22 Jump Street (2014)

Genre: Comedy, Action, Crime

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman, Michael Bacall, Jonah Hill, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube

Rating:★★★★

22 Jump Street was a release I was anticipating after enjoying it’s refreshing and hilarious prequel, 21 Jump Street, however there was a part of me which was nervous, a degree of doubt crept in telling me that this was going to be a sequel which shames all what came before it, however I was wrong. A very post-modern comedy, one which doesn’t take it self seriously, recognises its potential flaws and mocks them until they turn into positives is exactly what this film achieves and is about. A bro-mance relationship between duo Tatum and Hill once again provided wonders, whilst the many writers and the duo directors provided the genius touch to make 22 Jump Street a laugh-out-loud, entertaining comedy rollercoaster which is definitely worth seeing.

At the end of the 2012 hit, 21 Jump Street, Ice Cube’s Captain Dickson barks “This time, you’re going to college” and that’s exactly what 22 Jump Street revolves around. The film starts with a “previously on…” flashback which reminds us what we loved so much about its prequel whilst also mocking how the film has been based on a TV series, in which becomes the first of many references which laughs at and mocks itself.

Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) once again fail to be real policemen on real cases, and since they look far too old to go back to high-school they find themselves at college doing the same mission, in the same way, all over again; find the drug dealer, find the drugs; stop the drugs, “save kids’ lives”.  As they join MC State College it soon appears how Jenko seems to fit in more than Schmidt once again putting pressure on their partnership, just as we’ve seen before. However this time it’s different, there are no rules or boundaries, ink-squirting octopuses and amazingly bad Mexican accents. Jenko becomes a football-hero jock whilst Schmidt becomes an art-geek but as they seem to be running in circles with the case and they are at risk of failing as their budget runs low, both their relationship and the case seems stronger than ever.

The thing which makes 22 Jump Street stand out for me is its ability to mock itself but at the same time make it a real positive by being very funny. Watching an interview with Tatum and Hill it seemed clear that this was their aim, to create a film which notices how bad it could be and how bad other films are. In one scene Jenko having a conversation with Captain Dickson says, “So you’re telling me, it’s going to be exactly the same as before but cost twice as much?”, referencing the film itself something I couldn’t help but laugh at. Schmidt when walking into the new office says “wow, this building like a big cool cube of Ice” whilst directly speaking to Ice Cube himself, whilst the extra-added special ending (which I won’t ruin) sums up the brilliance, wit and light-hearted approach taken by the directors and host of writers.

The comedy which this film brings is great, matching its prequel which I was really impressed and pleased by. The opening sequence, which will be familiar from the trailer, kicks things off with a big comedy bang, whilst 22 Jump Street then continues with a host of other hilarious scenes, one of my favourites being Ice Cube’s shock realisation. Although not always being greatly funny, I feel there was always something to laugh at in each scene and even each frame but it felt very natural and flowing, something adding to the viewing experience. Lacking the refreshing element which was found before, is replaced by the self-reflection and mockery, whilst Ice Cube seemed to play a much more prominent role and the constant references to its prequel tied-together a well-written and comedic screenplay.

Channing Tatum’s and Jonah Hill’s relationship within the film is fantastic and completely natural, being one of If not the, best comedy relationships I’ve seen in a while really adding again to the overall greatness of 22 Jump Street. Ice Cube’s greater involvement as mentioned added something funnier and different, whilst the other characters all seemed to slot and fit in well.

There was so much to love about 22 Jump Street but it did have some flaws and annoying elements that brought it down a notch or two. Some scenes seemed overly long or dragged-out, not with the comedy but with touchy scenes meant to be a bit more serious, however I just wanted it to end and move back onto the funnier stuff. The character of Mercedes, a key role in the case, was completely annoying and frustrating, with annoying dialogue, actions and even facial expression, making a really hate-filled character.

22 Jump Street is a film which needs to be seen for a really fun-filled laughing experience which almost everyone can enjoy and relate to in some aspects. Everything which was successful with 21 Jump Street was transferred and reflected here, self-mockery, great writing, acting and overall comedy makes for a hard to hate comedy release which I couldn’t help but enjoy.

“We Jump Street, and we ’bout to jump in yo ass.  Jenko: Mmmm-hmmm. Schmidt: Right in the crack.” It’s a Must-See.

 

 

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Lego Movie (2014)

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Ferrell

Rating: ★★★★½

The Lego Movie is all about reconnecting to the creative, imaginative, fun and happy childlike mind-set you were in as kid when playing with one of the world’s most famous franchises. It’s an absolutely hilarious film the crafting being complete genius, making for a hundred minutes of laughs and reminiscing. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and that is what makes for such a great and entertaining watch, alongside some brilliant film references, famous voices, and a well-thought and written concept and ending making for one of the most surprisingly good films I’ve seen in recent years.

Emmet (Chris Pratt) is just an ordinary construction worker, following the instruction manual just like every other Lego mini-figure living in a whole world made from Lego bricks, blocks and bits. After his work-shift Emmet spots something strange but before he knows, he is kidnapped and taken away by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), under the order of Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Emmet is seconds away from being melted into a tiny block of plastic when he gets rescued by WildStyle (Elizabeth Banks) who enlightens Emmet about him being the prophesied “Special”, the only person who can save the Lego Universe from the evil tyrant Lord Business. As Emmet goes on an adventure to save the universe he must both learn how to use his special gift whilst defeating and avoiding the traps of Lord Business.

The story is fun and entertaining, as Emmet adventures on through his mission he meets all kinds of people from batman, superman, and green lantern, to even a repressive happy pink unicorn. Eventually the film fizzles out to an ending which reminded me of the much famous Star Wars, the ending rounds of the film very nicely whilst showing of some brilliant thoughts and film-writing.  Lego Movie gives off a very nice message, for me it was all about being free to create what you want and to be what you want in life, doing what makes you happy without following the instruction manual.

The characters were all fantastic, all being hilarious, well written and well voiced by some famous names. Emmet was fun and well written; although Pratt voice didn’t jump out too much I felt overall it worked well. Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop was by far my favourite; it was outrageously funny and genius. As his faced changed from good to bad or from raised eyebrows to angry, I couldn’t help but laugh whilst Neeson’s voice couldn’t have been more fitting. Writers and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, comical geniuses in my eyes, deserve a lot credit for what they have made, whilst fellow writers Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman shouldn’t be forgotten.

The way in which Lego Movie has been made is film craft and animation at its finest, not a detail missed and this only increased my admiration. The water scenes were for me most impressive, with each splash being a handful of blue little bricks thrown up into the air. Every block and Lego-made character brought back memory after memory of childhood fun, and it amazes me how all this came across on a big screen.

It’s hard to find things I disliked about Lego Movie, it had everything from humour  to great visuals however I found its theme song, “Everything is Awesome” one of the most annoying aspects and one of, if not the, most annoying film song I have heard for a long while despite it being ridiculously catchy. It brought a very silly aspect to this film with it also reminding me how this is a kid film, despite its appeal to the older viewers, this was also something it seemed to dodge and avoid throughout but couldn’t for a few frustratingly catchy scenes.

Lego Movie I’m sure will be remembered for a long while by both children and adults alike, not only for its song but for a fun-filled film which relights childhood feelings making it too hard not to enjoy. Written and directed greatly, a host of well-known voices and an overall concept which aims to please makes Lego Movie a surprisingly enjoyable film and one of the biggest and surprising releases this year so far. It is a must-see entertaining watch which won’t disappoint!

 

21 Jump Street (2012)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Jonah Hill, Michael Bacall, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

Rating:★★★★

In the light of the fast approaching release of its sequel 22 Jump Street, I revisited a film which I will never tire from; the brilliant, funny and refreshing comedy 21 Jump Street. Originally a TV series, Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall adapt the 80’s hit show, which starred a young Jonny Depp, into a new and refreshing comedy which brings laughs and action together as well as touching on something a little deeper.

Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are both newly graduated police officers and bicycle riding partners; however the two actually went to school with each other but were far from partners back in the day. Schmidt was a typical unpopular dork and had an uncanny resemblance to Slim Shady; Jenko was the polar opposite, a popular jock who everyone chased after. Since they are young, and look like high school students along with their inability to be police officers they are both assigned to an undercover unit where they have to infiltrate a drug ring that seems to be at the heart of a high school, supplying the student’s synthetic and dangerous drugs. As Jenko and Schmidt go back to high school as undercover officers it brings comedy, but from a lot of angles and perspectives. The obvious comedy comes from Jenko and Schmidt attempting to fit in within high school, despite them both appearing older with even the science teacher fancying Jenko, the pair go on the throw a party, attend prom and take part in the school play of Peter Pan however the real humour is achieved elsewhere for me. School has changed greatly since Jenko and Schmidt   have become officers, however this is of course a real life portrayal of school too, as the pair attempt to fit in on their first day they realise everything is the opposite. There are more than the typical jocks, nerds and goths; the “cool-guy” Eric (Dave Franco) is an eco-warrior and cares for Mother Nature, fast cars aren’t popular and either is not trying and acting “cool”, this for me was hilarious, due to me being a student I could make these comparisons and laugh with our protagonists as they realised the changes. The film portrays this idea well, and uses it cleverly; Jenko who was the popular guy is now a dork whilst Schmidt is enjoying life being the popular and fun kid and of course this will set up a conflict. The acting was great, Jonah Hill for me is an underrated actor and is a really talented guy, and he can take on serious roles but is also brilliant when it comes to delivering comedy. Hill as Schmidt was great; his high school tantrums were a highlight along with the flashbacks of slim shady and his attempt of fighting. Tatum as Jenko was good, even the fact that Tatum was casted as Jenko brings humour as we wold expect him to be popular and seeing him take on a somewhat dork role was great. A real highlight was his attempt to “fuck-up” science, and in particular potassium nitrate. As well as the portrayals were of our main characters, the writers deserve a huge amount of credit for creating such humour and fun with them alongside some brilliant side characters and constant hilarious scenes.

When watching a comedy you always want big moments and big laughs, 21 Jump Street gives you just that. The most memorable from the whole film for me is when Jenko and Schmidt take the drugs which they are trying to infiltrate, the side-effect and resulting hallucinations are hilarious as their sports teacher turns into a talking ice-cream and the pair try to “finger fuck” each other’s throat to throw it up. It’s hard to fault 21 Jump Street; however I do feel at times the story goes a bit dry whilst the ending try to combine “silly” humour and it didn’t compliment the film at all. However for me 21 Jump Street is still a film I won’t get bored or watching and it will never fail to bring laughs.

21 Jump Street is a refreshing comedy, with a nice idea and a well written story which displays a range of humour which is suitable for all types of audiences. Each and every character is brilliant alongside the performances from the well-known and talented cast. I can only hope that the soon to be released sequel, 22 Jump Street, which sees Jenko and Schmidt go onto an undercover college mission, follows and reflects it’s original. Lots of laughs and easy to watch 21 Jump Street is definitely a memorable and great comedy.

Bad Neighbours (2014)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Nicholas Stoller

Writers: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco

Rating:★★★★½

Bad Neighbours is a film that I had been eagerly awaiting to watch for some time, a cast filled with comedy-gold and genius, matched by a fun concept shown off brilliantly in a hilarious trailer, had me hook line and sinker for this year’s big comedy release.  I can firmly say that I wasn’t disappointed, huge laughs, unforgettable scenes and Seth Rogen being Seth Rogen, easily made this one of the best comedies I have seen in recent years.  However what also makes Bad Neighbours so great is its refreshing take and twist on a popular and typical genre story, whilst also achieving a sense of familiarity.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are new parents, adapting to a somewhat unknown and feared stable lifestyle; managing marriage, having a child, professional jobs and owning a house. However the couple are struggling, missing their youth and the excitement of what seems to be their previous life, despite not even being old. Mac now works at an office where the only joy comes from occasionally smoking weed with his friend Jimmy, whilst Kelly is finding the stay-at-home mum life equally boring and dull. However the pair’s life is soon going to become a reflection of their past and youth as a fraternity moves into the house next door, making the two neighbours. The fraternity, D-Side, is run by president Teddy (Zac Efron) and his vice president Pete (Dave Franco), the two together want to become legendary and make it onto to the wall of fame. Party after party, night after night, Kelly and Mac eventually call the police, however things don’t go to plan and the two neighbours start a war, involving air bag pranks, condoms, fireworks and dildo selling.

The comedy elements to Bad Neighbours are great and the laughs are both huge and consistent, however as previously mentioned there seems to be a deeper and refreshing aspect to its story which is down to some great and well-thought about writing. Mac and Kelly are struggling to adapt with maturing, and despite their hatred for their new neighbours it brings the much missed past youth experience which they seem to soak-up. It was a refreshing take on the adaption and cross-over in life, where usually we see middle-aged couples or teenage dramas it was interesting to see it achieved with those who are still young. Teddy and Pete are likewise fearful of their future and the next step, the thought of what happens next seems to be frightening and they hide behind their Robert De Niro parties. However the bringing together of these two “couples” in a sense help them accept change and embrace their lifestyle.

Bad Neighbours as a comedy however is hilarious. I have not seen a comedy for a long while which has had so many big moments which literally produce gut-busting laughs and a few tears. Despite the trailer somewhat ruining some surprising moments the comedy was genius, whilst also being refreshing and non-cliché. Teddy and Pete steal the airbags out of Mac’s and Kelly’s car, replacing them into various chairs in their house, making them explode when an un-expecting Mac takes a seat. The humour associated around the baby, Stella, is also brilliant, something which although pushes boundaries creates so many laughs. The first time we see our lead characters they are having sex in an attempt to feel young again whilst being conscious of their curious daughter watching from the high-chair, there is also a moment when Stella swallows a condom thrown into the lawn from the frats. The gags are consistent with a nice mixture between slapstick, physical and uncomfortable humour being used, again making it refreshing.

The importance of the lead characters was huge, and the writers deserve some credit however the portrayal by the main cast was great. Seth Rogen for me always produces huge and successful comedies and is one of the funniest and talented comedy actors in present times. He didn’t disappoint with his character of Mac who was hilarious, it was also interesting to see Seth take on a character that had a responsibility too, something he managed well. Zac Efron and Rose Byrne were also good, with solid performances, Kelly’s outbursts of anger were great to watch whilst an angry Teddy was amusing. Dave Franco too deserves credit; his presence brought laughs almost each-time.

There seemed to be a lot of enjoyable things from Bad Neighbours, as a film-lover the in-jokes present throughout added that something extra.  Teddy and Mac, stoned in the early morning decide to debate their favourite Batman Actor whilst making some hilarious impressions, the inclusion of a Robert De Niro party also made me laugh; Dave Franco’s Focker impression was pure gold, “Ay Focker? You’re upsetting Mr Jinxy Cat”

It is really hard to fault this comedy; it really did achieve its aims as I laughed so much, my only criticism comes from the slightly annoying trailer which can ruin some funny moments. I also felt that at times, especially the focus on the Frat parties were unnecessary or dwelled on for too long.

Bad Neighbours will certainly be one of the best comedies this year, and for now it definitely is one of the best comedies I’ve seen in recent years. There is so much more than what can be seen on the surface to this film, with some deep character meanings and development which is handled well by both the cast and writers. The laughs are huge, and some scenes I’m sure will be remembered for ages, along with quotes – “I’m milking a human”, “I put my dick in your mouth when you were asleep, – I was awake” Bad Neighbours is a must-watch, and an easily enjoyable film which deserves a lot of praise and credit.

 

 

 

 

 

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Adam McKay

Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay

Starring: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate

Rating:★★★★

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) was kind of a big deal, and is personally one of my favourite comedies, a film labelled as “absolutely hilarious” and loved by many; you could say it’s a film loved more than Ron loves scotch and Brick loves lamp.  When I heard news that there was going to a sequel nearly a decade later, I was at the same time excited but nervous at the thought that it would bring shame to its great original. However full of casual racism, silly humour, big bushy moustaches, even more news reading and of course salon-quality hair, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues doesn’t disappoint. The writing is hilarious with the story being enjoyable and fun despite it feeling slightly lazy, Will Ferrell and Steve Carell produce brilliant performances once again, whilst a handful of cameo all-stars provide great laughter and surprise. Anchorman 2 may not be as successful as its prequel however it is certainly a memorable comedy.

Things have changed since Anchorman (2004), Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is now living the higher life away from his beloved San Diego, in New York City alongside his wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), and the pair now even has a son, Walter Burgundy.  However, when their boss decides to promote Corningstone to become the first ever full-time lead female anchor and fire Ron, times a’change once more. Now working part-time at sea-world Ron, away from his wife and son seems to be washed-up once more, however his shot at redemption comes in the form of Freddie Schapp (Dylan Baker), the executive behind Global News Network, the world’s first ever twenty-four hour, around the clock news channel. Ron is hired, and he proceeds to hunt down and reunite his old gang and news team of Champ, Brick and Brian (David Koechner, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd). Ron and his news team are back behind the news desk once again however given the graveyard shift and a challenge to get ratings, Ron creates a radical plan to transform news and put him back as the number one news reader once again. But will Ron and Veronica ever get back together, with Ron becoming a dad again, and will Brick finally grow up and find his true love, are some of the battles the Global News Network team have to accomplish.

Anchorman 2 follows the same narrative as its previous instalment with the feud between Ron and Veronica leaving Ron jobless and in a tough position, meaning he has to fight once more to become the legend he previously was.  I see this as lazy writing, with even simple plots being copied once more with the introduction of another news team war and a pet shark; however it creates the same feel and consequently the same great humour so my criticism is also slightly positive.

The laughs in Anchorman 2 are as expected, always present. Ron once more is foolish, arrogant but mightily hilarious, whilst Brick keeps his place as one of the funniest characters ever created. With the news team reunited and on the way to New York, there’s a scene which is hilarious as their van crashes and the team fly about mid-air in the van along with the beloved Baxter. Brick likewise to his character in Anchorman has a handful of gut-busting quotes, my favourite – “A black man used to follow me around”, “Brick that’s your shadow”.  Even the other characters seem to produce big-laughs; Paul Rudd’s Brain Fantana goes through his cupboard of magical condoms, whilst Chuck talks about the “chicken of the cave” in his new food-chain restaurant.  Anchorman 2 is a great comedy however it isn’t quite a classic like its prequel, with something seeming missing.

The acting was great; of course the two stand-outs for me were Will Ferrell and Steve Carell. Ferrell brought Burgundy back to life with real style, with his arrogant humour and salon quality hair. However Carell was better than before, I was pleased to see him even getting his own story as he kindles up a love with a fellow awkward and dim colleague, which sees them go on a date to get a drink from a soda-vending machine. When we first see Brick again it was hilarious and really made me laugh. Just like Anchorman, The Legend Continues produces an iconic news team war which sees half a dozen all-star cameos, without giving all the names away we see a very animated Kanye West and an even hairier Harrison Ford.

I did find myself laughing throughout this film, but as I have said I didn’t find it as successful as its original. The story seemed too similar and that took away some laughs and enjoyment, whilst I found it slightly un-progressive at times with the story seeming to go round and round in circles. Anchorman 2 also seemed to push a lot of boundaries with its humour which seemed too forced and obvious at times, whilst before I viewed it as refreshing and inventive.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues isn’t as legendary as its previous original however for me it was a hilarious, funny and great comedy which doesn’t shame its name whatsoever.  Brilliant characters and brilliant acting create laugh after laugh, whilst there are a few very iconic scenes with some very iconic faces, with even a equally fun and lovable 70’s style soundtrack. It is easy to watch and even easier to enjoy with some familiar but decent writing from director and star Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Anchorman 2 is a must-watch comedy, and should be regarded as the stand-out comedy of 2013. “Oh for the love of fresh nipple cream, this is great”

 

 

 

 

Frozen (2013)

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Animation

Directors: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck

Writers: Hans Christian Andersen, Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris, Dean Wellins

Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Rating: ★★★★

Frozen wasn’t the type of film I thought I would enjoy, I am not exactly the over joyous lover of princesses or all things singing and dancing unless it’s in the form of Reservoir Dogs. I can see where the appeal is for Disney’s latest phenomenon although I might have not attained it. The story is well structured, funny and has elements for every member of the audience, whilst once again Disney creates visuals that are flawless for the eye to witness. However the aspect that saw box-office storm and audiences flood was its musical twist, which although not too great in my head, was a refreshing, clever touch.

The story surrounds two princesses, sisters Anna and Elsa, tracking them through their childhood then skipping into the future. Anna is the youngest sister, a brave believer but Elsa, the oldest, is a troubled girl with a deep dark secret. Elsa is secretly been blessed as the “snow queen” with a simple and single touch can turn anything, anyone and everything into ice or snow. However when her emotions overflow this secret is exposed and trouble arises as Elsa with her magical icy powers locks their home kingdom of Arendelle in an eternal winter. Anna takes on the epic adventure and decides to look for and bring her now runaway and magical sister back home. Anna is not alone and is teamed up on her mission with newly romanced Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven; on a mountain of a mission they encounter everything from mystic trolls to a humorous snowman named Olaf. They soon become close to finding what seems to be a crazed Elsa, but her troubled sister believes her magical ability is only turning her into a monster.

Frozen has a strong story one which is very well structured, as you would expect from Disney. It may involve princesses but really this for me is a story about a real life occurrence involving siblings; Elsa presents the wayward stereotype whilst Anna just wants her attention, respect and love, something common of the younger sibling. It is however sugar coated and covered in funny subplots, typical hidden humour and newly the intervention of singing, to somewhat hide this realistic message. The events which unfold throughout the film are all very good, each fulfilling a purpose, however most didn’t entertain me, perhaps due to me not fitting the height or age of Frozen’s target audience. The character of Olaf however for me is a highlight which shows fully some excellent writing and script work as he brings a host of witty lines which are a little more accessible, for the same reason too Sven and Kristoff provide the same humour. It doesn’t mean however that the two main characters didn’t impress me; I found it very connecting at times with myself buying into both of their sorrow.

Disney is always showing improvements and amazement in visuals with every new release and Frozen had a number of eye-catching scenes and elements. I found myself somewhat amazed at the things that Elsa was making throughout with her magical ice powers, in particular the ice staircase which eventually led to an entire ice castle. It was visually great but more so inventive and it was easy to see the fun the writers obviously had. The inclusion too of the troll was very good and the animation was simply brilliant.

The flaws I have with Frozen aren’t something the film should be criticised for but it was elements that personally irritated me. Ironically my biggest annoyance with Frozen is something it has had the highest praise for, its musical touch. I didn’t expect singing when I first viewed Frozen so when it appeared I was surprised, however its initial appearance for me was refreshing, but eventually becoming a regular occurrence it did become draining, emphasising slightly the childish feel which in some aspects ruined my experience and connection despite my enjoyment with other children’s animation. My feeling for the music is simply demonstrated by the song “Do you want to build a Snowman”, once first heard it was warming and somewhat pleasant, but after a replay or two it is anything but.

I personally out of the animated films released from last year and of course those in the running for the Oscar, preferred Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University over Disney’s Frozen, but its Oscar for best animated feature was justifiable. I enjoyed many elements, the script, characters, and visuals but ultimately the film was knocked by the musical side and inclusion. However taking my personal taste aside Frozen is a very entertaining and fun film to watch, which should and will most likely win over much of its audience. Although it wasn’t exactly my perfect film type or choice I will still respect and appreciate a brilliantly crafted piece of animation which is essentially worth-while.

 

 

Philomena (2013)

Genre: Drama

Director: Stephen Frears

Writers: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope, Martin Sixsmith

Starring: Steve Coogan, Judi Dench, Sophie Kennedy Clark

Rating: ★★★★½

To my surprise this somewhat under the radar film is moving, sad and quite simply brilliant. Philomena a small British film has only recently been making the headlines and dominating conversations after receiving a handful of nominations for award season including an Oscar nomination for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress. It isn’t any surprise however why these nominations were given to Philomena as for me a mixture of a well-written emotional story and great acting by Coogan and Dench really make this release as enjoyable and entertaining as any other film causing hype at the moment.

Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) is a journalist looking for a distraction after finding himself at a loss when dismissed by the Labour Party leaving his career as a member of the BBC a mere shameful memory. When approach by a young Irish woman Martin is intrigued by the story of her mother, Philomena (Judi Dench) who is on a search for her long lost son who was taken by Nuns when she was an inmate at a strict Catholic convent. Martin agrees to help Philomena with her search and with her story he will write and publish in a magazine; however their journey and her story is more than just a magazine article. On the hunt for Philomena’s lost Anthony they find themselves in America and discovering a shameful corruption and lie within the Catholic convent. However as much as they find out about the fate of Anthony Martin and Philomena find out a lot about each other forming a close friendship which causes even their basic beliefs to be changed.

The story which is based on a true story and adapted from Martin Sixsmith’s book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” is not only well-written but emotional containing witty British comedy to tearful moments of sadness. There’s a scene which takes place in a Harvester Restaurant which immediately brings laughs to the British audience, picking up a handful of croutons in her Irish accent Philomena says to Martin “Oh I do like these little bits of toast they have”.  It was only a simple moment and simple joke yet it was so effective and free-flowing and that was the case for the comedy throughout the film. In the complete contrary there are scenes where your heart drops, no matter how Philomena discovers her long lost son Anthony is was destined to be emotional and it truly was and was executed greatly and captured by Judi Dench equally as impressive.

Although at times it was a pleasant story and had moments of heart-warming bonding and comedy it did show the harsh truth and untold stories of what young Catholic women had to obey once upon time. How young-girls were shunned upon and disowned by their parents if they got pregnant is upsetting and more so was the idea that the only options they had were to have their baby die or to have it looked after by the Catholic Church whilst you repaid your debt.  It was a topic was upsetting that was very moving and touching to see but the way that everyone involved with the making and creation of Philomena did an excellent job.

The acting was another strong highlight which complemented the excellent writing, Judi Dench an actress who’s been giving brilliant performances for many decades now and has constantly contributed to British Film shines once more. Her portrayal of Philomena is excellent, the way in which Dench can show frailty, sadness and humour in such a quick mixture is incredible and something which obviously contributed to her deserved Oscar Nomination.  Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith is also great, the humour again is a highlight but so is how Coogan deals with the serious scenes and moments. Martin is a character that stands up for Philomena and due to that the audience encourages and sides with him throughout. An honorary mention and one which is probably not as frequent as it should be, but Sophie Kennedy Clark’s performance of a younger Philomena was brilliant. Responsible for the flashback scenes which complemented Philomena’s narration when telling her story Clark’s emotion was a real highlighting aspect.

Philomena is a film that thrives mainly from its acting and strong story, although there was nothing wrong with Frears direction it wasn’t eye-catching enough to be applauded likewise with the film’s score and music. Although elements were lacking you can’t deny that Philomena is a fantastic film which has undoubtedly made a huge impact on all its viewers and has done British Film proud. Entertaining and intriguing from start to finish the experience is easily enjoyable and definitely emotional but more importantly one that is very worth-while.