Ben Stiller Weekend – There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writer: Ed Decter, John J Strauss, Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly (Screenplay)

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller, Lee Evans, Chris Elliott, Lin Shaye, Jeffrey Tambor, Markie Post, Keith David

 

Plot: A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from high school, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.


Tagline – Warning: The guys who did ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and ‘Kingpin’ bring you a love story.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Laugh Out Loud Comedy

 

Story: There’s Something About Mary starts back in high school Ted (Stiller) is an outsider at school with a giant crush on the school beauty Mary (Diaz), he is lucky enough to get asked to the prom which only ends in disaster after an accident.

13 years later Ted still wants to know about Mary, he hires a private investigator Healy (Dillon) to find out about her, only for him to fall for her and he tries to get her using all the secrets he has learnt from spying on her, which drives Ted down to Florida to try and win her heart first.

 

Thoughts on There’s Something About Mary

 

Characters – Mary is the beauty woman that the guys are all attracted too, she is good-hearted helping the community including her brother, she however can’t settle on the right guy, attracting the wrongs one too often. Ted is the high school student that suffers an unfortunate accident on prom night, he never got over not knowing about Mary and sets out to learn about her 13-years later, he continues to have accidents in life, but is an honest guy. The nice twist on these two characters is that, Mary is the big sports fan while Ted doesn’t seem that interested in sports. Healy is the private investigator that is hired to learn about Mary, he falls for her and uses the information he has learnt to try and win her heart. Tucker is a friend of Mary’s that also loves her and will do anything to stop the guys dating her.

PerformancesCameron Diaz was the perfect choice for this role she has the looks which was important, but she shows us all that she has the comedic timing too. Matt Dillon as a creepy investigator works great too, this plays into his strengths in the comedy genre too, while Ben Stiller shows us just how good he is at playing to loveable loser figure, apart from his terrible fake crying. The supporting cast get their laughs too, which works well throughout the film.

StoryThe story follows multiply men that fall for Mary, they are going to try different plans to win her heart and certain ideas do work. This doesn’t paint the intelligent doctor figure of Mary very well, but we tend to focus on the guys plans over her decisions. Ted is the nice guy that mostly wants to make sure she is doing well in life only to become part of her life again, while others turn to lies to play into her favourite traits. For a comedy this story works very well, it will give you the laughs along the way even if the characters for the most part are turned into desperate people that will lie to get a woman.

Comedy/RomanceThe comedy in this film gets laughs throughout the film, certain people will be offended by certain material though. The romance shows how people will fall in love and how far people will go for love.

SettingsMost of the film is set around Florida, which gives us the sun filled background to make this easy on the eyes.


Scene of the Movie –
Learning the truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The depiction of mentally handicapped people.

Final ThoughtsThis is a funny comedy that does make us laugh more often than not, we have great performances from the whole cast and you will be happy to watch this again.

 

Overall: Enjoyable comedy.

Rating

 

 

Morgan Freeman Weekend – Going in Style (2017)

Director: Zach Braff

Writer: Theodore Melfi (Screenplay) Edward Cannon (Story)

Starring: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Matt Dillon, Joey King, Christopher Lloyd, Ann-Margret

 

Plot: Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.


Tagline – You’re never too old to get even.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Comedy

 

Story: Going in Style starts when Joe (Caine) learns his mortgage payments have trebled, forcing him to talk to confront the bank, this sees him witness a bank robbery, to make matters worse his best friends Albert (Arkin) and Willie (Freeman) are all going to lose their pensions.

Facing a future with no money, the three decide to rob a bank only to get enough to cover what they would be owned and not super rich, which leads them to head down a path meeting the criminals of the world as they try to solve their own problems.

 

Thoughts on Going in Style

 

Characters – Joe Harding has worked his whole life, he has his own home where he lets his struggling daughter and granddaughter live to help with their job and education, this becomes difficult when he learns that he might lose his home after a mortgage hike. He sees a bank robbery happen and decides it is the best option for the friends to get the money they are about to lose. Willie is about to lose his pension, he is sick and needs a transplant, he wants nothing more than to be able to spend time with his family, who are on the other side of the country. Albert is the reluctant member of the friends, but once he learns about where his pension is going he jumps at the chance to get even. We do meet the family they are working to help, though the film never creates a human villain, it is the idea of the bank being the villain.

PerformancesMichael Caine is always a man that can lead a heist movie, this is no different has is smooth delivery gets to poke fun, while remaining strong through the film, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin continue the old man humour which Arkin is has made himself the star of this genre.

StoryThe story follows three elderly men that decide to rob the bank that has been taking the money they haven’t earnt fairly in life. We get to see how a heist is planned out, with the comedy coming from just how the speed element is going to be more difficult for anyone of their age. We see them turning to the life of crime for a good reason and only going after what they need to survive. Having them being honest men who had never thought of turning to crime makes the story stand out too because we can support their actions through the film. This may not be the most original or realistic, but it does entertain.

Comedy/Crime The comedy is mostly a mix of old man humour which surrounds the different actions the three must go through, it works and will get the required laugh. The crime side of the film follows how the robbery is planned and just how they aim to get it done without hurting anyone or getting caught.

SettingsThe film is set in Brooklyn, the bridge shows us that these men have lived through the rise of the area, a place that they call home.


Scene of the Movie –
The alibi.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The cops are made to be dumb.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining crime comedy that has a strong cast that know they are having fun as the film unfolds.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Crime Comedy.

Rating

 

 

The House That Jack Built (2018)

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier (Screenplay) Jenle Hallund (Story)

Starring: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Hallon Hogan, Sofie Grabol, Riley Keough, Jeremy Davies

 

Plot: The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long & Dull

 

Story: The House That Jack Built starts as we meet Jack (Dillon) who is confessing his kills to Verge (Ganz) he goes on to tell him about five different murders he has committed, first was a stranded lady (Thurman) who constantly goes on about him being a serial killer. Second more daring, taking on a lady (Hogan) in her own home.

As Jack starts to see his OCD become less of a problem, he starts taking more risks when it comes to his kills, the more daring he becomes the easier they feel to him.

 

Thoughts on The House That Jack Built

 

Characters – Jack is a serial killer, he has killed dozens of people, with his acts becoming more daring as he becomes more confident in his skills to kill. He is confessing his actions to a priest, which gives us his mindset for each of his kills. Verge is the priest who is hearing the confession that is listening to the stories as he is learning whether Jack is the man he claims to be. We have plenty of victims which offer Jack plenty of different styles of kills, though none of them are very memorable.

PerformancesMatt Dillon is the only highlight in the film, where even he struggles to keep the attention of the audience, he is in nearly every scene which means he needs to be the best, only he doesn’t deliver well enough. The supporting cast is mostly forgettable because they are just the victims.

StoryThe story here follows Jack as he is confessing his murders to an unknown presence who feels like a priest. The story is told in chapter form which allows us to see each different murder and mindset which caused him to go through with his actions all while having an ending which will only leave you more confused from what we did see. The pacing of this film is awful, as it does drag on and on before getting to the point of the conversation, we could easily skip one of the chapters that offers up nothing to the main story. this is also meant to be a story with a lot of controversy, though I struggled to see just what that could have been.

Comedy/HorrorThis is classed as a comedy? I struggle to see why, but maybe there is something in this people could see being funny, the horror is a serial killer that likes to play with his victims, which are slowly waiting for him to do something, the way the story is told holds up the impact though.

SettingsThe film takes us to many different settings which each play into the hands of the killer waiting for his chance to kill, he uses his environment to select how he gets the job done. There is one final location which will confuse though.

Special EffectsThe effects are basic the kills are basic we don’t go over the top with them, though the final sequence is heavier on the effects.


Scene of the Movie –
The final sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Pacing is annoyingly bad.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor serial killer movie that lacks pacing skills and engaging characters.

 

Overall: Boring horror.

Rating

 

 

The Outsiders (1983)

outsidersDirector: Francis Ford Coppola

Writer: Kathleen Rowell (Screenplay) S.E. Hinton (Novel)

Starring: C Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lower, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise

 

Plot: The rivalry between two gangs, the poor greasers and the rich Socs, only heats up when one gang member kills a member of the other.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Coming of Age Film

 

Story: The Outsiders starts as we meet the Greasers Ponyboy (Howell), his brothers Darrel (Swayze) and Sodapop (Lowe), as well as Dallas (Dillon) recently out of jail, the loose cannon of the gang, Johnny (Macchio), Two-bit (Estevez), Steve (Cruise) and Tim (Withrow) this teenage gang get chased around town.

The Greasers are the poor gang in town and have a rivalry against the Socs the rich gang, when Ponyboy and Johnny find themselves getting into trouble which leads them to turn to Dallas for the way to make this disappear. This leads to Ponyboy and Johnny going into hiding while the police, Greasers and Socs search for the boys responsible for murder.

 

Thoughts on The Outsiders

 

Characters/PerformancePonyboy is the youngest of three brothers within this gang, his future looks set to be within the gang not getting a chance to have a future away from this dead-end life his elder brothers have had to give up to raise him after their parents death. Johnny is the best friend within the gang of ponyboy, he has the similar problems in life but his is about not being loved by his parent’s. Dallas is the wild one of the film with the Curtis brothers Darrel and Sodapop both working very well to be the guardians of Ponyboy.

The performances here are all great with Howell, Dillon and Macchio getting the most screen time all giving showing they were big child actors but if you look deeper Swayze, Lowe, Estevez, Cruise and Lane all show they were going to be big name stars in the future.stars

StoryThe story follows one group of poor teenagers struggling in small town America, getting themselves in trouble and with no clear out of the cycle they have become a unit against the rest of the world. The story of their unity shines through the story and you could follow everything the youngster members of the gang can go through. This could easily be looked at as one of the more underrated coming of age movies from the 80s.

CrimeThe crime side of this story comes from the accidental murder of one side of the gangs and how what starts off with a bit of hate escalates into a full-blown battle between them.

SettingsSmall town America makes for great setting for this film as it shows just how these guys could easily be in any town when it comes to the difference they both have.genre

Final ThoughtsComing of age, young adult whichever you want to call them are all popular, but this one of the most underrated ones I have seen.

 

Overall: A must watch for all the coming of age fans out there.

Ratingrating

 

 

The Art of the Steal (2013)

artDirector: Jonathan Sobol

Writer: Jonathan Sobol (Screenplay)

Starring: Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel, Kenneth Welsh, Chris Diamantopoulos, Katheryn Winnick, Jason Jones, Terence Stamp, Devon Bostick

 

Plot: Crunch Calhoun, a semi-reformed art thief, agrees to get his old gang back together to pull off one last heist.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slick Heist Film

 

Story: The Art of the Steal starts as we learn that Crunch Calhoun (Russell) a master thieve that has given up the work after being caught on his last job with his half-brother Nicky (Dillon) left him in a prison. Crunch has moved on with his life taking Francie Tobin (Baruchel) under his wing.

When Crunch learns Nicky is back in the country he decides to go back into the business with his Uncle Paddy (Welsh) and Nicky to complete one more job. The question remains can the two work together to get this job done even with Interpol watching their every move.

The Art of the Steal is a heist movie that you can’t really get into too much detail without giving too much away. We do get a heist story unfold while dealing with personal issues and this is a film that gives you every single plot point through the story you just need to watch out for them all. Everything comes off very slick and does what a good con does distracts from what is really going on.

 

Actor Review

 

Kurt Russell: Crunch Calhoun is a retired art thief that after being betrayed by his own half-brother. Released from prison he is struggling to make ends meet he finds himself getting his team back together for one final job even working with Nicky one more time. Kurt is good in this role having a lot of fun for this film.

Matt Dillon: Nicky Calhoun is the half-brother of Crunch who can talk his way out of anything even though he finds himself facing the choice of prison or just let his brother take the fall. When he returns to Canada he works with his brother one last time to make the biggest score of their careers. Matt is good in this role playing a opposite to Kurt.

Jay Baruchel: Francie Tobin is the apprentice of Crunch who ends up working with the brothers on the latest job where he gets a chance to learn from the best. Jay struggles to fit in with the rest of the cast in this role.

Kenneth Welsh: ‘Uncle’ Paddy MacCarthy is the wise expert with the connection the brother’s turn to when they have stolen the art. He is wise cracking but loyal to the end to the boys. Kenneth is good in this role where we get plenty of laughs from his character.

Support Cast: The Art of the Steal has a small supporting with the highlight from Terrence Stamp has a fellow thief that has to help Interpol.

Director Review: Jonathan SobolJonathan does give this everything you need in a heist film without putting that extra twist others might put in.

 

Comedy: The Art of the Steal has funny moments but a lot of the comedy feels very forced.

Crime: The Art of the Steal throws us into the world of art crimes going on with twists along the way.

Settings: The Art of the Steal doesn’t have the best uses of settings with most just being generic without making any scene over memorable.
Suggestion
: The Art of the Steal is one I would say to try but just don’t expect an Ocean’s Eleven level of film. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Terrence Stamp is very funny.

Worst Part: Slightly too short.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Now You See Me

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: It takes a great artist to pull off the perfect con

 

Overall: Stylish crime film that just doesn’t reach the heights of fellow films in the genre.

Ratingcard