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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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.

Moneyball (2011)

Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport 

Director: Bennett Miller

Writers: Steven Zaillian (screenplay) Aaron Sorkin (screenplay), Stan Chervin (story), Michael Lewis (Book) 

Staring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman 

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Moneyball is one of my favourite films and its truly brilliant. You know a films great when it focuses on a topic that barely intrigues you but you find yourself watching it being entertained, interested and caught up in the story. Moneyball is that type of film, something a lot of people would be put off by due to its focus on baseball but there’s hidden meanings in this film, and an inspirational story. Based on the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game 2003 but instead of a story this is more like a business meeting with most of the film being inside the head of our two main characters discussing statistics and money. Nevertheless I found myself in awe at the brilliance that is this film.

 

The story follows Oakland Athletic Baseball Team and their manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt). A former MLB player himself he is now a manager with a pure hatred of losing that inspired him to take the A’s to the World Series, however the harshness of the game saw him lose his three best players to richer, bigger teams offering higher salaries. Beane faces the task of rebuilding his team for the upcoming season but has the issue of an incredibly low-budget. With the help of nerdy, brain-box Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) he manages to come up with a strategy to rate players on their value giving the Oakland Athletics a winning formula. 

 

Beane faces a lot problems, he has to withstand the pressure from fellow scouts and his boss, who fails to play his chosen players due to not believing in Beane and Brand’s ridiculous strategy. The film has an emotional side plot too,  Beane trying to balance and win in his personal life as well as his managerial. After a failed marriage he is empty and lonely and attempts to save the love that his daughter Casey (Kerris Dorsey) making an emotional touching story as well as an entertaining one.

 

The performances from both Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are absolutely flawless. However the casting of Jonah Hill was a big surprise due to his comedy label it was interesting to see how he would come up against this more serious role but his performance was unbelievably amazing. The screenwriter Aaron Sorkin previously responsible for The Social Network brings the same intelligent depth into Moneyball making it more than just a sport film. 

 

The film brings a breath of fresh air to the somewhat exhausted predictable “underdog” sports film. Like I said previously its more than a film about baseball and it only enters the field when it’s a crucial moment. For those who don’t like baseball it’s more than a great watch that will drag you into the brilliant story, also providing laughs but those laughs of recognition of real life. Those who do like baseball will begin to realise that it’s a business more than a sport and what happens behind the scenes. It got nominated for an amazing six Oscars and no surprise, it’s a fantastic watch and a real great that should be remembered for a long time.