Crazy, Stupid, Love Review

Before I get to the review, I just want to remind you that there is still a little bit of time left in the submission period for the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon, which is open until February 9th, 2020. If you would like to participate in the blogathon, all the details can be found in this announcement post.

Also, Drew’s Movie Reviews is now on Letterboxd! Click here to visit my profile.

Okay, now on to the review!


Crazy, Stupid, Love movie posterSynopsis
After Cal’s (Steve Carell) wife Emily (Julianne Moore) tells him she wants a divorce, he begins hanging out at bars, where he meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling). With Jacob’s help, Cal reinvents himself and learns Jacob’s tricks to picking up women.

Review
Many romantic comedies follow a similar and predicable story. Crazy, Stupid, Love, even with everything it does well, does not escape from this trapping. However, it is able brings a genuineness not often found in similar movies. The first reason for this is the star-studded cast, which consists of Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marissa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon. What makes this film work so well is the chemistry between all the cast members. With pairings like Carell and Gosling, Gosling and Stone, and Carell and Moore, and even Carell and Jonah Bobo, who plays Carell’s son, every scene is funny, sweet, and filled with so much heart that it’s not hard to enjoy it. Marisa Tomei is only in a handful of scenes but she steals every one. With a cast like this, there is no one stand-out performance; they are all wonderful.

With so many characters, there are several story lines happening at once. When they all come together about two-thirds through the movie, hilarity ensues, resulting in one of the best scenes of the film. The script, written by Dan Fogelman, is the second reason this movie shines. It manages to balance every character and memorable moment well. Even though the cast of characters is fairly large, especially for a movie like this, no one ever feels like they are overpowering the others. There is a clear focus on Cal, Jacob, and Emily, but the supporting cast get plenty of their own stand-out moments as well. Also, the script doesn’t sacrificing character development for one-liners. a pitfall common in comedies. Instead, the script accentuates the talents of the cast, letting comedic moments flow naturally, allowing character moments and humorous moments stand side-by-side without feeling jarring or unnatural.

I thought Crazy, Stupid, Love was GOOD πŸ™‚ Like many romantic comedies, it is predicable. But what it lacks in individualism, it makes up for with heart, an enduring cast, and a well-balanced script that expertly manages the film’s many relatable characters and great moments. This film is an example of when all the right pieces come together just right and at the right time, creating something worthwhile in the process.

Favorite Quote
Jacob: Are you Steve Jobs?
Cal: What?
Jacob: Hold on a second. Are you the billionaire owner of Apple Computers?
Cal: No.
Jacob: Oh, okay. Well in that case you got no right to wear New Balance sneakers ever.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Glen Ficarra – Director
John Requa – Director
Dan Fogelman – Writer
Christophe Beck – Composer
Nick Urata – Composer

Steve Carell – Cal
Ryan Gosling – Jacob
Julianne Moore – Emily
Emma Stone – Hannah
Analeigh Tipton – Jessica
Jonah Bobo – Robbie
Joey King – Molly
Marisa Tomei – Kate
John Carroll Lynch – Bernie
Beth Littleford – Claire
Kevin Bacon – David
Liza Lapira – Liz
Josh Groban – Richard

Hall Pass Review

Hall Pass movie posterSynopsis
Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) receive hall passes from their wives, who are becoming frustrated in their marriages, allowing them to do whatever they want with other women without consequences for a week.

Review
There are times when you watch a movie and really enjoy it, then you don’t watch it for years. Eventually, you come across it again and remember enjoying it all those years ago so you watch it. Except this time, you don’t find it as enjoyable as you did before. That’s Hall Pass for me. When you see Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis at the top of the billing, you know exactly what kind of comedy you’re in for; It’s the kind of comedy that is my bread and butter. However, it doesn’t seem to have aged as well as other similar films I can watch over and over. Wilson and Sudeikis make a great pair and the two of them together is when I laughed the most. The leading ladies, Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate, are excellent as well. Even the supporting cast is fun to watch, especially Rick’s (Wilson) and Fred’s (Sudeikis) group of friends. The chemistry was there, so the cast isn’t the problem. Rather the writing was this films biggest weakness. When a joke or gag was funny, it was hilarious. But not many of them were funny. For a comedy, that’s the exact opposite of what you want.

I thought Hall Pass was OK 😐 When I laughed, I laughed hard. Unfortunately, those laughs felt few and far between. The entire cast was great but the script wasn’t there to support them. I was expecting more from the Farrelly Brothers.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Bobby Farrelly – Director / Screenplay
Peter Farrelly – Director / Screenplay
Pete Jones – Story / Screenplay
Kevin Barnett – Screenplay

Owen Wilson – Rick
Jason Sudeikis – Fred
Jenna Fischer – Maggie
Christina Applegate – Grace
Nicky Whelan – Leigh
Derek Waters – Brent
Stephen Merchant – Gary
Larry Joe Campbell – Hog-Head
JB Smoove – Flats
Joy Behr – Dr. Lucy
Bruce Thomas – Rick Coleman
Tyler Hoechlin – Gerry
Richard Jenkins – Coakley
Alexandra Daddario – Paige
Kristin Carey – Aunt Meg

The Raid: Redemption Review

This movie was recommend by Kim from Tranquil Dreams as part of my Anniversary Celebration 5.

The Raid: RedemptionSynopsis
Rookie SWAT member Rama (Iko Uwais) is on his first mission. The team’s task is to capture crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetapy) from his apartment building. When Tama and his thugs become aware of the police’s presence, Rama and his team must fight their way to the top floor.

Review
The action genre is one of my favorite film genres, so when a movie is touted to be the best action movie of the decade, my ears perk up. There is something raw about the action in The Raid: Redemption. Each fight feels brutal and bone-crushing and every punch’s impact is felt through the screen. Huge props to the action choreographer because the fights were mesmerizing to watch. Not only that, the camera was really tight, keeping everything smooth and in frame. I am not a huge fan of shaky cam so I was excited to see that there was hardly any used here. It was reminiscent of the classic action movies of the 80s, where fight scenes are shot using wide angles, despite the cramped setting. The best way to describe this movie is as a cross between Dredd and Netflix’s Daredevil’s signature hallway scenes. However, like Dredd, there isn’t in much in terms of character development. There is a nice little twist for main character Rama but for the most part, this film’s focus is delivering memorable and top-notch action. Not every film needs to be deep with deep characters. Sometimes, simple characters with great style can be enough. Sometimes, less is more.

I thought The Raid: Redemption was GREAT πŸ˜€ Calling this the best action movie of the past decade might be a bit of a stretch but it’s definitely close. What I can say for sure is that we need this style of action movie more frequently. Its crisp choreography and tendency to keep the action steady and in frame make this one to remember.

Trivia
The Martial Art used in this movie is Pencak Silat, which is the indigenous fighting style of Indonesia. (via IMDb)

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Gareth Evans – Director / Writer
Aria Prayogi – Composer
Fajar Yuskemal – Composer

Iko Uwais – Rama
Joe Taslim – Jaka
Ray Sahetapy – Tama
Yayan Ruhian – Mad Dog
Donny Alamsyah – Andi
Iang Darmawan – Gofar
Pierre Gruno – Wahyu
Tegar Satrya – Bowo
Eka Rahmadia – Dagu
Alfridus Godfred – Machete Gang leader

Paul Review

Paul movie posterSynopsis
Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) are two friends who are traveling the American west visiting UFO hot spots. Their holiday takes an unexpected turn when they run into Paul (Seth Rogan (voice)), an alien on the run from Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman).

Review
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have been a part of some pretty unique films to say the least, just look at the The Cornetto Trilogy. This time, they take the reins as the writers of Paul. The pair really let their nerd-flag fly as there is a clear love for nerddom and science-fiction put into it. However, that is only a small part of what makes this an enjoyable film.

Pegg and Frost nail the nerd-type with ease, probably because they could be considered nerds themselves and bring that energy into their characters. If I remember correctly, in an interview I saw for this film’s release, Pegg said this was a love-letter to the comic-con faring, cosplay wearing, movie marathoning group of people (I might have paraphrased that last little bit but you get the point) and it shows. There are plenty of quotes from science-fiction favorites like Back to the Future, Star Wars, Aliens and more that are sure to please genre fans. The movie pokes fun at the nerd stereotype but at the same time, there is a reverence for them, much like Galaxy Quest. It’s a good balance that is difficult to find in movies.

The cast consists of several comedy veterans. Besides the aforementioned Pegg and Frost, Jason Bateman plays Agen Zoil, the primary agent chasing Paul. He plays it very straight-faced, not visibly reacting to how the people around him are acting. It’s a very typical Bateman role but one he does so well. Joe Lo Truglio, one of my personal favorites from the television series Brookly Nine-Nine, and Bill Hader play a set of almost-dim-witted agents who are assigned to help Agent Zoil. Together they have some pretty good moments, although they might not be the most memorable of the film.

I’ve repeatedly said that my sense of humor leans heavily towards the raunchy, tongue-in-cheek style comedy and this film delivers on that. When you see Seth Rogan and Kristen Wiig on the cast list, you can expect nothing less. It’s definitely not for everyone but there are plenty of probing jokes and f-bombs sprinkled throughout. Wiig’s character, Ruth, especially curses a lot since she is β€œpretty new” to cursing, only starting after meeting Paul. I don’t know why but I find her cursing inexperience absolutely hilarious.

I’ve talked about the cast a lot but that’s really what makes this movie work. The movie never takes itself too seriously and caters to its audience perfectly. Everyone in the cast knows what type of movie they are making and lean into their parts easily. When the cast is having fun, it shows and in turn makes the film more enjoyable for the audience.

I thought Paul was GOOD πŸ™‚ It’s clearly aimed a specific audience but there is plenty for others who don’t fit the mold as well. The cast is really what drives this film. The humor might not be for everyone but you are going to find that in all comedies. If you’re looking for a fun and raunchy comedy, then Paul is the film for you.

Favorite Quote
Paul: Hey, there, sleepy face!
Ruth: Fuckeroo. That was the best titty-farting sleep I have ever had.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Greg Motolla – Director
Simon Pegg – Writer
Nick Frost – Writer
David Arnold – Composer

Simon Pegg – Graeme Willy
Nick Frost – Clive Gollings
Seth Rogan – Paul (voice)
Kristen Wiig – Ruth Buggs
Jason Bateman – Agent Zoil
Bill Hader – Haggard
Joe Lo Truglio – O’Reilly
John Carroll Lynch – Moses Buggs
Jane Lynch – Pat Stevens
Jefferey Tambor – Adam Shadowchild
David Koechner – Gus
Jesse Plemons – Jake
Sigourney Weaver – The Big Guy
Blythe Danner – Tara Walton


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Priest review

Priest movie posterSynopsis
In an apocalyptic future, mankind and vampires were at war. In the war’s aftermath, most of mankind live in giant cities ruled by the church and vampires live in reservations far outside the cities. When one priest’s (Paul Bettany) niece (Lily Collins) gets kidnapped by a group of vampires in the wastelands, he goes against the church’s orders and leaves the city in search of her.

Review
Good action mixed with a good story and good characters can make for great movies. As for Priest, it only has one of those two things. Unfortunately, good action cannot carry a movie alone. The world it creates is an interesting one. It has futuristic elements inside its sprawling cities, western elements in the wastelands, and fantasy elements with the vampires. I rather enjoyed this unique blend because it gave the film its own look and feel. The look overall was hyper-stylized, not as much as something like 300 but similar to maybe Underworld. Given this movie is a loose adaptation of a Korean comic series of the same name by Hyung Min-woo, the style fits in and helps remind you of its roots, like in 300.

Now as I said in the beginning, Priest is a pure action flick. The characters aren’t deep and the story is straightforward and simple. It tries to throw a twist of sorts towards the end but it isn’t anything too dramatic. Paul Bettany as the titular Priest isn’t bad but he isn’t great either. Kind of a middle-of-the-road sort of performance. Maggie Q isn’t given much room to shine as the pretty-much-required love interest that this type of movie has. The best performance comes from Karl Urban as the villain Black Hat. He looked to be one the only one who was actually enjoying his role.

I thought Priest was OK 😐 I like a good popcorn flick as much as the next guy but there wasn’t a lot here to really enjoy. The action is good but it is nothing not seen elsewhere. Thin characters and bare-bones story drag down what the action manages to accomplish. Not the worst movie out there but there are decidingly better options.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Scott Stewart – Director
Cory Goodman – Writer
Christopher Young – Composer
Andrew Spence – Co-Composer

Paul Bettany – Priest
Karl Urban – Black Hat
Cam Gigandet – Hicks
Maggie Q – Priestess
Lilly Collins – Lucy Pace
Stephen Moyer – Owen Pace
Christopher Plumber – Monsignor Orelas