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

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – F – Frank & Lola (2016)

Director: Matthew Ross

Writer: Matthew Ross (Screenplay)

Starring: Imogen Poots, Michael Shannon, Justin Long, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Nyqvist, Emmanuelle Devos

 

Plot: A psychosexual noir love story, set in Las Vegas and Paris, about love, obsession, sex, betrayal, revenge and, ultimately, the search for redemption.


Tagline – Love Obsession Betrayal Revenge

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Blank & Boring

 

Story:  Frank & Lola starts as we meet chef Frank (Shannon) who has started dating college graduate Lola (Poots) as they get involved in a strange relationship in Las Vegas, which sees her mother Patricia (Arquette) as questionable.

When Patricia brings her former partner to town, Lola wants Frank to help get revenge for something that happened between the two, as he has become more of a no nonsense type of person who gets offered a job by her new boss Keith (Long) which could solve his problems because of his brilliance in the kitchen.

 

Thoughts on Frank & Lola

 

Characters – Frank is a brilliant chef that has started dating the younger Lola, he gets jealous easily which makes him want to know who every man in Lola’s life is as he starts to look to solve her problems. Lola is a college graduate in fashion that is in Vegas, she is dating Frank and starts working for the charismatic Keith, she knows what will make Frank jealous as she starts to use him to get what she wants. Keith knows people in Vegas, he offers jobs to talent, which will see him follow a strict code of not trying to date them, he will always offer people job if he believes they deserve the change. Patricia is Lola’s mother that hasn’t always been as close with her daughter.

PerformancesWe have such a great cast here, Michael Shannon gives one of his most average performances of his career, Imogen Poots struggles to make an impact, Justin Long gets his moments, but not enough. Most of this comes from such dull characters they must try to bring to life.

StoryThe story is the hardest part to describe because it seems to follow a chef that is trying to do anything to clean up his girlfriends past, only to get caught up in the middle of just what might be true or not. The problem with the story comes from the poor dialogue which makes it hard to connect the story together, it seems to create scenes which put Frank’s mind in one direction only for the next one to change it, this happens too often and becomes annoying because we can’t get invested in his story. we did get some heavy themes which do just get glanced over which only confuses in the end.

Crime/RomanceThe crime side of the film comes from what Frank will do for Lola, he is driven by his love for her which shows him where to go with his actions.

SettingsThe film has two main settings, Las Vegas and Paris, both are used to show the busy side of the lives of the people we are follow.


Scene of the Movie –
Job offer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The story is too heavy on changing direction too often.

Final ThoughtsThis is a dull romantic thriller that just drags along at a snails pace, never using the talent to its strengths.

 

Overall: Bitterly disappointing.

Rating

 

Justin Long Weekend – Accepted (2006)

Director: Steve Pink

Writer: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Mark Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Blake Lively, Adam Herschman, Columbus Short, Maria Thayer, Lewis Black

 

Plot: A high school slacker who’s rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.


Tagline – When every college turned them down. . . they made one up.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun

 

Story: Accepted starts when serial slacker Bartleby (Long) fails to get accepted into any colleges when his high school run concludes. Bartleby isn’t the only one that lost his chance to go college, he decides to join Sherman (Hill) and Daryl (Short) in creating a fake college South Harmon Institute of Technology.

To make his parents believe this is a real college, he works with his friends to refurbish a building to be a college, only for the college to take off having numerous students turn up leading to a battle with the local real college.

 

Thoughts on Accepted

 

Characters – Bartleby is the student at high school everyone turns to for fake ids, he is a slacker at heart, not knowing where he wants to go and getting rejected by all the colleges that he applied to. To keep his parents happy, he creates a college only for everything to get out of hand he needs to use his quick-thinking ideas to keep the cover on. Sherman is the only one of the group of friends that did get into the college he wanted, he helps Bartleby get the college up and running while trying to keep everything in his own future together. Monica is the love interest for Bartleby, always been the girl that he dreams off, she has her own passion, which her college isn’t going to give her. We get plenty of characters that are struggling to find their place in the next stages of their life and the rich students who get into college without any problems.

PerformancesThis movie has a big cast of actors that would be great picks for any teen comedy in the early 2000s. Justin Long takes the leading role and he is great because the character he plays is the one we are seeing him play a lot. Jonah Hill gets good laughs from his role, but this is before he transformed his comedy to hit more often. Blake Lively is a good love interest for the film, the whole supporting cast does well through the film.

StoryThe story is about one student that creates a fake college to cover up the fact he never got accepted into any college and things get out of hand. The story is told in a comic tone, even though it does tackle the serious problem school students face when it comes to the end of their run, before college, what happens if they don’t make it, what if they do make it and can’t handle the pressure. In fairness the telling of the story is done well for a teen comedy and is easily one that can be enjoyed by the fans of the genre.

ComedyThe comedy in this film does work for the most part, it is mostly teen comedy material which is fine to enjoy.

SettingsThe film is a college set movie, it gives an idea of creativity the characters will be facing.


Scene of the Movie –
The case.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough focus on why so many students got rejected from other colleges.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the fun modern college movie, it tells an important message about dealing with the added pressure of college life.

 

Overall: One for the teen comedy movies.

Rating

 

 

Justin Long Weekend – Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi (Screenplay)

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza

 

Plot: A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


Tagline – Even nice people can go to hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Filled Horror

 

Story: Drag Me to Hell starts where we meet mild manner loan officer Christine (Lohman), trying for the vacant assistant managers job, dating a professor Clay (Long) and generally just being a nice timid person. Christine’s day seems routine enough, but when Mrs Ganush (Raver) comes to her for an extension on the loan she must reject it.

Mrs Ganush begs and pleads for an extension, before being shamed, this forces her to put a curse on Christine, one that causes nightmares, day terrors and the need to solve this before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Drag Me to Hell

 

Characters – Christine Brown is one of the best modern horror characters, she does an honest job, she isn’t rude, pushy or arrogant, she just makes a living the best she can. She has worked her way up to a potential assistant manager role. She is filled with innocence it adds to the horrors we see her having to experience after she gets cursed. Clay is the supportive boyfriend, a professor of psychology, he doesn’t believe in the supernatural even being the annoying rude figure to a fortune teller. Mrs Ganush is the gypsy that has seen her loan go bad, she needs an extension again which Christine much reject, we feel little sympathy towards her and the motivation for putting the curse on Christine.

PerformancesAlison Lohman is brilliant in this role, we truly believe that she is the character of innocent nature. Alison is the true star of this movie, she goes through the most too. Justin Long is good in his role even if he is only the supportive boyfriend. Lorna Raver is great as the gypsy woman as you are filled with fear watching her.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that is doing her job and she gets cursed by a vengeful customer. While this story does follow the traditions with its linear idea of woman needs to find away to lift curse as the hauntings are getting worse each time she is haunted. We get to look into curses and how they can have people attempt to lift them while haunting continue to get worse. It could easily be thrown into the idea of one woman dealing with guilt.

HorrorThe horror in this movie is almost none stop, when it hits we do know when things happen and each moment becomes more terrifying.

SettingsThe film does keep us in a normal American city, it shows how the everyday life of Christine is routine until the curse gets thrown on her, this takes us to more horror related location.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed for the most part, we have great horror effects when it comes to practical, but hits us with weak CGI moments only draw us back.


Scene of the Movie –
Prepare the goat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Clays behaviour to the fortune teller, way to generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern horror movies out there, we have terrifying scenes which are built up perfectly for the horror.

 

Overall: Must watch horror movie.

Rating

 

 

Elizabeth Banks Weekend – Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith (Screenplay)

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, Katie Morgan, Jason Mewes, Traci Lords, Justin Long, Brandon Routh

 

Plot: Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.


Tagline – What would you do to get out of debt? 

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Raunchy Comedy Fun

 

Story: Zack and Miri Make a Porno starts as we meet two friends Miri (Banks) and Zack (Rogen) from high school struggling to make ends meet in their apartment. When twos debts continue to rise they turn to one idea, to make a porno.

Zack, Miri and their friend Delaney (Robinson) set out for audiences and move forward with this idea hiring Lester (Mewes), Stacey (Morgan), Barry (Mabe) and Bubbles (Lords) and set off to make their own Star Wars porn parody, until things take a turn and they must come up with a new plan, but it works out better for them.

 

Thoughts on Zack and Miri Makes a Porno

 

Characters – Zack is a coffee barista that lives with Miri, he isn’t the most ambitious just wants to have a good simple life, he suggests making a porn movie to raise the money for bills, but this plays into his deeper feelings for Miri. Miri lives with Zack, she did want more from her life, but for now she is happy enough, she doesn’t believe she could have feelings for Zack which soon start changing when the two will need to have sex.  Delaney is the co-worker of Zack’s married since high school who jumps at the chance to produce the porn movie. The rest of the characters we meet are the stars of the porn movie they are making, but we don’t learn too much from them.

PerformancesSeth Rogen had this role written for him, you can see that in his performance where he might be typical funny Rogen which is what we wanted from this movie. Elizabeth Banks is good here, she is always good at comedy, but this is her raunchy side we hadn’t seen before and she delivers. The supporting cast get their laughs when needed which shows how comic timing works at certain times.

StoryThe story follows two close friends that need to find a way to make ends meet which turns into a porno, like you do. It plays into the idea that men and women would struggle to remain friends after sex when it was one of the only options to make ends meet after growing debt. The story doesn’t hit the heights it could but for the most part if you are going into a Seth Rogen comedy you know it isn’t going to be the deepest off films.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does hit for the target audience it is on a raunchy level, which does take away from the romantic side of the film which doesn’t work to level it should for where the film aims to go.

SettingsThe settings show us how you could go around making your own home-made porn movie with a small group of friends. It shows you can make it in the right locations without having to pay extra.


Scene of the Movie –
Zack and Miri sex scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It goes too heavily into the raunchy side at times.

Final ThoughtsIf you want a raunchy comedy this will keep you happy, but if you don’t want to see a sex heavy comedy you will not enjoy and most likely being skipping this one.

 

Overall: Rogen Fans will enjoy.

Rating