Showing posts with label Dave Franco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dave Franco. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Now You See Me

For weeks, the cinema chain I pay my £14.99 to each month for unlimited movies has been teasing its clientele with the promise of a Secret Unlimited Screening. This one off, top secret screening would be open, free of charge to anyone with an Unlimited Card but the film was to be kept a secret. All we knew was that it would be a 12A Certificate movie and that it was being screened, across the country for one night only at 8:30pm, long ahead of its UK theatrical release. The brilliant marketing behind the scheme insured excitement, anticipation, discussion and a full cinema on a Monday evening for a movie which turned out to be Now You See Me. My initial reaction was one of slight disappointment as I was hoping for something like Pacific Rim which hadn’t been released anywhere else in the world for the selfish reason that a review would drive more traffic to this very page. I’d heard a couple of good things about Now You See Me from the States though so eagerly settled in for the next two hours.

Now you See Me is a heist movie in the vague style of the Oceans movies in that someone (a mastermind whose identity is unknown), draws together a group of experts in their fields to carry out heists on an epic scale. The difference here though is that the individuals chosen aren’t safe crackers, getaway drivers, contortionists or Matt Damon but are magicians. Their heists will involve magic and illusion to steal from banks and companies chosen by their puppet master. On the trail of the magicians is FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who is teamed, much to his disliking, with Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent). Together the pair chases magicians Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt (Woody Harrelson), Henly (Isla Fisher) & Jack (Dave Franco) across the United States from show to show, always remaining two steps behind their cunning and trickery.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies is a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet but with a twist. Romeo or R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie, living in a post apocalyptic world. He spends his days shuffling around a long abandoned airport, looking for food and grunting. One day while out searching for brains he comes across a group of young survivors and despite his condition, falls in love with one of them, a girl called Julie (Teresa Palmer). Going against his nature R saves Julie and takes her to a safe place. Something about his love for Julie triggers a reaction inside R’s heart and he slowly becomes more human but with armed militia out to kill zombies, will anyone believe him?

Warm Bodies begins with a fantastic idea. The film is mostly told from a zombie’s perspective which I found really interesting. He has an internal monologue which is deep, thoughtful and funny but outwardly is only able to produce a few groans. Unfortunately the interest soon wears off in favour of the romantic elements. While this is fine the film plays fast and loose with the zombie concept and purists will struggle to engage with a fast moving, talking, sentient zombie.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street is an action comedy based on the late 80s TV show of the same name. It stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as recently graduated cops who are sent undercover at a High School with a drug problem. The two were never friendly at school but have become best friends as cops. While Jonah Hill’s Schmit finds that he fits in much better at his second chance at High School, previously popular Jenko (Tatum) find that things are drastically different from his days as the popular jock and struggles to find his place.

21 Jump Street was new to me having been too young for the original series and I don’t think it was even shown in the UK anyway. I found it very funny and enjoyed it immensely. It is a laugh a minute comedy with great characters and an attention-grabbing idea. The film is aware of itself but doesn’t take itself too seriously. One policeman even says of the Jump Street unit, “We are cobbling together something from the past and hoping no one will notice” in reference to the original show. As I said, the film is very funny and unusually for most comedies, the funniest parts aren’t in the already hilarious trailer. One scene where the central characters are on drugs had me in stitches. Ultimately the laughs to trail off towards the end in favour of resolving the plot but there are little details such as an uncomfortable looking paramedic which keep the humour going when in lesser films it might not be there.

The odd couple relationship between Tatum and Hill works really well. They seem like total opposites and you can imagine how they wouldn’t have got on in High School, but at the same time their later friendship feels real. Jonah Hill plays his familiar chubby loser character which has worked to varying degrees in the likes of Superbad and The Sitter but here is thoroughly successful. He also brings added depth to the character to make him smarter and more caring than in previous incarnations. I have never seen a Channing Tatum film before having been put off by his annoying name and face as well as the type of romantic films he’s appeared in, but in this I thought he was excellent. He has a great double act partner in Hill and plays the dumb meathead well. His comedic moments are also first-rate. I think he was funnier than Jonah Hill. Maybe this is where his career could end up when he’s finished walking on beaches at sunset?

The supporting cast were all great too. Ice Cube was outstanding as the ‘angry black police sergeant’ although I do wonder what 1992 Ice Cube would think about 2012 Ice Cube playing a cop in a mainstream Hollywood comedy. Dave Franco, who is looking more and more like his brother each time I see him was well cast as the arrogant, cock-sure popular kid and The Office’s Ellie Kemper was very flirtatious and funny as a teacher with a crush on Tatum. Rob Riggle plays a strange character but pulls it off well. There isn’t really a weak link anywhere in the cast.

I didn’t work out who the bad guy was before the reveal but the film had me laughing so much that I didn’t even think about whom it was and when we found out I didn’t really care. On the downside, some of the jokes feel a bit stretched and the love story between Hill and the school girl felt forced. Also, it was obvious as soon as she said “I’m 18” for no reason that it was going to happen. That’s the green light to tell the audience that although she’s in school its all legal and above board. There is a great cameo towards the end which both shocked and delighted my girlfriend and despite the formulaic Hollywood ending this is a successful comedy. I look forward to the sequel which was heavily implied at the end.


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fright Night

Fright Night is a comedy horror which is neither funny nor scary. It is a remake of the 1985 film of the same name which I haven’t seen so cannot pass any judgement. The premise of the film is that central character Charley’s (Anton Yelchin) life is turned upside down when a vampire (Colin Farrell) moves in next door to the house which he shares with his mother (Toni Collette). Farrell’s vampire becomes hell bent on killing everyone Charley knows including his friend (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and girlfriend (Imogen Poots). It is up to Charley to save his friends and family and to save the day.

The film has a stylish look to it. Despite being set in the hot, bright desert (Las Vegas) the majority of the film seems to be set at dusk which gives a very eerie look to the proceedings. In the cinema, it was released in 3D but I watched it at home in 2D (as all films should be watched) and there were far too many pointless pointy things coming towards the screen. Maybe in 3D this would have looked good, though I doubt it. In regular 2D it was just annoying. Despite this the film did have a good horror look to it. It is a shame then that it wasn’t in the least bit frightening. There wasn’t even one moment where I was slightly worried or anxious. It fails miserably on the horror front. In terms of comedy, most of the comedic moments come from either Christopher ‘McLovin’ Mintz-Plasse or David ‘Dr Who’ Tennant but both of their roles are small and I felt could have been expanded. There were no real laughs to be had but the script did contain the odd witty line and was quite snappy and fresh sounding.

Colin Farrell was born to play a vampire. He gives off an air of dangerous sexuality to which the female characters (and my girlfriend) are drawn. He is very well cast and his accent holds up admirably. The rest of the cast were fine. Mintz-Plasse was excellent as I stated previously although he basically just recycled his McLovin character from Superbad. David Tennant has a good cameo, at first as a kind of Russell Brand impersonator but later as a character with depth and back story. He pulled it off well. Anton Yelchin is very good as the hero of the piece. He is turning into an actor to watch for the future. Imogen Poots had little to do to be honest but look pretty and scared and Toni Collette was agreeable, especially when flirting with Farrell’s character.

"You gotta' kill em' with a Crossy Woss"
The film could have been so much more had there been just a few more laughs or just some scary moments. There was potential for a very good film here with a strong cast and excellent central performance from Colin Farrell but in the end it turned into a bit of a damp squib. It isn't terrible but it is in now way good.