Summary: About Erika who claims that popular boy, Sata is her boyfriend. She has no choice but to make him her fake boyfriend. Unfortunately,he may look like a sweet person, but he is actually an ultra sadist and treat her like a slave.
Wolf Girl & Black Prince is a Japanese animated series, revolving around an off-beat high school romance. It is released on DVD and BluRay in Australia by Madman Entertainment.
I found this series to be an enjoyable watch despite, or perhaps because of, my constantly conflicting feelings about the main pair’s romance. This romance is centred around Erika (the lying ‘wolf-girl’) and her ‘black prince,’ Kyoya.
What, at times, seems like an abusive relationship (or, at least, a pretend relationship) is complicated by sudden glimpses of care and sweetness throughout that keep you building hope in a happy outcome; just as Erika does as she realises the truth of her feelings and confesses her love to Kyoya.
By raising these conflicting feelings within its audience’s minds the story successfully manages to put us in Erika’s place. At times we want her to just end it; it’s a ridiculous situation to be in. And then we suddenly think that there’s more to it, and more to him, and maybe we want to give him another chance…
It’s just like a relationship – especially one that may not be good for us. Still, you do have to wonder why Erika does put up with it and this could be a question that makes you wonder if you want to keep watching once you are past the halfway point and our protagonist is still putting herself through emotional heartache.
However, the truth of the situation is that Erika constantly lands herself in the thick of it with her lies and exaggerations but ends up finding numerous friendships – which is what she set out to do in the first episode of the series as she starts her first day of high school. Find rewards like this is what really makes the show attractive and enticing.
A great array of supporting characters and interrelationships are shown throughout the series. Some characters could have benefited by more screentime, or a longer series, but as the story is Erika and Kyoya’s relationship this would have been extraneous to the main plot and dragged out the painful parts of the relationship to the point where you would probably stop watching.
A lot of time is spent hoping for more details into Kyoya’s past and reasons for his actions which are hinted at but held very close to the chest until the end, unfortunately. It would have been nice to put a bit more of this information in along the way, but it is worth pursuing to the end to get more pieces of the puzzle, despite the harder moments of character ‘sadism’ in the series.
This DVD is only presented in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles (which I prefer, anyway). The characters work with suitable voices that fit the usual archetypes and stereotypes, setting suitable tones for each moment of drama, humour, romance and so on. It is this voice work and the additional characters that keep the entertainment going and lighten the more emotionally draining moments.
This is a well-made series, done in the typical style with the primary focus on exaggerating Erika’s rollercoaster of emotions and highlighting important moments such as the flashbacks to Kyoya’s childhood.
I like that the production team did not resolve every little thing for each and every character, as this is how it is in real life. Despite some heightened drama, you walk away believing in the relationships and characters’ personal / internal dramas; like a window into a single chapter of someone’s life.
Focus is given to the romance and relationships and getting that to a certain point without wholly and conveniently fixing everything in everyone’s lives.
This is a ‘lite’ DVD set, with the only features being the usual textless opening and ending credits. I like this, however, as the theme tunes got stuck firmly in my head. Being a short, complete story I did not feel the set suffered from not having further features, as the real experience is the story itself.
This series is available in stores now from Madman Entertainment.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Wolf Girl And Black Prince reviews: Nil.
Summary: Just as Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) sell their home and plan on moving to the suburbs they suddenly find themselves under attack again as a sorority led by party girl Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) move in next door. The arrival of former frat boy Teddy (Zac Efron) has everybody asking which side he will decide to join.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th May 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Screenwriter: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
OUR BAD NEIGHBOURS 2: SORORITY RISING REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The last few things have shown us that comedy sequels often do not live up to original film in the franchise… especially, so it seems, if that original film was an absolute comedy gem. Comedy fans have watched as franchise after franchise have taken this ill-fated path as – Zoolander 2, Horrible Bosses 2, Hangover 2 + 3 and Anchorman 2 have all fallen well short of the brilliance that their predecessor had brought. The result was scorn from film critics and comedy lovers right around the world.
Now we find ourselves sitting down to watch Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising a film born into existence after the shock success of the 2014 adult rated comedy. With much of the key cast and crew returning for a second trip you could be excused for thinking that this film would be just as good… sadly that wasn’t the case.
This time around we find young parents Mac (Seth Rogen – This Is The End) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne – Insidious) expecting their second child and in the middle of selling their home as they decide to move their expanding family out to the suburbs. With the house sold the couple just have to hope that nothing goes wrong during the thirty day cooling off period.
Enter Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz – Kick-Ass) who feels that the sororities are getting the raw end of the deal when she discovers that they can’t party the same way as fraternities. Desperate to proves that girls can do it just as well as boys she moves her sorority into the house next to Mac and Kelly’s causing the couple to realise that their nightmare is coming true. Worse still is the fact that after being thrown out by his best friend, Pete (Dave Franco – Now You See Me), former fraternity leader Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron – The Lucky One) is only too happy to teach them everything he knows.
Sadly though Bad Neighbours 2 is another sequel that struggles to get anywhere near the quirkiness and humor that the first film managed to produce. The sad thing about this film is that it should have been painfully clear for anyone watching the first cuts of the film to see what had gone wrong – yes the problems here at basic but enough to sink the film.
The main thing that drags down this film is some very lazy and poor screenwriting. At times it feels like the writers here forgot key points from the first film, things such as the fact that at the end of the film Mac and Teddy met up and seemingly settled their difference, yet at the beginning of this film it feels like they haven’t seen each other since the frat moved out and Teddy still has a score to settle. Likewise much of the ‘wrong’ comedy that made the first film work so well are missing here. At the screening I was at the audience burst into laughter the 2-3 times the writers were game enough to attempt a politically incorrect joke but for the rest of time barely raised a chuckle as attempted jokes just played out on the screen in front of them.
The other big issue with Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising is the members of the sorority themselves. It seems like the writers were hamstrung with what they should do with most of the female characters this time around. On one hand they set up Shelby, Nora (Beanie Feldstein – Fan Girl) and Beth (Kiersy Clemons – Dope) as bad girls who want to live up life at college. Yet when it comes to the crust of things we see anything but and the girls end up becoming walking clichés whose actions seem to become very ‘unimportant’ to the writers. In one scene a big deal is made about the fact that Shelby is a virgin yet her ‘Shelby Lost Her Virginity’ is shown in a quick ten second montage. As if that isn’t made enough the writers seem to have borrowed the characteristics of the girls from Pitch Perfect – perhaps they didn’t think we would notice that the alternative girl, the larger girl and the strange-speaking Asian character act had all been done before.
Sadly it seems the sorority was ruined by writers who seemed to want to make the characters too politically correct and as a result they lost their hard edge. Remember back to the original film when Teddy, Pete and Scoonie (Chrisopher Mintz-Plasse – How To Train Your Dragon) were politically incorrect yet also had memorable characterisation? Well all of that is missing here from the girls of the sorority and boy does it show. Perhaps the writers needed to revisit films like Valentine and Sorority Row to see how ‘bad’ sorority girls should be written.
The other unfortunate losers when it comes to the writing are the cast. Rogen and Byrne are certainly held back from delivering the good comedic performances they did in the first film and while supporting cast members like Ike Barinholtz (Sisters) and Carla Gallo (We Bought A Zoo) do get the odd laugh here and there it just isn’t enough to save the film. And as for poor Chloe Grace Moretz, well this normally good actress is reduced to a ‘nothing’ role that is best to be left off her resume.
In reigning in Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising and making it more politically correct than the original film in the franchise the powers-that-be behind the film have made this a largely unfunny film that rehashes old jokes and doesn’t even deserve to live in the shadow of its much more impressive brother. Fans of the original film beware, you will not get as many laughs this time around.
Movie sequels can be very hit and miss for any number of reasons, for every Terminator 2 there’s a Terminator 3. Comedy sequels are much more miss than hit, this usually has to do with the set up for the original film not really being suited for a franchise. Some movies like 22 Jump Street or Robocop 2 feature self aware humor about this. As if the writers are nodding to the audience saying “yeah we know its silly, just go with it”. Not every comedy movie needs to break the fourth wall like this but it sometimes helps to know the filmmakers understood how ridiculous it was to make a sequel to something that was better suited as a one off. When they don’t then often the movie can come off as a shameless cash in.
Bad Neighbors 2 is the sequel to the hugely successful 2014 comedy. When we last left our protagonists new parents Mac (Seth Rogan) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) they had successfully defeated the troublesome fraternity and its leader Teddy (Zac Efron) who had moved in next door to their new home. They were content and ready to continue their lives without fear of loud late night parties next door or stray condoms in their front yard. Flash forward 2 years and Mac and Kelly are expecting a second child, despite all their money going into their new home in the first film it is apparently time to upgrade to another house in a different neighborhood. They’ve bought their new home, sold their “old” house to new home owners and are now waiting for the 30 day cool off period to end before they can officially move on. Much to their dismay at this point a sorority led by pot smoking partying Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her forgettable friends moves in to the old frat house next door and Mac and Kelly and the audience find history repeating itself.
Personally I really enjoyed the original Bad Neighbors. The characters were as believable as they needed to be, the improvisation (line-o-rama) scenes didn’t feel out of place and the humor was on par with what I expected. It was a somewhat average frat-house comedy but I enjoyed it. This movie didn’t quite match that. To be honest I didn’t have high expectations yet still I felt disappointed. Generally it feels like a lazy rehash of the original movie without any of the minimal characterization or even minimal originality which made it decent. The story largely playing out the same way we saw it 2 years ago but without the focus on the characters that was needed it streamed from one joke to the next without me ever seeing why I should care about anyone in the movie. The “this is sexist” angle is played out in such an over the top hamfisted but unfunny way im not sure why they bothered in the first place.
Bad Neighbors 2 is a movie which probably shouldn’t have been made. While not being quite as bad its very much on the Hangover 2 side of comedy sequels. I’m much more a fan of “follow ups” than sequels in this case where the same crew and principal actors make another movie in the same vein as the original rather than a straight sequel. I’d much rather Hot Fuzz than Shaun of The Dead 2. If only something similar had been done here.
Summary: As the worst opera singer in the world, Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) prepares to take her career to dizzying new heights a young pianist, Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg) finds himself swept up into the world of lies that Florence’s hsuband , St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), has set up in order to protect her feelings.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th May 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United Kingdom, France
Director: Stephen Frears
Screenwriter: Nicholas Martin
Cast: Nina Arianda (Agnes Stark), Mark Arnold (Cole Porter), Richard Bevan (Stubbs), Dar Dash (Antonio), Carl Davis (Orlando Adams), Paola Dionisotti (Baroness Le Feyre), Rebecca Ferguson (Kathleen), Aida Garifullina (Lily Pons), Hugh Grant (St Clair Bayfield), David Haig (Carlo Edwards), Simon Helberg (Cosme McMoon), Tony Honickberg (Mr. Levi), John Kavanagh (Arturo Toscanini), James Sobol Kelly (Edgar), Elliot Levey (Edgar Booth Cunningham Jr.), Greg Lockett (Chuck), Nat Luurtsema (Tallulah Bankhead), Danny Mahoney (Clifford B Thornton III), Simon Markson (Charlie), Christian McKay (Earl Wilson), David Menkin (Carlton Smith), David Mills (Augustus Corbin), Georgina Morton (Pearl), Josh O’Connor (Donaghy), Sid Phoenix (Corporal Jones), Jonathan Plowright (Ernest Ziegler), Phillp Rosch (Archie), Liza Ross (Mrs. EE Paterson), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins),
Runtime: 110 mins
OUR FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The world of cinema can be a strange, strange place. Whenever a film comes out I hear people talking about what demographic the film will appeal to, whether it will appeal to men or women etc. I’ve never really taken much notice of it because when it comes to films my tastes are pretty varied. While I love my horror and science-fiction I can also settle down and watch a movie meant for kids, like Monster’s Inc. and enjoy it as well. The same with movies meant for older people, take 45 Years for an example, while some said it was for older people I enjoyed it to the point where it has been one of my favourite films of this year.
But now comes a film that is making me re-think whether some films are meant for different ages, and that film is Florence Foster Jenkins. Now I’m not going to sit here and say I hated the film because I didn’t. For me it was just a mediocre film, it didn’t bore me but it didn’t exactly have me labelling it a classic either. What did surprise me was the comedy aspect of the film. Sure the first couple of times Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) warbled horribly as Florence Foster Jenkins I chuckled, but there were some older members of the audience I was in who laughed themselves stupid every time Florence attempted to sing. Yes it really did have that kind of effect on the older audience.
So why was Streep singing so badly off key? Because in this film she plays Florence Foster Jenkins, a real life character who during the 1940s made a name for herself for literally being a bad singer. And while anyone that every heard her would know she was a dreadful singer she was spared those details by the fact that her husband, St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant – Notting Hill) did everything in his power to make sure she never found out the truth. That included paying music critics and making sure anyone who ever laughed during her performances was quickly turfed out of the venue.
During the film we see Florence start off at a small level of singing for small groups of people but as she plans to take her career even further, to the point of recording a single and performing on bigger stages, she decides to team up with a young piano player named Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg – The Big Bang Theory) who quickly finds himself having to get used to St Clair and Florence’s web of lies.
As far as the film goes despite being very light hearted in style in does get to you emotionally. Such is the power of director Stephen Frears (The Queen) and screenwriter Nicholas Martin’s (Midsomer Murders) style of filmmaking that many of the scenes of the ailing Florence really do start to get you, so much so that you do want her to be happy. That style of filmmaking also raises suspense at times when you wonder how some people will be react to Florence’s singing and how their reaction will affect her.
It is those kinds of scenes that make this film well worth watching but there are also some downsides to Florence Foster Jenkins as well, and those largely centre around a huge issue in the casting. As you would expect from a film like this Meryl Streep puts in a brilliant emotionally driven performance and while Hugh Grant does match her remarkable well for me it felt like he was miscast in the role of Florence’s husband. While the wardrobe department have done all they can to ‘age’ Grant for the role it does come across as very creepy matching at times during the film… yes almost as creepy as the pairing of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery in Entrapment. Having said that though Grant does put in a good and charming performance, he’s just in a role that he should never have been cast in.
The other actor who really impresses in this film is Simon Helberg who most people will know as Howard Wolowitz on the successful comedy series The Big Bang Theory. Herlberg has shown throughout his television career that he has impeccable comedic timing and he certainly brings that to his character here – the socially awkward and very innocent McMoon. To his credit Helberg not only matches Streep and Grant’s performances but sometimes even manages to steal the limelight with his creative facial expressions.
Maybe I didn’t find Florence Foster Jenkins as funny as some of the other people screening that I was in but I still found it a heartfelt film that grows on you the longer it goes on.
Summary: As Mother’s Day rapidly approaches various people find themselves going through different stages of life. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) finds that her ex-husband’s suprise is nothing like she expected, Miranda (Julia Roberts) decides to keep impressing her fans and ignore the fact the day is near, Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke) find themselves having to hide their lives from their parents, Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) prepares to help his daughters through their first Mother’s Day after the death of their mother while Kristin (Britt Robertson) finds it impossible to accept Zack’s (Jack Whitehall) marriage proposal as she heads into her first Mother’s Day.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th April 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Garry Marshall
Screenwriter: Tom Hines, Lily Hollander, Anya Kochoff, Matthew Walker
Cast: Jennifer Aniston (Sandy), Ella Anderson (Vicky), Brittany Belt (Beth Anne), Ayden Bivek (Tanner), Charly Briggs (Baby Katie Zim), Remy Briggs (Baby Katie Zim), Caleb Brown (Mikey), Joseph Leo Bwarie (Principal Bobby Lee), Jesse Case (Rachel), Sarah Chalke (Gabi), Hector Elizondo (Lance Wallace), Cameron Esposito (Max), Adam Freeman (HSN Host Adam Freeman), Gary Friedkin (Shorty), Jennifer Garner (2nd Lt. Dana Barton), Lisa Roberts Gillian (Assistant Betty), Adreana Gonzalez (Publicist Inez), Suzanne Haring (Bella the Balloon Lady), Tom Hines (Brady), Kate Hudson (Jesse), Mia Jackson (herself), Genevieve Joy (herself), Beth Kennedy (Gwenda), Siena LaGambina (Paige), Kate Linder (Dog Walker Gigi), Loni Love (Kimberly), Jon Lovitz (Wally Burn), Natalie Machado (Soccer Referee Lisa), Aasif Mandvi (Russell), Penny Marshall (Narrator), Sam Marshall (Sam), Margo Martindale (Flo), Drew Matthews (Beanzie), Shay Mitchell (Tina), Ariana Neal (Evette), Anoush NeVart (Sonia), Timothy Olyphant (Henry), Robert Pine (Earl), Julia Roberts (Miranda), Britt Robertson (Kristin), Graydon Russell (Tommy), Gianna Simone (Val), Brandon Spink (Peter), Jason Sudeikis (Bradley), Sandra Taylor (Lexy), Owen Vaccaro (Charlie), Paul Vogt (Tiny), Matthew Walker (Randy The Clown), Lucy Walsh (Jody), David Wedil (Dog Walker Leah), Jack Whitehall (Zack)
Runtime: 118 mins
OUR MOTHER’S DAY REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Over the past few years Garry Marshall’s movies haven’t always been easy to watch. The man who once brought as classic television shows like Happy Days and The Odd Couple has turned to a lazy style of filmmaking which has seen him use the quantity of stars to get people into the cinema rather than the quality of the film. The result has been films like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day which while have had star power but haven’t exactly been the most captivating films to watch.
It was because of that style of filmmaking that has meant that Mother’s Day has virtually been released in Australia with very little fanfare at all, a surprise when you realise that it stars three regular box office winners – Jennifer Aniston (We’re The Millers), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) and Kate Hudson (Almost Famous). If you are one of those people that have been a little bit worried about going to see Mother’s Day you can relax because this is one of Marshall’s better modern day films.
The film centres around a number of characters as Mother’s Day rapidly approaches. There is Jesse (Kate Hudson) and her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke – Scrubs) who haven’t seen their parents in years because of their secret lives they know that their parents would not approve them. There is also Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) who is left reeling after she discovers that her ex-husband (Timothy Olyphant – Hitman) has just re-married the much younger Tina (Shay Mitchell – Pretty Little Liars) which means her children know have a second mother. Then there is Bradley (Jason Sudeikis – Horrible Bosses) who has been left trying to bring up his daughters after the death of his mother while Zack (Jack Whitehall – Fresh Meat) struggles to comprehend why the mother of his daughter, Kristin (Britt Robertson – The Longest Ride) refuses to marry him. Last but not least there is Miranda (Julia Roberts), the television show host that brings the ensemble all together.
After watching Mother’s Day i found myself sitting down and going over the film like a crime scene. Why did Mother’s Day work so well when Marshall’s previous films have been such lame ducks. The first thing I realised was the fact that Mother’s Day seems to flow a lot smoother than the previously mentioned films. Some of the links between characters in the other films have been pretty lame where as in Mother’s Day the relationships are not only believable but help the film’s storyline to move along rather than get in the way of it.
There also seems to be a lot more heart and humor in the film this time around which in the end makes the whole film seem a whole lot more realistic. While the story revolving around Bradley might not be as well presented as the similar story in Steve Carrell’s Dan In Real Life Sudeikis does manage to mix comedy with some truly emotional scenes. Likewise Sarah Chalke and Kate Hudson brilliantly portray two sisters sadly forced to live secret lives despite the fact they live in modern times. Like Sudeikis the two manage to amazingly combine comedy with some scenes that are powerful enough to really upset anybody who has had similar things happen in their lives.
Perhaps the biggest breath of fresh air in Mother’s Day are the acting performances of Britt Robertson and Jack Whitehall. Whitehall largely comes from a comedy background and while he plays a stand-up comedian in Mother’s Day he shows a new side to his talents by also expertly portraying a lot of the more emotional scenes that he shares with Britt Robertson who is almost unrecognisable compared to the roles that she has recently played in Tomorrowland and The Longest Ride.
Marshall really does find the right mix of comedy and drama and manages to make Mother’s Day a credible film that is a joy to watch. This is a film that you can easily become emotionally involved with and with great acting performances from the likes of Aniston, Hudson and Sarah Chalke this is actually a film that you won’t groan at if someone in your family decides that want to watch it every Mother’s Day. Garry Marshall take a bow you have finally learnt how to make a good ensemble film.
Mother’s Day is the third film in director Garry Marshall’s unofficial trilogy based around Hallmark-like “special events” holidays, and it follows the bland template established by the romcom Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. All three films are multi-character narratives with interwoven storylines and a star studded ensemble cast in which a bevy of A-listers vie for screen time. In terms of quality thoughMother’s Day falls somewhere between the superior Valentine’s Day and the lacklustre New Year’s Eve, which seem a little contrived by comparison.
Given the title it’s not surprising that all of the narrative strands here revolve around different concepts of motherhood, maternal responsibilities, complex mother and child relationships, and the daily struggles of motherhood. The formulaic script has been written by four writers including Anya Kochoff Romano (Monster-in-Law) and three first time screenwriters in actor turned writer Tom Hines (a regular in many of Marshall’s films), Lily Hollander, and Matthew Walker, which accounts for a slight unevenness in tone at times.
The film is set in Atlanta and centres around a number of middle class women during the days leading up to the titular celebration day.
Jesse (Kate Hudson) and her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs, etc) live next to each other, and they haven’t seen their parents for a couple of years, mainly because they fear that their judgemental mother (Margot Martindale) will disapprove of their lifestyle choices. Jesse has married Russell (Aasif Mandvi), a doctor of Indian descent with whom she has a young son, while Gabi is gay and married to her girlfriend Max (Cameron Esposito). But when their parents unexpectedly stop by for a surprise visit the scene is set for some emotional upheavals and broad racist humour before a reconciliation can be affected.
Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is divorced from her husband Henry (Timothy Olyphant, from tv’s Justified, etc), but they seem to share a good relationship. But then Sandy is shocked to learn that he has married the much younger Tina (Shay Mitchell, from Pretty Little Liars, etc). She is a little jealous and even bitter at having to share her two sons with their new stepmother who is barely out of puberty herself.
Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) is a physical trainer still recovering from the death of his wife (a cameo from Jennifer Garner), a soldier who was killed in action in Afghanistan a year ago. He is something of a mister mum, trying to raise his two daughters, but struggling to keep it all together. Several of the women at the gym where he works are trying to fix him up with a suitable partner. But as Mother’s Day approaches, Bradley is not sure how to handle his emotions.
Zack (Jack Whitehall) works in a bar but is also an aspiring stand up comic. He wants to marry his girlfriend Kristin (Britt Robertson, from The Last Ride, etc), who is the mother of his young daughter. But Kristin was adopted as a child and is still suffering from some abandonment issues. She is reluctant to marry him until she can come to terms with who she is.
The link that draws all these various characters together is Miranda (Julia Roberts), the popular host of a television home shopping network program and celebrity author.
The cast do what they can with their at times cliched characters. Aniston is a familiar figure in romcoms, and fittingly most of the best moments and best lines are given to her character. She manages to bring the material alive whenever she is on screen. Hector Elizondo, who has appeared in all of Marshall’s films, has a small role here as Miranda’s increasingly exasperated manager.
This is surprisingly lazy filmmaking from veteran Marshall, who of course gave us such classic television sitcoms as Happy Days, Mork And Mindy and The Odd Couple, and big screen romantic comedies like the classic Pretty Woman. Mother’s Day is suffused with his trademark mix of humour and warmth. Here he juggles his large cast and multi story lines deftly enough, and gives us a mix of slapstick humour mixed with sentimentality that sometimes slips into mawkishness.
Summary: Divorced real estate agent Frank Mollard’s (Anthony LaPaglia) is struggling to deal with divorce and his place in the world when he is suddenly surprised from a phone call by Sarah (Julia Blake) an elderly woman who reminds Frank of his own mother who is now deceased.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th April 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Matthew Saville
Screenwriter: Matthew Saville
Cast: Wayne Anthony (Noel Lang), Julia Blake (Sarah), John Clarke (Phillip Lang), Justine Clarke (Wendy), Terence Crawford (Staurt), Indiana Crowther (Frank Jnr.), Mikaela Davies (Olivia), Donal Forde (Damian), Patrick Graham (Ian Treggoning), Anthony LaPaglia (Frank Mollard)
Runtime: 110 mins
OUR A MONTH OF SUNDAYS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
A film is supposed to make you feel a range of different emotions when you watch it, but very often it’s how you feel as you leave the cinema that is the most important. Will you leave feeling entertained? Informed? The one thing you probably shouldn’t be feeling when you leave the cinema is empty… but sadly that is the way I found myself feeling as I left the cinema after a screening of A Month of Sundays… something that I should add that the friends with me were feeling as well.
To be honest that completely surprised me because in the past I have adored the films made by Australian director Matthew Saville. His debut feature Noise was a fresh alternative Police drama that had me really raving about the brilliance of the film, while his last film Felony again visited the boys in the blue and kept its audience guessing from start to finish.
That is the first thing that hits you about A Month Of Sundays it is very different to anything that Saville has done before. Instead of going down the crime path this film centres around Frank Mollard (Anthony LaPaglia – Without A Trace) a real estate agent who has found himself in a deep funk as he struggles to see any importance in his work and is also dealing with the fact that his now famous wife, Wendy (Justine Clarke – Look Both Ways), has left him and he has no idea how to connect with his son, Frank Jnr. (Indiana Crowther – newcomer).
Then along comes something that sparks a little bit of interest in Frank’s life. He receives an accidental phone call from Sarah (Julia Blake – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark), a retired librarian who reminds him of his mother. While Frank’s uncaring boss, Phillip Lang (John Clarke – The Man Who Sued God) warns him against it Frank finds himself drawing closer to Sarah.
A quick read through of the summary of the film and you see that it could have been possible for A Month Of Sundays to have been a very thought provoking film. To its credit the film does explore topics such as how an older male deals with the break-up of a marriage, the loss of his mother and also trying to relate to his teenage son, but the film just does not go deep enough into any of those topics to make it worthy film. The film also doesn’t allow its audience to feel sorry for Frank enough, we simply see him as a morose (and kind of boring) individual and as a result you just never really develop a connection to him. Worse still is the fact that the filmmakers obviously think that the audience with side with Frank and not support Sarah’s son in his belief that Sarah and Frank’s friendship is a little strange. Truthfully it is easier to see the son’s point of view than it is to see Frank’s.
One of the biggest problems with the film though is that it just seems to cruise along at a steady pace with very little highs. The major high throughout the film is the comedic style of John Clarke, which most Australians would have come to know and love with his political satire on A Current Affair. Clarke’s style steals nearly every scene that he is in and it is often his one liners that are the stand out. He even manages to deliver some good emotional scenes as we see his character battle with dealing with the fact that his elderly father has lost his mind.
As usual Anthony LaPaglia is good but really doesn’t get a lot to work with. He breezes through his scenes while wearing the same emotion on his face in nearly every scene. He is well supported by Justine Clarke and newcomer, Indiana Crowther. The clear standout here though is Julia Blake who commands the screen in every scene she appears in and once again she has managed to deliver another great performance.
A Month Of Sundays is a little bit of a letdown for all the Matthew Saville fans out there. Slow and unremarkable this is a film that I doubt that I will revisit.
A Month Of Sundays is the third film from writer/director Matt Saville (a veteran of television with credits ranging from the telemovie The King to sitcom Please Like Me), and is something of a change of pace for a filmmaker widely considered as one of our best. His first two films were the multi-award winning Noise and Felony, both character-driven police dramas that explored themes of guilt, responsibility, family and secrets. A Month Of Sundays is a more introspective drama about a man undergoing a midlife crisis who gets a new lease on life after he meets an elderly woman. It deals with universal themes of family, loss, grief, mortality, dysfunctional relationships, the dream of owning your own home, regeret and redemption, and a variety of complex mother/son relationships.
The central character here is Frank Mollard (played by Anthony LaPaglia, from tv series Without A Trace, the recent Holding The Man, and AFI award winning dramas Balibo, Lantana, etc), a real estate agent who has fallen into a pit of despair and is sleepwalking through his life at the moment. He is having trouble selling houses, even in the midst of a real estate boom. His mother has recently died, he is still dealing with the breakdown of his marriage to Wendy (Justine Clarke), who is finding fame as the star of a new television medical drama, and is having difficulty relating to his teenaged son (newcomer Indiana Crowther). His job is selling houses that belong to the soon to be deceased, which further adds to his emotional turmoil and sense of grief.
Then he receives phone call from the elderly Sarah (Julia Blake), who accidentally rang his number when trying to call her own son. Intrigued by their brief conversation and the sense of comfort it briefly provided, Frank arranges to meet Sarah and through her he explores his own grief and emotional confusion. His presence soon proves an irritant to her real son Damien (Donal Forde), who works as an IT expert. But eventually Sarah becomes something of a surrogate mother figure and her wisdom and life experiences eventually help snap Frank out of his ennui and he begins to reconect with the world around him.
But unfortunately this earnest and well meaning but contrived melodrama is the lesser of Saville’s three films. It is uneven in both tone and pacing. There are problems with the script and the characterisation as we don’t really identify with some of the characters here or even care that much about them.
Veteran cinematographer Mark Wareham (Felony, BoyTown, etc) makes good use of the leafy tree lined suburban streets of Adelaide and gives the film a strong sense of location and a strong visual surface.
LaPaglia is good at conveying the fragility and vulnerability of the male psyche and he does a good job here bringing some unexpected layers to his nuanced portrayal of Frank. A nice touch sees Frank describe every location he enters in terse real estate terms: “Meticulously renovated family home; untouched period charm; late Victorian style; scope to further improve…” Although 79, Blake is still a formidable screen presence and she brings gravitas to her role as Sarah. But the best moments of the film centre around Frank’s shifty boss Philip (a scene stealing performance by comic John Clarke), a shifty hustler with a heart of stone. Clarke brings his usual dry, deadpan wit to the role and I wanted more of his character and less of the melodramatic stuff about dysfunctional families and midlife crises that we have seen in numerous other similarly themed films.
But overall A Month Of Sundays is a rather trite and pedestrian affair that will struggle to resonate with a wider mainstream audience.
Anthony LaPaglia plays sour faced estate agent, Frank Mollard, who could be a human stand in for Droopy the Dog should he ever fail to turn up for work. Frank is still wrestling with unaired feelings about his mother’s death the previous year, his ex-wife is carving a successful career as an actress and his distant son appears to be following suit. He’s also become disenfranchised with his job; watching potential first time home owners lose out to middle-aged hipster property tycoons. When he receives a call from a sweet old lady called Sarah (Julia Blake) who has misdialled, Frank spies an opportunity to claw back some of the happiness he once had.
There’s something about A Month of Sundays, the latest film from director Matthew Saville, that doesn’t quite stick. For all intents and purposes the goods it puts on display are tempting; great cast, sunny locale and a touching underdog story that often resonates with Australian audiences. And yet it all feels a bit too light, particularly when stacked up against Saville’s previous work, such as Felony and Noise.
The trailer suggests that this will be a bittersweet drama about two people forming a cross-generational friendship in which they’ll laugh, cry, and possibly even learn something at the end of the day. However, Sarah, played wonderfully by Julia Blake, is merely one of several characters who walk in and out of scene to validate Frank’s demeanour. We learn an awful lot about the bitter agent, but very little about the dear OAP who likes to use the Dewey decimal system to keep her books in order at home. Affectations do not a personality make.
When a turning point in the film sees Sarah receive some tragic news, it makes the same misstep as Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, by denying her agency and instead focussing on how poor Frank will cope. LaPaliga is brilliant, but this film should really be more of a two-hander than it is. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Jack Clarke steals a number of scenes as Frank’s boss Peter Langdon. Even then though his acidic one-liners are hampered by scenes involving his mentally ill father that feel like they were taken from another film.
As feel good movies go, this is pretty much by the numbers stuff and it’s such a shame that a talented person like Saville would make such a misstep. However, in the right mood, A Month of Sundays is perhaps a non-taxing classic Sunday arvo film waiting to happen.
Summary: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd March 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: USA, China
Director: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Cast: Jack Black (Po (voice)), Jackie Chan (Monkey (voice)), Radzi Chinyanganya (Mi (voice)), Bryan Cranston (Li (voice)), David Cross (Crane (voice)), Barbara Dirickson (Grandma Panda (voice)), Steele Gagnon (Bao (voice)), Willie Geist (Dim (voice)), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu (voice)), April Hong (Mrs. Chow (voice)), James Hong (Mr. Ping (voice)), Kate Hudson (Mei Mei (voice)), Angelina Jolie (Tigress (voice)), Knox Jolie-Pitt (Ku Ku (voice)), Pax Jolie-Pitt (Yoo (voice)), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Shuai Shuai (voice)), Zahara Jolie-Pitt (Meng Meng (voice)), Randall Duk Kim (Oogway (voice)), Liam Knight (Lei Lei (voice)), Wayne Knight (Big Fun/Hom-Lee (voice)), Lucy Liu (Viper (voice)), Seth Rogen (Mantis (voice)), Al Roker (Sum (voice)), Lindsey Russell (Peony (voice)), J.K. Simmons (Kai (voice)), Fred Tatasciore (Master Bear (voice)), Ming Tsai (Ming (voice)), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Mast Croc (voice))
Runtime: 95 mins
OUR KUNG FU PANDA 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Five years since he last skiddooed onto the scene, Po the Panda is back and this time, for fear of sounding like a movie poster, he’s bringing the whole family. Yes, a chance encounter at his adoptive father’s restaurant leads Po (Jack Black) to meeting up with his long lost Dad, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). Meanwhile, the vengeful spirit of a great warrior known as Kai (JK Simmons) has returned to the mortal realm and is seeking to steal Po’s chi.
This is the second sequel to DreamWorks’s 2008 hit and it’s amazing to see the difference between this and their previous flagship series, Shrek. By the time Shrek coughed and spluttered into his third sequel, the franchise was nothing more than weak storylines on which to pin dated pop culture references and Eel songs.
Conversely, Kung Fu Panda 3 allows Po and his pals to grow organically. Despite being declared Dragon Warrior in the previous film, there’s still much for the young panda to learn. Including it seems, that of how to be a panda. With his newly found father, Po ventures to their secret village in the hills to understand panda nature (tips include that they don’t do stairs and they don’t get up before midday) and potentially learn something that can defeat Kai.
Yes, this ‘just be yourself’ through line is a tried and tested formula, but it’s yet to feel derivate in the Panda universe. Po, despite his prowess, is a still a student. He has questions about his place in the universe that he hopes to answer. Meanwhile, there is only so many ways to you teach an ogre that’s okay to be an ogre, as long as you change yourself a bit.
Kung Fu Panda 3, as has become expected, is beautiful with traditional animation – admittedly done by computers – used for line drawn flashbacks. It’s a simple trick, but one that is used to great and emotional effect. Elsewhere the vocal talent is uniformly brilliant, with JK Simmons sounding like he’s channelling the angriest of angry John Goodmans, whilst James Hong steals every scene as Po’s adoptive father, Mr Ping; who doesn’t take kindly to others cutting his grass.
Rumours are that DreamWorks’s have at least another three chapters in the story of Po, and whilst that is a tempting offer, should they never surface, rest assured Kung Fu Panda 3 is a wonderful and joyous ending to a truly enjoyable series of films.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Kung Fu Panda 3 reviews: Nil
Summary: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th October, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: 4th March, 2015
Country: UK, France
Director: Matthew Warchus
Screenwriter: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Jack Baggs (Gary), Derek Barr (Brian), Jessie Cave (Zoe), Paddy Considine (Dai), Monica Dolan (Marion), Dyfan Dwyfor (Lee), Mary-Anne Dymond (Rowena), Sophie Evans (Debbie), Karina Fernandez (Stella), Matthew Flynn (Tony), Freddie Fox (Jeff), Johnny Gibbon (Johnny), Joseph Gilgun (Mike), Jessica Gunning (Sian), Nia Gwynne (Gail), Joshua Hill (Ray), Jan Leeming (herself), George MacKay (Joe), Faye Marsay (Steph), Laura Matthews (Tina), Rhodri Meilir (Martin), Jordan Metcalfe (Charlie), Bill Nighy (Cliff), Chris Overton (Reggie), Lisa Palfrey (Maureen), Bryan Parry (Kevin), Feargal Quinn (Jimmy Sommerville), Kyle Rees (Carl), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Andrew Scott (Gethin), Lee Shepherd (Rhodri), Imelda Staunton (Hefina), Margaret Thatcher (herself), Russell Tovey (Tim), Menna Trussler (Gwen), Dominic West (Jonathan), Liz White (Margaret), Richard Whiteley (himself), Joseph Wilkins (Jason)
Runtime: 120 mins
OUR PRIDE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Pride is a film based in semi-recent history. The screenplay was written by Stephen Beresford and the film directed by Matthew Warchus.
The story revolves around the miners’ strike in Britain in 1984 and the persecution the mineworkers suffered at the hands of the Thatcher government and the police. Contrasting this is the gay rights movement in London and one gay activist group’s plan to take action and help out another disaffected group of people by raising funds for the mineworkers and their families.
The picture and the place-and-time are set instantly to recreate the Eighties and archive news footage shows us the situations going on with each of the main groups. To take us into this world we meet Joe (George MacKay), affectionately nicknamed “Bromley” after his hometown, on his twentieth birthday – which just happens to be gay pride day. Suddenly inspired to march he joins in with the gay pride activists, hoping to ‘blend in’. Instead, he gets thrust into the limelight, holding a sign for attention. He soon joins in gathering funds for the miners as established activist, Mark (Ben Schnetzer), takes up the cause. From there the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) movement is born and we are thrust into the main story.
On his journey, as is paralleled by the main plot, Joe finds his identity, new friendships, belonging and a cause. His awkwardness echoes the awkwardness between the two antithetical communities as they band together.
Differing opinions within each group show the difficulty of the merger and of dealing with people’s uneducated phobias, but clever humour is used to lighten the tension and resolve issues in an entertaining fashion. A witty play on the stereotypes and expected ‘ignorance’ is used to effect to make things entertaining and take things out of predictable realms.
The personal stories of some of our characters show us the effects that the mineworkers’ situation and the fight for gay rights have on those affected. These human insights give us an emotional connection and draw us further into the plot. We see the fight for survival, the AIDS epidemic – the character of Jonathan Blake was the second-diagnosed person with HIV in London, but is still living strong to this day – self-identity, coming-out and acceptance by your family and those you love.
Gethin, our gay Welsh character, bridges the gap between the two worlds and adds a human expression with his feelings of being unable to return home after being rejected by his mother. As the two camps come together he is finally moved to take-part in the union and humour is used to make light of his awkwardness; breaking in a scene that shows how they are all growing comfortable with each other.
The human element is at the core of the story. We follow this in Joe’s first-gay-steps, his first kiss, his outing to his family… Conversely, we see Maureen’s (Lisa Palfrey) bigotry and how this affects her actions to further her own agenda and to shield her sons from something she has misunderstood. We see the desperation of the mining families in a scene where two of the characters butter bread for sandwiches that have no other fillings. The clever humour is used to show a serious situation in a very accessible way.
Detail has gone into design, set-dressing and wardrobe to set the period perfectly. The colour of the Eighties shapes the London scenes and the grey of the Welsh mining town of Onllwyn. The crazy colour of the period is nicely toned and selected in deliberate pallets in all aspects to keep the visuals pleasant. The grading of the colours are muted more at the start of the film and become bright and bold at the end, subliminally showing a ‘brighter future.’
The story shows the characters at their best and worst and what they take from it all, making for a very engaging and powerful story. We see how the story gets turned around at the end and how far the two communities have come to support each other. We see the power that comes from people coming together; even if not all major battles are won, the amazing feats of people uniting under a common cause has the power to change things, even in small ways and this has a compounding effect. We even get to glimpse the ‘changed hearts’ of Maureen’s sons are they are there to support the gay community at the end, having overcome their own misinformed cynicisms.
Exceptional performances from the whole cast brought the characters to life. Of note was Jessica Gunning as Sian who really ‘comes-out’ in her own right; taking what she has learnt to further herself and eventually became a member of parliament.
Summary: A young teenager teams up with an aging scammer and his daughter after he fails a High School exam.
Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A
Australian DVD Release Date: 15th January 2016
Director: Ben Chessell
Screenwriter: Ben Chessell, Laurence Leung
Cast: Eddie Baroo (Stu), Chris Broadstock (Andy), Ferdinand Hoang (Leo), Jacek Koman (Riley), Lawrence Leung (himself), Yang Li (Uncle Sam), John Luc (Lawrence), Shaun Micallef (Harry), Sophie Ross (Joy), Linda Scharagger (Mai-Ling), Dalip Sondhi (Rashid), Timothy Spall (The Professor), Jacinta Stapleton (Alice), Kat Stewart (Emma), Lily Sullivan (Sarah)
Runtime: 90 mins
OUR SUCKER REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Normally when you think of a heist film you think of big stakes and huge amounts of action. It’s how modern day cinema has programmed us with films like Oceans 11 and The Fast And The Furious pushing the boundaries of the genre with every entry into their franchise. But now comes a heist movie with a real difference. Low budget film Sucker takes a look at the smaller heist and scams that probably go on around the world every single day. Hell, you’ve probably been a victim of them and not even realised.
The man pulling the scams is the aging rip off merchant who names himself The Professor (Timothy Spall). He has been successfully (and sometimes not so successfully) scamming people right around Australia for most of his life. Sure it might just be $50 here or $100 there but it pays the bills and keeps him going, he is more than happy. For the last few years he has also had his beautiful and skilful daughter, Sarah (Lily Sullivan) by his side. While she makes the scams easier she also causes The Professor pain as it makes him remember when he was blindsided himself with his ex-wife.
Then along comes Lawrence (John Luc who many would know as Youtube sensation MyChonny) a naive young Asian teenager who has just failed his family by being caught on his end of year school exams. Eager to make a change in his life (and perhaps just to escape his family for a while) Lawrence becomes intrigued by the world that The Professor lives in and decides that he wants to be his protégé.
Anyone expecting Sucker to compete on the same par as the above mentioned franchises is in for a big shock. Rather than you dazzle you with a massive amount of special effects and huge named stars Sucker is much more a well told character tale. Aside from the whole narrative idea of going along with the idea that this is comedian Lawrence Leung’s life story (or is it?) most of Sucker actually works pretty well.
The screenplay which comes from the pens of Lawrence Leung and director Ben Chessell (who has made his mark with directing hit television shows like Rush and Offspring) actually ends up working on a number of levels. There are a number of moments of comedy which do actually make the audience laugh but the power in this script is the basic yet interesting scams they have managed to include throughout the film.
Yes you do start to care about what happens to Lawrence, especially when the young virgin starts to develop feelings for Sarah, but what really holds your interest is just how basic and simple these various scams are and just how well they work. From scamming chess clubs to finding ways to make money while visiting country pubs these scams are really basic but as an audience you can’t wait to see what the reveal is or whether or not the characters get away with it or not.
Like a lot of Australian films there are some cheesy moments in Sucker but largely the good outweighs the bad. As I mentioned the film does have an emotional level, it’s not just scam after scam or trick after trick. As an audience you do actually invest an interest in the romance between Lawrence and Sarah, especially when you realise what a convincing con artist she is and you can’t help but wonder whether her affection is real or all part of another big scam. You also find yourself concerned about The Professor. The back story of his broken heart adds another element to his character but once again you are never one hundred per cent sure whether you can trust him or not. It might be a subtle kind of suspense that the filmmakers have come up with, but it is certainly there throughout the film.
The legendary Timothy Spall laps up this script with clear actor’s delight. Many of The Professor’s scams involve him pretending to be intoxicated and Spall takes these scenes and runs with them over-acting to his heart’s content. As an actor though he is also smart enough to know when to rope this character again and also gives The Professor moments of deep emotion and also cruel anger. Spall is well backed up by young Lily Sullivan who backs up her sensational performance in Galore to show why she should be considered one of Australia’s most promising young talents… it really is only a matter of time before Hollywood notices her. Making up the team is John Luc who despite his inexperience as an actor never gets blown out of the water by his much more experience co-stars and he reveals himself to be a future comedic force in the Australian film industry.
Sucker is a low budget gem that will have you laughing one moment and then deeply concerned the next. The film is made even more special by the acting talents of Timothy Spall but is well conceived scams that the screenwriters have come up with that will keep you watching.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Sucker reviews: You can listen to our full Daddy’s Home review on a future episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Sucker review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.
Summary: Life hasn’t been fair to Maura (Amy Poehler) and Kate Ellis (Tina Fey). When the sisters learn that their parents Bucky (James Brolin) and Deana (Dianne Wiest) are selling the home that they grew up in it makes them realise that life certainly hasn’t turned out the way it was supposed to for either of them.
Maura hasn’t been in a relationship in a long time and through reliving some of Kate’s memories of their teenage years has realised that she has never really lived at all. Meanwhile Kate who was once the party girl is constantly getting fired and is struggling in her relationship with her daughter. Frustrated with the way things are the two girls decide to live once more by throwing one last party in their family home.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th January 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Jason Moore
Screenwriter: Paula Pell
Cast: Ike Barinholtz (James), Samantha Bee (Liz), James Brolin (Bucky Ellis), Dan Byrd (Patrick Campbell), Christina Beth Campbell (Young Maura Ellis Age 10), John Cena (Pazuzu), Mia Ciccarelle (Young Maura Ellis Age 6), Samantha Blaire Cutler (Young Kate Age 12), Madison Davenport (Haley), Rachel Dratch (Kelly), Scott Drummond (Officer Higgins), Tina Fey (Kate Ellis), Santino Fantana (Mr. Geernt), Sue Galloway (Jolene Barme), Jon Glaser (Dan), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Kim), Ann Harada (Jean), Brian D’Arcy James (Jerry), Greta Lee (Hae-Won), John Leguizamo (Dave), Britt Lower (Mrs. Geernt), John Lutz (Joel Barme), Adrian Martinez (Officer Harris), Heather Matarazzo (Denny), Kate McKinnon (Sam), Bobby Moynihan (Alex), Matt Oberg (Rob), Chris Parnell (Phil), Paula Pell (Dana), Amy Poehler (Maura Ellis), Maya Rudolph (Brinda), Emily Tarver (Brayla), Kristen Vincent (Young Kate Age 6), Colleen Werthmann (Cray), Dianne Wiest (Deana Ellis)
Runtime: 118 mins
OUR SISTERS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The female members of America’s comedy set have been on fire when it has come to films over the past few years. While the likes of Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell have delivered bomb after bomb the women have produced hit after hit. Films like Bridesmaids and Trainwreck have seen the likes of Kristen Wiig and Amy Schumer become household names right around the world. Now comes Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s (who bring Maya Rudolph along for the ride) new celluloid baby Sisters. The good news while it is doesn’t exactly reach the heights of some of the other films previously mentioned it certainly works and haves you laughing throughout.
What works about Sisters may completely surprise audiences out there. If you’re expecting a smart comedy like Bridesmaids then keep moving because Sisters is very much the female version of a film like American Pie. Directed by Jason Moore (who brought us Pitch Perfect) and written by long-time Saturday Night Live writer Paula Pell Sisters is all about grown women acting badly and Poehler and Fey just seem to lap it up.
In this politically correct time it is surprising what Sisters gets away with. The jokes range from quips about both male and female genitalia right through to the right and wrong ways to announce Asian names. Of course most of the humour centres on the wild antics of the party guests at Maura and Kate’s party-to-end-all-parties but the film also takes some time to take a look at some more serious things such as the fractured relationship between a mother and a daughter through to people realising that their lives have gone completely off track.
The fact that the party provides most of the laughs is a stroke of comedic genius in itself. While there may be one of two too many sight gags the film keeps you laughing all the time. Thanks not only to the humour delivered by Poehler and Fey but also by Ike Barinholtz (who plays Poehler’s love interest), Bobby Moynihan who plays lovable-drug-fuelled-loser Alex and Maya Rudolph who seems to love playing rejected party guest Brinda. Along with other cameo roles, such as John Leguizamo and John Cena, these smaller characters in the film seem to come together and just deliver laugh and laugh and soon you find yourself barracking for more than just the lead characters. Moore and Pell’s decision to allow this to happen may have been a huge risk but it pays off for them time after time.
Of course the stars here though are Poehler and Fey and both just seem to feed off the comedic talent and energy that is around them. However that doesn’t mean that they allow themselves to res on their laurels. No these two work ultra hard as well and while they deliver the laughs that were scripted for them amazingly well you also get the feeling that a lot of this film has been ad-libbed by the pair and that works well as well. While the world may have been concentrating on the new breed of Amy Schumer and co over the past few years it is obvious that Fey and Poehler want to show the world that they are still in the peaks of their career as well.
So many of these party movies fail every year but here Sisters works brilliantly well. While I wouldn’t exactly describe it as a top comedy it does more than enough to keep the laughs coming throughout the film, okay you may even have a couple of laughter explosions during it, and that is more than you can say for a lot of the comedies that are around these days. Even better is the fact that this is some of Poehler and Fey’s finest work and is a must for those that love their brand of comedy.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Sisters reviews: You can listen to our full Sisters review on a future episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Sisters review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.
Summary: Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) has always wanted to be a Dad but an unfortunate accident in a dental chair has left that dream in tatters. However, now he is married to ready-made Mum, Sara (Linda Cardellini), but is finding winning over her children Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez) a lot harder than he thought it would be.
Hard work pays off though but just as the two kids are starting to warm to him Sara’s ex, the children’s father, the ever-ready, man-of-the-year-material Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) shows up and he has just one plan in mind – to make Brad look incompetent and to win back Sara and the kids.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Sean Anders
Screenwriter: Sean Anders, Brian Burns, John Morris
Cast: Alessandra Ambrosio (Karen), Joel K. Berger (Corey from Red Bull), Kobe Bryant (himself), Hannibal Buress (Griff), Bill Burr (Jerry), Bobby Cannavale (Dr. Francisco), Jeff Caperton (Tom), Linda Cardellini (Sara), John Cena (Real Dad), Thomas Haden Church (Leo Holt), Troy Compas (Jim), (Jamie Denbo (Doris), Scarlett Estevez (Megan), Will Ferrell (Brad Whitaker), LaMonica Garrett (Marco), Sadarias Harrell (Silverberg), Chris Henchy (Panda DJ/Jason Sinclair), Matthew Paul Martinez (Pete), Hector Presedo (Pepe), Owen Vaccaro (Dylan), Mark Wahlberg (Dusty Mayron), Brady Yarborough (Marty)
Runtime: 96 mins
OUR DADDY’S HOME REVIEWS & RATINGS:
This year hasn’t been a great year for comedy. A lot have been released and lot have sucked. Well now comes Daddy’s Home which decides to do something a little different, and that is sit right in the middle of the road.
Actually to be honest Daddy’s Home is a bit of a strange watch. It is one of those movies that is completely ruined by the trailer. As a result of seeing most of the gags in the trailer you can pretty much watch this film with just a chuckle here and there. A shame because at times such as Brad skateboarding off a half-pipe into a power-line I found myself thinking ‘I probably would been laughing right now if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already seen in the trailer in cinemas ten times.’ The sad thing is that happens for most of the laughs throughout the film which must be pretty disappointing for screenwriter/director Sean Anders.
Like Anders’ career itself (this is the man that brought us highs like We’re The Millers but also films like Dumb And Dumber To) a lot of the laughs in Daddy’s Home are all over the place. Yes a lot of the slapstick is ruined by the trailer but then some of the other comedy throughout the film seems to come from a weird place. While the ‘stories’ from Brad’s boss Leo (Thomas Haden Church) are often the funniest part of the film, there are other times when Anders’ humor feels mistimed or misplaced. Two examples are when Leo has a deeply personal conversation with Brad and then the camera pans back to reveal it is in the middle of a meeting with other people (feels forced) or when Leo and Brad are trying to convince Griff (Hannibal Buress) to aid Brad in a clichéd movie run-down-the-hall… that scene just goes on for far too long.
The other abnormality with the humor of Daddy’s Home is that it feels like Mark Wahlberg is a lot funnier in the film that what Will Ferrell is. It is obvious that even Anders knew the role of Dusty provided much of the laughs because at one point Ferrell was supposed to be Dusty before obviously someone realised that there is no way in hell he could pull off being an aloof tough Special Ops member. It what would have been an even bigger disaster Vince Vaughn was also considered for the role so we should be thankful that Wahlberg ends up playing Dusty because he is the highlight of the film… often stealing the limelight from Ferrell mid-scene.
Being out-acted this time round seems to be part of the landscape for Ferrell. His character is ‘boring’ which in fairness may have been Anders’ intention, but the flare shown by Wahlberg makes Dusty a much more impressive character while Ferrell also has a lot of his thunder stolen by Thomas Haden Church whose comedic timing and droll delivery works an absolute treat and he provides many of the laughs throughout the film.
Sure Anders certainly didn’t deliver a comedic masterpiece with Daddy’s Home but any filmmaker deserves not to have their ‘surprises’ or ‘laughs’ intended to impress the audience ruined by the trailer that is supposed to promote the film. With that putting the film behind the eight ball already Daddy’s Home is an up-and-down the film. The film seems to work best when it forgets about trying to be funny and instead goes for more touching scenes, like a step-Dad trying his best with his kids, but also falls on its face when it tries to ‘show-up’ other films’ stupidity like with dance-offs etc. Daddy’s Home is a middle of the road comedy that doesn’t provide anywhere near as many laughs as it should.
Daddy’s Home directed by Sean Anders sees the story of a Dad and a Step Dad dealing with the facts of having two Dads in the one household. Brad (Will Ferrell) is a man who has always wanted to be a Dad and his life as a Step Dad to two kids and husband to his wife Sarah (Linda Cardellini) is going well until his wife’s ex-husband shows up. Dusty (Mark Wahlberg is a man who is tough and competitive which certainly is shown throughout the film.
Throughout the film Dusty and Brad go head to head and compete to prove to the kids and Sarah, who can be the better parent. What I loved about the film was the constant humour. In most comedy movies sometimes the humour seems almost like it is forced on you and almost makes you feel like they are trying so hard to make you laugh with scenes and jokes that aren’t very funny at all. In Daddy’s Home the humour was great. It was humour that was very quick in some cases and that’s what I loved. It was humour that we would all experience and things that we would laugh at in everyday life.
The one thing I thought of during this movie is that Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell were great together on screen. To me they were a comedy duo that I never expected and it would be great to see them do more films together in the future. Even though the film is a comedy there was some drama and emotional events which really portrayed what it is like for families where there are more than two parents. Daddy’s Home, I think, is a great movie for the whole family and is definitely worth seeing if you have the option of going to the cinema.
It was funny, enjoyable, had a good story line, great cast and was just an all over good film to watch. Daddy’s Home staring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg is in cinemas now! Check it out!
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Daddy’s Home reviews: You can listen to our full Daddy’s Home review on a future episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Daddy’s Home review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.