts as we dive into communist Soviet, under dictator Josef Stalin, we see how his closest ministers Lavrenti Beria (Beale), Georgy Malenkov (Tambor), Nikita Khrushchev (Buscemi) and Vyacheslav Molotiv (Palin) who enjoy his ruling, knowing how to keep things quiet, until he has a heart attack, dying.

Now the men must work together to keep the story straight about what happened, bringing in his children, the calm Svetlana (Riseborough) and the aggressive Vasily (Friend). With the funeral prepared, we see how each of the men deals with the funeral and the future for the Soviet Union.

Thoughts on The Death of Stalin

Characters – When it comes to the characters, we get a complete host of different ministers and comrades who served under Stalin, each one has their own agenda after his death, seeing it as a chance to move into power. Each one will get made out to be an over the top style as the characters show how devoted the Russians were towards Stalin because of their fear.

PerformancesWhen we look at the big cast, we have a host of comedic performances that will get laughs at times, will show just how over the top everybody has become, it is the performances that are completely over the top which stand out more, other wise it can see people becoming slightly held back.

StoryThe story here follows the men in power tactically trying to push their own agendas after the death of their leader Stalin, in a satirical way. Where this story might miss out at times, is when it is trying to mix the reality of what did happen, by just driving the silliness into comedy, we have glimpses of the history lesson, but not enough, we make fun of the seriousness that saw countless victims of this horrible leaders, which just didn’t make this an enjoyable in anyway.

ComedyThe comedy is just showing how over the top the people in this world would be and have become, it doesn’t always work, with the couple of laughs working at the right time.

SettingsThe film uses the different locations of the Soviet leaders would operate and look to gain power.

Scene of the Movie – Moving the body.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t get very funny.

Final Thoughts This is a satirical comedy that doesn’t get enough laughs, which only seem to be one dimensional for the most part.

Overall: Poor satirical comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Romance – W – All About Nina (2018) Movie Review

This is under W because of Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Director: Eva Vives

Writer: Eva Vives (Screenplay)

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Common, Chace Crawford, Jay Mohr, Kate del Castillo, Beau Bridges, Clea DuVall

Plot: Nina is a stand-up comedian who sees her life turned upside down when she meets Rafe.

Tagline – Get your act together.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Edgy, Personal Comedy

Story: All About Nina starts as we meet stand-up comedian Nina (Winstead) whose routines work winning over the audiences with her reputation being very high in New York, only off stage she is stuck in an abusive relationship with a cop that is cheating on his wife.

To start a fresh Nina heads of to LA to try her hand on a new scene. On her first night performing Nina meets Rafe (Common) one of the first men that looks to treat her differently to the rest of the guys in her, changing everything in her life in one night.

Thoughts on All About Nina

Characters – Nina is a stand-up comedian, she doesn’t have a limit to her routine making jokes out of everything in her life, she has her own problems off the stage, with choices in men and not wanting to let anybody get close to her, she takes a chance with a move to LA to get a slot on a comedy show, only this gives her a chance at a new life, both professionally and personally. Rafe is the man Nina meets in one of her shows, he turns out to be something very different to anything Nina has met before. We do meet other parts of Nina’s life, be it guys that have used her in past.

PerformancesMary Elizabeth Winstead does give us one of the best performances of her career, the character is nothing like we would have managed to see in real life, being completely no off button. Common is great to showing he will always be somebody who can step into a supporting role with ease. The rest of the cast manage to fill the supporting roles well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a female stand-up comedian who moves across country for a big break only to meet a guy that could help her turn her life around, even if she continues to use comedy for protection from the real world. This story does show us what the price of success could be, how even if somebody is on the verge of success, they might find their own way to sabotage her own future. The story is trying to put the important highlight on the fact that we do have female stand-up comedians and they will need to overcome different problems in their desire for success, though the style of comedy isn’t going to be for everyone.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy is all about the routine that Nina has, it will no holds barred style, which won’t be for everyone, with the romance showing us just how difficult being yourself when you have a shattered past could be.

SettingsThe film uses the two main entertainment centres in America, first New York and then LA, they both work to show how much progress Nina is making in her career.

Scene of the Movie – The truth show.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The comedy style is too much.

Final Thoughts This is easily Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s best performance of her career, it has a strong story only the comedy does hold it back by being too no-holds barred.

Overall: Winstead is a Powerhouse.

Anita & Me (2002) Movie Review

Director: Metin Huseyin

Writer: Meera Syal (Screenplay) Meera Syal (Novel)

Starring: Chandeep Uppal, Anna Brewster, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ayesha Dharker

Plot: Meena, a 12-year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who’ve come to England to give her a better life. This idyllic existence is upset by the arrival in the village of Anita Rutter and her dysfunctional family. Anita is 14, blonde and beautiful – exactly what Meena thinks she wants to be. She becomes part of Anita’s world, but events do not run smoothly. Meena’s growing up – and that brings plenty of changes.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Sweet Coming of Age Tale

Story: Anita & Me starts as we meet Meena Kumar (Uppal) who lives in a small Midlands town, the daily routine is starting to drive Meena crazy with her parents Papa (Bhaskar) and Daljeet (Dharker) trying to make the life for the future.

Meena’s life takes a change when a new girl Anita (Brewster) arrives in town, which sees her coming out of her shell more, but getting caught in the middle of following her family’s traditions or becoming her own woman.

Thoughts on Anita & Me

Characters – Meena is a young Indian girl living in the Midlands, getting close to reach teenager years, with her always feeling out of place until she meets a new girl in town, one that treats her like one of the friends, while her parents are still trying to keep her driven into the traditions, she is left feeling more out of place than ever as she is torn between the two worlds. Anita is the girl that moves to town, she becomes best friends with Meena, showing her a more English approach of different things in life, teach Meena habits her parents would never have approved off, all while having her own secret. Papa and Daljeet are the parents of Meena that are trying to push her into following the family traditions, not liking her being friends with anyone outside of the family circle.

PerformancesChandeep Uppal in the leading role is great, showing how difficult growing up was for somebody different in a town and never understanding. In the supporting cast we have Anna Brewster being the friend works very well, with the bigger known actors in the family roles showing the strength needing in the key scenes.

StoryThe story here follows a 12-year-old Indian girl living in the Midlands during the 1970s, as she becomes friends with a new girl in town, she is torn between following family traditions and wanting to be a growing teenager. This story does follow the traditions of a coming of age tale, we focus on an untapped market though, showing us how difficult being a young Indian girl, dealing with being different to the rest of the girls in the town, having to follow different traditions and dealing with racism without understanding just how series it is. We do only see the world through the eyes of Meera, who shows how an innocent point of view can see the more series issues in life, with everything coming together in a sweet style.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from seeing how Meera witnesses the world, we will laugh at certain things, while understand the pain bought on by others.

SettingsThe film is set in one small Midlands town that sees how one young soon to be teenager is trying to adapt to growing up.

Scene of the Movie – Meera’s letter reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Never getting to the true suffering in Anita’s life.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful coming of age tale that shows us just how the British world changed with different cultures coming together in life, to give us a new look on life.

Overall: Coming Of Age with a Change.

Spy Intervention (2020) Movie Review

Director: Drew Mylrea

Writer: Mark Famiglietti, Lane Garrison (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Sheridan, Poppy Delevingne, Blake Anderson, Drew Van Acker, Lane Garrison, Brittany Furlan

Plot: When the world’s greatest spy meets the woman of his dreams, he abandons his adventurous existence and settles into the security of suburbia.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Spy Movie

Story: Spy Intervention starts when international super spy Corey Gage (Acker) who on his latest mission meets Pam (Delevingne) which leads to him moving away from the spy business, setting down to a simple life, only becoming too routine in his everyday life, which has added strain to his new romantic life.

When Corey’s partner Smuts (Anderson) returns to him with the desire to get him back in the field to complete his last mission, where he must go undercover with a sexy spy, even though the most important thing in his life, is fixing his marriage.

Thoughts on Spy Intervention

Characters – Corey Gage is an international Super Spy on top of the world, but a chance meeting makes him want to give up this life for a more simple life with a beautiful woman, only this has made him fall into a routine which sees him finding life boring. He reluctantly finds himself returning to the undercover world to complete a mission, all while trying to keep his marriage together. Pam is the woman Corey marries, giving up the life he once had for, she is also seeing the marriage become dull and notices that Corey is becoming more distant believing he is having an affair, needing to go undercover in search for the truth about her husband. Smuts is the partner that gets Corey to come back into the field one more time, getting sick of seeing him in the routine life. Alexandria is the sexy spy that is being pretending to be Corey’s wife for the mission, playing the part with ease.

PerformancesDrew Van Acker as the slick super spy is very entertaining, he plays the role that does get to poke fun at the slick character. Poppy Delevingne is fun as the wife that believes her marriage is falling apart, she does show us how difficult it would be to process change on this level. The supporting cast do get plenty of laughs through the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a once great spy that walks away from the business when he finds love, seeing him getting dragged back in for one more mission, only this could put his marriage in danger. This is a story that does get to poke fun at the spy genre, it brings to life the idea of trying to manage a personal life with a spy life and how difficult it could be to walk away and stay away with all the secrets. We get the awkward situations about where Corey finds himself in and how his balancing the two lives gets impossible. We might resort to everything looking like it is over reaction, only that does seem to be the point of how the story is set up tonally.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film doesn’t seem to get as much time as you would imagine, while we spend the time looking at the comedy, which falls into parody in places.

SettingsThe film uses the two main settings, the everyday life ones where Corey is trying to live in, with the mix of the flashier spy life, which is more glitz and glamour.

Scene of the Movie – Dinner Party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough action.

Final Thoughts This is a fun spy movie that gets the tone correct by poking fun at the bigger franchise in the genre.

Overall: Fun