Stan & Ollie (2018)

Director: Jon S Baird

Writer: Jeff Pope (Screenplay)

Starring: John C Reilly, Steve Coogan, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Stephanie Hyam, Nina Arianda

 

Plot: Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.


Tagline – The untold story of the world’s greatest comedy act.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Comical Delight

 

Story: Stan & Ollie starts as we learn how Laurel (Coogan) and Hardy (Reilly) were the biggest comedy act in the world, they conquered countries across the world with their routines, only their contracts weren’t on a par with fellow greats of the time Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. In a rash decision Laurel tries to get a bigger deal leading to him needing to find a new studio, the pair break up.

15 years later, the careers for both men haven’t gone well, but reunited for a reunion tour of Britain and the hopes of a movie together, the friendship the men had is shown in a new light with regrets coming to light about decisions they both made through their career.

 

 

Thoughts on Stan & Ollie

 

Characters – Stan Laurel is one half of the comedy duo, he writes the material, plans more and demands more back for his work, he tires to help the duo get better pay, which only sees the partnership end, he is the one trying to work on the movie script and you can see how much being original meant to him. Oliver Hardy is the big man of the duo, he had gambling problems and like Stan they both had women problems rising to the top. He was left in a difficult position by Stan tied to a contract, but will use the tour to make up for lost time between the two friends. Lucille is the wife of Oliver who has been caring for him since the break up of the act, she is always concerned about his health, while getting tired of hearing Ida’s stories. Ida is the Russian wife of Stan who sees herself as a movie star, she seems to enjoy the spotlight more than Lucille and will play along with any act she can.

PerformancesJohn C Reilly and Steve Coogan are perfect in these roles, they show the chemistry the two can have which you feel the real partnership had. They hit the funny lines and the emotional lines showing us just how the two are two of the best comedy acts in acting today. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda both give us wonderful supporting performances showing the concern and confidence their characters required.

StoryThe story here follows the reunion of Laurel & Hardy as they embark on a tour of Britain in hopes of securing a movie deal. This is a different type of story than you would expect from a biopic because, we start with the pair on top of the world and see nothing of their rise to the top. We see what caused the break up and how over the years it has been held in by the two men who were both helpless in the situation. The one thing the pair never lost though, was their chemistry and they wowed audience across Britain in what turned out to be their farewell tour. We do see many biopic which show all the highlights of the subject’s career, this showed what happened afterwards which felt like a breath of fresh air in the biopic heavy world we have at the moment.

Biopic/ComedyThe shows us how Laurel & Hardy remained big household names even after their stars had faded, they became the duo people looked up to and always were willing to give a joke out. This does only show their farewell tour though which showed they could perform on front of any sized audience.

SettingsThe film takes the duo across the UK, each setting feels authentic to their performances in the post-war Britain and as the performance went on the venues got bigger.


Scene of the Movie –
The routines.

That Moment That Annoyed Me If you did want to see their great work, you will not be seeing any of that here.

Final ThoughtsThis is a delightful film and one that could easily be enjoyed by all, it has two perfect performances from the leads and will leave you in tears and smiles.

 

Overall: One of the best biopics you will see.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

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

 

 

Irreplaceable You (2018)

Director: Stephanie Laing

Writer: Bess Wohl (Screenplay)

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michiel Huisman, Christopher Walken, Kate McKinnon, Claire Holt, Jacki Weaver, Steve Coogan

 

Plot: A couple who have known each other since 8 are destined to be together until death do them apart.


Tagline – Don’t focus on what if. Focus on what is.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tissues Ready

 

Story: Irreplaceable You starts as we meet the perfect couple Abbie (Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Huisman), who met as young kids and now getting prepared to marry and starting a family, but when tragedy hits Abbie as she learns she has cancer.

Facing her own mortality Abbie starts to prepare for the worst and how she is going to see Sam continue his life without her around. She has the support of fellow cancer sufferer Myron (Walken) who teaches her how to deal with the situation she is facing, being one of the only people that truly knows what she is going through.

 

Thoughts on Irreplaceable You

 

Characters – Abbie is one half of the couple, narrating the story to us after her death (this is the opening sequence, no spoiler here), she is diagnosed with cancer and now must face the reality that the love of her life will live most of his life without her and tries to help guide him before she goes. Sam is the fiancée of Abbie that wants to support her through any ideas she must help her come to terms with her situation, this character is a good look at the person that will be left behind in an adult relationship. Myron is a fellow sufferer that supports Abbie through the treatment, trying to help her understand the importance of time.

PerformancesGugu Mbatha-Raw has been making waves for years now, this is the highlight of her career to date, one of the best performances of the year, real, honest and one you fully understand her characters feelings. Michiel Huisman is great too, he shows us just how difficult his characters position would be. Christopher Walken gives us the wonderful supporting performance too.

StoryThe story here follows the lives of a couple in the final months of Abbie’s life, showing us how she is dealing with the news and how she plans to make her one true love life without her. The story does deal with cancer and the effects it will have on the loved ones and takes it on to the same level as 50/50, which doesn’t play too heavy on the downs, while trying to show us how moments of normality including humour can help the victim. We know the end of the film from the opening sequence, so this is preparing us to for the end.

Comedy/RomanceThe romance in this movie shows us just how cancer can ruin love, but it also shows just how people will be there to support you, even if they know the next chapter. We have sprinkles of comedy, which mostly comes from Abbie as she is dealing with everything.

SettingsThe film is set in New York, the city with many stories, we get to see certain locations which are important to the characters involved.


Scene of the Movie –
The party.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Final narration, pick one person to read not both.

Final ThoughtsThis is a movie that will play with your emotions testing you on every level while telling an important story about how people will be facing the reality of cancer.

 

Overall: Wonderful movie that tells such an emotional story.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)

casting card

 

Plot: Larry spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Conclusion to Trilogy

 

Story: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb starts by taking us back to 1938 when Ankmenrah (Malek) tomb is discovered saying about a curse. Move back to present day and the Natural History Museum where Larry (Stiller) is preparing for a big show but the tablet has started to corrode which makes the exhibits acting out of character.

Larry must learn the story about the tablet from an old enemy Cecil (Van Dyke). This leads Larry to travel to London with Teddy Roosevelt (Williams), Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Octavius (Coogan), Attila (Gallagher), Sacajawea (Peck) Dexter and Laaa (Stiller) to learn the secret of the tablet and along the way make some new friends from history.

Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb has story that is fitting to finish any trilogy because we get to see Larry move on the way he wanted to in his life, we also get an adventure in another famous museum bringing it over to my shores of England. This side of the story was good without being outstanding. The hardest part of this move to watch now is the final act in the London museum because of the speech Robin Williams gives will bring a tear your eye. I will say this feel like what Toy Story 3 was with the time to move on side to the story working really well, but not reaching the same levels.

 

Actor Review

 

Ben Stiller: Larry is now the ‘effects’ man within the museum but when the tablet starts corroding he must find the answers in the London museum where the adventure becomes a battle for life and death as he deals with his parenting issues. Ben is good in this leading role where he does have a few serious scenes as well as the comic ones.

Robin Williams: Teddy Roosevelt comes along on the adventure once the tablet starts losing its powers which causes him to act out of character, he continues to give the lines that shows Larry needs advice for. Robin is good in this role that is very difficult to watch in the final act.

Owen Wilson: Jedediah along with his best friend Octavius get stuck in the middle on their own adventure in the London museum, he is the cowboy character we all know and love in this film. Owen is good in this role playing to his strengths.

Steve Coogan: Octavius is Roman general that works with Jedediah in a good set of adventures that all add to the comedy involved in the story. Steve is good in this supporting role where we see his comic side shine through.

Support Cast: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb has one of the smallest supporting casts with only a few characters used from the original and only a few added in the London museum.

Director Review: Shawn LevyShawn finishes the trilogy very well with the touching moments that work for real life events.

 

Adventure: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb takes the adventure to London where we get what we have seen before.

Comedy: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb has good laughs that will have things for everyone while some are good to me others missed.

Family: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb is one the whole family could enjoy from start to finish.

Fantasy: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb continues the fantasy elements of the story without being too different.

Settings: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb uses the London museum which work without being anything new.
Special Effects
: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb has what I would consider the worst effects in the trilogy where you can clearly see the CGI moments which is really disappointing.

Suggestion: Night at the Museum 3 Secret of the Tomb is one the whole family could enjoy from start to finish. (Family Watch)

 

Best Part: Williams final scenes.

Worst Part: I am a fan of Rebel Wilson I do really think she is funny but in this she comes off very awkward.

Funniest Scene: Pompeii

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: Maybe in the final act.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $127 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: One final night to save the day

 

Overall: Beautiful goodbye to the characters we have all come to know and love.

Ratingcard

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

casting ard

 

Plot: Security guard Larry Daley infiltrates the Smithsonian Institution in order to rescue Jedediah and Octavius, who have been shipped to the museum by mistake.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Big and Better Than Original

 

Story: Night at the Museum 2 starts as Larry Daley (Stiller) the former night guard who is now the owner of Daley Devices but when he learns that the exhibits from the Natural History Museum are being packed away and moved to the Smithsonian as the Natural History Museum is becoming interactive.

After Dexter the monkey steals the ancient tablet that brings them to life after dark Jedediah (Wilson) has to bring Larry to the Smithsonian to help control in the world’s biggest museum as Kahmunrah (Azaria) has taken over the museum. Larry must team up with Amelia Earhart (Adams) to solve the mystery.

Night at the Museum 2 brings us into a new museum that shows what would happen if one of the exhibits gets their hands on the tablets. It is important to show that Larry has moved on with his life but the exhibits wouldn’t get that chance. I do have to wonder what happened to the love interest from the first film who gets no mention. But back to the positive we get to look at plenty of historical characters. This is fun without being too over the top and could be enjoy by all.

 

Actor Review

 

Ben Stiller: Larry Daley has now made a name for himself in the inventing world but still visits the museum from time to time to see his friends, but when they move to the Smithsonian he has to put his uniform on one more time to save his friends from a new evil and bring peace to the Smithsonian. Ben plays his character to the level you know he can in comedy very fun throughout.

Amy Adams: Amelia Earhart is one of the exhibits at the museum that shows Larry around, she is feisty adventurer much like the real lady would have been and ends up being similar to the Teddy Roosevelt. Amy is great in this role showing she can pull off comedy next to the bigger names in comedy.

Owen Wilson: Jedediah is the cowboy friend in the museum that calls him to help them with their new danger. He is wise cracking always leaving himself into trouble. Owen as always is a good comic supporting role.

Hank Azaria: Kahmunrah is the brother of the Ahkmenrah in the Natural History Museum that wants to use the tablet for evil once he gets brought back to life in the Smithsonian. Hank is good in this villainous role we would easily be one he can always pull off.

Support Cast: Night at the Museum 2 has an even bigger supporting cast that all play different historical characters inside the museums, we get a lot of cameo like performances that all get a laugh along the way.

Director Review: Shawn LevyShawn gives us a good follow up that is bigger that original while keep the story along similar lines.

 

Adventure: Night at the Museum 2 has the learning sense of adventure following Larry through the museum.

Comedy: Night at the Museum 2 has smarter jokes going on this time with most being around historical figures, with the highlight when the villain doesn’t let Groucho or Darth Vadar join him.

Family: Night at the Museum 2 is one the whole family could enjoy throughout with jokes for everyone to understand.

Fantasy: Night at the Museum 2 puts all the historical characters into the one area where we see them all come life interacting with each other and Larry gets to live it all.

Settings: Night at the Museum 2 takes everything into the Smithsonian which helps increase the characters.
Special Effects
: Night at the Museum 2 has great effects to create all the different characters we meet.

Suggestion: Night at the Museum 2 is one for the whole family to enjoy, it has a little of everything but most importantly does have good moments of history. (Family Viewing)

 

Best Part: Darth Vadar Cameo.

Worst Part: The over long don’t cross the line.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Has one more

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Tagline: When the lights go off the battle is on.

 

Overall: Enjoyable family comedy with a sprinkling of history lesson.

Ratingcard