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


If you’re interested in joining the Ultimate 70s Blogathon, you can find all the information here.

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ReviewSynopsis
While serving detention, Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Martha (Morgan Turner) come across a magical video game that transports them into the game itself. The four must embody their avatars and beat the game to return home.

Review
When I first heard a Jumanji sequel was in the works, I was skeptical. Over the last few years, movie studios have been reviving/rebooting/remaking 20+ year-old franchises to ride a nostalgia wave that is sweeping through Hollywood right now, to mostly with negative results. Jumanji is one of my favorite Robin Williams movies and one of my favorites from my childhood in general, so seeing that tarnished was not something I wanted to see. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has managed to break the trend of terrible revived/rebooted/remake of a 20+ year-old franchise and actually provide a memorable and hilarious experience.

Really, the fun from this film all comes from the cast, their chemistry, and their overall enjoyment in their roles. Jack Black as a teenage girl is something I never knew I needed to see until this movie. He had the attitude, the tone of voice, the strut, everything. The scene where (s)he learns about going to the bathroom as a guy literally had me laughing in tears. Dwayne Johnson is one of my favorite actors right now so of course I thought he was brilliant, too. I’ve frequently said that he needs someone to bounce off of to truly hit his stride as a comedic actor and with both Jack Black and Kevin Hart, he is at the top of his game. Kevin Hart always makes me laugh and he riffs on his short stature wonderfully. His and Johnson’s moments are the next best thing in this film, behind anything from Jack Black of course. Karen Gillen is more of a recent favorite of mine but like the others, she did not disappoint.

I thought Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was GREAT πŸ˜€ I was worried that this movie would become another reviled sequel to a beloved film. Thankfully, the cast put their heart and soul into it and turned out one of the funniest movies of the year.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Jake Kasdan – Director
Chris McKenna – Screenplay / Story
Erik Sommers – Screenplay
Scott Rosenberg – Screenplay
Jeff Pinkner – Screenplay
Henry Jackman – Composer

Dwayne Johnson – Spencer
Kevin Hart – Fridge
Jack Black – Bethany
Karen Gillen – Martha
Rhys Darby – Nigel
Bobby Cannavale – Van Pelt
Nick Jonas – Alex
Alex Wolff – Young Spencer
Ser’Darius Blain – Young Fridge
Madison Iseman – Young Bethany
Morgan Turner – Young Martha

Wedding Crashers Review

Wedding Crashers movie posterSynopsis
John (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) are two best friends who look forward to one thing every year: wedding season.Β  When the pair crashes a high-profile wedding, they get more than they expected when John begins to fall for Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Clare’s sister, Gloria (Isla Fisher), falls for Jeremy.

Review
I can only vaguely recall the first time I watched Wedding Crashers but I do remember thinking that comedies like this are the reason I like the genre so much.Β  Comedies are seemingly one of the most difficult types of movies to make because humor is so subjective and there is such a high chance that if the jokes fail, the movie fails.Β  Thankfully, Wedding Crashers doesn’t have to worry about that because it is laugh-out-loud funny. A huge part comes from a memorable and witty script and great casting all around.

Sometimes a comedy duo comes along and they just click. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are an example of one such pairing. When the two of them are together, you can’t help but laugh.Β  Wilson’s Southern, slow and more drawn out delivery complements Vaughn’s more quick and energetic style perfectly.Β Β  It is easy to tell that they were having just as much fun playing their parts as we have watching them in the parts.Β  Their chemistry is simple electric.

Besides Wilson and Vaughn, the rest of the film’s cast was phenomenal as well.Β  Rachel McAdams has that adorable girl-next-door quality that is easy to fall in love with.Β  Isla Fisher is fantastic as always, playing the crazy side of her character believably.Β  Christopher Walken as McAdams’ and Fisher’s father works exactly as you would expect it to.Β  Bradley Cooper in one of his earlier roles is well cast as the douche bag boyfriend.Β  One of my surprise favorites was Jane Seymour as Walken’s unfaithful wife. While she doesn’t have as much screen time as the rest, she makes the best of what time she does have.

One thing Wedding Crashers does that most comedies have a hard time doing is fleshing out their characters.Β  Most often, a comedy relies on its jokes to hide the fact it hasn’t developed its characters deeply.Β  However, as this movie goes on, you learn a little bit more and more about John (Wilson) and Jeremy’s (Vaughn’s) friendship, Claire’s (McAdams) relationship wish Sack (Cooper), how Sack acts when he is away from Claire, and so much more.Β  It is rather uncommon for a comedy to develop its characters so much.

For me, two measurements of a great comedy, besides did it make me laugh, are how quotable is it after I finish watching it and do the jokes hold up after multiple viewings. This film easily fulfills both criteria.Β  At over a decade old, I still laugh at almost every joke and gag, despite knowing the punchline or what is going to happen.Β  Many of the greatest lines are regularly at the forefront of my mind, ready to be quoted at a moment’s notice.Β  You couldn’t ask for more out of a comedy.

I thought Wedding Crashers was GREAT πŸ˜€ Whenever I think of wedding movies, the first one that comes to mind is almost always this one.Β  There is just something about this film that I find to be very enjoyable.Β  Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn just click as the leading duo and the rest of the cast give fun performances as well. If I can keep laughing at a movie even after multiple viewings, then I know that it is a great comedy and I still can’t stop laughing.

Favorite Quote
Jeremy: John, I need to talk to you.
John: No, not right now.
Jeremy: What’s wrong with you? Why do you got the weird look all over your face?
John: Claire’s mom just made me grab her hooters.
Jeremy: Well, snap out of it! What? A hot, older woman made you feel her cans? Stop crying like a little girl.
John: I wasn’t crying like a little girl.
Jeremy: Why don’t you try getting jacked off under the table in front of the whole damn family and have some real problems? Jackass. What were they like, anyway? They look pretty good. Are they real? Are they built for speed or for comfort? What you do with ’em? You play the motorboat? Ppppt! Ppppt! You motorboatin’ son of a bitch. You old sailor, you! Where is she? She still in the house?

Trailer

Cast & Crew
David Dobkin – Director
Steve Faber – Writer
Bob Fisher – Writer
Rolfe Kent – Composer

Owen Wilson – John Beckwith
Vince Vaughn – Jeremy Grey
Rachel McAdams – Claire Cleary
Isla Fisher – Gloria Cleary
Christopher Walken – Secretary Bill Cleary
Jane Seymour – Kathleen Cleary
Bradley Cooper – Sack Lodge
Keir O’Donnell – Todd Cleary
Ellen Albertini Dow – Grandma Mary Cleary
Ron Canada – Randolph
Henry Gibson – Father O’Neil

Lightning Review: Home Again

Home Again movie posterSynopsis
Alice (Reese Witherpoon), a recently divorced, single mother, moves into her childhood home in Los Angeles. After meeting Harry (Pico Alexander), Teddy (Nat Wolff) and George (Jon Rudnitsky), she lets the three filmmakers live in her home while they try to get their big break, causing her life to take an unexpected turn.

Review
I don’t normally see films like Home Again in the theaters but I found myself in a theater-going dry spell of sorts and my mom was visiting and we hadn’t seen a movie together in a while so I figured why not. For a romantic comedy, this movie didn’t lean too heavily on either. There are the romance parts and there are comedy parts but neither completely overtake the film. First-time writer/director Hallie Meyers-Shyer has a story about Alice she wants to tell and she uses the romance and the comedy to tell it, however, they never become the central focus. And it never becomes over-the-top or way out-there and never resorts to a cheap laugh. Every comedy moment feels natural and genuinely funny. You might need to suspend some disbelief but this is a movie we’re talking about here! That pretty much comes with the territory, regardless of genre.

I wouldn’t call Reese Witherspoon one of my favorite actresses but I do generally enjoy her movies that I’ve seen. This seems like a very typical fair for her but she is as charming as ever. As for the rest of the cast, I am mostly unfamiliar with them, so I can’t compare their performances to what they’ve done before. Although, I can say that in Home Again, I thought they all did very well. The three filmmakers who move in with Alice, Pico Alexander, Nat Wolff, and Jon Rudnitsky, were fun and believable together. They felt like actual friends and seemed like they were having a good time together. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones with Rudnitsky and Lola Flanery, playing Alice’s oldest daughter. Together, they had many playful and heartwarming scenes.

I thought Home Again was GOOD πŸ™‚ Romantic comedies aren’t usually a type of movie I go out of my way to see so I don’t have a ton of experience with the genre. However, I did enjoy the story this film told. Reese Witherspoon and the rest of the cast gave enjoyable performances with some moving and heartfelt moments. I’m sure it’s far from the best rom-com out there but running at about one and a half hours, it never feels tedious and offers a feel-good story.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Hallie Meyers-Shyer – Director / Writer
John Debney – Composer

Reese Witherspoon – Alice Kinney
Pico Alexander – Harry
Nat Wolff – Teddy
Jon Rudnitsky – George
Lola Flanery – Isabel
Eden Grace Redfield – Rosie
Michael Sheen – Austin
Candice Bergen – Lillian Stewart

Lightning Review: Dumb and Dumber To

Dumb and Dumber To movie posterSynopsis
When Harry (Jeff Daniels) learns that he has a long lost daughter, he and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) head go on a road trip to Oxford, Maryland in search of her.

Review
Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorite road trip movies and normally I would be eager for a (actual) sequel to a film that I consider to be one of my β€œfavorites.” However, going into Dumb and Dumber To, I can’t say that I was exactly excited to see it. As a result, my expectations weren’t very high, which I supposed helped since while it didn’t reach the low of Dumb and Dumberer, it was nowhere near as enjoyable as the first film. Thankfully, this film completely ignores Dumb and Dumberer, actually completely contradicting it at times. But that’s really the most positive thing I can say about this film. Its main problem is that lacks the heart that made the first film so entertaining despite its absurd premise. Dumb and Dumber To just feels absurd for absurdity’s sake. Since it is a sequel, especially a comedy sequel, there are plenty of call backs to the original that fans will recognize. The film wasn’t entire devoid of a few good jokes and I did chuckle several times but I couldn’t tell you any of them since they weren’t that memorable.

I thought Dumb and Dumber To was OK 😐 An improvement over Dumb and Dumberer but not by much. While it has its moments and I did laugh a few times, it doesn’t have the charm or endearing qualities of the first Dumb and Dumber. What we have here is just another case of a studio trying to make a sequel to a beloved film and falling short.

Also read my reviews for Dumb and Dumber and Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd.

Favorite Quote
Harry: Wow. That is the single most boring sentence I ever heard.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Bobby Farrelly – Director / Writer
Peter Farrelly – Director / Writer
Sean Anders – Writer
John Morris – Writer
Bennett Yellin – Writer
Mike Cerrone – Writer
Empire of the Sun – Composer

Jim Carrey – Lloyd Christmas
Jeff Daniels – Harry Dunne
Rob Riggle – Travis / Captain Lippincott
Laurie Holden – Adele
Rachel Melvin – Penny
Steve Tom – Dr. Pinchelow
Kathleen Turner – Fraida
Bill Murray – Ice Pick
Brady Bluhm – Billy
Michael Yama – Harry’s Dad
Nancy Yee – Harry’s Mom
Grant James – Mr. Stainer
Taylor St. Clair – Mrs. Stainern
Eddie Shin – Gordy
Tommy Snider – Tom
Atkins Estimond – Gus
Don Lake – Dr. Meldmann
Tembi Locke – Dr. Walcott
Patricia French – Ms. Sourpuss
Lindsay Ayliffe – Professor Garabedian
Elizabeth Cooper – Mrs. Julie James
Paul Blackthorne – Emergency Room Doctor

Lightning Review: The Mummy Returns

Synopsis
Meela (Patricia Velasquez) the reincarnation of Anck-Su-Namun, locates Imhotep’s (Arnold Vosloo) body in the city of Hamunaptra. She hopes to use Imhotep’s powers to defeat the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson) and take control of the army he commands. Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) calls upon Rick O’Connell (Brendan Frasier) and his wife Evy (Rachel Weisz) to once again defeat Imhotep.

Review
What makes The Mummy so enjoyable is that it never took itself seriously and just had fun with its story. The Mummy Returns is much of the same which, like any sequel, is both a good and bad. The core group of Brendan Frasier, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Arnold Vosloo returns and have the same fantastic chemistry from before. Oded Fehr as Ardeth Bay has a much bigger role this time around and syncs with the group very well. The film’s sense of humor is pretty much the same as before, although the comedy is not as prominent this time around. It seems this time, there was more of a skew towards the action-adventure side of things instead of a pretty even balance like before. Not that that’s good or bad, it just gives the film a different feel. Newcomer Shaun Parkes as Rick’s pilot pal Izzy is my favorite of the new members of the cast but he feels underused, especially since he is a funny addition. The Mummy Returns is Dwayne Johnson’s first big movie role. I say big but he only appears in the opening scene and as CGI in the final battle scene, which has not aged well at all.

I thought The Mummy Returns was GOOD πŸ™‚ While not nearly as charming as The Mummy, it is still a decent popcorn flick.

Also read my reviews of The Mummy and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Stephen Sommers – Director / Writer
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Brendan Frasier – Rick O’Connell
Rachel Weisz – Evelyn Carnahan
John Hannah – Jonathan Carnahan
Freddie Boath – Alex O’Connell
Arnold Vosloo – Imhotep
Oded Fehr – Ardeth Bay
Patricia Velasquez – Meela / Anck-Su-Namun
Alun Armstrong – Mr. Hafez
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – Lock-Nah
Shaun Parkes – Izzy
Dwayne Johnson – The Scorpion King