Posted tagged ‘movie review’

The Fundamentals of Caring Review

August 27, 2016

You know, I wasn’t originally sure if I wanted to review this movie. But after seeing that a lot of other reviews weren’t all that positive, I decided that this one could use a little more attention.

The Fundamentals of Caring premiered back in June on Netflix and stars Paul Rudd as Ben Benjamin (what an awesome name), who starts off the film by finishing a 6-week course in caregiving and then gets a job helping Trevor (Craig Roberts), a teen with muscular dystrophy.

Right off the bat, we learn that Trevor is a very enjoyable character to watch. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t let his disability stop him from getting a little enjoyment out of life (at least to a certain extent). And by that, I mean he at least has a certain sense of humor about it. And writer/director Rob Burnett uses this to add some good comedy to the film.

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On the other hand, Trevor has let his disability control him in the sense that he lets it stop him from ever going outside and truly experiencing life. That is until Ben comes up with the idea to drive him across the country to fulfill one of Trevor’s life goals of seeing the world’s biggest hole.

From here on, we get a typical yet still very well-written indie road trip drama-comedy film. We get a lot of interesting character development with each of the main characters.  I won’t spoil it, we get some good backstories that give these characters some real depth and make them feel like real people that we can connect with.

I would actually consider this one of the better 2016 movies I’ve seen so far. And I was definitely surprised that the reception hasn’t been as good as I expected. So if it sounds like your kind of movie, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

So I give The Fundamentals of Caring an 8 out of 10. Check the movie out here: https://www.netflix.com/search/the%20fundamentals?jbv=80097349&jbp=0&jbr=0

‘The Do-Over’ – Sandler Netflix Insanity

June 4, 2016

Adam Sandler’s The Do-Over is a really weird movie. Yeah, I didn’t exactly know what to expect going into this one considering that I knew absolutely nothing about the plot. But after watching it, I would say that it’s … average … I think?

Our protagonist here is Charlie (David Spade), an ordinary guy who hates his life. But things start to change for Charlie when he attends his high school reunion and runs into his old friend Max (Sandler). Max appears to have the life that Charlie has always wanted. So Charlie agrees to go away with Max for a weekend that soon turns into an unexpected adventure.

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It turns out, Max had a secret motive behind the duo’s weekend away. In an actually somewhat interesting and unique premise, Max’s plan was to fake both of their deaths so the two of them could both start completely new lives while taking on the identities of two recently deceased men. But without giving too much away, this quickly ends up becoming much more than they bargained for.

This scenario in the first half of this movie is enjoyable partly as a “what if?’ sort of thing. It makes you wonder what you’d do in these characters’ situations. Would you ever be willing to just completely start your life over? How bad would your life have to get before you were willing to that? And yes, I am in fact suggesting that an Adam Sandler comedy got me to think about complex and depressing issues. I’m just as surprised as you are.

That’s another problem. This movie just wasn’t really all that funny for the most part (and yes, a lot of the time, it was trying to be). The humor seemed to more revolve around the characters getting into crazy situations. And that’s not automatically going to be funny. It still has to be written in a clever way. And the comedy in this movie wasn’t really that clever.

I’m not exactly sure what to think of this movie overall. Would I recommend it? Not really. But can I at least appreciate it a little bit for its ambition? I guess. I’m giving it a 5 out of 10.

‘Kung Fury’ – Entertaining Parody Short Film

January 13, 2016

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Hey Seltzer and Friedberg, before you make your next parody film, sit down and give this one a watch. You might learn a few things.

So Kung Fury is a 2015 independent half-hour film about a cop of the same name. The purpose of this film is to parody 1980s cop movies. In fact, the film’s short runtime was probably one of the best choices the filmmakers made considering that I’m not even sure that they had enough good jokes to fill up 30 minutes, let alone an hour and a half.

Don’t get me wrong, this is definitely a funny movie, and one of the more refreshing spoof movies I’ve seen recently. But if I had one criticism to make of it, it’s that it didn’t quite reach the level of nonstop hilarity that it could have in my opinion.

But anyway, why exactly does this short film work as a parody? Well for one thing, it does a very good job at mimicking the style of these ’80s actions movies. It’s cheesy. It’s silly. And it looks like it was filmed with a potato. What more could you ask for? Actually, if you didn’t know going in, you might even think that this was an actual action film from the 1980s.

But in addition to mimicking the style of these movies, Kung Fury also does a fine job with exaggerating the tropes of ’80s action films to an absolutely absurd and at times hysterical degree. For instance, early in the film, they utilize the cliché of giving the cop a partner against his wishes. But for absolutely no reason at all, they give Kung Fury’s partner the head of a triceratops. And it’s just so dumb and random that you can’t help but laugh at it.

Kung Fury also succeeds at general comedy. Firstly, the premise itself is pretty funny. Kung Fury has to go back in time to kill Adolf Hitler as part of his mission. And I’m not entirely sure why. But I think that adds to the humor. There’s also a lot of very funny dialogue. Put all of that together, and it makes for a pretty enjoyable experience.

So overall, I give Kung Fury a 7.5 out of 10. I suggest checking this one out, either on YouTube, or here on Netflix.

‘The Ridiculous 6’ – Sandler Netflix Mediocrity

December 29, 2015

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By John D’Amico

I can’t say I really hated this film. In fact, I wouldn’t even really call it bad. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one did well at the Razzie Awards this year. Just saying.

‘The Ridiculous 6’ is a comedy western starring Adam Sandler as Tommy aka “The White Knife,” who one day has to go on a mission to save his deadbeat father (Nick Nolte). Along the way, he meets his five half-brothers who decide to go on the mission along with him.

One of the first things that struck me about this movie was how seriously it was taking itself in the first fourth of the plot. The amount of jokes in this portion of the movie were pretty minimal. At the same time, it didn’t feel like the it was going for straight-up drama either because of the typical Sandler-esque humor sprinkled throughout. I’m not even sure if I’d necessarily call this a bad thing. But it just kind of left me scratching my head.

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But in spite of this peculiar start, the rest of movie is pretty much the comedy that I expected going in. So how was the comedy you might be wondering? Well, it could have been better to be honest. We get some annoying characters like Taylor Lautner as one of Tommy’s half-brothers, some disturbing humor like an accidental decapitation, and some gross-out comedy that I’d prefer not to describe.

But sprinkled throughout the film, there definitely were some jokes that got some genuine laughs out of me. For instance, shortly after the introduction of Terry Crews’ character Chico (one of Tommy’s brothers), Chico makes the decision to confess to his newly found half-brothers that he is in fact a black man.

There’s also a really clever scene where the brothers meet Civil War general Abner Doubleday (played by John Turturro), and take part of the first ever game of baseball. And just for the record, Doubleday didn’t really invent the game, but I’m willing to let that slide considering how well-written this scene was.

Overall, ‘The Ridiculous 6’ wasn’t a bad movie in my opinion. But I didn’t really like it either. It was just kind of meh. I give a 5.5 out of 10.

If you’re interested, you can stream the film here.

The Trip to Italy (2014) [Netflix review]

January 5, 2015

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“The Trip to Italy” is the sequel to the 2010 film “The Trip.” Like its predecessor, this film follows British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing versions of themselves as they take a road trip on which they do restaurant reviews. But this time around, the location is Italy.

I had the good fortune of seeing the original in theaters. You can read my review of it here: https://johnjamesdamico.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/the-trip-movie-review/

As was the case with the original, the chemistry between Coogan and Brydon really makes this film. Their banter got a lot of laughs from me. And their impressions are really on-point. The best one by far was Coogan’s impression of Robert De Niro from about half-way through the film.

This scene showcases their banter pretty well:

To my surprise, this film is very well-shot, especially for something like this. It’s not necessarily the kind of thing that you would expect from a simple comedy film, but director Michael Winterbottom went out of his way to include some really nice-looking shots of Italy. See below:

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The film has a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. I think that Winterbottom could have benefitted from trimming the movie down to 90 minutes at most. The film’s pacing can be slow at times and I think Winterbottom could have told the same story in a movie that was just a bit shorter.

But overall, I recommend that you check this movie out, especially if you enjoyed the original (although, it’s not at all necessary to see the original first).

But if you’re still not sure at this point if this is a film you’d enjoy, feel free to check out the trailer here:

You can watch “The Trip to Italy” now on Netflix streaming: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70297797?trkid=13462047

The original is also available on Netflix streaming: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70154139?trkid=13752289

The Case Against 8 Review

June 25, 2014

So I’m back to blogging again. I’m going to be doing it a little differently this time around. That’s all I have to say about that for now. Onto the review…

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So I just got finished watching the new HBO documentary The Case Against 8, which tells the story of the U.S. Supreme Court case which led to the eventual overturning of Proposition 8, a law which had banned same-sex marriages in the state of California.

The film primarily follows the two gay couples who were fighting in favor of the repeal of Prop 8, along with their lawyers.

The aspect of this movie that impressed me the most was the way that it increased my understanding of how much this issue really matters to these people.

Don’t get the wrong idea; I’ve always been a supporter of gay marriage. And obviously I’ve always understood to a degree that the right to marriage is very important to homosexuals. But by watching this documentary, I actually got the opportunity to witness the real reactions of these real people throughout the whole experience.

Seeing everything that these couples went through whether it was good or bad was very emotional, and inspiring. When the movie was over, I starting thinking to myself, “I want to help gay marriage! I got to go find an online petition to sign or something!”

I think that it would be difficult for someone to watch this film with an open mind and then come out of it not at least reconsidering their position on gay marriage (assuming that person was not already for it).

So if you’re interested in the topic and you don’t mind sitting through a 2-hour documentary, I’d say check out The Case Against 8.

A Separation Movie Review

January 29, 2012

“A Separation” is the Oscar-nominated Iranian film from writer-director Asghar Farhadi. It tells the story of a married couple going through a divorce. But they soon go through a tragedy that could end up ruining their lives.

I’m pretty sure that if I had the opportunity to see this movie earlier, it would have definitely made it into my top 10 of the year list.

“A Separation” is a film that really keeps your attention all of the way through. There were very few moments during where I got bored.

“A Separation” was nominated for two Academy Awards this past Tuesday in the categories of Best Foreign-Language and Best Original Screenplay. And in my opinion both nominations were well-deserved.

I wanted to address something. It’s not really about this film specifically, but more films in general. A lot of people are turned off by the idea of subtitled films. And at first I was nervous about it too. But when I gave it try I found that it really wasn’t so difficult. I’m not saying that it’s not a challenge at all, but it’s really not as bad as you might think.

I don’t really have too much to say about this one, so I’ll end with saying that it’s definitely a film that I recommend to anyone who wants to see an interesting, well-made piece of cinema.

I give “A Separation” an 8.5/10.

By: John D’Amico


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