Day 151 – Life – 2017

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Now, this film came out of nowhere. 6 astronauts are onboard the International Space Station in the near future and are awaiting a pod which contains contents from the surface of Mars. It’s actually pretty good considering the trailer made it look like a remake of the original Alien. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds in 2017, it came out to good reviews all around.

As I said before this film came out of nowhere, and to be honest I really enjoyed it. It was a masterclass of horror would be like onboard a station that instant escape is impossible. 6 Astronauts are aboard the International Space Station, Dr David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) the ISS’s senior medical officer, Dr Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), the quarantine officer, Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) the systems engineer, Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada) the Pilot of the ISS, Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) the onboard biologist and finally Katerina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya) the commander of ISS. They are on a 9 month mission to extract the probe from the surface of Mars that has captured contents for scientific research. On the mission they successfully catch the probe thanks to Rory’s skilful execution and realise they have a first dormant proof of life from Mars. They bring it to life, only to realise its sentient and attacks the ship and crew looking to infect all around it.

This film was a masterful execution of how a biological alien threat can threaten the existence of the crew and what lengths they would go to stopping it from reaching Earth and infecting the human race. It’s a scary thought brought to realisation from David Espinosa who also directed Safe House starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. Trapped in Space are the feeling that he wants you to feel, the claustrophobia of being along and the threat of something trying to hunt and kill you without the use of unreal science fiction. An ingenious way of creating a threat that logically could happen to out astronauts in space at anytime.

The fear factor is something that hasn’t really been done well in recent times with weak horror films such as Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring and Insidious have counted on the jump scares which work well in theatres gaining nonentity for it. In Life we have the build up scare, you know it’s coming and Daniel Espinosa has drafted a fantastic script into this build up of suspence not knowing when the scare is going to occur. Mix this up with the likes of Gyllenhaal and Ferguson and you have yourself a fantastic movie of astronauts stuck in space thanks to a feral alien.

Science can’t always help you, and for the astronauts, they find out first hand. It is a masterful execution on how to generate fear and build up without the jump scares with some fantastic acting in zero G thanks to Gyllenhaal, Ferguson, Reynolds.

Overall a film that will be overlooked in the years to come, but a welcome addition to the space horrors. Alien eat your eat out.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 150 – Grimsby – 2016

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Grimsby is from the mind of Sacha Baron Cohen who brought us classic characters such as Ali G, Borat and Bruno. He started to create these zany characters on television and then made one into a film. Ali G Indahouse, Borat: Cultural Learnings of American For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and The Dictator where he played a middle east dictator sent to New York to find himself. This time around he takes us to Grimsby, the town in the north east of England. Starring himself, Mark Strong and Isla Fisher it came out in 2016 to lacklustre reviews.

Nobby Butcher (Sacha Baron Cohen) lives in Grimsby with his girlfriend and 11 kids in harmony. He goes to the pub to celebrate Englands win and entry to the final against Germany in Chile. While at the pub he is informed by friends that they have found his long lost brother Coddy and will be attending the WorldCure event. Nobby agrees to visit him, not realising his brother is an undercover MI6 agent tasked with taking out bio-terrorists at the event. He, unfortunately, gets rumbled thanks to Nobby and they retreat to Grimsby. From there they have to escape the WorldCure goons who threaten the world’s AIDS crisis by planting a bomb at the World Cup Final in Chile. It is up to Nobby and Coddy to stop the WorldCure CEO Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz) before its too late.

Well, what can I say? Are you a fan of crude jokes, audacious escapades and desperate jokes. Then this is the film for you. Sacha Baron Cohen film, unfortunately, doesnt have the same magic that his former films or characters had. This time around he brings the laughs, but unfortunately, it comes across rude in most cases. The humour is aimed at the teenage audience, and luckily it reaches that market audience. Unfortunately for me, it was more a laborious in watch then in practice. It was funny but in the crude nature.

If you are a fan of stupid comedies, then this will abide your time. Don’t expect to overthink, just laugh. Its fun, but to a point where it becomes tame. Don’t waste your time on Sasha Baron Cohen taking the piss out of Liam Gallagher’s hair.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 149 – Beauty and The Beast – 2017

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I loved the original Beauty and the Beast. The animation was and still is incredible, the music was truly an experience and the characters were wonderfully crafted to the point they were not objects but people. The magic of the castle and its inhabitants created this aura for Disney Animation dubbed the Disney Renaissance. It was an exciting time for Disney. Now 26 years later the House of Mouse decided to remake it into a live action version, similar to what they did with the Jungle Book last year. Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans and Josh Gad it received by everyone as a return to form.

Everyone know the plot of the film so I am going to skip it. The film truly captures the magic that the animation had back in 1991, with Director Bill Condon even adding some songs from the theatre show to make it even more magical. The sets are incredible, the village of Villeneuve is intricate and full of various characters who live their daily life with glee and the castle the Beast lives in is amazing. Dan Steven plays the prince and the Beast, and his character is true to the animation from 1991. He brings a warmth to the Beast thanks to his supporting cast and I really did feel the pain he endured over the years thanks to the misery he had been trapped in that form.

The only problem I had with the movie was Emma Watson. She cannot act. Her portrayal of Belle was weak, felt staged and had no spirit. I felt like she had taken on the part to further her career. Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t a bad actress but in this scenario, I felt the producers should have gone with another actress. I didn’t feel any of her emotion throughout the film. A prime example would have been with her father Maurice (played by a whimsical Kevin Kline). When they interact, Maurice is alway classed as the underdog, with Belle trying to save him. In actual fact I felt it was the other way around, him saving her. It kind of took me out of the film thanks to her acting. It just wasn’t right.

The supporting cast, however, are fantastic. Dan Stevens who plays the Prince and the Beast has captured the magic of the animation thanks to motion capture and added another dimension to the beast. He showcases what it takes to become a monster and throughout changes the perception via his tone and posture to become essentially human once again. Dan Stevens also portrays the Prince as a tyrant always wanting the best in life, a perfect summary of the animated version. The rest of the cast are great with Ian McKellan as Cogsworth – the grumpy clock who always tries to get one past Lumiere, played by Ewan McGregor. He has a French accent throughout and while it is not perfect, he does try his best which is admirable. Among the cast, we have Emma Thompson who plays Mrs Potts, the teapot. She sings the anthem of the film, and while it doesn’t bring the harmoniums style that Angela Lansbury brought, her own twist is tasteful enough to bring honour to it. There are also new characters in this live action iteration with Stanley Tucci playing the piano Maestro Cadenza and Audra McDonald playing Madame Garderobe. Both adding to the cast to create a surreal yet fairy tale vibe to a classic story.

Director Bill Condon has brought the classic back, with honour. The songs in the film are gloriously brought to life thanks to the fantastic acting from everyone. Even Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad) get in on the fun, who truly capture their animated compatriots. A true sense of love was pushed into this film, and you can feel it when on screen. I love that Disney is trying to bring the films from there renaissance to the forefront, especially when they have the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and even more importantly the Star Wars Saga to continue.

Overall a fantastic recreation of the animated classic. With negative things aside, this film captures the magic that the animation brought with it but with more stamina and love. I really stepped back at points and felt like I was watching the animation but then realising it was real life. What a time to be alive.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 148 – Free Fire – 2016

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Free Fire comes from the mind of Ben Wheatley. He previously directed sleeper hits such as High Rise (of which I reviewed earlier in the year), Kill List and A Field in England. This time around he takes us to Boston in 1978, to a arms deal that goes completely wrong. Starring a plethora of big names: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Enzo Cilenti and Sam Riley, they all take on each other to become the victor of the Free Fire.

Straight off the bat, I can this film is fantastic. The comedy gem included into the script made me laugh so much. The randomness of the characters is what drives the film, and the jokes. Essentially

Essentially Stevo (Sam Riley) and Bernie (Enzo Cilenti) are meeting Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Justine (Brie Larson) outside of an abandoned warehouse. They meet with Ord (Armie Hammer) a middle man who wants both parties to meet amicably. Inside they meet with Vernon (Sharlto Copley) who arrives with his crew Martin (Babou Ceesay), Harry (Jack Reynor) and Gordon (Noah Taylor). The problem occurs when Harry accuses Stevo of assaulting his cousin the previous night in a club and tensions arise. Keeping the two boys ways from each other creates more tension when Vernon shows the crew the wrong weapons. The irritatingly leave with the money and weapons but Harry shoots Stevo generating the standoff between the two groups. Believe me, this is something you have to see.

The standoff between the groups is hilarious, with shots going back and forth between the abandoned factory. The abuse hurled between characters really made me laugh and cry, with a majority of jokes coming from the usually stern Armie Hammer – deadpan humour could be his next foray into the world of Hollywood. His beard also was a concern for some great laughs. The thrills of the gunshots all over the room bring some fantastic scenarios for the characters in particular with Martin who you think was the first to die, but in actual fact was shot in the head to get up and shoot every in sight half way through the film to a hilarious demise.

The beauty of the film was how it was made. Ben Wheatly actually created the entire set of the warehouse inside of the game called Minecraft and then created the shootouts via that setup. A clever use of video games and films. The visual set-up of the warehouse is the standout of the film, the unique corridors of the abandoned upstairs environment is cleverly disguised with random assortments of paper. The ground level used various concrete areas to save the characters from getting shot. The humour is the best part of the film. Watch it!

Overall a fantastic shoot out a film featuring some of Hollywoods best. A big kudos to Ben Wheatley for casting Armie Hammer and Jack Reynor as they stood out in the film. Hilarious.

Should you watch it: YES

Day 147 – The Guilt Trip – 2012

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Seth Rogan was a breakout star in the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin. From there he has starred in some great films such as Superbad, This is the End and The Green Hornet. They all have his signature style of comedy of which usually works in all scenarios, but this time around we are with him on a trip across America with his mother played by a Barbara Streisand. Comedy apparently ensues.

Seth Rogan plays Andy Brewster, a young go-getter who is trying to launch his cleaning liquid that is completely neutral to the environment. Unfortunately, it is not going very well for him, and he has to travel a lot. One day he goes home to visit his mother, and she tells him how being home on her own is fun. Feeling pity for his mother he invites her on his across the country road trip, which has him meeting different distributors for his new cleaner.

The film is funny act certain points, thanks to the gleeful execution from Rogan and Streisand. The comedic chemistry between them both pushes past the lacklustre plot that has them travel across the US. The only problem is that the in-between moments of comedy are dull and tiresome. Trying to capture some of the essence of previous Seth Rogan work did not help with a lot of it being slapstick comedy which is completely distasteful to the characters as a whole.

The great thing about this road trip movie is the chemistry between Rogan and Streisand. They both bring the family vibe to the screen, thanks to the story and you can truly feel the love that they share for each other. The title has no justification for the plot, as it is not really a guilt trip for both characters, more of a remembering of who they were thanks to the time they have spent apart. Whoever came up with the title needed to rethink their life choices in motion picture development. The mum and son thing works to a degree, but I think the film would have been better suited to be released on DVD rather than in cinemas. More a film you watch on a plane then in the theatres.

Overall the plot is weak, but the redeeming factor is the chemistry between Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand who really do feel like a real son and mother. The jokes are tame, but some do stand out. If the film was released 10 years ago, it would have been a sure hit thanks to the comedy, but thanks to the internet, the content falls flat.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 146 – The Wedding Ringer – 2015

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Why does the world seem to love Kevin Hart? Is it because he is a great comedian? Is it because he is small? I think it is because of all these videos we see on Facebook of his comedy shows, with that face he always makes. Don’t get me wrong, he is a funny individual and so is his counterpart Josh Gadd. They are both funny guys, but can they save this disaster? Let’s find out.

The easy answer is no. The film is bad. It tries to copy tropes from films such as The Wedding Crashers, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Old School. It’s more a mashup of them films, and somehow they came out with the plot of this disaster.

Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart) is a best man for hire. He can provide best man services for a fee and makes a lot of money from it. Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is getting married to the love of his life Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco). As they are preparing the wedding Doug tries to ring up all his old school friends to come to the conclusion he has none. He gets in contact with Jimmy and concocts the plan make a fake best man and friends for Doug. He assembles the most random team of men to be Doug’s entourage and creates his own character called Bic Mitchem. It is tasteless.

The only redeeming factor of the film is the comedic delights that Kevin Hart brings to the screen. Some of the little quips he comes out with are genuinely funny, and the same goes for Josh Gad’s character. He is unintentionally funny, thanks to his character being a man of business. He tries to do the right thing, but things always go wrong for him.

The Wedding Ringer is a cash grab by studios to cash in on the fame that Kevin Hart has amassed in recent times. Josh Gad is a casualty of this film, and unfortunately, he is thrown to the side with the focus going directly on Hart. Don’t get me wrong, they are both fantastic actors but Gad is clearly behind Hart in this picture. The background characters in this film are wasted thanks to their role. To be honest they should have been cut entirely. The only saving grace is the bromance between Kevin Hart and Josh Gad.

Wasted film premise, with a terrible plot, used to cash in on Kevin Hart. It tries too many things and fails on them all. BTW the music selection is unorganised and used in a terrible way to transition scenes. Come on Hollywood.

Should you watch it: NO

Day 145 – Stranger than Fiction – 2006

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Will Ferrell’s life is being narrated by an unknown female voice. Sounds funny right? Wrong. Completely different genre. This isn’t a comedy, it’s a drama. Starring Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Emma Thompson, it was released in cinemas in December 2006.

I seriously felt robbed with this film.

Harold Crick lives the everyman life. Lives alone, no family and works a 9 til 5 job at the IRS as a tax agent. His life revolves around his wrist watch of which everything is quantified and calculated by. One day he awakens to realise that every action he does is being narrated by an unknown British voice. He visits Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) who tells him he needs to figure out if his story is a comedy or a drama. Along the way on the job, he comes across Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who owns a local deli and has to find out why she didn’t pay her taxes. They both slowly fall in love, and so the story of Harold takes the ensemble of a comedy. He comes to terms with it, thanks to the narration stopping. Only one day, it starts again. He deduces with Professor Hilbert that his life is being narrated by writer Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a writer who kills every one of her characters at the end of the book. So he tries to find out where she is and stop her before it is too late.

The film trailer told me the film was a comedy. In actual fact the film is a drama, centralising on Harold Crick’s mentality and morality he has for his friends and lovers. It also showcases the look of how writer’s block can affect the physical look of the writer. Emma Thompson looks distraught during this transition and it is not pretty. The film is more a drama mixed with a sense of the tragedy of which the trailer completely show the audience. Using upbeat melodies, and recent music to make the viewer feel like they are watching a film which is fun. Unfortunately, this is not the film you are looking for.

Don’t get me wrong, it is entertaining watching Harold Crick shouting into the air thanks to his narrator. But at the same time, it is sad, watching a man losing his mind and heart to the nearing demise he knows is coming. Directed by Marc Forster (the main behind Quantum of Solace and Monster’s Ball), he, unfortunately, misses the mark with Stranger than Fiction thanks to the messy plot, and mixed messages the film around the genre it was going for. Will Ferrell is fantastic as always and so it Dustin Hoffman. Shame they didn’t have that much screen time together.

Should you watch it: NO