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Comedy

“That’s Raphael on the right – they made him look so tough!”.

“Cowabunga Dudes!!” I’m Michelangelo and I’ll be reviewing this film about me and my friends.

This is the fifth film made about us. Awesome! It features lots of pizza. Woah! I like how using CGI and real people for the movements, they have made us look darker and meaner in this film. Yeah!

Shredder and his Foot Clan minions sure make life a misery for us and our friend Megan Fox… I mean ‘April’! I really think this version of April is better than the original. She’s totally hot.

This movie would be completely bodacious if they had put some work into the story. But it’s just embarrassing. Shredder looks like a robot and the plot is like that time Donatello puked up pizza – all over the place!!

My final scores:

Us (The Turtles) : 8/10
Beginning of Film = Good!
Rest of film = Some bogus sh*t.

Overall : 4/10

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Liz (Kate Ashfield), Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) get ready to repel the zombie horde.

(Obviously) I’ve seen this before but I wanted to watch it again. It’s clever because it knows that you know it’s going to be a zombie film and it teases you. Is that a zombie or just Shaun (Simon Pegg) stumbling and moaning because it’s early in the morning? Wait that is a zombie! oh.. no it’s just a supermarket worker. Definitely a crowd of zomb…  no just teenagers shuffling along with headphones on. At the same time as making you smile it’s also a clever social commentary on the detached nature of modern life.

Eventually when the zombie epidemic does begin. There’s lots of laughs, tension and action as Shaun assembles a group of survivors – which include his mum (Penelope Wilton), his friend Ed (Nick Frost), his long suffering girlfriend Lizzy (Kate Ashfield), and in Shaun’s words “failed actress” Dianne (Lucy Davies) and her “twat” boyfriend David (Dylan Moran) – and attempts to lead them to safety. Shaun’s idea of safety however is pretty much the same as his idea of a good night out – hiding out at the Winchester tavern. Where beer is freely available and bar snacks are plentiful.

Watching this for the 2nd time now I noticed that many lines of dialogue gain new meaning. For example pre-zombie epidemic, Ed says to Pete after an argument  “Next time I see you, you’re dead”, and he is of course. Pete also says to Ed: “You want to behave like an animal. Go live in the shed”. By the end of the film – Ed is living in the shed. There also movie references to spot. For example “Kill the Queen” (Aliens or Resident Evil) in reference to the zombie-attracting jukebox starting to play Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” at the same time as a horde of zombies are lurking outside the pub.

One of the best zombie films out there and funny as well. Even if you’ve seen it before you’ll enjoy it. 8/10

You don’t mess with Uncle Buck. (unless you need shelves putting up)

I watched this with my family one Christmas when I was young and thought it was hilarious. Now – many years later, while not bad in any way, it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered.

The story : After a Russell family emergency Uncle Buck is called in (he was last choice) to look after the children: Cold know-it-all teen Tia, and the mischievous Miles (Macaulay Caulkin pre-Home Alone) and Maizy (Gaby Hoffmann). Buck is an unconventional uncle, he’s unemployed, a bit of a slob, dries the children’s clothes in the oven, and often strays close to the wrong side of the law. He is also big (he’s John Candy after all) and is loud and clumsy.

These days comedies are faster with less down-time, and better acting. What this does have however, is heart, and the fact that it doesn’t feel the need to give the audience a laugh every few seconds actually works in it’s favour – since this leaves time for story and emotions to develop. Buck is well meaning, and eventually his warm intentions even defrost the heart of Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly) – the Russell’s cynical eldest daughter.

Buck despite being huge is always full of energy, ready to cause trouble or kick someone’s ass. This film is a good reminder of how great and energetic a comic actor John Candy was. Although watching it now with more realistic eyes, the truth is, he probably needed a lie down between takes.

Watch this as an Xmas or holiday film like I did and it’s good fun, any other time and it’s probably not funny or fast enough to keep your attention for long.

6/10

That’s not candy she’s handing out….

Montana Moore (Paula Patton) is an air hostess, she’s fast approaching 40 but is still hopelessly single. Now her younger sister is getting married, and she’s really feeling the pressure to find someone. Her fellow cabin crew decide to intervene by setting her up with as many of her ex’s (the ones it didn’t quite work with before) as possible. They do this by waiting until one of her ex-partners needs to catch a plane and then they organise it so that Montana is working on the same flight so she can ‘bump’ into them. (implausible yes)

Paula Patton does her best here with an impressive charm offensive but still fails to disguise the fact that this is a sub-standard romantic comedy. It has a lot of the genre staples – a close gay friend, a funny fat friend, an oppressive mother etc – but there’s no sparkle. There are jokes but they’re predictable and rarely raise a smile. The story is even more predictable.

I got about 50 minutes in when I switched off. Rom-com affcionados may want to keep watching to see Montana finally get it on with her best friend (that’s a not a spoiler it’s obvious that’s what’s going to happen from the beginning) but for anyone else, to keep watching would be masochism.

A very generic 3/10

Portia (Tina Fey) has to stretch the truth to get her son Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) accepted into Harvard.

This is a slightly above-average romantic comedy starring Tina Fey as admissions officer Portia Nathan at Harvard. It’s fairly standard stuff but at least the setting is new. Portia finds herself put in an difficult position when she is told that one of the pupils she is  being asked to assess is actually the son who she gave up for adoption. Paul Rudd plays John Pressman (Fey’s soon-to-be-love interest). He is the headmaster of the the slightly unorthodox Quest school at which her son Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) is a pupil.
On the romantic side there is some genuine warmth between Fey and Rudd but it never really goes much beyond that. There’s certainly nothing remotely tear-inducing. Comedy then seems to be the priority and while Fey is a good comic actor there’s nothing in the script that’s going to make you laugh out loud. So smiles rather than laughs then.

The supporting cast includes Mark (Michael Sheen) Portia’s academic long term boyfriend who likes to call her ‘good girl’ while patting her on the head – he basically treats her like a cute dog. Nelson (Travaris Spears) is John’s precocious adopted African son he also looks remarkably like a young Don Cheadle. Then there’s Susannah (Lily Tomlin) who is Portia’s bossy mother, and also Corinne (Gloria Reuben), her bitchy rival at the university.

It’s an interesting setting with interesting characters, but it’s not funny enough for a comedy and not romantic enough for a romantic comedy.
 
6/10

Pull up to my bumper baby. Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and Jon (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) get close on the dancefloor.

Jon Martello (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is nicknamed Don Jon by his friends because he never fails to pull on a night out. He’ll usually get the 8/10 or 9/10 girl. However the sex is never as good as the porn he’s addicted to on his computer. Like he says: “a girl that hot doesn’t need to give a proper blowjob”. They all want to do missionary and look him in the eyes when they orgasm but all he wants to do is “lose himself” while he takes them from behind.

Things start to change for Don when he meets his dream 10/10 girl Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). The “Perfect tits and ass” but she won’t give him what he wants straight away and he’s made to work for it. He has to meet her friends, family and even enrols on an evening class – just because she wants him to. However it’s not long until he’s back on his computer searching for “gym sex” and “pov bj” videos. It seems it will take more than Barbara to change things for Don…

This is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directing debut and it’s an impressive one. It’s uncompromising and neither Don or Barbara are particularly likeable. Don is self-centred and doesn’t care much about his friends, job, church or family, seeing them all as a means to an end rather than as something to invest time and emotion in. He’s a compelling character though and the film is funny too as you watch Don struggle to adapt. When he’s given a baby to hold, he holds it straight-out at arms length and looks to Barbara and says “Am I doing ok?”.

Both Levitt and Johansson pull off impressive transformations to become their characters although there are times when both veer dangerously close to caricature. The sex between the main characters is filmed in a slightly conservative way, which jarrs a bit considering the amount of porn shown. It could be argued that this is on purpose to contrast between the fantasy and the reality,  but it seems more likely to do with the slightly conservative nature of it’s stars. Pretty good overall though. Certainly worth watching.

7/10

It says something about the Tube that no one takes much notice when you dress up as a dog.

The story of Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) who uses his special gift of being able to travel back in time to engineer the perfect relationship with his dream girl Mary (Rachel McAdams).

I started watching this with a sense of dread – worried it could be another Groundhog Day. Don’t get me wrong, that was a good film at the time but several films have since copied the concept and I don’t think I could have stomached another one.

Fortunately Tim can go back in time whenever he wants, cleverly sidestepping the dull repeating-the-whole-day-again thing. Also since his method of time travel – finding a dark place, clenching his fists, and picturing the event in his life that he wants to go back to – is clearly ridiculous, you never take it seriously enough to question it. However having said that, there was a beach walk that Tim takes with his father (Bill Nighy) towards the end of the film. This was clearly repeatable at any time. So why not any other meeting with his father? (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the film).

It’s clever and funny, and being a Richard Curtis film, has a fairly safe warm feel to it. However there is an edgier side too, with the spectre of addiction, illness and the death of loved ones creeping in. There are flaws though : in the final section there was just too much cloying sentimentality between Tim and his father. Also after Tim and Mary have children much of the fun goes out of the film – although being cynical you could say this mirrors real life.

Not perfect but funny, warm, and intriguing. 7/10