Wish I Was Here (2014)

Director: Zach Braff

Writer: Zach Braff, Adam J Braff (Screenplay)

Starring: Zach Braff, Pierce Gagnon, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Alexander Chaplin, Josh Gad, Mandy Patinkin, Ashley Greene

 

Plot: A struggling actor, father and husband finds himself at a major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his family and his career.


Tagline – Life is an occasion. Rise to it.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky But Flat Comedy

 

Story: Wish I Was Here starts when struggling actor Aidan Bloom (Braff) faces a crossroads in life, when his father Gabe (Patinkin) stops paying for his child Tucker (Gagnon) and Grace (King) to attend a private Jewish school because he is suffering from cancer. Aidan must decide to follow his dreams of being an actor or finding a way to educate his children.

Aidan decides to home school his kids and learns he must deal with their growing pains issues, while his father’s condition only gets worse, he must look to figure out what is best for his family and pass on only following his own dreams and see the bigger picture.

 

Thoughts on Wish I Was Here

 

Characters – Aidan Bloom has been trying to make a new for himself as an actor for his whole life, he has a family which has been able to get by with his dream, but now he will need to face the reality of life and will need to make a decision about life, whether to support his family or follow his dream. Sarah is the wife that has been working on the dead end job just to make sure her kids are supported, she needs to look at how much longer she can support her husband’s dreams. Tucker and Grace are the two children, Grace is reaching the age where she needs love and support because she doesn’t understand what is next in life, while Tucker is hyperactive.

PerformancesZack Braff is one of the most interesting comedians in acting, he does have a unique style which is can be hit or miss through his career, this one is what we would expect form his without being anything truly great. Kate Hudson, Josh Gad and Mandy Patinkin give good supporting performance that get the most laughs, while the two younger stars Pierce Gagnon and Joey King both show the potential they have.

StoryThe story follows a struggling actor who must face the reality of life when his father learns he is going to die soon, he needs to sort out his priorities and support his family while his dreams are not as strong as they need to be. This is a life lesson story one that focuses on trying to teach people to balance dreams with reality to learn just what is the most important part of life. We do also get the ideas of needing to have family and learn how to forgive people for their errors of misguided love. The story does flow nicely even if it does end up focusing on the dream like world we are used to seeing Zach Braff do in Shrubs.

ComedyThe comedy is a mixed bad because we get to see moments that get laughs through the film, even if most of the comedy is what JD was going through in Scrubs, only more serious.

SettingsThe film is set in LA which shows us why the dream is more of a reality for Aidan and how hectic life can be here.


Scene of the Movie –
Epiphany.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too much of the dream like comedy moments.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky comedy that does what it is meant to do, it has the basic done well and wants to show a lot more heart that you think it would, it just doesn’t end up giving us enough to standout from any other film that does the same basic ideas.

 

Overall: Simple comedy.

Rating

 

 

Marshall (2017)

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Writer: Jacob Koskoff, Michael Koskoff (Screenplay)

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Sterling K Brown, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell

 

Plot: About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.


Tagline – Live Hard. Fight Harder.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Insightful Biopic

 

Story: Marshall starts as we learn about Thurgood Marshall (Boseman) a lawyer that works on prevent African-Americans from facing unfair trials, now for his latest case Marshall gets a case of Joseph Spell (Brown) accused of raping a white woman. Marshall must assist Sam Friedman (Gad) in the trial which shows strange occurrences that don’t make sense for a typical trial.

While Marshall is forbidden from taking the case by Judge Foster (Cromwell), Marshall must guide Sam through the case because he lacks the experience as they go against hot shot lawyer Loren Willis (Stevens) family friend of the judge. Can the two put aside their differences to win the case for Joseph or will he face life in prison.

 

Thoughts on Marshall

 

Characters – The characters are based on real people involve in and around the case. Thurgood Marshall is a black lawyer that has been travelling around America to defend African-Americans from unfair trials, he has reached the supreme court level in cases before, which is why he has taken this case. This case is unlike anything that he has taken on before, against the odds to prove the innocence. Sam Friedman is small insurance lawyer that Marshall recruits to lead the trial because they won’t allow a man of colour to be a lawyer. His inexperience could cost them the case, but learning as he goes through the trial will help him learn. Eleanor Strubing is the woman that claims to have been raped by Joseph, she comes from a wealthy family and her story is convincing. Joseph is the man accused of raping Eleanor, he doesn’t have much of a chance in a court of law and only Marshall can give him the hope. Loren Willis the opposition lawyer, he comes from a good family that has supported him his whole life, while being friends with the judge too. Judge Foster is taking the case, he does his best to favour one side, but can he keep the law intact while the case unfolds.

PerformancesChadwick Boseman is Mr biopic, this is his 4th one in his early career, he once again showed his talent as one of the best stars in the business, showing the skills needed for roles like this. Josh Gad has had a fantastic year in 2017, he has shown his range as an actor where he shines in this role. Kate Hudson continues her movement away from rom coms with another performance in a drama that shows the skills she has. Sterling K Brown, Dan Stevens and James Cromwell round off the cast here and all give great supporting performance through the film.

StoryThe story follows lawyer Thurgood Marshall a man that stood up for the fellow African-Americans that don’t get fair trials during the time when America was still riddle with racial discrimination. This is just one of his many cases he took, this is told through the trial unfolding, which does keep us on the edge of the seat wondering what will come from the case next, just like the best of the courtroom drama, which is something it needs to be. The film doesn’t get into a big racial battle outside of the courtroom which other films have done in the past, this helps because we don’t need to have this forced into the story either.

BiopicThurgood Marshall was the first African-American supreme court justice, this shows us one of his career-defining cases, the helps understand his ability, while it would have been nice to see the biggest case he was the lead lawyer on.

SettingsThe film is mostly set in the courtroom, which is a location we love to see the tension filled moments in any movie, we do have other scenes which show the moments the film gets to with the planning the defence.

 

Scene of the Movie – Joseph on the stand.

That Moment That Annoyed Me This is a pretty much cut and dry style of case for a film, it would have been nice to see a more challenging one for him to take on.

Final ThoughtsThis is another brilliant addition to the courtroom drama genre which keeps us on the edge from the opening moments to the end of the film. it also shows us how one man was trying to make a difference when others weren’t given the chance too.

 

Overall: Wonderful courtroom drama

Rating

 

 

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Michael Green (Screenplay) Agatha Christie (Novel)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kenneth Branagh, Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Lucy Boynton, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi

 

Plot: A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.


Tagline – Everyone is a suspect

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drawn Out Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Murder on the Orient Express starts as we meet the great Hercule Poirot (Branagh) as he solves another mystery but is summoned back to England for another mystery, where he catches the Orient Express from Istanbul. On the train we have a host of character, Miss Mary Debenham (Ridley), Dr Arbuthnot (Odom Jr), Bouc (Bateman), Marquez (Garcid-Rulfo), Pilar (Cruz), Hector (Gad) Ratchett (Depp), Masterman (Jacobi), Count Andrenyi (Polunin), Countess Andrenyi (Boynton), Mrs Hubbard (Pfeiffer), Princess Dragomiroff (Dench), Higegarde (Colman) and Gerhard (Dafoe).

Half way through the trip one of the passengers is murdered leading to Poirot needing to get to the bottom of this mystery, that looks unsolvable with every passenger a potential suspect, this could be his greatest case yet.

 

Thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express

 

Characters – Poirot is considered the greatest detective in the world, he solves the unsolvable but has a quirky side to him too, he needs order in his life. He uses his skills to figure out the truth about the suspects in solving the murder. To be honest I found this character annoying, and I like quirky detectives, Monk was one of my favourites but the style he presents himself just didn’t click for me. As for the passengers we have the people from different walks off life which makes them all suspects in their own way but until the end we don’t learn enough about any of them, which is guess is the point as we only learn what Poirot is learning.

PerformancesKenneth Branagh takes the roles as Poirot and for me he doesn’t deliver, he isn’t quirky enough to be quirky but is proper enough to feel proper, he just seems plainly odd. Much like with the characters it is hard to say anything bad about the cast which is an all-star cast, nobody stands out and nobody seems out of place, they are just fine.

StoryThe story is considered one of the greatest novels of all time, well it might be and I am sure when you read it, you will be left on the edge of your seat not wanting to put it down. The problem is that is doesn’t work on screen because we are trying to over play the eccentric sides of these characters in a mystery that when you stop and think about it and how it is shot doesn’t add up by the end. I am not saying the novel is bad, just how this movie tells the story.

Crime/MysteryThe mystery is who murdered someone on a train, this works I like a good mystery but the final outcome while great in its own way, doesn’t work for someone who likes to try and solve the mystery as they go along.

SettingsOnce we get to the train it is all plain sailing for the settings which work for the audience knowing the killer would have nowhere to run.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts don’t add up.

Final ThoughtsHere is a classic case of trying to make a classic novel into a movie and failing, the style the film is shot it doesn’t click, the performances are just average, while the mystery doesn’t add up once you get to the final reveal.

 

Overall: Disappointing adaptation of the classic novel.

Rating

 

 

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

Rating

 

 

The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

casting cardDirector: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly

Writer: John Cohen, Mikael Hed, Mikko Polla, Jon Vitti (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Kate McKinnon

 

Plot: Find out why the birds are so angry. When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it’s up to three unlikely outcasts – Red, Chuck and Bomb – to figure out what the pigs are up to.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Animated Film

 

Story: The Angry Birds Movie starts as we follow Red on the island on flightless birds who always finds himself getting into trouble finding himself in anger management run by Matilda where he meets over birds with anger issues with Chuck, Bomb and Terence.

When the mysterious green pigs led by Leonard turn up on the island Red becomes suspicious about what they real plan for visiting is. When the pigs steal all of the eggs the birds must turn to Red and his angry side and go into battle with them.

The Angry Birds Movie does create a story from the phone app that actually works really well. The story follows how the games play where the pigs steal the eggs and the birds attack them be angry if you want. The story is filled with bird related puns which all works keeping everything light hearted even if a lot of ideas are taken from other films.

 

Character Review

 

Red: Red is your typical angry bird living in a world where all the other birds are happy go lucky. He likes to isolate himself from the rest of the birds but when the pigs turn up he instantly questions their motive while the rest of the birds welcome them. Red leads the battle against the pigs to bring the eggs back home. Red is an important and strong leading character even if I did feel like he was Brian Griffin from Family Guy.

Chuck: Chuck is the yellow and fast bird all keeps getting in trouble for speeding. He is very hyperactive and gets fully involved in help Red just because he wants something to do. Chuck gets most of the laughs in this film.

Bomb: Bomb struggles with being able to control his explosions and with the help of Red and Chuck he does learn as the film unfolds. Bomb is a good character that has good odd couple chemistry with Chuck.

Matilda: Matilda is the anger management councillor that is help the three with their issues but deep down she is really just as angry as them. Matilda is also a good character that works well as the supporting character for laughs.

Support Characters: The Angry Birds Movie has a great set of supporting characters with Leonard being a good villain and Terrence getting plenty of laughs.

Director Review: Clay Kaytis, Fergal ReillyThe directors give us all we need without really pushing the story to the elite level of animation story.

 

Animation: The Angry Birds Movie has almost flawless animation throughout.

Comedy: The Angry Birds Movie has jokes that will work for all different audiences that watch this.

Family: The Angry Birds Movie is something you can show the whole family where everyone can enjoy it.

Music: The Angry Birds Movie uses music very well to show the mood of each scene.

Settings: The Angry Birds Movie creates the islands which all come off looking like what you would expect form the game.
Suggestion
: The Angry Birds Movie is one for the family to enjoy. (Family Time)

 

Best Part: The story actually working.

Worst Part: Quicksilver rip off scene.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $73 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Playtime’s over

 

Overall: Enjoyable and simple to watch animation film.

Ratingcard