Vince Vaughn Weekend – Swingers (1996) Movie Review

Director: Doug Liman

Writer: Jon Favreau (Screenplay)

Starring: Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn, Alex Desert, Heather Graham, Deena Martin

Plot: Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

Tagline – This movie plays reality.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Reality Check Comedy

Story: Swingers starts when two friends Trent (Vaughn) and Mike (Favreau) head from LA to Las Vegas for a night to try and help Mike shake off his breakup with his girlfriend. Trent does have a way with women, which he is trying to teach Mike for their return to LA. Joined with Rob (Livingston) the three struggling actors talk shop about how they haven’t gotten their big break yet.

We continue to follow the friends around the town as they try to help Mike rebound from his breakup, pushing him to take risks, despite the group of aspiring actors just going through the same routine, not partying till late and Mike wanting to get back together with his ex.

Thoughts on Swingers

Characters – Mike is one of the aspiring actors, he has had the most gigs of the rest of the friends, he is struggling with a break up which has been holding him back for 6 months and now, the friends are trying to help him break out of his shell, as he always ends up getting nervous about everything whenever he is put on the spot. Trent is the confident ladies man, he is always trying to teach Mike about how to pick up women, showing his confidence through any chatting up situation. Rob is the friend that followed Mike, he looks up to him and wants to follow in his footsteps despite the constant job rejections. Sue is another one of the group, he has a different attitude which could see them getting into trouble. Between the three of them of the friends they all want to help Mike in their own way.

PerformancesJon Favreau as the down on his luck actor is great to watch in this role, he makes us understand why he feels life isn’t going his way. Vince Vaughn brings all the energy to his role, showing that he was always going to be great to watch in the fast-talking roles. Ron Livingston bring gravity to his role, showing a man with his feet on the ground, while Patrick Van Horn brings a mix of the three while not knowing his own motivation.

StoryThe story here follows four struggling actors as they look for women every night which sees them trying to help one of them get over their blues of a breakup, each has their own style which they try to imprint on the others. This story mixes up the styles of helping a friend with a breakup and highlights how difficult it is to make it as an actor in Hollywood. We might spend a lot of time just watching the guys party, which is mean to highlight their struggles and watching them all give advice to Mike shows that friends will always be there for you, but you will need to make the biggest step in changing your future.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from the mishaps that happen to the guys on their adventures through the night showing how not every plan is as well exercised as the next.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in LA, it shows the bars that people would go to hoping for a late night party, the ones that only the locals would truly know about.

Scene of the Movie – The awkward phone, mainly because it is and can be so real for people.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t show any of their acting lives.

Final Thoughts This is a comedy that shows the struggles being an actor really are, while also trying to highlight the party lifestyle people in LA like.

Overall: Strong Look at Hollywood Lifestyle.

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016) Movie Review

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Writer: Tim John, Maria Nation (Screenplay) James Bowen, Garry Jenkins (Novel)

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Head, Darren Evans

Plot: Based on the international best selling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.

Tagline – Sometimes it takes nine lives to save one

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: A Street Cat Named Bob starts as we meet homeless addict James (Treadaway) who spends his days singing for enough money that could get him a meal and a fix, when he overdoes, Val (Froggatt) gives him a chance to get emergency living to clean up with act. James is willing to make this happen and he ends up meeting a stray cat.

Reluctantly James decides to keep Bob the cat and learns to grab a new lease for life and that as a double act they could achieve things he could only dream of as a musician, as well as finding love in one of the neighbours Betty (Gedmintas).

Thoughts on A Street Cat Named Bob

Characters – James is a homeless drug addict who has an overdose. He is given a big chance to go on the path to recovery with an emergency home, where he meets a cat and suddenly he starts to see his life turn around, his busking lifestyle sees him make money, he meets a new woman and can support himself, he will need to go through the toughest test of his life, if he wants to break free of his addictions. Bob is the ginger cat that turns up in James’ life, he won’t leave his side as he helps him clean up his act. Betty is the neighbour that becomes James only human friend, she will show him about vegan life becoming a love interest, even though she has seen how being an addict has taken away somebody in her life before. Val is the person that pushes James into the program, believing he can change and will change, she supports him through the whole process.

PerformancesLuke Treadaway in the leading role is brilliant to watch, he shows us just how desperate James is to turn his life around and what he must go through. Ruta Gedmintas and Joanne Froggatt are both great in the supporting roles in the film too.

StoryThe story here follows a homeless drug addict that gets his life turnaround thanks to the help of one person and a mysterious ginger cat that gives him happiness. This is based on the real story of the man James and Bob the real cat, we see the recovery process, just how difficult it can be for somebody who is trying to turn their life around. We can see how the ending will come about because there is a book about the turn around, even though it does become entertaining throughout the film.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of this film does show how James does turn his life around, it is shown in a way that could see the struggle he will be facing. The comedy of the film does give you a couple of laughs with how Bob interacts in life.

SettingsThe film is set in London which does show how the culture of the homeless people being able to survive around town that is filled with a drug culture that could end their fight.

Scene of the Movie – First day out with Bob.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing really.

Final Thoughts This is a delightful little comedy that brings to life one man’s journey to salvation with his new friend Bob the cat.

Overall: Feel Good Movie.

A Very Bad Day (2017) Movie Review

Director: Judy Greer

Writer: Gary Lundy (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Bradley Whitford, Katie Holmes, Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney, Kumail Nanjiani, Common, Andres Holm, Storm Reid

Plot: During the course of one day, a group of students at a school in Los Angeles find themselves caught up in a plot of sex, lies and dead bodies.

Runtime: 1 Hour 21 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Story: A Very Bad Day starts when staff at a high school Principal Nichols (Jenney) and Mr Pendlehorn (Riggle) discover a body on the school, needing to move it before the student turn up. Outside of the school single parent Daniel (Common) sees his affair exposed by the husband Bob (Reeves), all in a working day.

When the events of the day seem to get mixed up the many different people we meet, teachers, students and parents see this being on of the bad days of their lives.

Thoughts on A Very Bad Day

Characters – Daniel works for a publishing company, he is a single parent preparing to talk at his daughter’s career day, he also learns that the husband of the woman he has been having an affair with has learnt about them and wants to meet. Principal Nichols discovers a dead body on the school and wants to protect the school only to learn the problems with doing that. We get the school kids trying to understand love and the different teachers dealing with their day.

PerformancesIt is hard to judge the performances because we have such a big cast and nobody gets enough time to give a career best performance, everyone does well without shining to the top level. Everybody does get the laughs required though.

StoryThe story here follows a day in lives of many different people who all connect, with most having bad days about everything going on today. This story does connect together well, though it doesn’t feel like this many different people having a bad day isn’t that normal, but we don’t get enough into the details of why everything is falling apart on the levels it could have. It does show how life can be difficult if things aren’t going your way. The big problem with the story comes from how the story doesn’t seem to end up the way it could, leaving most people looking left out.

ComedyThe comedy in this film shows how people can have a bad day can have a funny twist to everything.

SettingsThe film does bring us to everyday locations which shows how easily life can see you having a bad day without warning.

Scene of the Movie – The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not really going into Mr McRow’s problems, which seem much deeper.

Final Thoughts This is an overcast comedy that just doesn’t give the massive cast enough time to show how bad the day is going for them.

Overall: Too big for its own ambition.

My Spy (2020) Movie Review

Director: Peter Segal

Writer: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber (Screenplay)

Starring: Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Kristen Schaal, Greg Bryk, Ken Jeong, Nicole Correia-Damude

Plot: A hardened CIA operative finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family.

Tagline – He’s a Pro. She’s a Natural.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

Story: My Spy starts as new CIA agent JJ (Bautista) goes off script on his mission, leading to him needing to be scaled down to a surveillance mission with new partner, in tech operator Bobbi (Schaal), the pair must watch over a mother Kate (Fitz-Henley) and her daughter Sophie (Coleman) who have a connection which could be a lead to the man that JJ lost.

When Sophie discovers the two watching them, she decides to blackmail them into being a friend, with JJ filling a void in her life, while opening him up to letting people in his life, learning more about himself.

Thoughts on My Spy

Characters – JJ is a former soldier turned CIA agent, he does lack the undercover skills, which he does make up in his military training, he is reluctant to work with a new partner, seeing his latest mission as a bad one he has no interest in. he gets caught out and must do what young Sophie says or see his cover exposed, seeing him being a fish out of water, turning from closed off from the world to learning to enjoy it again. Sophie is the young girl that is still trying to adapt to her new life, struggling to make friends, before turning to JJ to be another adult figure in her life, showing the skills to play JJ to put the smile back on her face. Kate is the mother of Sophie, the lady that JJ is meant to be watching over, she is struggling to adapt to her new life, balancing being an ER nurse and mother, which sees her letting her down at times. Bobbi is the partner to JJ, she idolises him and can’t wait to work with him, only to find him being distant from her, with her first mission in the field.

PerformancesDave Bautista is great in the leading role showing his skill for comedy in a way that we don’t see from other action heavy stars. Chloe Coleman does a great job in her role too, showing great chemistry with Dave. The rest of the cast get their laughs when needed, working well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a rookie CIA agent who must work on a surveillance mission, only he gets caught out and must teach the young girl who caught him how to be a spy. The story is enjoyable to watch, the whole CIA versus the villain side does take a firm backseat for the story, while we focus on the unlikely friendship between the former soldier turn CIA agent and the little girl that wants to be a spy. We get to address how difficult it can be to fit in as a child in a new environment, how soldiers could see their lives becoming very isolated, with the two helping each other, showing help can come from strange locations. We could easily say we have seen stories like this before, with other big name action stars, this does do enough to stand on its own on the buddy side, but does become forgettable when it comes to the mission.

Action/ComedyThe action in the film is entertaining, with the fights working well, certain scenes getting a laugh too, this is where the comedy steps up, the pairing of JJ and Sophie will get most the laughs, though the supporting people around them interact well through the film for even more laughs.

SettingsThe film uses the basic surveillance settings through the film, it is mostly an apartment building and the surrounding Chicago location, it works well enough for the film, without needing to be anything more.

Scene of the Movie – The plane.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The mission does seem to just be in the background too much.

Final Thoughts This is an entertaining comedy that the family could enjoy, it will get enough laughs and continues to show Dave Bautista becoming a bigger name in the action comedy world.

Overall: Great Fun.

Freak Show (2017) Movie Review

Director: Trudie Styler

Writer: Patrick J Clifton, Beth Rigazio (Screenplay) James St James (Book)

Starring: Alex Lawther, Ian Nelson, AnnaSophia Robb, Celia Weston, Abigail Breslin, Better Midler

Plot: Follows the story of teenager Billy Bloom who, despite attending an ultra conservative high school, makes the decision to run for homecoming queen.

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Flamboyantly Enjoyable

Story: Freak Show starts when gay teenager Billy Bloom (Lawther) who isn’t afraid to show his flamboyant side, which sees him showing off this style at a new high school after needing to move away from his mother Muv (Midler). Billy doesn’t take long before he becomes the target of hate from the school with his only friends coming from a girl he never caught her name, branding her Blah Blah Blah (Robb) who fills him out about who the school hierarchy is.

Billy does make one more friend, Flip (Nelson) the star football player, who is one of the only players that doesn’t torment him, in fact he defends him the best he can, this makes Billy believe he might have found a new crush, which drives him to run for homecoming queen.

Thoughts on Freak Show

Characters – Billy Bloom is a gay teenager, he was encouraged by his mother to express himself however he feels, which sees him struggling to be accepted in his new high school, he refuses to back down however difficult the hate gets him towards him, while trying to get his father’s love, waiting for his mother’s return and dealing with his first attempt of love, while trying to change the world by running for homecoming queen. Flip Kelly is the star of the football team, he does befriend Billy trying to help him through the hate, potentially hiding his own closest homosexual, while being the hero of the school. Blah Blah Blah is the student that supports Billy the most, she will help him despite the fact he doesn’t know her name. Muv is the mother of Billy that has encouraged him to flamboyant and himself, though she does have her own motives for her behaviour. Lynette is the rival homecoming queen competition, she is the most popular girl in school and has been planning for this for years now.

PerformancesAlex Lawther is wonderful in this leading role, he embraces everything his character goes through and never looks out of place in any scene in this movie, showing the intern struggle his character is going through. Ian Nelson does bring the conflicted character who is trying to make a difference without giving away his own secrets in the world well. AnnaSophia Robb is strong though we could have seen more form her, while Bette Midler does do everything she needs to her role.

StoryThe story here follows a openly gay high school student that isn’t afraid to make a statement with his love of fashion, dealing with the hate in the new school, learning to make a difference in the school and in the mindset of his classmates, while remaining himself. Set up to be like most teen comedies about a new kid moving to a new school, needing to learn the hierarchy and usually become the target of bullying, this story follows that arc with ease, with the standing up to make a difference coming through in the end. We get the generic bully figures that spend their time trying to make his life hell, with most of the focus left on the idea of a gay student running for homecoming queen. The core of the story is everything you want, while there are clear problems with the amount of money being spent on trying to become homecoming queen is ridiculous.

ComedyThe comedy in the film feels like most teen comedy material, it might have a less crude jokes, but will look at life with a laugh at times.

SettingsThe film is set in two main locations, the high school where Billy doesn’t fit in and his home where Billy isn’t accepted by his father, both prove to be places where Billy needs to help make the change in mindset, which is important for the message of the story.

Scene of the Movie – The vote, even if the idea of using smart phones in a school is funny.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – People in America put too much money into a popularity contest.

Final Thoughts This is a teen comedy with the important message of accepting people for who they are, no matter what they choose to be in life.

Overall: Important Message Movie.