Night At The Museum (2006)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Director: Shawn Levy

Writers: Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon (Screenplay), Milan Trenc (Book)

Staring: Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, Owen Wilson

Rating: ★★★

I remember watching this film as a kid in the cinema and just like most others my age I found it amazing and exciting, seven years later although not as excited and amazed I still very much enjoy it. Night At The Museum has had some really bad and in my opinion unfair reviews, it has a predictable somewhat plain storyline but then again not many films break that mould, what this film does do though is create laughter and give you a new look at history. It has a great cast from Ben Stiller to Owen Wilson and Ricky Gervais and the special effects are what you expect but still of quality. In general this film is very watchable and if you let yourself you will enjoy it and be entertained.

Ben Stiller plays the character of Larry Daley, divorced and unemployed he’s a complete loser but the failed marriage and career doesn’t bother Larry as all he wants to do is be a good father and impress his son, Nick. When finding out he might be getting evicted Nick and Larry are disappointed to say the least but in a desperate need of a job he takes up the vacancy of a night guard at the natural history museum. There’s a saying that at night history comes to life, unfortunately for Larry it just happens to be true. When the sun sets all the museums exhibits come to life, from Rex the dinosaur to cavemen and elephants. After somewhat settling in on the job Larry invites his son to spend a night shift alongside him however the retired guards Larry replaced set out to steal the museums most precious treasures, with the help of the most historic figures Larry must stop the guards and save the museum all before the sun rises.

The supporting cast to Ben Stiller as previously mentioned is outstanding and involves some big names. Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan play to rival figures one being a roman the other a cowboy, the two provide great laughter and some funny scenes. Others such as Robin Williams who takes on the role of Teddy Roosevelt and Ricky Gervais who plays the boss of the museum. The scenes as a kid excited me, seeing a giant dinosaur come to life and play fetch like a dog was amazing not so much now but it still brings a smile and that’s due to the good special effects. Due to the special effects not only does it bring amazement but laughter as some historic characters wreak havoc.

Night At The Museum is very watchable like I’ve said and although really for kids if you let it, you will enjoy this film. The cast is great and this for me is the key to this film, all providing laughs and comical sequences they keeps you entertained. As a kid the dream is there, that you can walk into a museum and it comes to life, as an adult it’s about the special effects and more so the laughter. This was never going to be an iconic film or one that people will watch over and over but it entertains and that’s what its meant to do. Fun, creative and hilarious.

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Day & Night (2010)

Day & Night (2010) Poster

 

Genre: Short, Animation, Comedy

Director: Teddy Newton

Writer: Teddy Newton

Rating: ★★★★½

Day & Night was attached to the feature film Toy Story 3, another one of Pixar’s short films its adorable and rather funny. Two characters, a sunny joyful “Day” and a rather dark moody “Night”, each with their own unique characteristics and qualities. When Day accidentally stumbles over Night sleeping he’s confused, he looks like Day but he doesn’t have the same qualities. Both are confused and angered but after getting off on the wrong foot the two become friends, realising with each other they can see their worlds from a whole new perspective.

They are just simple drawings and its simple cartooning but flawlessly achieved, the characters being outlines but it’s the inside that’s wonderful showing the different scenes. Day has daylight scenes whilst Night has night-time, showing the wonders of both and how butterflies turn into fireflies. The director and writer Teddy Newton deserves so much credit, not only to think of such a great concept but to execute it with perfection showing its loud and bold message. With only the expressions of two faces the message is clear, to embrace people’s differences and enjoy them. No wonder such a beautiful, amazing creation got nominated for the 2010 Oscars, once again simply magical.

View it for yourself and let me know what you think? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRuURW_UXfw

Paperman (2012)

Genre: Short, Animation, Comedy

Director: John Kahrs

Writers: Clio Chiang and Kendelle Hoyer

Staring: Kari Wahlgren, John Kahrs

Rating: ★★★★

Disney’s Oscar winning short animated film is brilliant. A collaboration of a series of black and white hand-sketched images merged together with animation shows a interesting story that has that magical “Disney” touch and feel. The short film of just over six minutes showing a boy meets girl story. After a meeting at the train station following an incident with some paperwork young urban office worker George (voiced by John Kahrs) falls for Meg (voiced by Kari Wahlgren) but just like his paper she flies away on the train. After seeing her across his office George attempts to attract the attention of Meg by letting fly a series of paper-planes but faces obstacles, will he meet her again?  

The way that director John Kahrs and writers Clio Chiang and Kendelle Hoyer captures such feel and emotion with limited dialogue, colour and characters is purely amazing. The feeling is something that you are used to and expect from Disney and so are the animation, absolutlely flawless. No surprise it won the 2012 Oscar, a six minutes of your life you can easily afford to waste watching a wonderfully crafted piece of short animation. Simply magical.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich

Writers: Pete Docter, Jill Culton, Jeff Pidgeon, Ralph Eggleston, Andrew Stanton, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Rhet Reese, Johnathan Roberts

Staring: John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, Billy Crystal

Rating: ★★★★

Due to the recently released sequel “Monsters University” I decided to revisit one of my childhood favourites. “We scare, cause we care” is the slogan of the monsters in Monsters, Inc. Pixars animated creation states the legend that monsters do exist in the closet is obviously true. With another inventive storyline and some adorable lovable characters here’s a film that is for everyone in the family. I loved this film when watching it twelve years ago as a kid and I love it now as a seventeen year old.

The story follows the two lovable monsters James P. Sullivan (Sulley) and Mike Wazowski voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal. The two work for Monsters, Inc. the utility company who powers the city with the screams and goosebumps of children. Sulley big, blue and the companies best scream-generator accidentally finds trouble with cute, little two-year old girl Boo as he accidentally lets her into the city, Monstropolis . Mike, short, green and one-eyed has to help Sulley get Boo back home before the city gets a big shock. The twist in the plot of Monsters, Inc. is that it’s the monsters who are scared of the children and not the other way round.

The story feeds of the relationship between our adorable monsters and Boo, how the three together become close leading to a watery-eyed moment when it times to say goodbye. The other characters in the film purely represent those In the work place making the film more relatable for the adults. Monsters, Inc. released after the two Toy Story’s shows once again the brilliant, inventive imaginations of Pixar as well as their technical skills with their animation.

Just like other Pixar films it provides plenty for the family, as a child the characters alone were enough to entertain me but the silly gags and behaviour of our monsters create many chuckles. Like most children films there are also many adult humour moments creating those sneaky laughs that you miss if you’re a kid. Before viewing kids were kept awake at the thought of scary monsters hiding in the closet, after watching they will be jumping in looking for the door to meet Sulley and Mike.

Monsters, Inc. is a film that has just like most Pixar Films set a template for future family films, I personally love it and its one of my favourite animated films of all time. It has it all, lovable characters, a great storyline, laughs and an ending that leaves you with a lump in your throat no matter how old you are. I hope Monsters University is half as good as this film and does the franchise some justice, if you haven’t already seen this film then you’re missing out.

 

There’s Something About Mary (1998)

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Director: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Writers: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly (Screenplay), Ed Decter and John J Strauss (Story and Screenplay)

Staring: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon

Rating: ★★★★ 

Comedies are those films that everyone pretends to love but really find themselves only laughing twice throughout the film but not realising, however with There’s Something About Mary it’s completely different. Its one of my favourite comedies, its quirky, fun and different and had me laughing more than not the whole way throughout the film. This film turned 15 years old recently, in those 15 years I’ve seen this film at least 10 times and it seems to never get boring or old and the laughs don’t seem to fade either. The film being the work of The Farrelly Brothers there’s no surprise its funny, they push for as many laughs they can get whereas most other films get their laugh and carry on with the plot.

Ben Stiller plays the character of Ted, the geeky guy in high-school with his neck supporting more braces than face, however Mary (Cameron Diaz) has a thing for braces. Mary is the opposite to Ted, popular, attractive and sunny. Ted gets a strike of luck and his dream girl asks him to prom, however they never quite make it after a bizarre, eye-watering, painful but funny incident involving a zipper, frank and beans. Several years later Ted gets another chance to get his dream girl, hiring a private investigator Healy (Matt Dillon) to locate her but Healy is as dodgy as his moustache. Mary still being the same, Healy becomes interested and throws some false information at Ted and by false I just mean the usual lie of saying someone has 4 kids, 250 pounds and is currently on their way to Japan as a mail-bride. However this film is meant to have a touch of romance and Ted eventually becomes apart of Mary’s life again, but that wont stop the freaks from chasing after her providing more hilarious sequences.

There’s more than a few sequences let alone stand alone moments and gags that will make you laugh, I wont ruin them and the fun although I’m pretty sure its impossible. I will say though after watching this film you’ll find yourself a lot more wary of Jack Russells, zippers and using somebody’s hair gel. The laughs are created from everyone, there’s not a single character that doesn’t have a gag or a one-liner to set you off again. The other characters In the film consist of Dom (Chris Elliot), Ted’s friend who’s more weird and slightly scary than funny but that’s probably due to the fact he has a whitehead on his eyeball. There’s also Magna (Lin Shaye) the neighbour who has probably had more sunbeds than Ted did orthodontists appointments, in a peculiar fashion she provides us with many laughs with help the help of her dog.

This film is different from others, although it has a generic storyline it has an amazing twister of a plot containing many laughs, something most “comedies” don’t provide. I love it when you can just watch a film and it will just take you on this journey, entertain you and make you laugh and this is exactly what There’s Something About Mary does. Even up against modern-day comedies this film will still win, it’s truly spectacular and for once there’s a comedy that can make you explode with laughter more than once.

Hot Fuzz (2007)

Genre: Action Comedy

Director: Egdar Wright

Writers. Simon Pegg, Egdar Wright

 Staring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost

 Rating: ★★★½

 After huge success with 2004 “zom-com” Shaun Of The Dead, comedy duo Nick Frost and Simon Pegg pair up again to create Hot Fuzz. Simon Pegg also pairing to co-write with Egdar Wright  once again, Hot Fuzz is another hugely hilarious brilliant film, with constant entertainment. It makes many references to their previous film, with Nick Frost still addicted to cornetos. It makes further references to other famous films also providing many laughs with their “Brit wit” sense of humour.

 

Simon Pegg plays London cop Nicholas Angel, but he isn’t any ordinary officer, he lives for his job and his job is his life. Sick and tired of his constant arrests and being too good for his job, fellow colleagues such as (Bill Baily) and his sergeant (Martin Freeman) transfers him to a small English village town of Sanford. With no choice in the matter he travels to the supposedly quiet little town of Sanford however it isn’t as quiet as suspected as a series of unordinary  “accidents” occur. Officer Angel is paired with local moron and lazeabout PC Danny Butterman who just happens to be the inspectors son (Jim Broadbent) Danny’s usual day consists of buying cornetos and then the pub however this is all about to change now he has Nicholas Angel as his partner. 

The comedy duo Nick Frost and Simon Pegg have huge success again keeping you constantly laughing with gags and goose changing. The film itself leaves the duo to provide laughter with the storyline providing the action. However Hot Fuzz isn’t just a normal action film with explosions and guns it takes a twist involving the elderly and reversing stereotypes. Although tense it made me laugh as well as being glued to the screen. It surprised me with how they presented deaths, although set in a small village it wasn’t pitchforks and shotguns but gruesome deaths that also play homage to other well-known films. The film fuels on the duo of Nicholas Angel and Danny Butterman investigating the link to all these “accidents”. Once realising the truth, that I will not reveal they are then spilt between two decisions and have to work out what’s for the greater good. 

The acting in Hot Fuzz for me is outstanding, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are brilliant once again. Simon Pegg and Egdar Wright deserve a lot of credit for their storyline, it’s unique, funny and action packed. The laughs in this film are great and big, and so is the action. The supporting cast is also great alongside the cameos of well-known actors including Steve Merchant, Steve Coogab and Bill Nighly previously used in Shaun Of The Dead. Hot Fuzz certainly ticks a lot of the right boxes, if you loved Shaun Of The Dead you will love this as it lives up to its standard. One that will make you laugh and another must watch.

Anchorman (2004)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Adam McKay
Writers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Staring: Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate
Rating: ★★★★
Anchorman is possibly the godfather of the current “teenage” generation, sad but true. It’s hugely hilarious with an amazing well known cast also featuring many cameo performances from comedy stars I will not mention. Set in a news station it stereotypes and mocks what happens on the news, from those cheesy smile credits to the friendly chats after the sign off. It takes an opportunity to show the viewers what they might not see on the news, behind the cameras, but of course this is a comedy and you can’t believe everything you see on TV.
The story focuses on San Diego’s popular news Anchor Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell),
He’s a master of the jazz flute, winner of 5 Emmy’s and has a woman as a co anchor, wait did someone say Women! Trouble arises as manager Ed Harken (Fred Willard) decides he wants some diversity and hires Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), who aspires to be a network anchor. Scared cause “their menstruation attracts bears” the act of sabotage begins from the San Diego news men but the woman fight back.
The male news team consist of very well known comedy actors, Steve Carell plays  Brick Tamland, the weather man with a grenade in his pocket. There’s also Brian Fantana and Champ Kind (Paul Rudd, David Koechner) and the four together occasionally go suit shopping and sing afternoon delight. It would be boring eventually and unfair to get all the laughs in this film from mocking the stupidity of the news team. So Anchorman focuses on Ron Burgundy and Veronica. They get close and into a relationship, taking trips to pleasure town but when work gets in the way they turn bitter and their actions have costly consequences and Ron loses his job, will Ron and Veronica get back together and things go back to usual? Stay tuned San Diego.
The laughs in this film are big and there are plenty off them. Some films go too far and try too hard for laughs being somewhat stupid and silly, however despite Anchorman doing this, they do it well and you can’t stop yourself from laughing. As mentioned before there are a number of cameo performances from other well known comedy actors, they all meet in a Network standoff free-for all and well things escalate quickly. I love this film like I love lamp and scotch, you’ll find yourself laughing and eventually quoting it every time you put it on and I personally think its the best comedy in the last decade for sure. If you haven’t already seen Anchorman you’re missing out, it’s definitely a must watch comedy.