Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Review

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Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga movie posterSynopsis
Lars (Will Farrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), better known as the Icelandic singing duo Fire Saga, are given the opportunity to represent their country of Iceland at Eurovision.

Review
After my experience paying full price for the rental of You Should Have Left, I am skeptical of paying for on-demand film releases. Thankfully, Netflix is still releasing films on its streaming service and their latest release, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, came at the perfect time for me. Written by Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele, this movie is cut from the same cloth as Ferrell’s similar films like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Blades of Glory. So if you aren’t a fan of Ferrell then this might not be the movie for you. For me, I do like Ferrell’s films and his brand of humor so I did enjoy this movie.

The core of Eurovision Song Contest is a feel-good story focused around the characters Lars (Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), who are very easy to get behind and root for. From a story perspective, it hits all the beats you would expect but that doesn’t mean it also isn’t enjoyable. Rachel McAdams is an absolute sweetheart and a great actress to carry the story since, in my opinion, her character’s arc is more interesting than Ferrell’s character’s. However, the stand out performance is easily Dan Stevens as Alexander Lemtov, the singer representing Russia at the song competition. He serves as a foil for Lars and a love interest for Sigrit. Stevens is clearly having a good time on screen and that in turn makes the film more enjoyable for the audience.

I thought Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga was GOOD πŸ™‚ It’s a pretty generic film and I contemplated giving it a lower score but honestly, I’m a sucker for feel-good stories (and Rachel McAdams). Maybe I would have gotten more out of it if I was more familiar with Eurovision but I will admit that I had fun watching this. The songs written for the film are also good and catchy, nothing like the soundtrack of The High Note, but like the rest of the film, they are still fun. A lot of your opinion of this film is going to fall on your opinion of Will Ferrell and his other films; It is exactly what you expect from a Ferrell movie. It’s not the best movie out there but it is a good holdover movie while we wait for theaters to reopen.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
David Dobkin – Director
Will Ferrell – Writer
Andrew Steele – Writer
Atli Orvarsson – Composer

Will Ferrell – Lars Erickssong
Rachel McAdams – Sigrit Ericksdottir
Pierce Brosnan – Erick Erickssong
Dan Stevens – Alexander Lemtov
Melissanthi Mahut – Mita Xenakis
Mikael Persbrandt – Victor Karlosson
Γ“lafur Darri Γ“lafsson – Neils Brongus
Graham Norton – Himself

Game Night Review

Game Night movie posterSynopsis
Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) host a weekly game night with their friends. When Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler) offers to host game night, the group finds themselves solving a murder mystery like they never expected.

Review
When I first saw the trailer for Game Night and saw it starred Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, and Lamorne Morris (aka New Girl’s Winston (aka my favorite character)), and the ridiculous premise, I was sold. I like comedies and I like movies that take a regular event, like a weekly, friendly gathering to play board games, and turns it on its head. And I have to say, I was not disappointed.

Sometimes in films with larger casts, some characters might be eclipsed or feel unnecessary. However, in this movie, no one character ever really outshined another. Every character felt unique, bringing something different to the film both in terms of comedy and character arc. In comedies, characters can feel the same. Again, not here. Big props to the casting director who brought this group of actors and actresses together. Everyone worked well together as couples and as a large group. It reminds me a little of Ocean’s Eleven where the cast just works so well together and has great on-screen chemistry, elevating the movie further than the script could alone.

Speaking of the script, the script was tighter than it is in most comedies. It was funny when it needed to be, focused on the action when it was supposed to, and let the character moments take front and center when necessary. It balanced all aspects of the film, never feeling rushed nor drawn out. To go with what I said above, every character had their place, each couple had their own arc besides the main story arc, and at running at just above an hour and a half, they all felt complete.

As great as the script was, the cast was even better. I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman and and even bigger fan of Rachel McAdams. The two of them are absolute magic together. Not surprising, Lamorne Morris was one of my favorites in the film. He brings the same sense of humor that makes his character of Winston in New Girl so lovable. Besides them, I didn’t know much of the rest of the cast going into the movie but I thought they all were great. Billy Magnussen as the not-quite-as-smart one in the group might have been my favorite of those I was less familiar with.

I thought Game Night was GREAT πŸ˜€ From the very beginning, this film had me laughing and it never stopped. Every character had their place in the story and the entire cast worked great together, in their pairs and in the overall group. And the tight script only elevates the great cast. It may be early in the year but I foresee this being one of my favorite comedies of 2018.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
John Francis Daley – Director
Jonathan Goldstein – Director
Mark Perez – Writer
Cliff Martinez – Composer

Jason Bateman – Max
Rachel McAdams – Annie
Kyle Chandler – Brooks
Sharon Horgan – Sarah
Billy Magnussen – Ryan
Lamorne Morris – Kevin
Kylie Bunbury – Michelle
Jesse Plemons – Gary
Michael C. Hall – The Bulgarian
Danny Huston – Donald Anderton
Chelsea Peretti – Glenda
Camille Chen – Dr. Chin
Zerrick Williams – Val
RF Daley – Tats
John Francis Daley – Carter
Michael Cyril Creighton – Bill
Brooke Jaye Taylor – Linda
Jonathan Goldstein – Dan

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