ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – R – Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Director: Barry Levinson

Writer: Mitch Glazer (Screenplay)

Starring: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride

 

Plot: A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Tagline – Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Mostly Weak Comedy

 

Story: Rock the Kasbah starts as a former top draw music manager Richie Lanz (Murray) has only one major client who performs cover songs for him, learning the Afghanistan could put her on the map opening for a megastar, he takes Ronnie (Deschanel) to Afghanistan, where the world is different and Ronnie goes on the run.

Richie is joined by two Americans that have made a business in the country as he goes searching for Ronnie only to discovery Salima (Lubany) a brilliant singer living in Afghanistan, who he wants to make the next big star.

 

Thoughts on Rock the Kasbah

 

Characters – Richie Lanz was once a great music manager, now he is forced into conning people out of their money with his acts only being tribute bands, learning he could make money away in Afghanistan he heads over there, where a series of events lead him to meet the next biggest star in the music industry. This character is no different to any of the Bill Murray characters we know, he is mostly sleezy and uses his charm to get out of situations. Bombay Brian is one of the men that helps Ronnie escape, he however expects money from Richie in exchange. He seems to be a loose cannon which makes him unpredictable. Merci is a local prostitute that all the American soldiers go to for their needs. Ronnie is the singer that Richie takes with him, she decides to run away from gig and get back to America.

PerformancesBill Murray is just like every film he is in, he never looks completely involved, while being the centre of the film. Bruce Willis is fine in the support role without being one of his mailed in performances we have see of late. Kate Hudson and Zooey Deschanel are both good enough in their roles without needing to do too much.

StoryThe story follows a sleezy music manager that discovers a new talent in Afghanistan and he must fight for her to get a chance in a nation where women can’t perform. This tries to breakdown walls for equality in a country which doesn’t accept it, which is important to see, but sadly doesn’t work with who and how they approach it, we can’t just throw an American into a country to change their mindsets, we need them to learn themselves. This isn’t the most engaging storyline and will be forgotten quickly.

Comedy/Music/WarThe comedy in the film misses for the most part because we are dealing with too serious a subject for laughs. The music side of the film isn’t as interesting either because we could have had a lot more going on during the wartime situation.

SettingsThe film is set in Afghanistan which is never going to be the best setting for this type of movie because of the subject matter of everything we go on to see in the film.


Scene of the Movie –
First hearing the talent.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t that engaging.

Final ThoughtsThis is a disappointing and board line overly controversial idea for a movie that just doesn’t hit the marks it could have.

 

Overall: Not that appealing.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween (2018)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley (Screenplay) John Carpenter, Debra Hill (Characters)

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Haluk Bilginer, Will Patton

 

Plot: Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago


Tagline – Face Your Fate

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Another Sequel

 

Story: Halloween starts 40 years after the events of the original Halloween, Michael Myers is still locked up in a mental home, Laurie (Curtis) still lives in fear of what happened to her friends all that time ago, she has been twice divorced lost her child Karen (Greer) because of her paranoia Michael will return. Karen with a daughter of her own Allyson (Matichak) about to graduate high school wants to reconnect with her grandmother rebuilding the relationship.

When Michael is being transferred on Halloween for some reason, he escapes and goes on his killing spree, where Laurie must protect her family from the man she has been waiting to finally kill.

 

Thoughts on Halloween

 

Characters – Laurie Strode is the icon we know from horror, she is now living in fully secure house prepared for the day Michael gets out, believing it would happen, this has cost her, her family but the moment Michael escapes she is the only one prepared to take on the killing machine. Karen is the daughter of Laurie who has become distant from her mother, she has her own family, though she had been prepared for a moment of crisis, even if she doesn’t believe it will ever happen. Allyson is the youngest member of the family, the teenage daughter that is going through the high school with the modern day problems. The shape, Michael Myers is killing machine, killing anyone he wants to.

PerformancesJamie Lee Curtis is back and she is good enough in the leading role, you understand how the character is meant to be thinking which is the important part of the character. Judy Greer is fine, she doesn’t get too much to do, Andi Matichak is good with her role trying to make herself the new scream queen in Halloween. The rest of the cast are fine without being overly memorable.

StoryThe story here is a sequel to the original only, everything else is gone from the history books and Michael isn’t even related to Laurie. 40 years later Michael escapes an goes on another killing spree, where he ends up going face to face with Laurie who has been waiting for this day. This is slasher film done basic, there is no other way to describe it, the sad reality it we get to see an interesting storyline about a victim who never go over the attack in Laurie which should have been address a lot more over a couple of random killing scenes. We get moments in the story that pay respect to the original, then we get scenes which just seem to copy what the sequels did. The tone of the film is also all over the place with the comedy with the babysitter being way too funny for what is meant to be a serious film. this does feel like just another sequel that didn’t do much for the franchise.

HorrorWhen Michael is killing people we get some brutal kills, there is no doubt about this, they look real, but the tense seems to have been sucked out of the film.

SettingsWe return to Haddonfield here, which is fine it is the iconic location for Michael, we get nothing new and the one location that is important will only annoy you.

Special EffectsThe kills we see do look brutal and are the best part of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
Babysitter banter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It offers little new to the franchise.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sequel that just doesn’t seem to get anywhere new with anything that we want to see, it is passable for the franchise but didn’t need to reset the clock.

 

Overall: Simple sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – U – Up in the Air (2009)

Director: Jason Reitman

Writer: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner (Screenplay) Walter Kirn (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Mortonm Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliot, Danny McBride

 

Plot: Ryan Bingham enjoys living out of a suitcase for his job traveling around the country firing people, but finds that lifestyle threatened by the presence of a potential love interest and a new hire.


Tagline – From Paramount Pictures comes the story of a man ready to make a connection

Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy Drama

 

Story: Up in the Air starts as we meet Ryan Bingham (Clooney) whose job involves travelling around America firing people for companies, he loves being on the road clocking up countless air miles. When young analyst Natalie Keener (Kendrick) comes to Ryan’s boss Craig (Bateman) with an idea that could cut the costs by running the process from the office meaning Ryan and his team are grounded.

To prove his value to the company and show Natalie the ropes, Ryan must take Natalie on the journey to show her how personal the process is and how important the job is too him. Along the way he teaches her life lesson along with his new friend Alex (Farmiga) who enjoys a similar lifestyle.

 

Thoughts on Up in the Air

 

Characters – Ryan Bingham has a career in travelling around firing people for companies, he has it down to an art form, be in conducting the firings or travelling through the airport. He doesn’t like commitment and when he learns that his job is going to be minimized and grounded from travelling, he sets out to prove to his boss and the young woman who created the idea how importance of the personal approach is during this process. Natalie is the young idealistic woman that believes she can help the company save money by taking the role away from Ryan and his co-workers travelling expense, she has her life planned out, but spending time with Ryan she learns more about what life is really about and how to not take away the personal touch out of the process. Alex is a woman that Ryan meets on the road, she travels as often as he does, they start a relationship and meeting her helps Ryan realize what he wants from life.

PerformancesGeorge Clooney is brilliant in this role, his biggest strength has always been to be the confident guy that excels at his job and he gets to show this in every scene as we learn from his characters decisions. Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick are both wonderful in their supporting roles, they both get to help Ryan understand different generations of goals.

StoryThe story follows one man whose dream job is being downsized for economic reasons as he must look to show a young woman who has come up with the plan for this process. We get to look at a couple of big life issues going on here, first we see how companies are always looking to downsize for financial reasons, second focuses on the loneliness people have when they focus on their careers, and third just how the plans people believe to have can never go as planned. This is one of the most interesting stories that seems like it has got to a newer level than ever before.

RomanceWe have moments of romance which don’t overshadow the dramatic moments as we light-heartedly follow the story unfold.

SettingsThe film takes us all over America to see different reactions from different people about losing their jobs.


Scene of the Movie –
Letting loose.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I did enjoy every moment of this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful and delightful movie that hits all the levels it aims for, for me this is the best Clooney performance of his career and handles the sensitive subject of downsizing and unemployment.

 

Overall: Truly enjoyable movie.

Rating

 

 

 

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: John Logan, Dante Harper (Screenplay) Jack Paglen, Michael Green, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (Story/Characters)

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett

 

Plot: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Plain Bad

 

Story: Alien Covenant starts with the colony ship the Covenant heading towards a new planet, a crew of 15 and over 2000 colonist on board with just Walter (Fassbender) the android running the ship. When the ship encounters a freak storm in space leads the crew suffering loses they need to let the new captain Oram (Crudup) guide them through the damage to the systems.

When the repairs find a ghost transmission from a planet which appears perfectly habitable Oram goes against first mate Daniels’ (Waterston) opinion to continue their mission and takes a crew to this planet.

While on the planet the crew learn, this planet isn’t as safe as they had thought as they learn the deadly species waiting to be awoken along with a discovery which will give them answers about one of the mysterious of space.

 

Thoughts on Alien: Covenant

 

Characters/PerformanceWalter is the latest model of the androids that joins the mission to do the jobs humans can’t manage he is good natured and understands his mission. Daniels is the second in command after the early tragedy, she doesn’t want to investigate the new planet but soon becomes the one we must rout for once she decides to fight. Oram is your standard captain trying to take the role with his own stamp, also he is meant to be religious. The rest of the crew are what you expect.

Performance wise, well this is where things get interesting, Fassbender is fine but let’s face it he is wasting his talent in movies like these. Waterston struggles to follow in the strong leading action heroine footsteps with Crudup being easily forgettable. This does have known names but nothing that comes off truly memorable in the performances.

StoryThe story looks to follow up what happened after the Prometheus in what just feels like a complete rip off, of plenty of films, we have horribly written characters that just do panic instead of being professional in the role that would remain calm through each situation. This is a rinse, repeat film that ends up being one of the most predictable movies you have ever seen.

Horror/Sci-FiThere is little to no horror in a movie that has ALIENS in which is the whole point. The sci-fi side of the story is all what you have come to expect from the genre without being anything fresh.

SettingsThe film looks beautiful and stunning throughout but they also don’t have anything looking original though.

Special EffectsThe special effects show us the settings looking almost flawless, it is the aliens which come off weak in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor addition to the franchise of aliens, we barely see them and the science versus religion question doesn’t end up getting discussed enough.

 

Overall: Poor franchise addition that is weak in every single aspect.

Rating

 

 

Seth Rogen Weekend – Sausage Party (2016)

sausageDirector: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir (Screenplay) Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek

 

Plot: A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Adult Animation

 

Story: Sausage Party starts as we meet all our food in the supermarket as they all wait to get to the great beyond outside the store. We meet the main sausages Frank, Carl and Barry as they are looking to impress the buns on the shelf next to them.

When their moment gets chance to leave Frank and Brenda get left behind in a shopping store accident the pair must work with the rest of the products to learn their existence in the world teaming up with a flat bread named Lavash and a bagel named Sammy.

Sausage Party is a perfectly placed adult animated film that is one of a few that simply should never be watched by children. Every single joke is only for adults which works but it also holds this film back with a series of repetitive sex jokes that get old very quickly. The overall story feels like the first nursey scene in Toy Story 3 as we see the horror of what something innocent will see how humans act. We do get a thin sub-plot about religion going on but doesn’t get enough time to come through.

 

Overall: Fun adult comedy that works if this is the style of humour you enjoy.

Rating70