Gene Wilder Weekend – Stir Crazy (1980)

Director: Sidney Poitier

Writer: Bruce Jay Friedman (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor, Georg Stanford Brown, JoBeth Williams, Miguel Angel Suarez, Craig T Nelson

 

Plot: Set up and wrongfully accused, two best friends will be sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit, however, no prison cell can keep them locked in.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Comedy

 

Story: Stir Crazy starts as meet Skip Donahue (Wilder) and Harry Monroe (Pryor) two New Yorkers that find themselves out of work and decide to move to LA to start over. This plan goes wrong when the two’s first paying gig involves being mascot like figures, but when they are on a break they get framed for a bank robbery.

As the two misfits find themselves in prison for 30 years they must learn the ways of prison, find a way out and use their skills to stay alive and change their ways inside.

 

Thoughts on Stir Crazy

 

Characters/PerformanceSkip is the overly friendly man who believes a conversation can solve any conflict, he can find himself in trouble because of this but can also look to solve problems when they come up. Harry is Skip’s best friend and the one that looks at the smarter ways to survive.

Performance wise, Wilder and Pryor have a brilliant reputation as a comedy duo, I can see the chemistry they have and the two are good in this film without being a great comedy performance.

StoryThe story of two wrongfully convicted criminals needing to survive in prison and find a way to escape, this is a simple formula and works for the comedy of the film.

Crime/ComedyWe get moments of comedy through this film where it would be fair to say is designed as a vehicle for Wilder and Pryor to show off their skills rather than create the best jokes.

SettingsWith the film set in prison which does help try to build the comedy up but I can’t help but think they miss moments they could use.

Final ThoughtsThis is a classic pairing but I just feel the comedy doesn’t hit on all the levels it should do.

 

Overall: Easy comedy that I feel needs that little bit more from.

Rating

 

 

The Killing Fields (1984)

killingDirector: Roland Joffe

Writer: Bruce Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T Nelson, Spalding Gray

 

Plot: A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment in History

 

Story: The Killing Fields starts in Cambodia 1973 when New York reporter Sydney Schanberg (Waterston) arrives in the war-torn country to meet his representative and friend Dith Pran (Ngor) who shows him around the country. When the war gets to a new level of danger the American’s are leaving the country but Sydney wants to stay to cover the atrocities going on in the country but Dith refuses to leave his side even after Sydney gets his family out of the warzone.

Staying behind Sydney, Dith, Al Rockoff (Malkovich) and Jon Swain (Sands) continue to report the atrocities around Cambodia for the news around the world where they will end up having to experience things no one on Earth should ever have to get through.

 

Thoughts on The Killing Fields

 

StoryThe story mostly shows how on local had to survive to get out of the Cambodia before he becomes a victim of the war between Cambodia and Vietnam. We do also have a look at how the reporters are seeing what is going on but they get safe leading to the American’s wanting to help their friends while he survives what is going on. This is shocking story that will leave you in shock, fear and moments of tears in the final outcome.

Biography/History/WarThis film is very important because of what happened in Cambodia and how the people were treated, with this we get to see a time in history which will need to be seen to understand what they went through.

Characters/PerformanceWith each character based on the real people it is hard to look at what we think of the character’s action they take and experiences they must go through. Looking at the performances you can see just how brilliant they all were through the film with Ngor stealing the show.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how horrific the situation in Cambodia was and how if effected anyone involved in the devastation of the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard film to get through because of the subject matter and I can see plenty of people not wanting to see it but this is also essential viewing for any historical film fans.

 

Overall: One of the hardest films to watch but also one of the greatest films to see.

Ratingcard

 

 

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.
Suggestion
: 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.

Ratingcard

Devil’s Advocate (1997)

logoDirector: Taylor Hackford

Writer: Jonathan Lemkin, Tony Gilroy (Screenplay) Andrew Neiderman (Novel)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones, Judith Ivey, Connie Nielsen, Craig T Nelson, Tamara Tunie

 

Plot: An exceptionally adept Florida lawyer is offered a job to work in New York City for a high-end law firm with a high-end boss – the biggest opportunity of his career to date.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Damned if you, Damned if you don’t

 

Story: Devil’s Advocate starts with defence lawyer Kevin Lomax (Reeves) defending a paedophile who Lomax knows is guilty but he hasn’t lost a case before isn’t prepared to give up his undefeated streak. After doing the seemingly impossible Kevin proves himself to be one of the best trial lawyers in Florida.

This latest win grabs the attention of Milton, Chadwick & Waters attorneys in New York and along with his wife Mary Ann (Theron) head of firstly to just pick a jury for them. Kevin gets the case won in record time which leads him to meet John Milton (Pacino) who offers him a job in the firm. Kevin gets all the perks of a partner and gets put on his first case which is a simple health code case, which of course he wins with ease.

When one of the biggest clients on the books gets charged with triple homicide Alex Cullen (Nelson) get given Kevin to prove he is innocent even when the city has already decided he is guilty. Kevin is being a success Mary Ann is struggling to cope with the lifestyle in New York and her only to friends are all about the spending their husband’s money and starts to have the beginning of a breakdown.

The further Mary Ann falls into madness the more Kevin discovers that he is in fact working for a company that doesn’t do everything by the books and maybe after something else.

Devil’s Advocate manages to put the characters that could be conceded evil in defence lawyers be turned into the actual home of the devil. It is hinted heavily throughout and the lack of real involvement in what actually is happening in the case shows us the cases are not the most important side of the story. Showing the mental stat of Mary Ann works well because as she loses her mind and the parallels between Mary Ann and Kevin’s transformations become important to the final outcome. This is a very well told story that tries to keep you guessing throughout. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Keanu Reeves: Kevin Lomax hot young lawyer who doesn’t seem to lose a case, he gets recruited by one of the top law firms in New York where he continues to shine in the courtroom. Keanu gives a good performance and shows he can have the intense scenes. (7/10)

 keanu

Al Pacino: John Milton the senior partner of the firm who has taken an interest in Kevin, he shows him around and becomes part father mentor to Kevin, John decides to give Kevin the biggest case in the city. Al gives a good performance who makes the scenes look effortless. (7/10)

pacino

Charlize Theron: Mary Ann Lomax, Kevin’s wife who loves the idea of moving to the big city but she soon starts to become unhinged by being alone in the apartment and making no new friends. Charlize does a good job showing she was a rising star in the business. (7/10)

 charlize

Support Cast: Devil’s Advocate has a supporting cast that includes fellow lawyers, clients and wives who mislead Mary Ann. They all help our characters end up with the decision they have to make.

 

Director Review: Taylor Hackford – Taylor does a good job directing by balancing between the two changes the married couple go through. (7/10)

 

Mystery: Devil’s Advocate does keep you guessing throughout to what is really going on. (8/10)

Thriller: Devil’s Advocate keeps you at the edge of your seat with how the case could go. (8/10)

Settings: Devil’s Advocate uses New York as the primary setting showing how easily looks can be deceiving. (9/10)

Suggestion: Devil’s Advocate is one to try, I don’t think it will be for everyone but it can be enjoyed. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Kevin’s ability to turn any case.

Worst Part: Slightly too long.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $152 Million

Budget: $57 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 24 Minutes

Tagline: Don’t trust the devil

Trivia: Originally the film was a more special-effects oriented, blockbuster-type movie and was turned down by Al Pacino five times. But when Taylor Hackford went through a few script re-writes he offered it to Pacino again. Pacino liked it, but didn’t think he could portray Milton properly, and suggested Sean Connery or Robert Redford instead.

 

Overall: Devil’s Advocate is one of the most interesting films because it shows how it is about how far you would go for success.

Rating 72

The Proposal (2009)

logoDirector: Anne Fletcher

Writer: Pete Chiarelli (Screenplay)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White, Denis O’Hare, Malin Akerman, Oscar Nunez

 

Plot: a pushy boss Margaret (Bullock) forces her young assistant Andrew (Reynolds) to marry her in order to keep her Visa status in the U.S. and avoid deportation to Canada. The odd couple have to spend a weekend with Andrew’s family to convince they are in love before a hearing with the deportation committee and if they are found of fraud they will face jail.

 

Verdict: By the Book Rom Com

 

Story: The whole plot is very similar to the idea of an arranged wedding where both parties are not interested in the serious side but slowly start to fall for each other after spending time together. Putting that a side we have a charming rom com that is simple to follow filled with a group a different but stereotypical characters that make the trip eventful. We get some good comical moments that bring the couple closer. Most of the romance is kept to a minimal which helps the comedy unfold as it focuses on the bonding rather than romance. (7/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Sandra Bullock: Margaret a cold hearted boss who forces her assistant to marry her so she doesn’t get deported. Margaret keeps very much to herself but once she finally opens up we see a real, troubled side of her. Good performance showing that Sandra can play comical roles with ease. (8/10)

 sandra

Ryan Reynolds: Andrew the reluctant assistant who has given up plenty of his time to try and get a chance to move on in his career, he is very family man but his dreams have held up his time to see them. This type of comedy is what Reynolds was made to be doing and he is great. (8/10)

ryan

Director Review: Anne Fletcher – Great direction to create a non-soppy rom com that most people could enjoy. (8/10)

 

Comedy: Has some funny moments with most scenes with Betty White are the funniest. (7/10)

Romance: Simple romance to keep the story flowing. (6/10)

Chemistry: Reynolds and Bullock have good chemistry as the film unfolds it increases. (8/10)

Settings: The small Alaskan town is a good setting creating a very family centred story. (8/10)

Suggestion: This is one for the date night as I think both will enjoy but not watch solo. (Date Night)

 

Best Part: Betty White and Kevin the Dog

Worst Part: Too clichéd

Funniest Scene: Margaret makes a phone call and ends up chasing the dog.

Believability: Bit too farfetched for my liking. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $317,375,031

Budget: $40 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: Here comes the bride

 

Overall: Enjoyable Romantic Comedy

Rating 73