Breaking In – Film #42

Breaking in, or breaking down?

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Payback is a Mother? More like Payback, I wouldn’t bother!

Breaking In is the lovely story of a mother and her kids moving to a house which just happens to have top notch security throughout, oh and her father has been killed recently, oh and there’s a safe with $4m inside…oh and Bella’s Dad from Twilight wants it.

After some initial “where are my kids in this big old house” moments, Gabrielle Union (playing Shaun Russell) gets locked outside the house by 4 members of a gang who are after the money, whilst her two kids are inside with the bad guys.

Cue mummy trying to get back into the house, in a twist on normal “trapped in somewhere” movies.

The problem is, it’s not very exciting. There’s some strange decisions by some of the characters, and the story lurches from moment to moment. There’s even times when the writer can’t even seem to decide whether Billy Burke (playing leader Eddie) is all that bad, then oh he’s evil, then oh no he’s alright-ish. For films like this to work, you need to have an antagonist who is genuinely frightful…something this film fails to deliver on.

Very poorly done, but 90 minutes of entertainment none the less.

2.5/5

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Deadpool 2 – Film #41

A second coming or tiny-handed flop?

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I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one…much like my review of Infinity War, you’re either going to go see this and be excited by it, or you’re not…in which case you are probably not even reading this review…so in the words of Deadpool, pump the hate brakes!

Deadpool 2 is as on the money as it comes. Sheer and utter perfection. I remember seeing the first film and thinking it was amazing, but this truly takes it to a whole other level.

The comedy is absolutely on point. Every single other character is the film is perfectly placed and adds to the story well, there’s some heart to the story and it never strays from what made the first film good, that 4th wall breaking chaos that brings you into the film like nothing else.

It’s very self aware, never more so than in the end credits (don’t stay until the very end, as soon as the scrollers come up, you can leave)

If you liked the first one, you will absolutely love this!

5/5

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Book Club – Film #40

Bestseller or bargain bin?

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This evening was a preview screening of the new romantic comedy “Book Club” starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson and Alicia Silverstone.

The four leading ladies all attend a book club with each other where they drink wine and moan about their sex lives. One day, one of them brings along a copy of the first 50 Shades Of Grey book, and their lives take a turn and a sexual awakening rouses in their old age. Fonda’s Vivian begins seeing an old flame, Keaton’s Diane (yeah same name in real life) falls for a rich guy she meets on a place (Andy Garcia), Bergan’s Sharon enters the online dating scene, and Steenburgen’s Carol attempts to rouse her husband back into passion.

I was absolutely pleasantly surprised by the whole film. Now, as a 36 year old man, this shouldn’t really appeal to me, and having not seen any trailers, I didn’t really know what to expect. What a treat it was though. Diane, Mary, Jane and Candice are amazing in the main roles. The characters all play off each other really well. There’s moments whilst watching where you start to believe that this could actually be their lives and we are watching some kind of reality TV show starring aged actresses trying to kickstart their career again. It all works really well.

Yes it’s fluffy in places, especially in the final third of the film, but there is so much comedy in there it’s brilliant. Almost all the laughs come from the delivery of the fantastic dialogue, which is credit both to the writer and the stars of the film. All the side characters are perfectly placed too…and it’s nice to see Alicia Silverstone back on the screen (I always did have a thing for her!)

Such a delight of a movie which will be bypassed by a lot of people due to the poster and the premise of the film, but take it from me, it’s very funny and it’s definitely worth a viewing!

4/5

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Life Of The Party – Film #39

Back to School or Back to the Drawing Board?

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Mention Melissa McCarthy to people and you either get “oh she’s hilarious” or “god she is so unfunny!” and unfortunately I have lately been in the latter camp. After a big success with Bridesmaids, I have just found almost everything she has turned her hand to to be poorly executed…and I feared for Life Of The Party too. The trailer turned up a few laughs but it was clear it wasn’t going to be constant throughout.

So as the film started and really struggled to get going, I thought we were going down a painful road of unfunny comedy, squeezed into the age old trope of “older person goes to do something that younger people do” as seen in many of it’s predecessors.

It does, however, pick up. There are some genuine laugh out loud moments that had me really belting out some belly laughs. The unfortunate thing is that two or three REALLY funny scenes, a comedy film it makes not! Most of the attempts at comedy between these good points is truly painful. I actually found any scene with Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph in them to be a lot funnier than anything else in the film. She really brings the chuckles to the film and keeps them there.

There’s some silly subplots about a girl who had been in a coma for 8 years, and the strange roommate, but any jokes directed at these very rarely pay off, and the ultimate coming together of both those storylines feels a little abject and shoehorned in there for a glamour moment.

It’s not terrible, but it’s absolutely miles off being the funniest film of the year.

3/5

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Sherlock Gnomes – Film #38

Fancy Garden Ornament, or Cracked Porcelain?

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The gnomes are back after their 2011 take on the Romeo and Juliet story, this time they bring in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Watson into their porcelain lives.

Gnomes are going missing everywhere and Sherlock Gnomes is on the hunt for the Gnomenapper across London. He bumps into Gnomeo and Juliet after the rest of the gnomes in the garden go missing and they all head off together, with Watson, to track them down.

Moriarty is the bad guy, as any Sherlock fans will know and accompanied by a couple of gargoyle dragons, the heroes have their work cut out.

Now, I loved Gnomeo & Juliet. I thought it was funny and a fantastic reworking of the Romeo and Juliet story, making it clear which bits were adapted from which bits of the original story. The problem with this is the source material. As they are using Sherlock Holmes, it feels kinda forced and hard work sometimes, almost like they could have done the film without the Sherlock character at all.

Then we have Moriarty, some kind of pie mascot who is so cartoonish, every time he’s on screen, it completely takes you away from the reality of how well designed the gnomes are in the film. The animation on the gnomes really makes you think this could have been done with real gnomes in stop motion, but Moriarty is just way too “toon-like” to be believable.

There’s also a distinct lack of adult engagement in the film. I remember the first film being filled with references for everyone, things that will go over kids heads, but this really didnt have them present.

My three year old loved it and was talking about it all the way home, but for me it just fell drastically short of it’s predecessor

2/5

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I Feel Pretty – Film #37

Fat full of laughs or a bit thin on the ground?

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The new Amy Schumer film is here…strap in!

After seeing a pretty painful trailer more than enough times, I was going into I Feel Pretty with low expectations but it actually came out alright. It’s nothing spectacular and never attempts to be. It’s not going to come out on the top half of the funniest films of the last ten years, but it’s a fair effort.

Quick overview…Amy Schumer is Renee, a thirty-something who hates her body and image until she takes a ridiculous knock on the head and suddenly starts to think she’s thin and fabulous. Cue loads of looking at herself in mirrors being amazed at her new look, as well as showing off her new image to friends who clearly just see her as the exact same person she was before, albeit with a renewed sense of self-worth.

There’s a new line being launched by the high end fashion company she works for and moves out of the e-commerce pit she lives in, unseen by the public, and into a front-facing role in the company as they look to launch a new initiative aimed at “the normal woman”

So now you’re up to speed, here’s my thoughts.

My initial reaction is that, taking a step back from what the film is showing us, Amy Schumer is genuinely a beautiful and fantastically figured woman. She is however in that camp of endlessly making image-motivating posts online with photoshoots showing that “the bigger woman can be sexy too” for want of a better phrase. But this is my issue..there’s nothing wrong with her. And therein lies the drawback of this film. Its as though it’s trying to say “oh look at this vile, revolting creature and oh, now look, she’s confident because she likes her body and everything is OK and you should all begin to understand that you can be confident with whatever body you have and…” etc etc etc

The film just doesn’t handle that message too well. It’s about twenty minutes too long, and there’s a whole middle section that feels drawn out. There’s a really odd storyline involving the younger brother of the modelling agency which could have been cut from the storyline entirely, but then how else would they find a way to have a good looking guy on camera?

It is funny though. There are some genuine laugh out loud moments, but for me, most of the comedy actually comes from the supporting cast rather than Schumer herself. Sure, she sets everything up, but it’s the delivery of the lines from others that really work best.

It’s not a bad film, and I would say go see it if you think it’s the type of film you will enjoy.

It’s like a Reverse Shallow Hal/Big mashup which doesn’t quite tip the scales in the way the film wants you to believe that Renee does.

6/10

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Tully – Film #36

Ah, the delights of motherhood

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Tully is a “Quirky” tale (you will see why I quoted that when you watch it) of motherhood and the stresses of childen.

Charlize Theron plays Marlo, a mother who get very little help from her husband Drew (Ron Livingston). She is having to bring up two children, one of whom is a little difficult and is having problems at school…and with Marlo pregnant again, things aren’t going too well.

When Marlo chats to her rich brother Craig (Mark Duplass), he talks highly of his child’s nanny and how it helped them. He then announces that he will pay for a Night Nanny for Marlo to help her out with the upcoming baby.

Intially she refuses, but after the baby is born and everything builds up to a crescendo, Marlo gives in and calls the Nanny.

Enter Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis. She’s a free-spirited youngster who reminds Marlo of herself before she succumbed to marriage and motherhood. She takes over the night duties of the child. Marlo isn’t sure about it at first but when she realises she’s having an amazing night’s sleep and getting her life in order, she sees the benefits.

What you get in Tully is some amazing performances. Charlize Theron is absolutely spot on. She piled on 50lb in weight for the role, and her depiction of a struggling mother who is being put upon and can’t get a break is nothing short of brilliant. It contrasts really well with the Tully character and together they world really well.

Its very funny in places, but with a serious tone of reality.

A surprising gem of a film

7/10

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