Comedy

Demolition Review

Demolition tells the story of an investment banker, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who after a specific occurrence which happens to him, goes on a bit of a rampage in his desperation to connect with something or someone.

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the best actors of his generation. He chooses roles and new projects as good as anyone and especially small indie movies that resonate well with audiences. He is once again outstanding and had this movie been released closer to awards period, he probably would have gotten some Oscar buzz. There’s another outstanding actor in the film and his name is Judah Lewis, a 14-year-old who came out of nowhere, yet his performance is one of a rock star and it should put him firmly on the Hollywood map.

Bryan Sipe is the man responsible for the screenplay of the film and he has got to receive all the plaudits for one of the best written movies in the last couple of years. From start to finish he unravels this not very uncommon narrative, but with a very distinct texture, such charisma and unpredictability it’s hard not to enjoy every moment of it. He finds the smartest ways to tell the story the way he wants without going out of his way to get something in for the sake of it. Aided by very good directing, the story is allowed a flow and edginess whilst not constantly attempting to fill it with pretentious arcs and clichés.

The movie rides a very fine line between comedy and drama. It’s not very often that a movie is so funny but also so intensely dramatic at times. Pardon me for the cliché, but it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, without drowning itself on its emotional dynamism, it thrives on it, as it lets the viewer inside, giving the reasons and explanations behind everything that happens.

An exceptional piece of storytelling with tremendous acting.

9/10

Hail, Caesar! Review

Hail, Caesar! is a story about a movie studio fixer, played by Josh Brolin, in Hollywood in the 1950s, the job he does in order to keep the movie stars in line and anything else that needs to happen so that the movies can be completed and the studio can be successful.

Josh Brolin is great as the fixer, never resting, always on the lookout to repair or prevent any trouble that might come the studio’s way. He proves to be a very calm figure for the most part, but when he needs to up the intensity, he does it with ease. It’s a cultured performance and one that will go unnoticed, even though it warrants more respect. George Clooney is outstanding as the big movie star. He carries that star quality, as Clooney does, but also adds the comedic elements extremely well. Alden Ehrenreich is surprisingly the one that steals the show at times as he has the funniest moments in the movie.

Despite the big acting names that appear in the movie, the real stars of the film are the Coen brothers. They instil that peculiar style that they always have in their movies, making sure that there is more to it, than what simply meets the eye. They grasp the opportunity that the 50s setting allows, making fun of so many situations that played big part at that time in Hollywood and probably nowadays as well.

The movie is visually stunning, with excellent cinematography by Roger Deakins. However, one of my favourite aspects of the movie was the music score, by Carter Burwell. It’s absolutely fascinating, especially in a movie like Hail, Caesar! which has so much room for different kinds of music, from an epic theme on the Roman empire and Jesus, soviets and communism, sailor dancing, to film-noir, simply put, everything.

A satire about Hollywood in the 50s, created from the unique minds of the Coen Brothers.

8/10

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

The title certainly hints at what the movie is about but to expand that a bit, it’s about Greg, a high school senior student, who doesn’t really socially interact with other people, except with his “co-worker” Earl.  Circumstances have it so, that he comes to meet a girl who might or might not be dying as you already figured out.

The script is excellent, it has everything in it and it all comes from the incredible dialogue and great narration, which is executed perfectly from our main guy Greg, portrayed by Thomas Mann.  It can be funny, sad, touching, and tense within one scene, emotions are so interchanging that you cannot settle for one moment.  All the clichés are brushed aside allowing a new narrative that we haven’t experienced previously, unravel before our eyes.

A mention needs to be given to Jesse Andrews who wrote both the novel and the impeccable screenplay for the movie and of course the director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who brought the story and characters envisioned by Andrews, on film and did that exceptionally well.

The plot is unusual and the whole movie is made even more so by non-conventional filming, with shots from all different and irregular angles.  Where you would expect a close-up we get some odd-wide angles; the camera never sits still, it keeps moving all the time and it just helps intensify that feeling of perspective that the movie is all about.

One of the best movies of the year and a must watch for everyone.  It’s probably in contention for best adapted screenplay.  Film-making at its very best.

8.5/10

Spy Review

Spy is a movie about a CIA desk analyst, who is required to do some undercover work and ends up being in the center of an operation attempting to save the world in the face of definite global disaster.  Sounds like the n’teenth movie we’ve watched over the years with the same old plot.  Well beside a few changes, it is mostly true, however a great cast, a very smart script and fun directing by Paul Feig, make it a worthwhile 2 hours, despite the premise not being very original.

Melissa McCarthy gives a mighty performance in the lead of the film; she is simply amazing with her incredible comedic prowess that we are now starting to get used to, as she keeps doing all the right things in every scene to get the most laughs possible.  She is of course accompanied by the also great Jason Statham who shows that he is capable of producing a very funny performance and also Jude Law doing his charming agent thing with the necessary charisma you would expect of him.

There isn’t a lot to say, without giving anything away and there isn’t really anything to criticize.  Most of the thing the movie does, it does well.  It has some great comedy bits and also some nice action sequences to get the adrenaline going.  It’s everything you would want from a light-hearted film with the hilarious Melissa McCarthy and her antics.

Everyone enjoys a good comedy and a good spy movie, and equally a mix of the two genres.  Well, every once in a while a great one comes around and it’s time to sit back and enjoy.

8/10

While We’re Young Review

A movie that explores a middle-aged couple’s careers and marriage after meeting a younger more active couple, as they search to find their lost energy and involvement in the ever changing world around them.

I rather enjoyed Ben Stiller’s performance, in the movie he was the main man and although he did act a bit goofy in some moments, he still carried out the role with more seriousness, that you wouldn’t usually associate him with.  Another one that I was reminded is a great actress, was Naomi Watts.  There isn’t much room in the film for massive performances yet there are subtle and small details in both of the aforementioned actors’ performances that made it all a bit more believable and relatable.

While We’re Young is a very good movie, with smart writing and directing, depicting and allowing us to follow interesting themes, and letting us in, at a few people’s lives without choosing sides between comedy and drama. Not everything needs to be black or white in order to be good or for us to understand.

The film is categorized as a comedy but it never feels like one, nor is it a drama, it maintains a social tone throughout and it is an exploration of human behavior, mostly of how we perceive what surrounds us.  What we think about us, others, how we think people will act and react, everything that affects us.

7.5/10

Ted 2 Review

The first movie was very good, good enough for me to watch 2-3 times.  Most importantly it achieved its goal of being amusing and then some. Ted 2, tries to follow the same pattern and succeeds in that regard; however it becomes sillier than its predecessor with less and less witty comedy, trying to be funny at all costs and that ends up costing it its soul.  More often than not it feels lifeless and dull.

The worst aspect of the film, is the messy plot.  There are too many subplots in the effort to create more and more funny situations. The main story is used and dropped accordingly in order to accommodate jokes instead of the opposite. Amanda Seyfried is great in the movie, and is probably the best part of it, adding a lot of charisma and chuckles to the already funny duo of Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane.  Nevertheless it becomes apparent that Mila Kunis’ character was pivotal in the first installment and acted as the glue that kept everything together, adding a more serious tone to it, something that is missing from Ted 2.

There are quite a few funny moments that provide some laughs; after all that is the intention and purpose of the movie in the first place, however there are more jokes and punchlines that miss than those that hit, and that together with the weak plot and story arcs are its downfall.  There are too many impossible events and too many times they take it too far, going over-the-top and passing that fine line of comedy and simply acting stupid.

There are some interesting references to pop culture (a great one with planes, trains and automobiles) but it can be boring and uninteresting at times, too many jokes miss, especially the recurring ones.

4.5/10

Entourage series review

A show about an up and coming movie star, his 2 best friends, and his ill-tempered passed it actor brother, his agent and their adventures in Hollywood filled with big egos backstabbing each other. Including a lot of cameos by known actors that intensify the feeling of an accurate representation of reality.

The best attribute of Entourage is its characters, they have consistent personalities that evolve but do not change unrealistically in order to suit some new idea that needs to be implemented no matter what; making the series something that it’s not. Maintaining the same 5 people as the center of the show for 8 seasons, meant that we had a chance to explore their deepest ends, at their highs and lows, and that made us achieve a connection and empathize with them.

An ever-changing setting to the LA backdrop and to the situations the boys find themselves in, made it always interesting and continuously built the anxiety and nervousness when awaiting what is to follow. There was a point when it was becoming a bit dull during season 5, not because it wasn’t equally good but because it was starting to repeat itself, however that was immediately rectified by the seasons that followed.

The show might seem just a light-hearted tour in the Hollywood madness but one can draw conclusions of much deeper meaning for everything that happens, with friendship and relationships at its core, the writers did an incredible job, to keep it fresh and meaningful and I am glad HBO decided to take it off the air when they did instead of milking it; it was time.

Who doesn’t want to take a tour in LA with a movie star? Watching the show is like being part of Vince’s Entourage, where it’s always fun and crazy.

8.5/10