Trailer Round-Up – 3/18/19

Good Boys red band trailer

Booksmart red band trailer

Aladdin

Long Shot trailer #2

Avengers: Endgame trailer #2


Which of these films are you excited to see?

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The Hangover Review


This review was originally posted for the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon, hosted by Tranquil Dreams and me.

Before I get into the review, I want to go over a little comedy movie history. Many comedies of the 2000s (2000 to 2009) are based around characters that are crude, clueless, and, put frankly, idiotic. These movies are an evolution of the slap stick films from earlier decades. There are stylistic hints from films like The Naked Gun, The Cannonball Run, Dumb and Dumber, and Happy Gilmore. We began seeing glimpses of this new brand of humor in movies like American Pie and Zoolander. By 2004, this new brand of humor had become the norm. Movies like Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Napoleon Dynamite embodied 2000s comedy and characters. These characters were vulgar and naive. The films themselves reveled in their gags and ‘did he really just say/do that’ moments, relying on making the audience laugh from becoming flabbergasted or uncomfortable, rather than genuinely finding the moment or joke funny.

This is especially true in the spoof movies. Movies like Scary Movie, Superhero Movie and Insert-Whatever-Genre-Here Movie looked to cash in on pop culture and parody whatever genre was in the title. Spoofs are nothing new in Hollywood. Mel Brooks practically made his name making spoofs like Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Spaceballs. And then there is everyone’s favorite spoof: Airplane!. While these movies shared many similarities with with the parody films of the 2000s, their scripts were solid and, you know, actually funny, an element severely lacking from most of the spoofs during this time period.

By the end of the 2000s, comedy filmmakers were learning that this latest iteration of comedy films needed to be refined; that ignorant or appalling actions do not automatically equal funny. And while actors can be funny on their own, or sometimes ad-lib better and funnier lines, the movie can’t solely rely on them and the script needs to support the actors. While not every comedy fit this decade-defining mold, such as EuroTrip or The 40-Year-Old Virgin, these feel like exceptions, not the norm. Although this type of comedy, what I’ve come to call ‘stupid funny,’ still continued into the 2010s, it wasn’t to the extent that existed in the previous decade.

Moving into the tail-end of the 2000s, comedies began changing how they approached their characters. They were still profane and sometimes oblivious but that wasn’t the focus the film anymore. Crude jokes weren’t often being made for the sake of being crude. Instead, the films were becoming smart, insightful, and sometimes even filled with heart. Movies like Baby Mama, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I love You, Man, and Tropic Thunder used their comedy to amplify their story, not be the crux of it. They shared many characteristics with the earlier comedies of the 2000s but writers and directors had learned how to use these characteristics more effectively.

To make a long story short, that is why I believe The Hangover is the best comedy of the 2000s. The early- and mid-years of the decade feel more like stepping stones to get to the comedies in the latter part of the time period that told better stories and were still funny without solely relying on its stars. I believe that The Hangover is one of the best examples of this. So without any further ado, here is my review of The Hangover.


The Hangover movie posterSynopsis
Doug (Justin Bartha) is getting married. For his bachelor party, his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), take him to Las Vegas. Phil, Stu, and Alan wake up the morning after arriving in Vegas with no memory of what happened the night before. They attempt to retrace their steps to figure out what happened and to find Doug, who has gone missing.

Review
When a movie comes along that has a phenomenal cast with perfect chemistry, who are backed by a memorable and quotable script, I get excited. It makes it even better when that criteria applies to a comedy because, in my honest opinion, comedy films are one of the hardest genres to make everything click. The Hangover checks all the correct comedy film boxes and more.

The first thing this movie nails is the casting. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis all have very different brands of humor. Their deliveries are different, their body language is different, their mannerisms are different. Nothing about them is the same. And yet, they all mesh together so well. Their different styles complement each other wonderfully. Cooper, Helms, and Galifianakis are in almost every scene together and every scene is filled to the brim with laughs. Coincidence? I think not.

Everyone in the supporting cast is top notch as well. Justin Bartha rounds out the group of friends at the center of the film. While not much is seen of him, he does add an extra dynamic to the group when he is there. Smaller roles from Heather Graham, Rob Riggle, Bryan Callen, Jeffrey Tambor, and Mike Tyson all bring the laughs. However, the best member from the supporting cast is Ken Jeong. He had me in stitches every time he was on screen. He deserves as much praise as the headlining three.

Even though Cooper, Helms, and Galifianakis are funny on their own (and together), the script amplifies their comedic strengths. The script, written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, feels fresh and clever compared to other comedies of the time. It leaves the audience just as in the dark about the previous night’s events as the characters, so as they piece together what happens, the audience is right there with them. It’s crass, it’s vulgar, and at times it’s irreverent, but It doesn’t rely on toilet humor or leaving the viewers dumbfounded to be funny. It uses jokes or visual gags that are funny because they are truly well written or well delivered. As a result, The Hangover is insanely quotable and has very few diminishing returns on its jokes.

This movie reminded me a road trip movie. In road trip movies, the main characters are going from point A to point B, and along the way, they meet people who usually only show up for a scene or two. This format fits this film as well; Phil, Stu, and Alan are going to these different places to try and piece together what happened the night before. It’s fun because it allows the focus to remain on the three main characters while allowing the supporting cast to have their own funny and unique moments.

I thought The Hangover was GREAT πŸ˜€ The entire cast had me laughing throughout the film. Every scene was filled with jokes and gags that always landed and are just as humorous after many, many views later. I can think of no better film than to call the best comedy of the decade.

Favorite Quote
Doug: I don’t think you should be doing too much gambling tonight, Alan.
Alan: Gambling? Who said anything about gambling? It’s not gambling when you know you’re gonna win. Counting cards is a foolproof system.
Stu: It’s also illegal.
Alan: It’s not illegal, it’s frowned upon, like masturbating on an airplane.
Phil: I’m pretty sure that’s illegal too.
Alan: Yeah, maybe after 9/11 where everybody got so sensitive. Thanks a lot, Bin Laden.

Trivia
No effects or prosthetics were created for Stu’s missing tooth. Ed Helms never had an adult incisor grow, and his fake incisor was taken out for the parts of filming where Stu’s tooth is missing. (via IMDb)

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Tod Phillips – Director
Jon Lucas – Writer
Scott Moore – Writer
Christophe Beck – Composer

Bradley Cooper – Phil
Ed Helms – Stu
Zach Galifianakis – Alan
Justin Bartha – Doug
Heather Graham – Jade
Sasha Barrese – Tracy
Jeffrey Tambor – Sid
Ken Jeong – Mr. Chow
Rachael Harris – Melissia
Mike Tyson – Himself
Jernard Burks – Leonard
Mike Epps – Black Dog
Rob Riggle – Officer Franklin
Cleo King – Officer Garden
Bryan Callen – Eddie

Night at the Museum Review

Night at the Museum movie posterSynopsis
When Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) starts his new job as the night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, he learns that the museum holds an extraordinary secret: everything comes to life at night.

Review
Compared to some of Ben Stiller’s other films, Night at the Museum is pretty tame. I guess considering it is rated PG, it is aimed towards a younger audience. Regardless of the mildness of the action and fairly subdued humor, there is still plenty to enjoy. Stiller shows the range of his comedic chops. In something like Zoolander or Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, he is more eccentric and exaggerated, whereas here, he acted more like the straight man. He is given several people to play off of, such as Robin Williams and Owen Wilson, but the chemistry isn’t there to make any particular moment stand-out. One of the main focuses of the story was Larry Daley (Stiller) trying to connect better with his son, Nick (Jake Cherry), after his divorce. When the story focused on that aspect of the story, I found it flat and tedious. The story that interested me more was the museum exhibits coming alive. It has a Toy Story vibe, like β€œwhat would happen if these inanimate objects came to life?” As someone who likes to visit museums when I travel, this was exciting to me. Since it carries the PG rating, the action, like Stiller’s comedy, was fairly mild-mannered, at least for someone like myself who regularly watches action heroes get beat to hell and blow everything around them to smithereens, but I can see how the younger demographic could find it exciting.

I thought Night at the Museum was GOOD πŸ™‚ While it offered nothing too notable, it is not completely forgettable either. Both the comedy and action feel mellow if you fall outside of the films target demographic. However, it still offers an enjoyable experience if you roll with the lightheartedness of it all.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Shawn Levy – Director
Robert Ben Garant – Writer
Thomas Lennon – Writer
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Ben Stiller – Larry Daley
Carla Gugino – Rebecca
Jake Cherry – Nick Daley
Kim Raver – Erica Daley
Dick Van Dyke – Cecil
Mickey Rooney – Gus
Bill Cobbs – Reginald
Robin Williams – Teddy Roosevelt
Owen Wilson – Jedediah
Steve Coogan – Octavious
Patrick Gallagher – Attila the Hun
Rami Malek – Ahkmenrah
Pierfrancesco Favino – Christopher Columbus
Mizuo Peck – Sacajawea
Easter Island Head – Brad Garrett (voice)
Ricky Gervais – Dr. McPhee
Paul Rudd – Don
Pat Kiernan – TV News Anchor

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon: Donnie Darko (2001) by Often Off Topic

We’re so close to the end of week two of the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! Joining the blogathon today is Allie from Often Off Topic. Allie is a regular blogathon participant here at DMR and was super eager to be a part of the Ultimate Decades Blogathon again this year. Allie is a new mom who still finds time to post regularly on her blog, whether it’s movie reviews, Thursday Movie Picks, or her Going Off Topic segment. Head over to her site to check it all out! For this blogathon, Allie reviewed one of her favorite thrillers from the 2000s: Donnie Darko.


Donnie Darko movie poster

The 2000s is such a difficult decade for me to pick my favourite movie from. I’d finally reached an age in the 00s where I was watching movies for myself, and I’ve seen so many! Once I really made myself choose a single movie however the choice was clear, it had to be Donnie Darko (2001).

If you’ve been living under a rock since then, Donnie Darko is a fantastically weird Thriller/Sci-Fi movie that demands to be watched at least twice. Teenage me had found herself obsessed with Jake Gyllenhaal, and spent hours on eBay tracking down second-hand copies of his movies, a trend that still very much lives on in me but has been made much easier thanks to the likes of platforms like Netflix. I couldn’t have been older than 14 at the time and I was terrified of the movie, but found it fascinating.

Donnie is a troubled teen with a history of violence. He takes medication but has recently stopped of his own accord. One night he sleepwalks and meets Frank, an eery-looking rabbit who warns him that in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds, the world will end. That same night, a jet engine crashes into the Darko’s house, destroying Donnie’s bedroom. Had he been home in bed, he would be been killed.

Donnie Darko is the movie that sparked my love and curiosity for dark and weird movies with endings that leave you with more questions than you started with. Donnie himself is a role that only Jake Gyllenhaal could pull off, and he does it so well! I haven’t seen it for a few years now, but off the top of my head, these are what I remember to be my favourite things about it:

  • “Oh please tell me Elizabeth, how exactly does one suck a f**k?!”
  • Those stoners talking about Smurfette. A conversation I didn’t really appreciate until I was a bit older.
  • Time travel!
  • The moral issue of finding a wallet on the ground. You have to take into account the whole spectrum of human emotion!
  • Donnie throwing shade on Jim Cunningham – it was hilarious.
  • “I made a new friend…”
  • Did I also mention Jake Gyllenhaal’s in it?

It wasn’t until reasonably recently that I learned a sequel was made, S. Darko (2009). A quick search of it on IMDB tells me that it’s currently rated #89 on IMDB’s Bottom Rated Movies list. Ouch. If you know me though, you know you can probably expect to see a review of it on my blog fairly soon. I can’t help myself. Any excuse to watch the original again too, I guess!


If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) by The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other Stuff

Week 3 of the Ultimate 2000s is in full swing! Today, Curt from The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other Stuff enters the blogathon. Besides his blog, where he writes about all kinds of film and television series, he also hosts the Film Focus podcast, where I have been lucky enough to have been a guest several times. His love of film and everything cinema is apparent throughout his reviews. Check out his site and podcast to see for yourself. For this blogathon, Curt reviews the third installment of one of the most decade-defining action franchises: The Bourne Ultimatum.


The Bourne Ultimatum movie poster

Good day to you ladies and gents and welcome to a review I have wanted to write for a while, my thoughts on the third in the Bourne film series: The Bourne Ultimatum.

The story in the film involves Jason Bourne once again attempting to find the answers to his past while also evading the US government and other parties that want him dead. This film dealt with themes relating to fear, loneliness, paranoia, trust and deceit. Like the previous films, this story is about unlocking the truth while also being a game of cat and mouse and keeping the balance of power in favour of the corrupt. Some of the things I love about this film is the sense of uneasiness and infighting amongst the people at the CIA in regards to how to handle Bourne and people with ties back to their operation. I also love learning more about the CIA and their secret programmes, how they’re built upon the foundations of previous ones and the corruption behind the people in power and how they wish to silence who they even suspect of opposing them. Ultimatum also expands upon what we learnt about Bourne, Treadstone and Blackbriar in the previous films and provides not only greater context but also gives you answers to some of the long term questions you may have had since the first film.

The cast was great whether they were returning cast member or new additions. Matt Damon continues to be a cool, badass and vulnerable as Jason Bourne, Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons is still great and has more to do in the action department, David Strathairn adopts the new villain role as CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen and he’s great, Joan Allen returns as Pamela Landy and she’s very good offering a different kind of role from before and Albert Finney was felt right at home as Dr. Albert Hirsch. And there were also solid performances from Paddy Considine, Scott Glenn, Γ‰dgar RamΓ­rez and Daniel BrΓΌhl too.

From a presentation standpoint, this film is nearly flawless. Visually the film is really good, the camera work is great with a variety of shots that are near and far and the shaky cam which was a lot more problematic in Supremacy is a lot cleaner and spacious this time around. The action scenes are really well executed, from the first on-foot chase sequence in Waterloo train station to Bourne’s chase sequence on a motorcycle in Tangier to the epic hand to hand combat scene between Bourne and Desh. Everything is handled with tight and swift editing and incredible attention to detail when it came to sound. Also, the film score by John Powell is great, Powell’s score for this series has been consistent throughout and here he utilised the best aspects of the previous films alongside some new aspects that really helped heighten the action and emotional elements.

To conclude, The Bourne Ultimatum is a fabulous film that you should watch if you’re a fan of action thrillers, it has such a great balance of action and realistic spectacle, but also has all of the smart and intriguing aspects of a satisfying thriller as well. And before the Mission: Impossible series got its groove back, Ultimatum was one of the pinnacles of its genre and won a few technical awards at the Oscars as well. And while you could watch Ultimatum as a standalone film, there are so many extra elements you’d be missing with the story and character connections from subtle to notable visual and verbal references. The story of this film goes a long way to bookend a lot of the core aspects of this film series and it feels like a solid conclusion.


If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.