Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011)

Director: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Writer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer, Rae Dawn Chong, Steve Zissis

 

Plot: Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.


Tagline –  The first step to finding your destiny is leaving your mother’s basement.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Family Based Drama

 

Story: Jeff, Who Lives at Home starts as we meet Jeff (Segel) a stoner that lives in his mother Sharon (Sarandon) basement, he is always looking for his destiny and a mysterious call from a stranger looking for a Kevin leads him to go out of his way to find the truth. When going out on to do a household chore he finds himself joining his older brother Pat (Helms) as they go on the chase to figure out if Pat’s wife Linda (Greer) is cheating on him.

 

Thoughts on Jeff, Who Lives at Home

 

Characters – Jeff is a slacker that is desperate to find a purpose in his life believing he will be given signs in life to find this goal, he doesn’t have a job and today he goes on an adventure in hope of finding his place in the world. Pat is the older brother to Pat, he has recently impulse bought a Porsche which has only continued his strain of his marriage which leads him to share his honest truth with Jeff while trying to figure out if his wife is cheating on him. Sharon is their mother of the boys who is a widow still working a day job, today she gets secret message which adds some spice to her birthday.

PerformancesJason Segel in the leading role works because he does have a good understanding of withdrawn character his playing. Ed Helms does give us a good performance in his role where he does play louder of the two brothers. Susan Sarandon does a good job with her role even if her story does feel distant from the rest of the film.

StoryThe story follows one day in the lives of the three family members, Jeff finding his place Pat facing the truth and Sharon getting an unexpected surprise in her life. The story shows how things can come together for the series of events to bring a family closer and how they need to support each other through struggles, the sprinkling of comedy helps us along the way too. This does focus on needing to express feelings for the people that are important in your life however much you feel like it is a weakness in their eyes.

ComedyThe comedy in this film helps takes moments of seriousness out of the story, which does give it elements of realness in the film.

SettingsThe film gives us an everyday city for the film to take place in, showing how these people do have to operate in an everyday situation.


Scene of the Movie –
The lunch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me While it shows her day, Sharon’s storyline doesn’t feel as connected to Jeff’s.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful drama that shows the difficult decisions people will be making on an everyday basis, being it following a believed destiny, fixing a marriage or taking a chance.

 

Overall: Wonderful drama

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Horror – C – Creep (2014)

Director: Patrick Brice

Writer: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass

 

Plot: When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Dull Enough

 

Story: Creep starts as Aaron (Brice) heads up into the mountains to record a video for Josef (Duplass) a man who doesn’t have much time on this Earth because of his latest cancer diagnosis. It doesn’t take long before it appears that Josef is not completely there and creepy but the pay day is important to Aaron.

When night falls the day should be over but when Aaron can’t find his keys he is left alone with this unstable man but this is only the beginning of the nightmare for Aaron.

 

Thoughts on Creep

 

Characters – Aaron is a cameraman hired to make a video for a dying man, he sees this as a quick day job for money but he isn’t prepared for what comes next as the man turns out to be a creepy and obsessive. Josef is the man that claims to be dying but as time goes by we learn he isn’t completely all there and starts stalking Aaron after their day together.

PerformancesKnowing this was just a two man film you are left seeing the two giving us a good performance through the film but when it comes to their other parts of the film you can see parts coming up short.

StoryWhen a man meets a creepy man we find ourselves in a weird talking situation. Here we have just end up follow the two around wondering why we are following the two and where things will go. We don’t get to not do much, not much happens it just has a small air of creepiness throughout.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror is on the creepy side of things but never hitting the heights it could.

SettingsThe two main settings work because the first cabin gives us an edge about things but once we leave it loses something.


Scene of the Movie –
Leave Now.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It just seems like we missed too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror thriller that doesn’t hit the marks it could have, it feels flat and never goes anyway in the end.

 

Overall: Misses the marks.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Director: David Gelb

Writer: Luke Dawson, Jeremy Slater (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, Donald Glover, Ray Wise

 

Plot: A group of medical researchers discover a way to bring dead patients back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Didn’t Click

 

Story: The Lazarus Effect starts as we meet our team Frank (Duplass), Zoe (Wilde), Eva (Bolger), Clay (Peters) and Niko (Glover) who have been working on bring animals back from the dead with the Lazarus serum with the latest attempt bringing Rocky the dog back to life.

When the research project is sudden closed down, all the data is taken by Mr Wallace (Wise) who works for a pharmaceutical company, the team break into the lab to perform the experiment one last time so they can take the credit the last few years of their lives have work towards.

When disaster strikes Zoe is killed in an accident but Frank not accepting losing her decides to perform the experiment on her, to bring her back from the grave. It starts by looking like a success but it soon turns strange when Zoe has gifts she didn’t used to possess including telepathic and foresight.

 

Thoughts on The Lazarus Effect

 

Characters/PerformanceFrank is the lead scientist leading the research team, he is engaged to Zoe and once she dies he goes uses his research to bring her back to life. Zoe is the partner of Frank and leading member of the research team, once she is killed in an accident she is bought back to life but this time he is different. Eva is the newest member of the team will Niko and Clay are the generic playful rest of the team.

Performance Wise, it would be fair to say the performance don’t use the talent available to their full abilities, Olivia Wilde isn’t up to her normal levels, but it is the underused Evan Peters and Donald Glover which disappoints most.

StoryScientists look to bring the dead back to life, I have heard this one before and sure we get a modernised tale on this that does feel more scientific but in the end it just falls into ‘what is in the afterlife’ style and you must be evil if you come back from the dead. It is generic, plain and we have seen it all before.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiShe comes back from the dead, well that is the horror cover nothing scary going on here we have lazy jump scares mostly. There are elements of a mystery we try to figure out what is happening but we don’t focus on that enough and the sci-fi side well we all know how bringing people back from the dead works.

SettingsOne of the few highlights in this film is keeping most of the action inside the lab because by doing this we see how they must use their intelligence to get around the problem they are facing.

Special EffectsEasy effects are used here with most being in the vision sequences.

Final ThoughtsThis does feel like a lazy horror that doesn’t click to the levels it should do even with a cast of well-respected stars.

 

Overall: Horror that doesn’t work to the levels needed.

Rating

 

 

Table 19 (2017)

Director: Jeffrey Blitz

Writer: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass (Screenplay)

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rya Meyers, Charles Green, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson, Tony Revolori, Margo Martindale, Stephen Merchant, June Squibb, Wyatt Russell

 

Plot: Eloise, having been relieved of maid of honor duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway, only to find herself seated with five fellow unwanted guests at the dreaded Table 19.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy

 

Story: Table 19 starts as we meet our six random as the table layout describes them guests to a wedding, we have former friend and partner of the bride’s brother Teddy (Russell) and now pushed out of the circle Eloise (Kendrick), couple who barley knows anyone Bina (Kudrow) and Jerry (Robinson), anti-social loner Rezno (Revolori), recently released cousin Walter (Merchant) and former Nanny Jo (Squibb).

The six find themselves on Table 19 in the corner and decide to make the most of the evening together after they learn they are the guests that were expected to decline their invitation, but the truth about their own lives will become clear to improve their futures.

 

Thoughts on Table 19

 

Characters/PerformanceEloise is the perfect example of what will happen if you become disliked by a bride just before the wedding you helped prepare, she has a bigger reason to be there and will learn more about why her life in this evening. Bina and Jerry are a long-married couple going through the slow times bickering through the wedding. Rezno is a teenager with a few friends, whose mum has controlled most of his life, he gets pushed into going to the wedding in hope of meeting someone. Walter is a former criminal that is invited to the keep the family open but not enough to be accepted.  Jo is the former nanny that is delighted to be invited but disappointed to be left out of the main family circle. The 6 all have their reasons to be at the wedding and help themselves improve the bad situation.

Performance wise, we all know I will watch anything with Anna Kendrick is and once again she doesn’t let us down, it is also great to see Lisa Kudrow in comedy once again, Craig Robinson is one of the comic actors you can see pull anything off. Tony Revolori continues to show he is someone we should be noticing in film having a comic ability unlike others and June Squibb is fast becoming an actress I want to see all of her films. Stephen Merchant steals the show here but to be fair I think everyone did a great job in this film with Wyatt Russell offering another genre piece for us to see if he can follow in his father’s footsteps.

StoryWe will all get invited to weddings, we will all have different seats and different connections to the couple. This film shows how different people can come together and learn the truth about situations to improve themselves in the most unlikely place, learning from unlikely people. The story is charming throughout which can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy through the film works without becoming anything all laughs, we do get a romantic angle which comes off nicely too.

SettingsThe whole film is set in the wedding party which is great because it all happens in one night which shows us what can happen in one night.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that truly can be enjoyed, it has the laughs, the heart and the real effects of what you would expect from a wedding if you are an outsider.

 

Overall: One of the comedies of the year.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Mercy (2014)

casting card

 

Plot: A single mom and her two boys help take care of their grandmother with mystical powers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacklustre Horror

 

Story: Mercy starts as we follow George (Riggs) who is close to his Grandma Mercy (Knight) who teaches him things about life. When she has a stroke he loses his best friend before a year later along with his mother Rebecca (O’Connor) and sister Buddy (Courtney) have to move into her house to care for her.

When George starts finds out more about the strange history within the house he learns secrets that Mercy made as he must find off the forces of evil and stop the curse controlling the family.

Mercy is a horror film that just doesn’t get the elements of horror involved until way to late in the movie and then suddenly it is all over. I feel this is way too short to get us involved with what the complete story is involved. We try to enter into plenty of different rituals but most of it just becomes a blur by the end.

 

Actor Review

 

Frances O’Connor: Rebecca is the mother of George and Buddy as well as being the daughter of Mercy, she has to move her family to care for Mercy but what she learns will leave her family in danger. Frances is ok in this role but doesn’t make enough of an impact.

Shirley Knight: Mercy is the Grandmother of George that has always been trying to teach him about life but when the past comes back to haunt her she becomes possessed by the very thing she thought would protect her. Shirley does have elements of creepiness about her throughout.

Chandler Riggs: George is the youngest member of the family who has been close to his grandmother his whole life, when she suffers a stroke he must step up to fight her demons to uncover a family secret. Chandler is solid in this role without being given enough time in the final act which is really needed.

Joel Courtney: Buddy is the brother of George who wishes to become a chef one day, he doesn’t believe anything he has to say and is almost forgotten during the film. Joel does the best he can with a poorly written supporting character.

Support Cast: Mercy has a supporting cast that all seem to know something about what is happening but only given little parts of the story away. They just seem to become almost disposable and not giving the story enough of what it needs.

Director Review: Peter CornwellPeter gives us a short horror that just doesn’t give us enough build up.

 

Horror: Mercy doesn’t have enough when it comes to creating any horror.

Thriller: Mercy tries to suck us in which doesn’t happen leaving us not worried about the characters.

Settings: Mercy keeps most of the story inside the house but just doesn’t seem to get enough about it.
Special Effects
: Mercy has basic effects when needed without being too much.

Suggestion: Mercy is one to avoid because it is just too short. (Avoid)

 

Best Part: It is short so you won’t waste too much time.

Worst Part: Not enough is happening.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

Overall: Slow, disappointing horror that has nothing about it.

Ratingcard