Godmothered Review

Godmothered movie posterSynopsis
To prove the world still needs fairy godmothers, Eleanor (Jillian Bell), a young fairy godmother, travels to Boston to help Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) realize her childhood wish.

Review
Over the past several years, Disney has been redefining what “true love” means, a precedent they themselves set with their princess films beginning way back in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with movies like Maleficent and Frozen. Godmothered continues this effort, resulting in a not-so-subtle moment during the finale to really drive home the numerous ways love is represented across all kinds of families. Throughout the film, leading up to this climactic scene, the film subtle spends its time laying the groundwork for this scene, being self aware of what the filmmakers’ end goal is. While I appreciate Disney’s efforts to update themselves to the time, this feels like a retread of their previous films that are trying to do the same, particularly Enchanted, which has a very similar premise of a character coming from a fantasy world into the “real world.” This familiarity leads to predictability and a feeling of unoriginality.

Now, with that said, I did have fun while watching this movie. Jillian Bell as the young fairy godmother Eleanor was charming and sweet and very different than her role in in 22 Jump Street, the most recent film of Bell’s I have seen, where she was much more foulmouthed but no less funny. Her comedic timing is impeccable and her sense of optimism is infectious. She pairs well with Isla Fisher, who is a gem like always. Not to be outdone by the adults, Jillian Shea Spaeder and Willa Skye, who play Fisher’s daughters, provide their own sense of wit and charisma. All around, the cast makes the film a worthwhile viewing, even if the rest of the movie around them does not.

I thought Godmothered was GOOD 🙂 While it does feel like it’s retreading previous Disney attempts to redefine their version of Happily Ever After, it copies some of the best aspects about said endeavors, too. The characters are charming, the message is a powerful and wholesome one, and there is a sense of whimsy and fun the whole way through. While there is a lot of plot for this type of movie, it still manages to provide enough enjoyment to at least elicit a watch.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Sharon Maguire – Director
Kari Granlund – Screenplay / Story
Melissa Stack – Screenplay
Rachel Portman – Composer

Jillian Bell – Eleanor
Isla Fisher – Mackenzie
Jillian Shea Spaeder – Jane
Willa Skye – Mia
Mary Elizabeth Ellis – Paula
Santiago Cabrera – Hugh
Artemis Pedbani – Duff
Utkarsh Ambudkar – Grant
Jun Squibb – Agnes
Jane Curtin – Moira

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.  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.  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.  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.  Wilson’s Southern, slow and more drawn out delivery complements Vaughn’s more quick and energetic style perfectly.   It is easy to tell that they were having just as much fun playing their parts as we have watching them in the parts.  Their chemistry is simple electric.

Besides Wilson and Vaughn, the rest of the film’s cast was phenomenal as well.  Rachel McAdams has that adorable girl-next-door quality that is easy to fall in love with.  Isla Fisher is fantastic as always, playing the crazy side of her character believably.  Christopher Walken as McAdams’ and Fisher’s father works exactly as you would expect it to.  Bradley Cooper in one of his earlier roles is well cast as the douche bag boyfriend.  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.  Most often, a comedy relies on its jokes to hide the fact it hasn’t developed its characters deeply.  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.  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.  At over a decade old, I still laugh at almost every joke and gag, despite knowing the punchline or what is going to happen.  Many of the greatest lines are regularly at the forefront of my mind, ready to be quoted at a moment’s notice.  You couldn’t ask for more out of a comedy.

I thought Wedding Crashers was GREAT 😀 Whenever I think of wedding movies, the first one that comes to mind is almost always this one.  There is just something about this film that I find to be very enjoyable.  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: Keeping Up with the Joneses

Keeping Up with the Joneses movie posterSynopsis
Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis) and his wife Karen (Isla Fisher) are an average suburban couple but when Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie (Gal Gadot) Jones move in across the street they get mixed into the crazy world of espionage.

Review
I was immediately drawn to Keeping Up with the Joneses once I saw who it starred. With names like Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot, and John Hamm, this film boasts a talented cast list. With the exception of Hamm, all of the above actors have been some of my favorite films. Keeping Up with the Joneses offers some pretty good laughs but doesn’t seem to fully utilize the talent its cast possesses. However, that’s not to say they don’t do well. All four of them have great chemistry with each other. Either in pairs or all of them together, each scene made me at least smile with enjoyment, if not laugh a little. But that is all the reaction they earned. I think that was my biggest disappointment in this movie is there aren’t many stand-out or laugh-out-loud moments. It was enjoyable but mostly forgettable. Despite being veterans of comedies, both Galifianakis and Fisher are fairly forgettable when compared to their roles in other films, such as The Hangover or Wedding Crashers respectively. Hamm and Gadot seem to have fun as the more serious counterparts to Galifianakis and Fisher. They played to their strengths better than the other members of the cast, turning out more of the memorable moments than the others.

I thought Keeping Up with the Joneses was OK 😐 I know I might have painted the picture that I didn’t enjoy the film a whole lot but I did. It just left me underwhelmed where I was expecting more from such a talented cast. Keeping Up with the Joneses plays it safe. It was a good comedy that walks this weird middle ground where it is not too exciting while never becoming drab either. It’s actually pretty impressive how ordinary it is.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Greg Mottola – Director
Michael LeSieur – Writer
Jake Monaco – Composer

Zach Galifianakis – Jeff Gaffney
Isla Fisher – Karen Gaffney
Jon Hamm – Tim Jones
Gal Gadot – Natalie Jones
Matt Walsh – Dan Craverston
Maribeth Monroe – Meg Craverston
Michael Liu – Yang
Kevin Dunn – Carl Pronger
Henry Boston – Patrick
Jack McQuaid – Mikey
Patton Oswalt – Scorpion
Ming Zhao – Scorpion’s Girlfriend

My Fave Five Redheaded Actresses

All this talk with Justine and Cara about the joys of being a redhead (or artificial redhead in Justine’s case) got me thinking about my favorite actresses who share this wonderful hair color of mine.  Which then also got me thinking I haven’t done a Fave Five list in far too long, so here we are.  There have been many great redheads in cinema, so it’s time to celebrate a few of my favorites.  Each and every one of these actresses are both stunningly beautiful and extremely talented.  So without further ado, here are my Fave Five redhead actresses.

Honorable Redhead) Emma StoneEmma Stone

I put Emma Stone as an honorable mention redhead because sadly, she’s a natural blonde. However, some of my favorite roles of hers have been with red locks: Superbad, Zombieland, and Easy A, just to name a few.  So in that spirit, I’ve included her on this list.

Felicia Day5) Felicia Day

Felicia Day is probably the funniest actress I have ever seen outside of movies.  She has numerous web series on her channel as well as Geek and Sundry, including The Guild which she writes, and has appeared on various TV series.  She’s huge fan of everything nerdy and a pop culturist (is that a word? it is now). If there is an Aphrodite of Geekdom, it’s Felicia.

4) Alyson HanniganAlyson Hannigan

I’ve been slowly working my way through How I Met Your Mother, where Alyson Hannigan plays Lily Aldrin, one of the main characters.  She is easily one of my favorite characters in the series, and I fully believe it’s because of what Alyson brings to the character.  Then of course we can’t forget her role of Michelle in the American Pie series. This one time, at band camp…

Jane Levy3) Jane Levy

Jane Levy may not be in many movies, but she was in the fantastic Suburgatory on ABC, which unfortunately got cancelled after season two.  She brought a down-to-Earth element to a town filled with caked make-up and spray tans, really giving off that “girl next door” vibe.  I hope she stars in another sitcom soon, because that’s where she really shines.

2) Isla FisherIsla Fisher

As great as Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson were together in Wedding Crashers, Isla Fisher stole every scene she was in.  Her deliveries were perfect and I couldn’t stop laughing.  Every time I see her name on the cast list, I’m like, “I have to see that.”

Amy Adams1) Amy Adams

Amy Adams can act in just about every type of movie. She’s done drama (The Fighter and American Hustle), comedy (Talladega Nights), children’s (Enchanted), action (Man of Steel) and many, many more. Is there anything she can’t do!?

Who are some of your favorite redheaded actresses?

Now You See Me Review

In the summer of 2013, I watched six films in around eight weeks at the theater. Seeing that many movies in the theater that close together was not something I had done before.  I knew that if I was going to start a blog, I wanted to have several reviews ready.  This amount of movie going was the final step that made me decide to begin blogging.  These six reviews are what I tend to call my “original six.” Actually, these aren’t the first reviews I wrote when I began thinking about blogging but I forgot about a few of my earlier reviews until after I already started.  I feel like my writing has grown since 2013 and also that I have found my writing groove.  As part of my Anniversary Week celebration, I will repost these first six reviews throughout the next few days.  Other than updating them to my current format, the reviews will remain unchanged. First up is my review of Now You See Me.


Now You See Me movie posterSynopsis
Four street magicians (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco) are recruited by a mysterious man to perform heists during their performances. A skeptical FBI agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol detective (Melanie Laurent) must work together to track the magicians down before they perform their biggest heist yet.

Review
Now You See Me is labeled as a thriller, but at its core it is a heist movie with thriller elements. Heist movies are some my favorites, so this film was enticing to me. Magic is all about misdirection, and many heist movies use misdirection (see the Ocean’s series) to perform the heists, so what would happen if a magician used their skills in misdirection to rob a bank? The result is a very entertaining piece of cinema.

This film does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat. Every time you think you have it figured out, something happens that makes you rethink you rethink it all over again. In the film it is repeated several times “The closer you look, the less you’ll actually see,” and this applies to the story as well. Since the main characters are magicians, it’s best to not think too far ahead and predict what will happen, because most of the time you will be wrong.

Because of the nature of the movie, a good rule of thumb is to go with the opposite of what you think. However, I think it is best to not try to predict the movie and just enjoy it as it goes. For me, this makes any movie more entertaining. There was something that kept nagging me about one of the characters and during one of the final reveals, I felt like the jaded moviegoer in me should have seen the reveal coming. But the fact that I was still taken by surprise says a lot towards the film.

With Stars like Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Mark Ruffalo, there was no way this movie was going to disappoint. Now You See Me as one of the best casts of any movie in recent memory and bringing together such an all-star group of actors paid off in spades. I don’t think I can pick a stand-out performance because all members of the cast were perfect.

Now You See Me is a great heist move wrapped in a thriller. Its always shifting elements always keep you rethinking about what will happen next. Add an A+ cast list and you have one of the best movies of the summer.

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Louis Leterrier – Director
Ed Solomon – Screenplay
Boaz Yakin – Screenplay / Story
Edward Ricourt – Screenplay / Story

Jesse Eisenberg – J. Daniel Atlas
Woody Harrelson – Merritt McKinney
Isla Fisher – Henley Reeves
Dave Franco – Jack Wilder
Mark Ruffalo – Dylan Rhodes
Melanie Laurent – Alma Dray
Morgan Freeman – Thaddeus Bradley
Michael Caine – Arthur Tressler
Michael J. Kelly – Agent Fuller
Common – Evans
David Warshofstky – Cowen
Jessica C. Lindsey – Hermia
Caitriona Balfe – Jasmine Tressler