*NEW* BABY DRIVER REVIEW *NEW*

Oh baby, that weren’t too shabby.

Fast, furious if a little frantic. One of the better ones.

After being coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), a young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

I’m not going to lie. The opening 15 minutes didn’t really give me high hopes.

Despite ticking all the boxes on the Edgar Wright movie checklist; cracking soundtrack (check), quick-cut editing (check), great humour; I wasn’t convinced about the main man.

Watching Elgort strut, prance around and mime badly to some killer tracks annoyed the hell out of me. I was actually wondering whether I was going to be able to put up with this cocky pillock.

However, as soon as the heist began and the chase was on, my griping subdued.

The car chases were exhilarating and tense with some brilliantly choreographed stunts and set pieces.

I was more empathetic towards Baby after we delved into his past and discovered the reason for the “hum and the drum” (Or should I say the reason for his insufferable need to have a music device plugged in his ear holes).

Baby’s relationship with his deaf foster father Joseph (CJ Jones – if you have a spare minute, read up on this guy. Inspirational) allowed the Fault in the Stars man to work his charm and charisma.

The supporting cast was an incredibly talented mixed bag. What the hell was Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers doing in this?!

Kevin Spacey was fantastic. Not enough of the big man. He almost stole every scene he featured in.

I was a little disappointed at how small Jon Bernthal’s (The Walking Dead) role was. I kept waiting for his character to return. Reduced to nothing more than a measly cameo.

Eiza Gonzalez was mere eye candy. Nothing more than a trigger to set off the tumultuous partnership of Jon Hamm’s (Mad Men) Buddy and Jamie Foxx’s Bats.

It made a change to see Don Draper go dark. Hamm nailed it. BUT in the battle of scene stealers, Foxx won the prize. He was menacing and brought uneasy tension to the piece. He channelled a lot of Motherf*cker Jones (Horrible Bosses fans, am I right?). The cogs always turning.

Lily James (Cinderella) was a little lost in the mix. Some of the dialogue didn’t quite come off as clever or as cool as it should have BUT the pair had great chemistry.

I felt their blossoming romance was rushed to catch up with Baby’s ongoing drama. I would have been happy to have a little more time spent on them. Anything over Elgort’s song and dance numbers.

The pair’s relationship had an echo of Scott Pilgrim as they bonded over music. Steven Price’s selections were a mad mix of hits from T-Rex to Golden Earring. Hell yes!

BUT despite my grumblings about their rushed romance, I did like the conflicted Bonnie and Clyde set up as Baby’s life of crime reached breaking point.

And this is where the film really won me over (as did the protagonist).

The quick witted humour, along with Bill Pope’s glossy cinematography, made this seem like an easy going crime caper.

Especially when one of the criminals made an almighty howler with the Michael Myers masks. Brilliant.

BUT the second half of the film (without spoiling anything) took a darker and more violent turn than I expected. The light super cool tone completely changing.

I should have realised that Wright was never shy of blood and gore. I forgot how brutal Hot Fuzz was (Man, I love that film. Need to watch it again . . . Moving on).

I was hooked. Hell, there were even a few twists along the way.

It was a fast and furious riot that made up for a stumbling and predictable middle act.

And by the time the credits rolled, I actually walked out the cinema smiling.

3.5/5

PLEASE ENJOY THIS KILLER TRACK (AND MY FAVOURITE) FROM THE ECLECTIC MOVIE SOUNDTRACK

 

*NEW* BAYWATCH REVIEW *NEW*

Big, dumb and full of . . . sun.

Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) butts heads with a brash new recruit (Zac ‘High School Musical’ Efron), as they uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of the bay.

From the director of Horrible Bosses. That should sum up your expectations in a nutshell. A loud, crude BUT (hopefully) entertaining flick.

And for a good portion of the running time, Baywatch was. Undeserving of the incredibly low ratings on Metascore. I’ve seen a lot, lot worse. BUT at that same stroke, I’ve seen a lot better.

The first 30-40 minutes was everything I hoped for. I don’t think this would have worked without The Rock. He carried the film with his charisma and ridiculous physique. Lapping up the silliness of it all. And almost making it work.

A man respected by the community. Doing everything to keep his bay safe while protecting his ‘family’ (the Baywatch team). Corny BUT watchable.

Efron played Brody brilliantly. He worked well with the Rock and they made a great duo.

The selfish Olympiad bumping heads with the head honcho spiel was predictable but engaging as the pair spewed insult after insult at each other.

As much as they poked fun at the silly plot line with drug deals and political corruption, it was really dull.

When the jokes and banter died down, there wasn’t much else and you really felt the pace; which was a little long at the tooth.

Of course, Baywatch was never going to win plaudits for groundbreaking cinema and mind-bending plots. It’s CSI on the beach with lots of beautiful people frolicking around in tight bikinis and shorts.

Putting my inadequate body to shame (He says piling in more crisps while writing this review).

I was a little disappointed with Alexandra Daddario’s (San Andreas) role. Her naff romance (If you can call it a subplot) with Brody didn’t really work. It was far too cheesy and the banter didn’t come off as well as it could have. Shame.

Jon Bass (Big Time in Hollywood) stole the show as Ronnie. The fumbling tech geek aspiring to be a lifeguard. Well, to work with one lifeguard, in particular. And no, it ain’t Mitch.

Wowewow, Pamela who?

Ronnie’s desperate attempts to woo CJ (Kelly Rohrbach) were hilarious and delivered some of the better laughs.

I haven’t really rated Hannibal Buress in the past BUT he was surprisingly funny as Ronnie’s pal. His commentary during Ronnie’s awkward encounters with CJ had me in stitches.

The meta-textual references were spot on. You can’t do a Baywatch reboot without the slo-mo.

The slo-mo gaffs worked but that joke soon overstayed its welcome. Especially when they started doing SUPER slow-mo. And by the time, a Baywatch icon made their introduction in the closing minutes, I was done.

Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) wasn’t in this enough.

No. Not just because she looked stunning. A proper femme fatale. Even Big Mitch was on edge.

“A Bond villainess? Not yet”. She played the part really well and chewed up the scenes BUT her screen time was reduced to nothing. Only to be brought back in the frantic and rushed finale!

It was watchable guff that killed the time.

Brody’s deluded theorizing with Mitch’s put downs was fun. The action sequences were well done.

The silent punch up in a nursery was fantastic as Mitch took on a henchman. Quietly spewing hushed threats, “You’re going night night b*tch” while slapping each other about with kids’ toys.

The morgue investigation was more of what I expected. Crude gags with a dead man’s appendage. Funny one liners and utter mayhem.

If anything I wanted more of that silliness and crude humour, the writers played the piece a little too much like a Baywatch episode.

I know I’m normally a cynical movie-goer BUT I would have been happy to watch The Rock jump off more burning yachts with insane rings of fire. Even watching Efron dive off a pier while racing a motorbike did the job.

The ending seemed rushed and too chaotic. It was as if the writers didn’t know what to do with it. The tone was all over the gaff and The Rock dropped the tough guy bravado for sheer buffoonery.

A mess.

BUT a fun one. Just.

3/5 (Just)

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 REVIEW

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Meh, it wasn’t all horrible, I guess.

The gang are back. Ruder, louder but funnier? Well . . .

What are they up to this time?

Dale (Charlie Day), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Nick (Jason Bateman) decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor (Christoph Waltz), prompting the trio to pull off a hare-brained and misguided kidnapping scheme.

I really enjoyed the first one. It was stupid but funny. The plot was a demented version of Strangers on a Train and Jennifer Aniston completely broke out of her comfort zone as the sex addict dentist, Julia.

Inevitably, a sequel was soon on the cards. The first half of the film was actually quite entertaining. Crude, OTT but funny. En par with the first film.

The banter and exchanges between the gang were all there and I was laughing a lot more than I expected to. Sudeikis was on form yet again with his zippy one liners; “Holy shit, he fight clubbed himself! We have a fight clubber!”

However, Charlie Day really got on my nerves this time around. His high pitched screeching and yelling was irritating. I felt he was overcompensating with noise just to remind us he was still in the movie.

The whole Dale/Julia thing was starting to go on a little bit. And after a while you felt that was all his character was bringing. A re-tread of the same old subplot.

The opening news TV segment was hilarious bar a somewhat lazy shower sketch that reeked of the old Austin Powers movies. It got a guilty chuckle but we’ve already had a whole franchise of that.

Bateman was good as Nick. Playing it straight faced with his deadpan delivery made some of the sillier moments and exchanges a bit more entertaining.

Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine were very good. Waltz played the slick smooth talking businessman well. I expected nothing less. However, I felt his character was a little nothingy after the inital con and was pushed to the background. Shame.

I mean, come on. You have Colonel Hans Landa at your disposal.

Chris Pine was something else. Crazy Kirk. Up for a laugh and providing one of the most bonkers performances I’ve seen in some time.

And of course, there was a reunion of some familiar faces. Kevin Spacey made a comical cameo as the gang desperately seek advice. However, where Spacey had me in stitches with his put downs. I felt his “No balls” rant went on far too long.

It just about got away with it BUT I felt that the film had to rely too heavily on these faces to fill the rather thin and flimsy story line. Don’t get me wrong. It’s watchable but the gags are soon far and few between and the bickering between the guys soon gets irritating really fast.

Jennifer Aniston looked stunning yet again and tried to outdo her previous performance in vulgarity but it just didn’t come off as funny or necessary for that matter.

I mean her sex addiction rehab scene with Bateman was hilarious as Nick mistakes the session for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Plenty of sordid innuendos that had me cringing but laughing.

However, her pursuit of Dale was old hat and after a while, you wondered why Julia was even in this sequel? Jamie Foxx also returned and was in fine form as Motherfucker Jones.

BUT again by the end, I felt he overstayed his welcome. A high speed police chase sequence was way too OTT for me and just wasn’t that funny. Texting one handed while driving? Woah. We got a badass over here. Or an idiot.

Jonathan Banks even made an appearance and seemed to do his worst impression of Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad. His character may have been small fry but he was dreadful. I had to double check IMDb to make sure it was definitely the same actor.

For every good gag, there were dozen duds and I felt like it tried to break from the first film’s style (Good) then chickened out and did exactly the same stuff which made the last 20 minutes really flat, predictable and unfunny.

Not completely horrible but not that great either. So-so at best.

2.5/5

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU REVIEW

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This is where I leave the cinema for a bit . . .

No, it’s not that bad. But not that great either considering the talent at Shawn Levy’s fingertips.

Levy’s projects have always been okay (Real Steel/ Date Night/The Internship). For some of you those titles might make you wince. The master of ground breaking comedy classics? Not even close.

The cast did their best with the material. It’s just a shame that the material is not that good. In all fairness, Levy takes a stab at family dramedy. But maybe he shoudn’t have.

AND if you wanted anyone to head a dysfunctional family, it would be Jason Bateman (Arrested Development/Horrible Bosses).

So what’s it all about? When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother (Jane Fonda) and their spouses and exes.

Jason Bateman was brilliant. He carried the film in my opinion. His marriage breakdown story line was hardly original but it gave an extra something to the endless childish sibling bickering that dominated the majority of the screen time. How it was all resolved was a little predictable and terribly flat but at least there were a few dramatic moments to be had.

Tina Fey didn’t really deliver as much as I hoped. I know she’s funny. Come on, 30 Rock and Date Night proved that. It felt like she played it safe and stuck with the tame script which made her highly unmemorable, bar two little scenes. She worked well with Bateman and did her best but with her comedic prowess, you expected something a little better.

Adam Driver (What If?) was a much needed comedy injection. His lines were hardly comedy gold but his delivery and style managed to get a smile out of me. His relationship with Bateman made for an entertaining and endearing one.

Connie Britton was wasted in her role. A shame after her turn in Friday Night Lights and Nashville. A nothingy character that didn’t really add anything to the mix. Nothing more than a psychiatrist MILF that Adam Driver got to show off to the family.

Speaking of nothingy role, Timothy Olyphant come on down! Absolutely gutted after his terrific performance in Justified. His character was involved in a naff subplot that didn’t really go anywhere. This is what infuriated me with TIWILY. There were so many missed opportunities with the characters and the cast to make more drama and better story lines.

I know that this was adapted from a Jonathan Tropper novel. I can’t say how faithful the film is to its source material but it certainly hasn’t made me want to read it.

Some of the gags were just plain terrible. I mean the recurring joke of the little toddler moving his potty around to poop all over the house was just not funny. The little toddler himself actually was hilarious. His improvisation with some of the cast was brilliant. They didn’t expect him to retort back. More of that would have been perfect.

But potty-ing (I know it’s not a word. I’m not wasting any time finding another) around the house and flinging poo? Awww. No. AWWW – Are you kidding me? Put your potty in the bathroom, boy. Jeez.

Anyhoo . . . The sibling rivalry and tension wasn’t badly done. Everyone can relate to it in some capacity and the moments in which they look back and experience the old nostalgia make for some nice moments. One of the gags that should have been branded as just plain lazy actually entertained me.

A scenario involving some marijuana and a synagogue classroom actually allowed for a comical encounter between Bateman, Driver and Corey Stoll (Homeland). It was great to see Stoll have a bigger role and he doesn’t do a bad job as the stubborn older brother.

Ben Schwartz was incredibly annoying as the hyperactive Rabbi Charles Grodner or Boner to everybody else. Delightful. A guest that gets a giggle and then overstays his welcome . . . in almost every scene. Not even the (usually) hilarious Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers/We’re The Millers) could save the day with her kooky momma hell bent on getting preggers. It was weak.

And Jane Fonda . . . Apart from having fake pumped up breasts to cue inevitable breast feeding gags, she was highly unmemorable. In fact, there was a bizarre revelation that occurs nearer the end of the film which doesn’t fit in at all. It didn’t work and just completely unnecessary. It was nothing more than a lazy plot device to stop the family scrapping. The only bit of real heated drama that got me interested.

Dax Sheppard (Without A Paddle) played the two-timing sleazebag well. But is this the only character that he can play? And to be honest, when he was first introduced with the Howard Stern DJ spiel, it wasn’t funny. Just annoying as hell. It made a change for Abigail Spencer (Suits) to play a more meatier role as the cheating wife. But the story line was so hammy and predictable, it never really hit the heights that you’d hope.

Rose Byrne (Damages) and Bateman had good chemistry but their love subplot was so generic and corny that I really couldn’t care. Tropper left their little romance so open as a feeble attempt to prevent the predictable outcome but just made it flat and uninteresting.

To be honest, this film only did one thing. Well, two. Waste my time. And make me realise how good August: Osage County was. If you want a good family drama, then I’d invest your time in that instead.

There is the odd moment to be had. One chuckle here, one little heart plucker there. But memorable and entertaining? Quotable and re-watchable? Meh.

2/5

LEGO MOVIE REVIEW

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Everything in this is AWESOME. Finally, a fun family movie, not without it’s imperfections, but enjoyable none the less. 3D makes certain scenes stand out but not a MUST. Apart from that, the makers behind the equally brilliant Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs have assembled a hit.

Basically, the plot follows Emmet (Chris Pratt), an oblivious construction worker who is mistaken for the ‘most extraordinary person’ in all of the LEGO universe, and according to an old prophecy, must defeat the evil tyrant with the best bad guy name . . . Lord Business (That one got a tweet out of Michael Moore), voiced by the legend that is Will Ferrell, who is plotting to destroy the world with his secret weapon, the Kragle (brilliant. When you see what it is). The animation is brilliant, considering it is LEGO. The detail and the fun it pokes at the limited movements of the LEGO pieces is hilarious. The fact they make great expressions with their little black eyes is nicely done and the action pieces although rapid are great to watch.

The cast are fantastic. Chris Pratt is on form as naive dimwit Emmet. Morgan Freeman providing his infamous voice and gravitas to the senial wizard Vitruvius. Will Ferrell grumbling and picking at the craziness of it all as the sinister Lord Business, President of the Octan Corporation . . . and the entire world. Elizabeth Banks as the loveable rogue Wyldstyle who is tasked with protecting Emmet (“Come with me with you wanna NOT die”). However, cudos must be awarded to the supporting characters. Will Arnett’s (The Millers, Arrested Development) LEGO Batman is hilarious. His dark love song being a personal highlight.

Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as Benny, the bonkers 80s LEGO astronaut guy (SPACESHIP!). Alison Brie (Trudy from Mad Men?!) as the bi-polar Unikitty, who unhealthily bottles up her negative thoughts and last not but least, “I don’t have much money, but particular skills legend” that is Liam Neeson as the two faced good cop, bad cop was fantastic. Such a surprise to see the huge cast attached to this and that they can all poke fun at themselves. Don’t look at IMDb if you want to guess them.

There was an unexpected twist near the end that dipped the film a little bit. It worked but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a slight rip off of another animated hit, hint hint, cough, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. As usual, some of the better bits are in the trailer. But it zips along at a great pace, keeping it light and fun. I was impressed with the clever satire they put in as well. The fact that Emmet is completely unaware he is under the rule of a dictatorship with propaganda everywhere. Most annoyingly so, in the incredibly catchy song Everything is Awesome by Tegan and Sara featuring the Lonely Island. 3D is not neccesarily an investment for this. A couple of bits stand out with the lasers and machinery but not a must. The animation would look just as good as in 2D.

Do you like Lego? Do you like the games? Then this is for you. Is it fun? Absolutely. One the family will enjoy? I don’t see why not. Hardly a classic but a fresh take that stands out from the churned out family movies these last few years. Get on it. 4 pieces (just) out of 5!

Currently ranks #25 out of 141!