Franchise Weekend – Zoolander 2 (2016)

Director: Ben Stiller

Writer: Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Stoller, John Hanburg (Screenplay)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig

 

Plot: Derek and Hansel are lured into modelling again, in Rome, where they find themselves the target of a sinister conspiracy.


Tagline – Long time no Z.

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Painful to Watch

 

Story: Zoolander 2 starts by filling in the events between the two films, Derek Zoolander has been left complete shame after his school collapsed days after opening, killing his wife, he has lost his child and now lives alone.

When Derek receives an invitation to Rome by Alexanya Atoz (Wiig) he must make up with Hansel (Wilson) who has lost his looks in the same accident that took Matilda, to make the impact in the modelling world again. While Valentina Valencia (Cruz) is investigating while popstars are being murdered.

 

Thoughts on Zoolander 2

 

Characters – Derek Zoolander has been struggling after his career crashed, a recluse from the world, he is drawn out for a new case which brings him to Rome o stop a new model terrorist act. Hansel was left scarred after the accident, also out of the business, now he is out of hiding to work with Derek one last time. Valentina Valencia is the Interpol agent trying to figure out who is killing popstars. Mugatu is back after being locked up for the time between the movies.

PerformancesThis brings sadness to me, talking about these performances because the first film is one of the better comedies released to the world. The performances from the returning cast are parodies of their original work, with the additions being annoying and poor throughout.

StoryThe story is strange because nothing happens for the first hour of the film, it does turn into the same idea again, villain trying to take control while the idiotic model tries to save the day. The story feels like a parody of the previous film which never gets to the levels it needs to.

ComedyNo it just misses on most levels.

SettingsThe film is set in Rome, this works for fashion world only.


Scene of the Movie –
They killed Justin Bieber?

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest of the film.

Final ThoughtsOh dear God this was terrible, why do people keep making awful sequels to good comedies, just stop, let the original stand alone.

 

Overall: Avoid at all costs.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Animation – D – Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon

Writer: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio (Screenplay)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gairer, Steve Coogan, Julie Andrews

 

Plot: Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.


Tagline – Oh brother.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Substandard Threequel

 

Story: Despicable Me 3 starts when Gru and Lucy get fired from the Anti-Villain League after letting 80s based supervillain Balthazar Bratt escape from his latest heist. This gives Gru more time and he learn that he has a twin brother Dru.

When Dru wants Gru to show him the ways of villain which leave Gru on a tipping point for a career as Balthazar is tacking over the mantel of best supervillain and Lucy is learning how to be a better mother.

 

Thoughts on Despicable Me 3

 

Characters – Gru now part of the Anti-Villain League trying to stop the villains he once competed against. Fired after failing he learns of a long lost twin brother that wants to tempt him back into the life of crime. Dru is the twin brother of Gru that doesn’t have the same abilities when it comes to being a supervillain even after being raised by their father, he invites Gru to help him. Lucy is Gru wife that is trying to become a better mother to the kids, which is a boring side story in this film. Balthazar Bratt was once an 80s television star that had his show cancelled which drove him to a life of crime with 80s style about him (it is really hard to take this character seriously as he is being voiced by Trey Parker of South Park and I can only see Randy in this character). The minions are not in the movie are much as previous film, but still annoying.

StoryThe story follows the hapless Gru as he must face a new villain and his own family to follow his own destiny. We have lots of side stories going on here which only just take away from the main story’s flaws. The villain is interesting but never feels like a threat and the idea that Gru must face a moral dilemma about which side to fight for doesn’t get the true focus it deserves. The whole story just feels like it was designed to be a television episode if we are being honest.

Action/Comedy/FamilyThe action is not as big as the original two even if it does play into the comedy of the movie, the comedy is a complete mixed bag, moments hit well the others just annoy, with the kids being the only ones that will be truly entertained by this one.

SettingsThe film takes us to new locations which will see Gru fight and new enemy and dealing with new family members.

AnimationThe animation, just like the previous films is very good throughout, easily being the highlight of the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The opening heist gets the most laughs.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The random side stories, Lucy trying to be a mother to Margo and Agnes’ unicorn hunt.

Final ThoughtsThis is a weak entry into the franchise that could easily be better instead of just giving us too much of the same when it comes to dealing with the side stories.

 

Overall: Animation 101

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Random – W – Welcome to Me (2014)

Director: Shira Piven

Writer: Eliot Laurence (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Robbins, James Marsden

 

Plot: When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Good Drama

 

Story: Welcome to Me starts as we meet Alice Klieg (Wiig) who idolises Oprah studying all the tapes of her shows, she lives an isolated life but that is going to change when she wins the $86 million on the lottery. Believing the money has changed herself she drops her Dr Moffet (Robbins) who has been treating her for multiply personality disorder and heads off to Vegas with her best friend Gina (Cardellini).

When Alice meets studio team Rich Ruskin (Marsden), Gabe Ruskin (Bentley), Dawn Hurley (Cusack) and Deb Moseley (Leigh) wanting to create her own talk show which Rich sees this as a chance to save their studio. As the money being spend increases the show reaches new levels of popularity but can the studio continue to extort Alice’s mental issues to make money.

 

Thoughts on Welcome to Me

 

Characters/PerformanceAlice is a very unstable woman that has struggled through all her mental health problems for years, but after winning the lottery she gets her own show on television show where she can deal with all her problems, but can she deal with this new fame. Gabe is one of the studio producers that is willing to help Alice, but is one of the only ones that does want to help rather than use her. Gina is the best friend that gets left behind as Alice becomes obsessed with her own show. We also have the rest of the studio team that see this as a big payday.

Performance wise, Kristen Wiig is fantastic in this leading role showing she is capable of the serious performance away from the full comedy she is known for. Wes Bentley continues to turn his career around with another good performance. Linda Cardellini is also good throughout the film and the other highly respected stars also good great jobs with James Marsden being hugely memorable.

StoryThe story shows how people with mental health issues will find life difficult, but if you add money they can’t explain to themselves to the mix they will get taken advantage off by greedy people, but it also shows how money shouldn’t change friendships but it will. This is a film that has a story which is very important to show how difficult living with mental health issues can be.

Comedy/DramaThe comedy works in the limited moments because the story isn’t a full laughing matter. The drama shows the issues Alice must live with along with her new money.

SettingsThe settings are important because they show the world that Alice comes from to where she finds herself with all her money.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good movie that tells a very important message for the people who struggle with the mental health issues.

 

Overall: Very impressive film I feel people might not have heard off.

Rating

 

 

Downsizing (2017)

Director: Alexander Payne

Writer: Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgard, Ingjerd Edeberg

 

Plot: A social satire in which a man realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself to five inches tall, allowing him to live in wealth and splendor.

 


Tagline – We are meant for something bigger.

Runtime: 2 Hours 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Quirky Comedy

 

Story: Downsizing starts as we enter a world where scientists have perfected the idea of shrinking people to help decrease the overpopulation problem the world will be facing, the experiment was a success and is now an option for people around the world.

10 years later the world has accepted downsizing with communities appear all over America, here we meet Paul (Damon) and his wife Audrey (Wiig) who have been struggling in the economic changes and after advice decide to go through with the procedure. Things don’t go as planned as Audrey backs out leaving Paul alone in this new environment Leisure Land.

After spending the first year alone in Leisure Land, Paul meets his carefree party animal upstairs neighbour Dusan (Waltz) who shows him a different side to life and how to enjoy his life once more which happens sooner than he thinks when he meets Nogc Lan Tran (Chau).

 

Thoughts on Downsizing

 

Characters – Paul is an average man with an average job, but a real problem with money in the real world, he turns to downsizing program where he can live a better life. There he finds himself alone until he learns about a bigger problem, which he sets out to try and help with. Dusan is the neighbour living in Leisure Land, he is carefree and shows Paul how to enjoy his time in this new environment. Ngoc Lan Tran is a refugee that gets handicapped in her escape becoming a cleaner in Leisure Land showing that not everyone in this land is rich, she helps Paul see a new meaning from life.

PerformancesMatt Damon is great in the leading role, he gives performance that is filled with confliction, confusion and in need of finding a purpose in life, it shows in each emotion that he shows us. Christoph Waltz is a lot of fun in his role where he sees him enjoying playing the carefree character. Hong Chau in wonderful in her role, she brings everything we need to see as Paul makes his decisions.

StoryThe story has plenty of social commentary going on, as we see how the real-world problems trying to be addressed in an alternative solution, in this case shrinking the population. We do see the classes being addressed in the same way regardless of size and how one big decision you can never go back from can leave you right where you were supposed to be. This story doesn’t go in the direction you would imagine but does play out well becoming a subject you don’t mind seeing the people watching.

Comedy/Sci-FiThe comedy hits the quirky level with ease and puts us into a world where this procedure is a possibility which checks of the sci-fi side of the story too.

SettingsThe settings show us just where the characters live have been, will go and how not everything is as it first appears.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well to make sure everything is scaled to the right size for the difference in the people involved.


Scene of the Movie –
Norway.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It goes on too long and the direction you wouldn’t expect.

Final ThoughtsThis is a quirky comedy that plans into the social commentary that will be looked at as we do tackle bigger issues in the world including over population.

 

Overall: Quirky and enjoyable throughout.

Rating

 

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – B – Bridesmaids (2011)

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rebel Wilson

 

Plot: Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride’s best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Standard and Forgettable

 

Story: Bridesmaids starts as we meet Annie (Wiig) a woman down on her luck, be it love or in business, her best friend Lillian (Rudolph) gets engaged leading to Annie needing to meet Lillian’s other friends including biggest rival Helen (Byrne) and the mother of three Rita (McLendon-Covey), newlywed Becca (Kemper), loud mouth future sister in law Megan (McCarthy) as they prepare for the big day.

As the wedding planning continues Helen and Annie’s rivalry increases as Annie is forced into going to Vegas with the rest of the bridesmaids as the wedding day comes closer.

 

Thoughts on Bridesmaids

 

Characters – Annie is the woman watching how her best friend is getting married with a new group of friends where she doesn’t fit in with as much, she isn’t having her own luck in love either and her career is gone down the drain. Lillian is the one getting married, she must remain calm as her friends look to become friends with each other. Helen is the rival friend, she comes from money showing Lillian a different life than the one she would have without Annie around, Helen does seem to be trying to replace Annie. We have three other bridesmaids that all have their unique personas with the married with kids one, the newlywed and the crazy one that gets most of the laughs.

PerformanceKristen Wiig is good in the main role as the woman whose life is falling apart or never where she wanted to be. Maya Rudolph gives the most natural performance in the film never trying to grab a laugh like most of the rest of the cast. Rose Byrne continues to show he ability to dive into different roles. I am hugely confused why people went mad over Melissa McCarthy’s performance in this film got an Oscar nomination it was nothing memorable.

StoryThe story focuses on one woman whose life isn’t going the way she thought it would be, the engagement of her best friend seems to be the final straw, we do get to see how friendships can get tested to levels as time goes by and friends make new friends, a problem we all go through but in the end we get a lot of filler for the supporting bridesmaids in the film, that doesn’t connect to Annie which the story hints at it being her reaction to most things.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy does feel like it misses on the most part, we get a couple of good laughs but otherwise the jokes feel very forced.

SettingsThe settings mostly come off as misses as nothing becomes overly iconic in anyway which leaves us not sure where certain parts of the movie are set.

Scene of the Movie – Most of John Hamm’s scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The hype doesn’t live up to it.

Final ThoughtsThis is a comedy that I only heard good things about and I couldn’t happen to think it was overrated and boring in places.

 

Overall: Standard comedy that doesn’t hit very often.

Rating