Adam Sandler Weekend – You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) Movie Review

Director: Dennis Dugan

Writer: Adam Sandler, Robert Smigel, Judd Apatow (Screenplay)

Starring: Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nick Swardson, Lainie Kazan, Ido Mosseri, Rob Schneider

Plot: An Israeli Special Forces Soldier fakes his death so he can re-emerge in New York City as a hair stylist.

Tagline – He’ll blow you away

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Insulting

Story: You Don’t Mess with the Zohan starts when Israeli Special Forces Soldier Zohan (Sandler) is getting tired of the same old battles where he captures the terrorist only to see the government to trade them, when his greatest enemy Phantom (Turturro) has been released he uses the encounter to fake his death and follow his dream.

Zohan travels to New York to become a hairdresser using the name Scrappy Coco he wants to work in the biggest salon in the city, but gets laughed out, now he needs to bring his style to the city and learning about his people’s own problems.

Thoughts on You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

Characters – Zohan was once the top agent in the Israeli Special Forces he has always captured the terrorist even after the country has released them after he caught them. He does dream of being a hairdresser which his family sees as a disgrace, he fakes his death so he can head to New York to start a fresh as a hairdresser, where he saves a small business with his true style. Phantom is the greatest enemy of Zohan who always gets traded and always plans his next action, which sees him claiming his fame after Zohan faking his death. Dalia is trying to keep her small salon open and once she gives Scrappy a chance her business booms cleaning her debts out. Michael is the first person that helps Zohan in America and offers him a place to stay.

PerformancesAdam Sandler does hit what seems like an almost insulting in the leading role, just playing into the stereotypes of any Israeli person. John Turturro is the same even if his role is smaller, while Emmanuelle Chriqui doesn’t help herself standout in the supporting role. Most of the cast is terrible through the film never hitting the heights of their roles.

StoryThe story here follows an Israeli soldier that wants to hairdresser meaning he will need to leave his home and start in a new life in America, where his past comes back to haunt him. This is by far one of the most insulting stories you will ever see, it tries to play along the lines of the American dream is available for anybody. We get plenty of awful racist stereotypes being played out towards anybody from Israel which is used more often or not for political gain rather than actually story. This is typical awful Sandler story.

ComedyThe comedy is in the middle of the racist and insulting towards the Israeli people that should never have gotten any laughs.

SettingsThe film is in New York where we see how small communities are trying to make a living, despite having disagreements behind them.

Scene of the Movie – End credits because it was over.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Everything else.

Final Thoughts This is a pure insult to comedy and cinema that should never have even been made.

Overall: Awful from Start to Finish.

Soundtrack to Sixteen (2020) Movie Review

Director: Hillary Shakespeare

Writer: Hillary Shakespeare, Anna-Elizabeth Shakespeare (Screenplay)

Starring: Scarlett Marshall, James Calloway, Jamal Hadjkura, Jack Boal, Sean Micallef, Emily Jayne

Plot: A coming of age story of a boy and girl growing up in London in the noughties, dealing with the everyday insecurities that make your world implode at sixteen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful Coming-of-Age Film

Story: Soundtrack to Sixteen starts as we meet two different sixteen year olds, Maisy (Marshall) who has been struggling to fit in and wanting to experience her first kiss, Ben is a smart kid who has always put his studies first until he starts to struggling to hit the grades he once hit.

The two both decide they want a change in their lives, Maisy starts trying to hang around with the cooler kids, only for them to clearly use her, while Ben wants to experience becoming more laid back and letting grades take their own place, until the two meet and finally find themselves around someone who makes them feel happy.

Thoughts on Soundtrack to Sixteen

Characters – Maisy is the lonely 16-year-old, she is caught up in the middle of wanting to have her first kiss, which sees her trying to find a group of friends in her life, she finds herself being left out of parties and when invited she is just the ride, alone in the world, she finds an unlikely friend in Ben, only for her to need to learn about her insecurities in life. Ben believes he is going to study and walk through his exams, only to see himself starting to decline in grades, deciding he would rather try and coast through, while being consumed with the desire to succeed, Maisy offers him a new lease on life, someone who could challenge him in conversation, unlike anyone before. We do meet the popular girls that use Maisy, the friends, she turns her back on and the friends that Ben is trying to get more out of.

PerformancesScarlett Marshall and James Calloway are both wonderful in the leading roles, they show the insecurities they are both facing in life, we see the ups and downs they face in everyday life, both show how difficult growing up can be, when plans might not go the way they thought.

StoryThe story here follows two 16-year-olds that are showing the pressures of the final year of school and the social troubles they are facing. The story does touch on the troubles that teenagers could face, be it the pressure of exams, finding friends and understanding who will be there for them in lives. By seeing how close people can be without needing to know who is around them, means we can see how the lives are going in a direction neither Maisy or Ben planned, until they will find each other to help each other. Being set in the 90’s we have all the music I could personally remember liking, which shows the memory lane people could experience through this story, with the biggest question being, ‘where are the parents’.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in the film follows the two find themselves in difficult situations, while the romance is more about what could be around the corner in life for someone as young as 16, showing how they can struggle to feel accepted with their own choices in life.

SettingsThe film does use the London setting which does reflect just how busy the lives of the teenagers are.

Scene of the Movie – Awkward bus trip.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – These two seem to have no parents supporting them through the problems.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful coming of age film that does show us just how difficult growing up can be for any teenager who doesn’t always fit in.

Overall: Coming of Age Treat.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – U – Under the Tree (2017)

Director:  Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson

Writer:  Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, Huldar Breiðfjörð (Screenplay)

Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurður Sigurjónsson,
Þorsteinn Bachmann, Selma Björnsdóttir

Plot: When Baldwin and Inga’s next door neighbours complain that a tree in their backyard casts a shadow over their sundeck, what starts off as a typical spat between neighbours in the suburbs unexpectedly and violently spirals out of control.

Tagline – Two Families. One Tree. A Bloody Mess.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Quirky Dark Comedy

Story: Under the Tree starts when Atli gets kicked out by his wife for watching porn, which happens to star him and a woman they know, he is forced to move back into his parents Inga and Baldvin who have their own problems, being in a bitter battle with the neighbours Konrad and Eybjorg about an overhanging tree.

As the battle between the family’s starts getting more personal, the mystery about Inga’s missing son starts to come to the forefront, while Atli is doing everything he can to put his life back together, without getting any success along the way.

Thoughts on Under the Tree

Characters – Atli is caught by his wife watching an old sex tap of himself with another woman, he kicked out and spends the time trying to put his life back together, trying to make sure he gets time with his daughter, with his wife not willing to give him any time of day, he will cross the lines, though he is doing this in an act of desperation. Inga has taken the rivalry with the neighbours much more personally than her husband, she gets into a battle which will see her do things she shouldn’t even consider, while deep dpwn she is dealing with grief about the loss of her own son. Baldvin is the long suffering husband that is willing to talk out the problems with the neighbours, but is caught up needing to support his wife, even turning on her with her actions. Konrad and Eybjorg are the neighbours that have simply asked for one thing and end up being the victims of all of Inga’s hate despite doing what they can to remain calm.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are wonderful, you do understand each characters mindset, why they are acting up the way they are, leading to the decisions which will only end up making their lives more difficult.

StoryThe story follows the lives of one family, the son who is trying tos save his marriage and his parents that get caught up in the middle of a battle over the position of a tree in the garden, which gets personal quickly. This does give us a story that is dealing with marriage troubles, where people get to a stage where they will make silly decisions, which could cost them everything, which does reflect just how petty the actions of the parent characters are, when it comes to the actions when arguing about a tree. We do go to a couple of very dark places in how everything unfolds, which is what makes this such a brutally honest way of seeing how people can make more out of nothing important.

Comedy/MysteryThe comedy in this film is very dark throughout, it shows the extremes that a bitter rivalry between neighbours can get, when things get out of hand. The mystery involved in the film does focus mostly on a missing cat, which is why the battle becomes more personal.

SettingsThe film keeps the settings simple, we see the neighbours going at it, trying to stay ahead of each other, keeping most of the action between the houses, with only Atli story stepping away from here.

Scene of the Movie – The Tree changes everything.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Inga is a truly horrible person.

Final Thoughts This is one of the darkest comedies you will see, it has a simple idea which focuses on neighbourly rivalry and how things can get out of hand so easily.

Overall: Dark comedy delight.

Small disclaimer, I haven’t used the actors names because I don’t have the correct way to spell them available on my computer.

Matilda (1996) Movie Review

Director: Danny DeVito

Writer: Nicholas Kazan, Robin Swicord (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Pam Ferris, Paul Reubens, Tracey Walter

Plot: Story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable.

Tagline – Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Perfect for Kids

Story: Matilda starts as the Wormwood family, father (DeVito) and Mother (Perlman) have their second child a daughter they name Matilda, they leave her at home while they go about their days, as she is left alone she starts to travel to the library between the ages of 4 and 6. Wanting to go to school Matilda finally gets her wish, when her father meets Trunchbull (Ferris) the principal of the school, a horrible woman that will torture and perform Olympic sports on children to punish them.

Matilda thrives in her first class under the calm and sweet Miss Honey (Davidtz) who is the first to see the genius that Matilda has as she looks to fight back against Trunchbull.

Thoughts on Matilda

Characters – Matilda is the sweet little girl that is nothing like the rest of her family, she is smart, a genius in fact, she has looked after herself at an infant age, she finally gets to attend school, later than the rest of the children, this doesn’t stop her kind nature helping change the school for the better. Mr and Mrs Wormwood are the parents of Matilda, they don’t really care about Matilda the way most parents would, leaving her to fend for herself, not letting her genius thrive. Miss Honey is the nice friendly teacher, one that anybody Matilda’s age would need to get through her education. Trunchbull is the principal of the school, she is beyond strict, she will punish the children by performing Olympic sports on them, javelin, hammer, shot putt or discus, she is one of the most frightening people you would ever meet in life.

PerformancesMara Wilson is a delight to watch as the young Matilda, she gives us all the innocence needed to make her character one you want to succeed. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are both great as the parents, Embeth Davidtz gives us such a king characters, while Pam Ferris does give us one of the most frightening characters in any kids movie.

StoryThe story here follows an incredible young girl that once she is free from her family with school learns about her own abilities that will help her fight back against anybody who isn’t nice to each other. This is a Roald Dahl story and one of the few that became a big thing in the 90’s, next to Witches, when movies were getting made from his work, this story works because it shows the difference between the pure innocent kind-nature little girl and the evil that is the principal that enjoys making children pay. This is a classic story of good facing evil and sending the clear message about treating people equal in life.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from how the bad characters are treated in the most part, you will laugh when they get what they deserve.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings, Matilda’s house, which has held her back, the school which is a mix of bright colours when Trunchbull is around and black and white, when she is around, as well as the clutter filled house that Trunchbull lives in.

Scene of the Movie – Unleashing the powers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cake sequence.

Final Thoughts This is a delightfully fun kids movie, one that I grew up watching and it nails the comedy, the performance and the message it is trying to send.

Overall: Delightful.

Red Rover (2018) Movie Review

Director: Shane Belcourt

Writer: Shane Belcourt, Duane Murray (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristian Bruun, Cara Gee, Meghan Heffern, Anna Hopkins, Morgan David Jones

Plot: After feeling he has nothing left to live for on earth, a lonely geologist tries to qualify for a one-way mission to Mars with the help of an offbeat musician who is just as lost as he is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Realistic Look at Recovery

Story: Red Rover starts as we meet Damon (Bruun) a geologist who lives with his ex-Beatrice (Heffern) and her new partner Mark (Jones) who want to by him out of the mortgage, he meets Phoebe (Gee) who travels around in her own astronaut costume, where she explains about the Red Rover mission to Mars.

Damon decides to start training for the program with Phoebe helping him sound like a more likely candidate to travel to Mars, which will see the two become friends and support going into the future.

Thoughts on Red Rover

Characters – Damon is a geologist who has been through a break-up, he has moved into the basement, while his partner has started dating again, he is feeling helpless until he meets a stranger who shows him something to aim for, being part of a space mission to Mars, all while opening his mind to the world once again. Phoebe is a Red Rover sales person who becomes friends with Damon, she always brings a positive side to the conversation, even though she is going through her own battles and needs the friendship just as much as Damon. Beatrice is the ex of Damon, she has moved on, but has remained close to him, as their friendship is still strong, she does offer to buy him out of the house to help him move on with life too. Mark is the new boyfriend of Beatrice, he does have a lot of differences to Damon, always making him feel insecure.

PerformancesKristian Bruun is great in the leading role, which sees him show the heartbreak in life and the struggle to continue until something new comes his way. Cara Gee is great too, showing all the positivity her character needing to cover up her own pain. The rest of the cast work well for the story, while letting Kristian take the centre stage.

StoryThe story here follows a man that seems to have lost everything in his personal life searching for something in life, which he finds in Phoebe who shows him an idea of a mission to Mars, which gives him a chance to escape his pain. This is a story that shows us just how difficult life can be when you feel like you have lost everything, including finding hope in a location you would never have imagined too. The way the story is told shows us just how difficult change will be going forward and needing to find that thing that will give you strength that can help you get through.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film does come from seeing the different events that Damon goes through, with the romance showing us just how difficult love can be in a realistic way.

SettingsThe film does us the settings to show first the awkward situation Damon finds himself in, as well as him searching for an outlet.

Scene of the Movie – Decision time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Mark is annoying, even though he is meant to be.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at how love can be taken away when you least expect it and finding a new direction in life can be harder than you would think, but it will be worth the wait.

Overall: Fun Rom Com.