Don’t Think Twice (2016)

Director: Mike Birbiglia

Writer: Mike Birbiglia (Screenplay)

Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Keegan-Michael Key, Emily Skeggs, Chris Gethard

 

Plot: When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets a huge break, the rest of the group – all best friends – start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all.


Tagline – The spotlight’s not for everyone.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Life Lesson 101

 

Story: Don’t Think Twice starts as we meet the Commune, an improv group with Samantha (Jacobs), Miles (Birbiglia), Allison (Micucci), Lindsay (Sagher), Jack (Key) and Bill (Gethard), the group have been working up the field while working daily jobs.

When part of the group gets an audition with Weekend Live, they can’t skip the chance and we get to see how the group adapts to the realities of life.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Think Twice

 

Characters – Samantha is one of the group, that gets the chance to audition for the Weekend Live show, we see how she isn’t the most confident about going to the next level even with her boyfriend being excited about this chance. Jack is the one that gets the big break, he has had a reputation of trying to become centre stage and even though he wants to support his friend, he can’t risk his new job for the writers. Miles has been training people in improv for years, Jack is one of his students, he hasn’t ever grown up where it seems like he is about to have a mid-life crisis. The remaining three just are going through their own issues in hopes of getting a break, while enjoying the comedy as a relief from life.

PerformancesWhen we look at the six cast members we see how they have great chemistry, we do get more scene time for certain stars because of the relationship side of the story. I don’t think anyone stands out more than anyone else which is the whole point of the group.

StoryThe story here follows an improv group that has great chemistry, but will need to focus on staying together when one of the group gets a chance at stardom. This shows how any close-knit group could be affected by change which will disrupt the reputation of the rest, while also showing how hard work for any comedy act the industry would can be, while trying to live normal lives where ends need to be met. This does have the moments that we like to see in film where we get to see how hard life can be when you hit 30 and haven’t made it following the dreams you wanted to see. Showing us the harsh reality of showbiz is important for anyone who wants to take that step in the industry. It is a shame we don’t get to see the life goals from a couple of the support characters.

ComedyThe comedy comes from the improv scenes, they easily get the best lines, the rest of the film does seem slightly too serious, though this does help the real-world problems.

SettingsThe film does have New York setting which gives us the glimpse at how hard the small-time comedies will be facing in the city.


Scene of the Movie –
The improv scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning enough about Lindsay, Allison or Bill.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable comedy showing how real-life can be difficult for any aspiring comedians.

 

Overall: Nice look at life.

Rating

 

The Predator (2018)

Director: Shane Black

Writer: Fred Dekker, Shane Black (Screenplay) Jim Thomas, John Thomas (Characters)

Starring: Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Sterling K Brown, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen

 

Plot: When a young boy accidentally triggers the universe’s most lethal hunters’ return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.


Tagline – You’ll never see him coming.

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Commits to Comical Tone

 

Story: The Predator starts as we meet elite sniper Quinn McKenna (Holbrook) whose latest job sees a spacecraft crash land with a Predator butchering his team, with a few goodies he finds, he sends home, knowing what is coming. With his son Rory (Tremblay) being an Asperger’s sufferer, he accidently unlocks the code trapped within the system.

Government agent Traeger (Brown) is trying to unlock the system and when the captured Predator escapes, Quinn must team up with other soldiers branded crazy, Nebraska (Rhodes), Coyle (Key), Baxley (Jane), Lynch (Allen) and Nettles (Aguilera) who help scientist Casey (Munn) find a solution for the new Predator problem.

 

Thoughts on The Predator

 

Characters – Quinn McKenna is a sniper who finds himself in the middle of the latest Predator ship crash landing, surviving his first encounter with the creature, he uses the technology to escape, he must use his training to protect his son and save the world from the impending attack. We do know he isn’t the best family man, but this night should bring him closer to his son. Nebraska is one of the ‘crazy’ soldiers, he will help Quinn becoming the connection between the rest pushing them to do the right thing. Rory is the Asperger’s sufferer that can solve puzzles others can barely unpack, he is your typical different student and school, the outsider if you like. Casey is the scientist bought in to help understand just what is happening with the Predator’s visiting Earth and certain questions about their DNA. Traeger is the government that is trying to keep the lid on everything, he will kill anyone that cross the government to keep secrets and has a dark sense of humour. The rest of the soldiers, Coyle, Baxley, Lynch and Nettles do have their own problems from serving in the military with this battle giving them a chance to redeem themselves.

PerformancesBoyd Holbrook in the leading role is good for the film, he doesn’t reach the levels of Arnie and will fit in well with the rest of the leads. Trevante Rhodes is the guy you most want to watch, he gets the best scenes for the military unit. Jacob Tremblay is getting a reputation for playing kids with troubled sides, he seems to be excellent at this type of role, this however would be his weakest outing so far. Olivia Munn is good even though she doesn’t get the best scenes to work with. Sterling K Brown makes for a great fun human villain and the rest of the unit show good chemistry.

StoryThe story here follows another group of soldiers that come face to face with a Predator and must fight back to survive, this time we have a bigger, badder Predator. Now is a fun story to watch, however if you are a fan of the original this will not give you everything you want to see. The biggest plus in this movie is explaining why the Predators visit Earth, watching this is the right move for the franchise. The story does show insensitive when it comes to dealing with the military unit that clearly have their own mental health problems which sadly gets overlooked and turned into a running joke. For a man of Shane Black’s calibre, we would expect better written scenes, instead of just lazy insults. The key element to take away from the story is that we are watching something fun that has moved away from the original tone.

Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe action is big, we get the fights which are big and bloody which is all we want to see, the horror does take a back burner as even when the film tries to be suspenseful it falls short, but the blood does help us out here. The sci-fi side of the film comes from trying to build a bigger world for the Predators to visit from.

SettingsThe film doesn’t make use of the settings too, we get the woodland area which plays into Predators speciality.

Special EffectsThe effects here are very weak for the budget, the opening sequence alone is poor for what we would expect, when it comes to the camouflage ability doesn’t even look better than the 87 film.


Scene of the Movie –
Hello big boy.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Making a joke of the mental health problems soldiers face.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun sequel, the tone does stay the same from start to finish which other big blockbusters have failed to do, we get to see more about the history of Predators and most importantly we learn just how deadly they can be.

 

Overall: Fun and enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Animation – H – Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Writer: Robert Smigel, Adam Sandler (Screenplay) Todd Durham (Characters)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Space, Keegan-Michael Key

 

Plot: Dracula and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis from leaving the hotel.


Tagline – Drac’s pack is back

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Sandler’s Sequel

 

Story: Hotel Transylvania 2 starts as Mavis and Jonathan get married and start a family in Dracula’s hotel, with their child Dennis in a position of being either a human or a vampire, Dracula comes up with a plan to forces Dennis into becoming a vampire, by sending Mavis and Jonathan on a vacation.

As Dracula’s attempts to push Dennis into become a monster, he must learn that the world has changed from the time he grew up and now monsters are accepted in the world

 

Thoughts on Hotel Transylvania 2

 

Characters – Dracula is the hotel owner and still protective father, but not grandfather, he wants to see his hybrid grandson follow in his footsteps over letting him be a natural growing into his natural form. Jonathan is the human husband of Mavis that enjoys the hotel life, he must work with Dracula to stay in the hotel. Mavis is the mother of Dennis, a vampire that is trying to figure out where to raise her son.

StoryThe story seems to follow the ideas of how the world is changing and people from different generations need to learn how to adapt to this new world. Somehow, we get a deeper meaning in a movie which was designed to come off as bringing different monsters together into one movie with a comic side to it. We have another look at how a grandparent is trying to control how their children raise their kids which is fine, it a formula that works well.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy side of this film comes from how the different monsters can go against the trends of what we have seen in the horror versions of these films, this will also be one of the family to enjoy.

SettingsThe film takes us to the hotel in Transylvania as well as the modern world where Mavis gets to experience things for the first time, we get moments which takes out character down memory lane too.

AnimationThe animation used in the movie is good from start to finish, using the generic images of the monsters to add comedy to the looks.


Scene of the Movie –
Camp time.

That Moment That Annoyed Me One too many Sandler and friends jokes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an animated comedy that does seem to work on levels you wouldn’t imagine it hitting, it will work for the whole family and shows when held back Sandler can make bearable comedies.

 

Overall: Solid animated sequel.

Rating

 

 

Storks (2016)

storksDirector: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland

Writer: Nicholas Stoller (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Anton Starkman, Keegan-Michael Key

 

Plot: Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Typical Childish Animation

 

Story: Storks starts as we learn storks used to deliver babies before they moved into the main stream delivery business. Junior is the known as the best delivery stork and is about to get a promotion of Hunter as we learn why the storks stopped delivery babies is because they lost an address for a human and adopted her Tulip. She is turning 18 and the Hunter wants her out of the business and to enter her back in the human world. With the stork problem looking to be solved we move onto meet our human family which is young boy Nate who feels lonely because of his constantly busy real estate agent parents are always working leading him to ask for a baby brother or sister.

Tulip continues to cause trouble by accidentally restarting the baby making machine and she must team up with Junior to clean up the mess. The story turns into an adventure between Junior and Tulip to deliver the baby while also seeing how parents need to look after their children over work.

Storks is an animated film that goes for the low attempts of comedy to give the laughs to the youngest of its audience not making any of the laughs come off for an adult audience. Against the low level of comedy, we do have a film with heart based story as the parents don’t give the time to the child they have and learn they only get one chance to raise their children. The adventure between Tulip and Junior does feel like it got ripped out of the original Ice Age but otherwise this isn’t the most inspiring comedy film.

The characters are very generic with most just wanting to find a way to fit in the world be it from being the popular one of being the one completely out of place. The boss character is always the loudest of the group while the family all works well but doesn’t get enough time for what could be a more important story.

 

Overall: Dull animated comedy that doesn’t give enough time to the heart in the film.

Rating

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Keanu (2016)

Director: Peter Atencio

Writer: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens (Screenplay)

Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Jason Mitchell

 

Plot: When an L.A. drug kingpin’s kitten unexpectedly enters the life of two cousins, they will have to go through gangs, hitmen and drug dealers who claim him in order to get him back.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Comedy

 

Story: Keanu starts when down on his luck Rell (Peele) finds a kitten on his doorstep he names it Keanu. His cousin Clarence (Key) arrives to try and help cheer him up the two find themselves needing to go into a world they are not used to after Keanu is taken from Rell’s apartment.

The two must take their suburban backgrounds and hide them from the drug kingpin Cheddar (Method Man) who recruits them to sell his product and show the rest of his dealers how to get the deal done, all just to get Keanu back.

 

Thoughts on Keanu

 

Characters/PerformanceRell is the heartbroken stoner that hasn’t achieved much in his life, he life is turned around by the kitten Keanu but when Keanu is taken he finds himself needing to use what knowledge he has to survive the drug scene. Clarence is the married cousin who is known for being safe, he finds a new personality within himself as he works with his cousin to rescue Keanu. Hi-C is one of the dealers that Rell and Clarence must teach how to be heartless when dealing with clients. Cheddar is the drug kingpin that has the cat, he is ruthless and impressed by the guts the two have.

Performance wise, Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key show the chemistry their television is known for, but as I have never seen that I could see just how capable this pairing could be. Tiffany Haddish is good throughout as well as method Man and all the cameos going on through the film.

StoryThe story follows to outsiders of a drug world that find themselves in the middle of a drug war trying to rescue a cat, this all works for the comedy of the film as we see how different worlds collide to teach each other life lessons.

Action/Comedy The action side of the film is all what we know without being overly risky and in parts does add to the comedy. The comedy is the highlight here with the well placed jokes not taking over the film which is important for any comedy.

SettingsThe settings is mostly LA which we see the different worlds the characters come from to learn and teach the characters through the film.

Final ThoughtsOne of the good comedies of recent years and one everyone could enjoy.

 

Overall: Great comedy and one of the best in recent years.

Rating