ABC Film Challenge – Action – K – Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)

Director: Greg Mottola

Writer: Michael LeSieur (Screenplay)

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, Patton Oswalt, Ming Zhao, Matt Walsh

 

Plot: A suburban couple becomes embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbors are government spies.


Tagline – License to kill. License to chill.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Keeping Up with the Joneses starts when average married couple Jeff (Galifianakis) and Karen (Fisher) who live in a quiet neighbourhood get new neighbours. This is the buzz of the cul-de-sac and the Jones’ Tim (Hamm) and Natalie (Gadot) are not like the normal in the area.

Karen believes that the Jones’ are not normal and starts spying on them, for good reason as Jeff becomes the pawn in an espionage mission for the undercover agents.

 

Thoughts on Keeping Up with the Joneses

 

Characters – Jeff is the everyday human resource man for a government facility, he has a normal life with his wife in a quiet suburban neighbourhood and tries to stay positive. He reluctantly finds himself in the middle of espionage where he learns that not everyone in his life is who they believe they are. Karen is his wife and an interior designer that works from home giving her a birds eye view of the new neighbours, to whom she doesn’t trust. Tim Jones is the secret agent that befriends Jeff when he is searching for criminals, he is tired of the life of crime. Natalie is his wife and weapons expert who enjoys the life even though she doesn’t fit in the suburban neighbourhood.

PerformancesZach Galifianakis in the leading role of the couple works very well, he knows how to give us everyday comedy and his weight loss is fantastic. Isla Fisher is good to feeling like they have great chemistry together. Jon Hamm is great as the agent being the slick figure you would imagine he would need to be, while Gal Gadot shows us that she is capable of the kick ass woman we saw in 2017  with Wonder Woman.

StoryThe story shows how a quiet neighbourhood can be turned on its head by new neighbours and them being spies only causes our main couple finding new excitement in their life. It shows how this field will be the hardest to blend into for the spies and how the everyday person could get in their hearts and job. There is an espionage story which can get lost at times which doesn’t feel like the most important part of the story.

Action/ComedyThe action when used is generic easy to put together to keep things safe, we have a car chase which is the highlight of the action. The comedy is mostly the reactions to what is happening to characters which will get chuckles in places.

SettingsThe film is designed to make the spy genre being set in the suburbs, which gives us everything we need it too.

Special EffectsThe effects work when needed and add to the action sequences.


Scene of the Movie –
The car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is almost no existence

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action comedy that hits the marks it needs to without being one of the greatest, it easily isn’t one of the worst.

 

Overall: Fun throughout.

Rating

 

 

Hugh Jackman Weekend – Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Director: Peter Ramsey

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (Screenplay) William Joyce (Book)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Khamani Griffin

 

Plot: When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.


Tagline – The Sandman Is More Than A Dream

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Animation

 

Story: Rise of the Guardians starts when Pitch or the boogeyman decides he wants to take back his role as the one children feared, the guardians of childhood memories, North (Santa), Tooth (tooth fairy), Bunny (Easter Bunny) and Sandy (Sandman) must bring in the newest guardians Jack Frost, the one that is being ignored as never believed in by children.

When Pitch starts to gain more power, the guardians must use all their abilities to fight back to keep the childhood hopes and happiness alive as Jack will find his place along side the guardians.

 

Thoughts on Rise of the Guardians

 

Characters – Jack Frost is the spiritual figure that nobody believes in, he keeps children happy everyday, but no one will remember him for his work, now he gets given a chance to become a guardian giving him the chance to be the hero the world needs. North is the leader of the guardians the first selected to help to replace Pitch giving the children of the world hope, even if he does feel like colossus from Deadpool. Pitch was once the one that struck fear into children, he wants his crown back and will look to take the belief out of any children in the world. Tooth, Bunny and Sandy make up the rest of the guardians that have mixed feelings towards Jack being chosen as their newest member. Using the iconic fantasy characters does make us understand what they thieve for, but is often used for a pun throughout the film.

StoryThe story here follows a reckless potential new guardian that must prove his place in the guardians with the much more experienced and famous icons of fantasy. While this does follow a generic idea, it is fun throughout and does play into the idea of childhood innocence keeping legends alive. The idea of Jack Frost needing to find his place in the battle is the strongest part of the film and is easily the one part of the film you want to see most of.

Adventure/FantasyThe adventure that Jack Frost must go on brings him to the next moment of his stage of immortality, being on a level with a Santa or Tooth Fairy, this is him finding himself in this world that is full of fantasy icons that children will always be believing in.

SettingsThe film takes us to different lands which would be the ones you would imagine finding the fantasy icons, the north pole being the most iconic.

AnimationThe animation standard is top notch just like we are expecting from a major study involvement in a film.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me A lot of the jokes are aimed at how people would imagine talking to each of the guardians.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fantasy family animation that can be enjoyed by all, it doesn’t over test the audience and comes off fun throughout.

 

Overall: Fun family animation that will give you a smile.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – T – Tag (2018)

Director: Jeff Tomsic

Writer: Rob McKittrick, Mark Steilen (Screenplay) Russell Adams (Article)

Starring: Ed Helms, Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, Hannibal Burgess

 

Plot: A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.


Tagline – Based on a True Story. We’re Not Kidding.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Funny

 

Story: Tag starts in the month of May, the same month five friends Hoagie (Helms), Bob (Hamm), Chilli (Johnson), Sable (Buress) and Jerry (Renner) always play a game of ‘Tag’ the problem is they have normal lives and for the 30 years of playing they have never managed to tag Jerry. This year he wants to retire from the game, which brings the other four out to bring their best game.

The four are joined by Hoagie’s wife Anna (Fisher) who takes things too seriously and reporter Rebecca Crosby (Wallis) who believes this could be a major story as they all head home for the wedding.

 

Thoughts on Tag

 

Characters – Hoagie is one of the gang, the one that still takes the game of tag the most serious willing to take fake jobs to get his friends, he joins his wife who keeps him determined to get Jerry this year. Bob now in a successful businessman who is being interviewed at the time of the beginning of the game this year and now his story will help bring the game to the life of the public. Chilli is the stoner of the group, his life hasn’t gone well with his marriage, business and career not going well. Sable seems to be the guy trying to put his life back together, we don’t learn too much about his life away from the gang, but he does get plenty of laughs. Jerry is the one from the group that has never been caught, he has turned the whole game into a mission to prove he can escape and plan ahead of anybody who comes for him. Rebecca Crosby is the reporter that is writing a story on Bob, only to get learn of the game of tag that makes for a much bigger story. Anna is Hoagie’s competitive wife who would be the be the best player in the game if she was allowed to play.

PerformancesEd Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm and Hannibal Buress have great chemistry which shows in their performances, we get laughs from all of them without one getting more than the others. Isla Fisher is the strongest actress in the film because the characters are not used to the full amounts in the film. Jeremy Renner is the highlight in the film because he goes against the typecast we know and hits the comedy moments throughout.

StoryThe story here follows the story of five friends that have been spent 30-years playing tag once a year for a month and this time the four are determined to get the one that has never been caught. This is clearly and early message about brotherhood and remaining friends for a lifetime, it gave the guys an excuse to just go and see their friends. We do get moments that I feel do go too far when it comes to getting involved in the game, but the idea of the game is just as crazy as it sounds. I did like the fact this story showed us how life can get in the way of friendship the older we get and this gives us a reason to keep in contact with them, brining a moment of happiness to a life that could be going in a bad direction.

ComedyThe comedy in the film is great, though it easily has moments that will upset people because certain jokes could be slightly too offensive, the chases will get the most laughs.

SettingsThe film takes the friends in their home town which shows the important message behind the game which gives us a nice feeling.


Scene of the Movie –
The concept of friendship.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain moments are too dark.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great comedy that people will enjoy the most part of the message of friendship, it has great performances from everyone involved too.

 

Overall: Must watch comedy.

Rating

 

 

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocDirector: Tom Ford

Writer: Tom Ford (Screenplay) Austin Wright (Novel)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney

Plot: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband’s novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Wow

Story: Nocturnal Animals starts by following art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Adams) who has it all with her new husband Hutton (Hammer) but she isn’t enjoying the job the way she once did. Susan receives a copy of her ex-husbands novel.

We enter the novel following the Hastings family Tony (Gyllenhaal), Laura (Fisher) and India (Bamber) as they are travelling cross country clashing with Ray Marcus (Taylor-Johnson) and his crew of joyriders in the middle of the night.

With his family kidnapped and his car found abandoned Tony must work with Bobby Andes (Shannon) to find his family all while Susan is struggling with the intensity of the novel. When the story hits hard personally for Susan, she starts to see this as a message being sent by her first husband Ed Sheffield (Gyllenhaal). We are left to witnesses just how the book ends and how it could be reflected into Susan’s life.

Thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

StoryThe story is balancing three stories, the first is Susan reading the book and looking back at her relationship with Ed. The second is looking at how the relationship between Susan and Ed started and fell apart. The third is the following of the novel which is a very intense story. I think all three are balanced perfectly to show the paranoia coming Susan, the love story beginning middle and end of the early relationship. The highlight of the stories really is looking into the novel because this story while intense wouldn’t work as a solo film without seeing and feeling the reaction of Susan reading into so deeply. The stories also don’t get themselves confused which could easily happen in this story.

Drama/ThrillerThis is a thriller that will keep you on edge from start to finish when it comes to the novel being told the drama mostly comes from the outskirts following Susan’s story of wondering what the book is meant to stand for.

Characters/PerformanceLooking into the characters we have a very interesting mix, Susan is never saw what to want from her life making the mistakes which will make over people like her, I do think the stand out characters are from novel with Tony character being filled with emptiness after what happens to his family, Andes being a strong cop figure willing to go the extra mile for justice and the crazy criminal Ray Marcus that goes all out to get what he wants and gets away with anything. When we look at the performances Adams, Gyllenhaal and Shannon all give the great performances you know and expect from them, it is Aaron Taylor Johnson that makes you step back and go wow because this performance not many people could have seen coming from him.

SettingsEach setting fits the story it is being used to tell, be it the high society setting of the art gallery owner, the rough desert location for the novel and New York for the early stages of love.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most intense films of the year that will be hard for certain film fans to enjoy because of how dark it is but in the end, you will be left shocked with where this one goes.

Overall: Shockingly intense story telling going on from start to finish.

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Grimsby (2016)

casting cardDirector: Louis Leterrier

Writer: Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston, Peter Baynham (Screenplay) Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston (Story)

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Rebel Wilson, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Johnny Vegas, Scott Adkins, Penelope Cruz, Gabourey Sidibe

 

Plot: A new assignment forces a top spy to team up with his football hooligan brother.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Awful

 

Story: Grimsby starts as we meet council estate football hooligan Nobby (Cohen) who has a large family but has been searching for his long lost brother Sebastian (Strong) his whole life. Sebastian is a secret agent working for MI6.

When Nobby learns that Sebastian is still alive he finds him in the middle of a mission and accidently makes Sebastian the prime suspect in a terrorist attack which is really being run by Rhonda George (Cruz). Reluctantly the two have to work together to clear Sebastian’s name and keep Nobby’s family safe.

Grimsby is an action comedy story that understands that it is happy to parody plenty of films. The problem is the parody gets lost in the humiliating grossed out comedy that is going on. The secret agent stuff is passable but sadly the comedy kills any of this. So many of the scenes in this film come off awkward and the only remotely good thing about this movie is that villain plans could make sense.

 

Actor Review

 

Sacha Baron Cohen: Nobby is a football hooligan living in the council estates in Grimsby who has always kept hope that his brother will return to his life. When he finds out about his brother he finds himself having getting in his brother’s way and having to take part in the latest mission. Sacha is an actor I believe has all the talent in the world but he keeps doing all these awful roles.

Mark Strong: Sebastian is the slick spy that has been working on his latest mission when Nobby interferes making him the prime suspect. He wants to clean his name but has to work with his idiot brother leaving him having to face his hardest mission to date. Mark is an actor I have huge respect for but I found myself wondering why on Earth he took this role that fully embarrasses him.

Rebel Wilson: Dawn is the girlfriend of Nobby, she is the perfect match for him without being anything to involved. Rebel is nothing but a supporting character not getting the time needed on camera to make anything happen.

Penelope Cruz: Rhonda is the famous face planning the attack, while her plan is one of the better ones from a villain we barely even get to see her character on screen. Penelope is one of the few highlights but she just doesn’t get the time to shine.

Support Cast: Grimsby has a supporting cast all designed to add extra laughs through the different situations our character finds themselves in.

Director Review: Louis LeterrierLouis does try his best with a poor script but this film won’t leave him with a good reputation in comedy.

 

Action: Grimsby has very simple action that doesn’t add anything to the story.

Comedy: Grimsby doesn’t hit any good comedy marks in my eyes with most being crude throughout.

Settings: Grimsby throws the characters into random location which well don’t get used well enough.
Special Effects
: Grimsby has lazy effects that just don’t work and are awkward throughout.

Suggestion: Grimsby is one to avoid at all costs. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: Villain’s plan.

Worst Part: Where do I start?

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Yes

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

Tagline: Behind every hero is an embarrassing sibling

 

Overall: Dentist treatment is more enjoyable than this film.

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