Our Brand Is Crisis (2015)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: Peter Straughan (Screenplay) Rachel Boynton (Documentary)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan

 

Plot: A battle-hardened American political consultant is sent to help re-elect a controversial president in Bolivia, where she must compete with a long-term rival working for another candidate.


Tagline – May the best campaign win.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unfunny Political Comedy

 

Story: Our Brand is Crisis starts when disgraced political consultant Jane (Bullock) gets recruited by Nell (Dowd) and Ben (Mackie) to help improve the approval rating of Bolivian presidential candidate Castillo (de Almeida).

Jane must go against her old enemy Pat Candy (Thornton) who has always beaten her in campaign battles, this is going to be the time she will not be prepared to lose as she will try new ideas he isn’t prepared for.

 

Thoughts on Our Brand is Crisis

 

Characters – Jane is nicknamed calamity Jane after her mistakes in previous campaigns, she is dragged into returning to the field in Bolivia going against her old enemy. She has bright ideas which will help, but her own personal problems could cause the downfall in the campaign. Pat Candy is the rival that has always beaten Jane, he knows all the dirty tricks and will use them to make sure he wins. Ben is the member of the campaign that wasn’t in full support of hiring Jane because of her history or lack of involvement in her early days on the campaign. Castillo is the senator that is running for the presidency of Bolivia, a role he once had, he needs to help turn his public image around in hopes of trying to win this election.

PerformancesSandra Bullock is good through the film, though she isn’t as strong as we know she can be. Billy Bob Thornton is solid in his role, he will always make for a good villainous figure even if he is just the other side of the law. Anthony Mackie gives us another solid supporting performance without being too involved in the main story.

StoryThe story here follows a political consultant that gets bought into Bolivia to help with the Presidential campaign that is losing quickly. She goes against her real enemy, the man that always beats her in a country that remains loyal to certain sides of everything. this is loosely based on a true story and for a story that we are meant to care about, we just don’t get sucked into knowing or caring about what happens with the campaign. None of the characters are overly likeable and by the end you won’t remember too many events of the story.

ComedyThe film tries to use comedy, though most of it misses, the only time it hits are on random scene which don’t have too much to do with the actual campaign.

SettingsThe film is set in Bolivia, this can be seen with the divide in the people, the different classes and reaction to each presidential candidate.


Scene of the Movie –
Bus time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just isn’t overly interesting.

Final ThoughtsMostly forgettable political comedy, two words that shouldn’t go together when it comes to dealing with a real campaign.

 

Overall: Disappointing and boring.

Rating

 

 

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 – Random – J – Joe (2013)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: Gary Hawkins (Screenplay) Larry Brown (Novel)

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Adriene Mishler

 

Plot: An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15-year-old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Drama

 

Story: Joe starts as we meet ex-con Joe (Cage) who hires down on their luck people of a small town to help him kill trees for his employer, he expects them to work and they will get paid, he treats them all with respect through this questionable job. When he gets approached by 15-year-old Gary (Sheridan) a homeless boy from a family of drifters who wants work. Joe gives him a chance and he doesn’t disappoint.

When Joe sees the abuse, Gary receives from his alcoholic father Wade (Poulter) he gets put in a difficult situation, where he must decide whether defend Gary and become the person he had hoped to escape or do nothing, either option will define his future.

 

Thoughts on Joe

 

Characters/PerformanceJoe is a former criminal that has put his life together to offer other down on their luck men a job killing trees. He is good natured to the people who work for him and takes a look at what is happening to Gary and decides to help him find his way. Gary is a boy that is never been given a chance in life, so he makes his own chances by getting a job working for Joe, he learns from Joe which are important lessons for life. The rest of the cast show us what is going on in both the lives and what could change the ones they are living.

Performance wise, Nicolas Cage is good in this role and you can see why people believe it could have been one that turned his career around. Tye Sheridan does a great job and shows why he had an ever-growing potential in his career with these types of roles. the rest of the cast all do a great job throughout the film.

StoryThe story is a trademark of the indie style of films, it shows one man needing to question what he is doing with his life for the sake of a teenager who is struggling. This isn’t the most original but does everything you need for an indie film, telling the story and offering redemption for our leading man.

SettingsWe have a small-town setting in what looks like economy depressed town with struggles, this helps us understand what it would be like for all the characters in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis film shows us just what Cage is capable of great performances with the right material and can keep us watching until the end of the film. Everything comes together nicely but is unlikely to be a re-watchable film.

 

Overall: Well-acted, good strong drama but slow in places.

Rating

 

 

Stronger (2017)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writer: John Pollono (Screenplay) Jeff Bauman, Bret Witter (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Richard Lane Jr, Nate Richman, Lenny Clarke, Patty O’Neil, Clancy Brown

 

Plot: Stronger is the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope after surviving the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.


Tagline – Strength Defines Us

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Inspiring Drama

 

Story: Stronger starts as we meet Jeff Bauman (Gyllenhaal) a likeable supermarket worker that is a regular in his local Boston bar, while trying to rebuild his relationship with Erin (Maslany) who is running the Boston marathon. Jeff plans to be on the finish line to supporting Erin, this is where his life changed forever, when he is one of the victim in the bombings.

With his parents Patty (Richardson) and Big Jeff (Brown) by his side, we learn that Jeff has had both his legs amputated from above the knees. With the full support of his family, Erin, his employers and the city of Boston, Jeff starts his recovery, rehibition and learning that his life is never going to be the same again.  

 

Thoughts on Stronger

 

Characters – The characters in this movie are real people, you can’t make up their stories, their feelings and emotions about what has happened to them. Jeff Bauman is the average young man, working a normal job, living a normal life. His life is changed forever when he becomes one of the victims of the Boston marathon, losing both his legs. He must learn to accept his new reality of life, while dealing with the pressure of becoming the face for strength in the aftermath of the Boston marathon bombings. Erin Hurley is the on again off again girlfriend of Jeff’s it is for her that he attends the marathon, she gives everything to stick by him during his recovery, gives up her job to care for him, but she struggles to cope with extra demand on hr life. Patty is Jeff’s mother who brings the family together to support him, she does also struggle to see her son the way he is now.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is fantastic in this movie, he once again shows everybody that he is the real deal, he can accept any change needed to make himself the character while showing the emotional distress his character goes through. Tatiana Maslany is brilliant in her role too, she shows the difficulty that her character must go through with each action and speech she goes through. Miranda Richardson is great as the devastated mother who must remain strong after what has happened.

StoryThe story continues on the events of the Boston Marathon after last years Patriots Day. This time we just follow one man’s recovery and how it effects the people in his life. This story plays on the emotional level that which you feel as Jeff’s road to recovery unfolds. It shows how one moment in life can change everything in life and the people you are sharing that life with.

BiopicJeff Bauman was an average person, his friends loved and respected, his life changed making him a celebrity for the city, which is where the pressure is shown for him.

SettingsThe film is set in and around Boston which is where the event happened and it shows the life the people had before it happened.


Scene of the Movie –
Carlos meets Jeff.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was difficult to find one.

Final ThoughtsThis is a powerful drama showing the strength the city showed in support for Jeff through the tragic event that changed his life, we see how he did overcome the event to become stronger.

 

Overall: This is a power drama that shows how to find strength in the darkest moments.

Rating

 

 

Seth Rogen Weekend – Pineapple Express (2008)

pipneappleDirector: David Gordon Green

Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Screenplay) Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Story)

Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Kevin Corrigan, Craig Robinson, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Ed Begley Jr. Amber Heard

 

Plot: A process server and his marijuana dealer wind up on the run from hitmen and a corrupt police officer after he witness his dealer’s boss murder a competitor while trying to serve papers on him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stoner Comedy I Enjoy

 

Story: Pineapple Express starts as we see the government have been sampling drugs and a new lethally effective one causing the place to be shut down. We move forward to meet 25 years old stoner Dale (Rogen) who serves papers to people who avoid court while keeping his 18-year-old high school girlfriend Angie (Heard) happy. Having finally agree to meet Angie’s parents he turns to his dealer Saul (Franco) for a quick pick up before dinner.

Dale goes on one last job before dinner which involves him witnessing a murder by a cop leading him to run to Saul’s for shelter. As Dale and Saul go on the run the must figure out who to trust when Saul’s supplier Red (McBride) may well have been compromised.

Pineapple Express is a stoner comedy that works because doing the drugs puts our main characters in the wrong place, we have casual references through the film and while they are stoned most of the time in bottles down to a story of friendship and where these men see themselves in the future. We do get some bad moments but this takes the drug filled action film and sprinkles the right level of comedy into the mix.

 

Actor Review

 

Seth Rogen: Dale is a 25-year-old stoner who is spending his days driving around delivering summons to criminals. When he witnesses a murder he has to go on the run with his drug dealer as he finds himself in the middle of a bigger drug war between two rival sides. Seth brings his stoner character in this film which shows him as a character that gets by somehow

James Franco: Saul is the drug dealer that sees Dale as a friend and always wants to spend time with him when he buys. When he finds out he is the only supplier of the pineapple express leading him to go on the run with Dale. James gives us a comedy performance not many people thought he would be capable off.

Danny McBride: Red is the supplier to Saul, he gets caught in the middle of the battle but isn’t going down without a fight. Danny gets a chance to be in a bigger film showing he has the right comedy style for the comedy supporting character.

Gary Cole: Ted Jones is the drug lord of the town who Dale witnesses kill a man in his apartment, he sends out his men to find Dale to make sure that his secret stays safe. Gary is good in this role as the drug lord.

Support Cast: Pineapple Express has a big supporting cast that all react differently to what is going on with the hitmen partnership being one of the highlights of the film.

Director Review: David Gordon GreenDavid gives us one of the best drug filled comedies of modern time that uses everything perfectly together.

 

Action: Pineapple Express uses the action for a lot of the comedy side of the story.

Comedy: Pineapple Express mixes action, drug use and the crime story to give us a good comedy all around.

Crime: Pineapple Express puts us in the middle of a crime war within the city.

Settings: Pineapple Express gives us a setting that puts us in the middle of the town where the events take place.

Suggestion: Pineapple Express is one for all the comedy fans to enjoy. (Comedy Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Chemistry between Rogen and Franco is brilliant.brothers

Worst Part: Won’t be for the anti-drug people.

Action Scene Of The Film: Car Chase.

Funniest Scene: Reaction to Marry Me.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Always has talks of one but nothing lined up, plus a piss take on in This is the End.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for a Golden Globe

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $27 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Tagline: One hit could ruin your whole day.

Trivia: The first marijuana-themed comedy to gross over $100 million worldwide.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy filled with laughs, thrills and drugs

Ratingcard