Brad’s Status (2017)

Director: Mike White

Writer: Mike White (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Jemaine Clement, Luke Wilson, Shazi Raja


Plot: A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life’s choices.

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Wonderful Experience


Story: Brad’s Status starts as Brad (Stiller) is looking at his college friends Craig (Sheen), Billy (Clement), Jason (Wilson) and Nick have done since college, being major successes in their fields, while Brad still works his inferior job, living the life he never imagined, married to Melanie (Fischer) and his boy Troy (Abrams) is about to go to college which Brad is going to help him tour them before selecting.

Learning that his son could get into Harvard but he missed the interview by a day, Brad must try to reconnect with his old friends to hopefully get his son another interview, but the more he thought of others’ lives the more he questions his own choices, driving him to push for this opportunity for his son.


Thoughts on Brad’s Status


Characters – Brad is our narrator and main character, he is reflecting on his own time in college as he sees how his life went a different way to his college friends on the dawn of his own son needing to pick his college. He sees himself in different lives, ones with more success that he has but also sees how he has more of a connection with his own son they he believes they would have with theirs. This character represents the over caring parent at times, always wanting the best for his own son because of the missed chances he had. Troy is Brad’s son, he could get into Harvard but deep down he wants to be a musician, he has a great relationship with his parents and this is one of the most important moments of his life so far. Melanie is the wife of Brad’s who misses the tour because of work but supportive in each decision. Craig, Billy and Jason are the college friends that have gone onto be successes in Brad’s eyes but they have gone onto different ventures away from Brad.

PerformancesBen Stiller gives us one of the best performance of his career, such a contemplative expressional performance that steps away from the comedy he is known for. Austin Abrams is good in this role of his son, he gives us a performance that feels like it is a high school kid about to make the biggest decision of his life. The rest of the cast all give good supporting performances which make enough impact on the story without taking away the spotlight from Stiller.

StoryThe story follows Brad as he is looking at how his life could have gone for him, he gets to reflect on his own life while imagining how things could have been different in the moment of mid-life crisis without going wildly over the top. It also shows the pressure put on both parents and children when it comes selecting a college which could bring the future for the next stage of his life. We focus on how friendships drift apart over time because people change, and things will be different in our own lives in the future.

Comedy/Drama This is a comedy drama that takes on a serious subject with the light-hearted side of comedy, over an attempted laugh a minute comedy.

SettingsThe settings are in and around American colleges, we see how people are busy with their lives while the visitors must take in the environment they could experience, it has moments of being able to walk down memory road.

Scene of the Movie –
Brad and Ananya drinking discussion.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does focus only on successful people, not people that have struggled to even make it to college.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple and powerful movie, it takes on a serious subject of questioning our place in life when our once friends have hit a higher success mark in our own eyes.


Overall: This is a brilliant movie to experience.




Moana (2016)

moanaDirector: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams

Writer: Jared Bush (Screenplay) Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, Jordan Kandell (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Auli’I Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk


Plot: In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain’s daughter’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the demigod to set things right.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: One of Their Best


Story: Moana starts with the ancient tale of Chieftain’s heart that could give life and who Maui stole the heart with the ability to transform with his magical fishhook but when others leave Maui defeat and both the heart and fishhook lost forever. This is a story for Moana and her people where she is destiny to follow in her father’s footsteps and become the Chief of their people.

Desperate to help her people Moana risks her own life to search for a new fishing location but only finds the dark side of the ocean before her grandmother also known as the crazy lady on the island shows Moana the final secret of her people and that is Moana’s destiny, to restore the heart of Chieftain to restore the peace within the waters with the help of the one that disturbed the peace in the first place the demi-god Maui.

Moana is an adventure family comedy that brings us the next Disney leading female character that is part princess but not in the love angle. This is huge plus because we are tired of the princess stories now. The story focuses on believing in yourself be it for your people or that the stories about yourself are not what are going to define you. The fallen hero side to Maui is excellently done to go opposite the soon to be chief character makes for an unusual partnership but one that works on the levels needed.

It wouldn’t be a Disney animation without wonderful songs and this is now different but I can’t help but find myself not getting them stuck in my head like others (Let it Go, for example) and I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. ‘I Am Moana’ is easily the headline song from the film and captures the character perfectly though.

Going into the characters with the voices behind them now Auli’I gives an amazing performance as Moana with her beautiful singing voice and of course we need to talk about the biggest name in the film Dwayne Johnson and Maui who again is brilliant in his role where he nails the singing and charisma the character needs. We do get great comic relief from a mix of Heihei the chicken and Pua the piglet but otherwise this is a very grounded film that doesn’t introduce too many characters.

Disney could have restored the magic it has been losing with certain recent releases and this sure as hell gets back to what once made them great enjoy the songs, the story, the adventure for it will be special.


Overall: Disney is back and with a boom, move over lazy Pixar sequels the original masterminds are back.


What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

whatDirector: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

Writer: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi (Screenplay)

Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonny Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stu Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Jackie van Beek


Plot: Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane – like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Fun and Original Mockumentary


Story: What We Do in the Shadows starts as we learn that a documentary film crew get to meet a group of vampires Vladislav (Clement), Viago (Waititi), Deacon (Brugh) and Petyr (Fransham) who all live in a flat in New Zealand. We see how they go about their lives and collect their victims.

We move forward two months and meet the latest victim Nick (Gonzalez-Macuer) who has just been turned into a vampire and learning to fit in with the rest of the vampires as he transition from human to vampire lifestyle.

What We Do in the Shadows gives us the mockumentary treatment to the vampire genre. The style works because the vampire genre had really gone stale with recent commercial films literally sucking the life out of them. We get an excuse to chat to the camera which could have ruined the idea and having the added underworld of the creatures of the night. Everything in this film works for what the film achieving which can be enjoyed if it is watch by the audience of mockumentary style of film.


Actor Review


Jemaine Clement: Vladislav is the charismatic vampire, he is used to his ways believing his charm can get his victims. He likes to joke with his victims and instantly dislikes the new vampire Nick. Jemaine is good in this role creating a really funny character.vlad

Taika Waititi: Viago is the leader of the household, he controls the everyday household routines. He introduces us to the rest of the household and explains all of the rules they have lived by. Taika works in this role getting to have the extra eccentricity need in the role.viago

Jonny Brugh: Deacon is the flaky one of the three, he has a good back story about how he became a vampire. He is a hot head and enjoys conflict as well as promising a human slave a chance to become a vampire. Jonny is good but I do think we could have had more from his character.

Cori Gonzalez-Macuer: Nick is the newly made vampire who doesn’t understand the rules, he puts the safety of the rest of the vampires at risk. Nick is a great addition to the rest because he makes the old school vampires learn about the new world they are living in. Cori is good in this role as the new vampire.

Support Cast: What We Do in the Shadows has a funny supporting that adds to the laughs.

Director Review: Jemaine Clement, Taika WaititiThe pair give us a very funny mockumentary.


Comedy: What We Do in the Shadows has laughs from start to finish.

Fantasy: What We Do in the Shadows brings us into the world filled with the creature of the night.

Horror: What We Do in the Shadows doesn’t give us enough horror for my liking.

Settings: What We Do in the Shadows uses the New Zealand setting for the character which all comes off nicely.
Special Effects
: What We Do in the Shadows uses the effects well to create the moments in the film.

Suggestion: What We Do in the Shadows is one for the comedy fans to watch. (Comedy Fans Watch)


Best Part: Mockumentary style.

Worst Part: The style might not be for everyone.

Funniest Scene: Werewolf scenes.

Kill Of The Film: Viago’s first kill.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: We could have on.

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 26 Minutes


Overall: An enjoyable mockumentary filled with laughs.


The BFG (2016)

bfgDirector: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Melissa Mathison (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hal, Rafe Spall, Bill Hader


Plot: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because, unlike them, he refuses to eat children.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Fantasy


Story: The BFG starts as we meet orphan Sophie (Barnhill) living in an orphanage in London when she accidently witnesses a giant roaming the streets in the middle of the night. The giant in question is the BFG (Rylance) known as the Big Friendly Giant takes Sophie back to giant country.

Back in giant country we learn what the BFG does by collecting and giving dreams but in a more threaten side of story we learn that there are flesh eating giants in this world who want to get back to the human world to feed. The BFG must work with Sophie to protect the humans as they get set to go into battle with the impending giants.

The BFG is a remake of a film that I really enjoyed as a kid, we had musical numbers and full blown fantasy elements which also included an actual threat from the giants. In this version the giants are barely involved with the final story which takes away from any threat as an audience to see. We also get very slow moving moments which just suck the life out of the film which should be pure fantasy. In the end the story is very weak for what the source material had.


Actor Review


Mark Rylance: BFG travels between the giant world and the human world where he sends dream to the innocent while living in constant fear of being captured by humans and of the other giants who always pick on him. He would like peace between the two sides but knows that won’t happen with the threat of the giants. Mark is good as this giant showing his skills as an actor.

Ruby Barnhill: Sophie is the little girl that gets taken from the orphanage to giant country by the BFG who wants to help him become brave when it comes to dealing with the rest of the giants. She is a dreamer much like any leading character in a Roald Dahl book. Ruby does great in this leading role as a potential new star.

Penelope Wilton: The Queen is who Sophie and the BFG turn to take out the dangerous giants as she opens her doors and leads the assault. Penelope is solid but in the end is very generic in this role.

Jemaine Clement: Fleshlumpeater is the leader of the giants who has been waiting and searching for the route back to the human world so he can finally eat the flesh of humans once more. Jermaine is solid but just doesn’t come off as terrifying as required.

Support Cast: The BFG has a supporting cast which we don’t get to see enough from to truly get an understand of monstrous side of the giants.

Director Review: Steven SpielbergSteven is a director I would expect something even more from because this just ends up being very average.


Adventure: The BFG has elements of fantasy but in the end is way too one sided.

Animation: The BFG has great moments of animation but also has so you can see are stuck between the two animation and real.

Family: The BFG is one that I do feel the whole family could make it through but it is slow at parts which lose a younger audience.

Fantasy: The BFG is full blown fantasy with the world of giants which is all good throughout.

Settings: The BFG only has a couple of settings really and that is the giant world and London making it feel like it is all very much within one small part of the world.
: The BFG is one I think people should try but otherwise it isn’t essential watching this year. (Try It)


Best Part: Visually great.

Worst Part: Slow moving.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $140 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

Tagline: From the human beans that created E.T. and the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda”


Overall: Very slow moving fantasy film that really just doesn’t hi all the marks.