Ben Stiller Weekend – Dodgeball (2004)

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber

Writer: Rawson Marshall Thurber (Screenplay)

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Ben Stiller, Rip Torn, Justin Long, Stephen Root, Joel David Moore, Alan Tudyk, Gary Cole

 

Plot: A group of misfits enter a Las Vegas dodgeball tournament in order to save their cherished local gym from the onslaught of a corporate health fitness chain.


Tagline – Grab Life by the Balls 

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Sports Comedies

 

Story: Dodgeball starts as we meet the two gym owners, White Goodman (Stiller) who is obsessed with perfection with bodies only accepting beautiful model like members, on the other side of the street we have Peter La Fleur (Vaughn) owner of Average’s Joe a gym that is open to all, with the regulars and staff including Justin (Long), Gordon (Root), Owen (Moore), Dwight (Williams) and Steve the Pirate (Tudyk).

When Average Joe’s is facing a financial crisis with lawyer Kate Veatch (Taylor) preparing to close them in 30 days with White Goodman wanting to buy it and demolish it. The only plan is to train and enter a dodgeball competition where the prize is the money they require, only problem is, White has made his own team of super-athletes to stop Average Joe’s winning.  

 

Thoughts on Dodgeball

 

Characters – Peter La Fleur is a gym owner, he is laidback and willing to let anybody join at their own pace, this mentality has left him facing financial crisis and he reluctantly accepts entering a dodgeball tournament, he can bring the team together as he gives the whole team hope. White Goodman is the owner of Globo Gym he only accepts beautiful people in his gym even offering cosmetic surgery for his members. He is completely over the top believing he is God’s gift to women with his success coming from his family’s money, he will do anything to eliminate Average Joe’s. Kate Veatch is the lawyer that is assigned to study the finances of Average Joe’s, she becomes the love interest for both men even though she has no interest in White, she joins the team to help eliminate Globo Gym. Patches O’Houlihan is the dodgeball expert, he trains the Average Joe’s to help become competitive in the competition. The rest of the cast include the Average Joe’s members Justin, Gordon, Owen, Dwight and Steve the Pirate that each have their own stories behind their characters to help motivate them to compete.

PerformancesVince Vaughn is one of those actors whose comedy can go either way, it is a laidback style which work perfectly for his character here, because he brings us a real person compared to Ben Stiller. Stiller on the other hand nails his completely over the top character that you are meant to be laughing at with everything he does and says. Christine Taylor is good in her role which like the rest of the cast shine, we get a mix of different comedies from the supporting cast which blend together to show the different styles of real life people.

StoryThe story here follows to rival gyms going to compete for a dodgeball tournament to help keep the little gym with no money a chance to stay afloat before the global franchise closes them down. The story does botte down to a simple underdog story which is fine we can all enjoy a story about an underdog, we do get moments in the film from the Average Joe’s characters that help them learn to become more than they are which is the whole point of a gym, to improve yourself in your own way and everything Globo Gym shouldn’t be. If you want a simple fun sports comedy to watch, this is going to be the one for you without a question.

ComedyThe comedy in this film comes from many different levels, we get moments of slapstick with the dodgeball scenes, we get over the top characters in White Goodman and his team and finally each member of Joe’s team has their own quirky to make them funny.

SettingsThe look at the different gyms helps the settings because it shows how people can be intimidated by certain gyms over others, when we head to Vegas for the tournament the competition feels are authentic as you would imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
Most of the dodgeball scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Lance Armstrong scene is awkward now.

Final ThoughtsFor a sports comedy this has laughs, heart and quality performances from the whole cast, this is one that will stick with you for years to come and I hope to see everyone else enjoy it.

 

Overall: Sports comedy done to near perfection.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – The Ring 2 (2005)

Director: Hideo Nakata

Writer: Ehren Kruger (Screenplay) Koji Suzuki (Novel)

Starring: Naomi Watts, Simon Baker, David Dorfman, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, Sissy Spacek, Ryan Merriman

 

Plot: 6 months after the incidents involving the lethal videotape, new clues prove that there is a new evil lurking in the darkness.


Tagline – Fear comes full circle.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Weaker Sequel

 

Story: The Ring 2 starts as Rachel (Watts) and her son Aidan (Dorfman) have set up to start a new life after the events of the first film, Rachel in a small paper, while Aidan has taken after his father, with his love of photography.

When the town has its own video tape going around, killing people, Rachel decides to burn the tape, which only draws the attention of Samara again, as she sees her son targeted by Samara, with Rachel needing to get to the bottom of the tape once again.

 

Thoughts on The Ring 2

 

Characters – Rachel has moved her child to a smaller town to start a new life away from the pain of the previous one. she gets a new job, only for the first day on the job, Samara takes her next victim. Wanting to stop the spread of the curse in this new town, Rachel destroys the video tape, only to see herself become the target once again of Samara. Rachel will need to continue the investigation into who Samara was and why she is still haunting the world. Max is one of the co-workers at the newspaper, he isn’t trying to hit on Rachel, but does become the only person that Rachel can turn too. Aidan is the son that has started to take after his father with his love of photography, he does become the target of Samara, we see two different sides to David in this film. Dr Temple is trying to figure out what has been happening to Aidan, first seeing that it could be child abuse, she needs to make sure the child is safe before anything else.

PerformancesNaomi Watts is still strong in the leading role, we need her to show extra motherly emotions in the film this time around. Simon Baker doesn’t get a chance to get going in this film, while David Dorfman does make a big improvement because of the extra additions to his character. The supporting cast are not the strongest either with most getting left to limited screen time.

StoryThe story here continues to see Rachel haunted by Samara needing to continue to unlock the truth about Samara to save her own son from her curse. Now this is a confusing as for a story because everything felt pretty wrapped up at the end of the film, this did end up just putting a forced sequel out there which tries to build more on the Samara legacy. Where this falls short in the story as by giving us weak supporting characters, having the events literally start the day Rachel arrives in the new town and going against certain things that happen in the first film.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in the film does give us basic moments of scares, though dream sequences a hoping the same jumps can worked in the first film. the mystery continues to look at the mystery about Samara and why she has continued to haunt people.

SettingsThe film was moved to a smaller location, while returning to certain other locations with them being an extra clue involved in the film.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film have dated already, you can see certain green screens being used, which were meant for uneasy scenes.


Scene of the Movie –
The bath surprise.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The dated effects.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weaker sequel that tries to build up on the original legacy, only to dive further into something we didn’t need to get more about what is happening.

 

Overall: Simple and weak sequel.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – I – In the Line of Fire (1993)

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Writer: Jeff Maguire (Screenplay)

Starring: Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Gary Cole, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Mahoney

 

Plot: Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan couldn’t save Kennedy, but he’s determined not to let a clever assassin take out this president.


Tagline – An assassin on the loose. A president in danger. Only one man stands between them…

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliantly Tense

 

Story: In the Line of Fire starts as we meet seasoned veteran of the secret service Frank Horrigan (Eastwood) who wants to get back in the field, granted he returns to protecting the President after getting a mysterious phone call from Mitch Leary (Malkovich) who is threatening to murder the President.

As Frank tries to stay ahead of Mitch, the game of cat-n-mouse starts to catch up with him, as Frank starts to see his career fall apart on political grounds and Mitch now has Frank exactly where he needs him.

 

Thoughts on In the Line of Fire

 

Characters – Frank Horrigan once worked on President Kennedy’s detail, now older he is reaching the age where his secret service work is usually behind the desk or in the field, not around the President, after receiving a threat towards the President he positions himself on the detail again, which puts his experience on the line to protect the president. Mitch Leary is the psychotic man who is threatening the President, he wants to play games with Frank as his master of disguise helps him blend into a crowd. He always believes he is ahead of the game with his planned calculated with each movement. Lilly Raines is the new agent that must work with Frank, she is mostly the question about female agents through the eyes of an older member of the community. Al is the current partner of Frank who has been struggling with the reckless behaviour he has been working with.

PerformancesClint Eastwood in the leading role is great because he is the perfect age for this movie which makes us understand that he is good man still trying his best for the President. John Malkovich is stunning as the villain as we believe each word and action his commits to this role, being haunting and calculated throughout. Rene Russo offers us the young agent role, she does well with what she has to do without taking from the spotlight shone upon the lead two. The rest of the cast are good and know how to make the most of their limited scenes.

StoryThe story here follows the aging Secret Service agent that is caught up in a cat-n-mouse assassination attempt from an anonymous criminal. The story gives Frank a backstory of regret as he was one the President Kennedy service team and he will forever deal with the pain that he couldn’t save him, this adds determination to his character and it also gives Mitch a motive to beat the man who would ne known to have failed twice. This story shows us how to make cat-n-mouse style story where the villain will do anything and will spend time mocking the hero when he fails to capture him. We do get a heavily influenced America is great theme though which in places can be annoying to see. The pacing and use of foreshadowing works well in the film too showing us just what we are waiting to see where things go.

Action/CrimeThe action in the film is mixed because most of the scenes involves an aging actor that is meant to not be able to handle the physicality of the job anymore. The crime side of the film is where we get the most interesting side of everything which shows us just how far one man is willing to go to put his name in lights by killing the President.

SettingsThe film uses the settings show to us how compact any situation where the President would be attending can become with threats from nearly every corner.


Scene of the Movie –
The rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too patriotic like no one else could have helped.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great crime thriller that shows us just how deadly a villain can be when they are completely set on completing a mission, we have two brilliant performances from Eastwood and Malkovich that will keep you on edge throughout.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Owen Wilson Weekend – I, Spy (2002)

spyDirector: Betty Thomas

Writer: Morton S Fine, David Friedkin (Screenplay) Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley (Story)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole, Phill Lewis, Viv Leacock, Keith Dallas

 

Plot: A professional athlete has to help a U.S. government agent recover a missing jet.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Buddy Comedy Fail

 

Story: I, Spy starts as we meet clumsy spy Alex (Wilson) who get the information about a missing plane that is in the hands of Gundars (McDowell) before meeting cocky boxing champion Kelly (Murphy) who is about to fight his second fight in a week in Budapest.

The mission puts the two opposite men together working with experience undercover operative Rachel (Janssen) in Budapest to locate Gundars and the missing plane.

I, Spy is a buddy comedy that uses both the comic reliefs and forgets to pull off either in the serious role which is so important to make either of them work. We find ourselves going through the same routines over and over with little to no suspense being built up by the characters. The jokes are very hit or miss throughout with the action being very much bog standard.

Wilson and Murphy just don’t click the way Wilson does with Chan or Murphy did with Nolte and nearly all the scenes come off feeling awkward rather than funny between the two. The supporting cast are all average too with no one sticking out in anyway what so ever.

 

Overall: This is a flat buddy comedy with no laughs.

Ratingcard

 

 

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