Tagged: Mike Birbiglia

Annie

Summary: In the remake of the classic musical Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young orphan who lives with Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), a washed-up, alcoholic pop star who now lives off the money she earns for looking after a number of foster children… none of which she particularly likes.

Annie spends most of her time trying to keep out of Hannigan’s way and trying to piece together what happened to her parents who abandoned her at a restaurant years earlier. Things change for her however when a chance encounter occurs between her and wannabe-Mayor, mobile phone tycoon Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx), his assistant Grace (Rose Byrne) and campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale).

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th December, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Will Gluck

Screenwriter: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna, Thomas Meehan (play), Harold Gray (comic)

Cast: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Nash), Scarlett Benchley (Fish Goddess), Mike Birbiglia (Social Services Inspector), Brad Bong (Pickle Stevens), Rose Byrne (Grace), Bobby Cannavale (Guy), Zoe Margaret Colletti (Tessie), Cameron Diaz (Hannigan), Eden Duncan-Smith (Isabella), Andrew Fleming (Cleve Sweetzer), Michael J. Fox (himself), Jamie Foxx (Will Stacks), Ray Iannicelli (Waiter at Domani), Mila Kunis (Andrea Alvin), Stephanie Kurtzuba (Mrs. Kovacevic), Ashton Kutcher (Simon Goodspeed), Dorian Missick (Annie’s “Dad”), Jill Nicolini (Ms. Giannetti), Nicolette Pierini (Mia), Taylor Richardson (Red Haired Annie), Rihanna (Moon Goddess), Jessica Sherr (Mary Gillen), Pauline Simkin (Maria), Raushanah Simmons (YaYa L’Occitane), Temple University Diamond Marching Band (themselves), Tracie Thoms (Annie’s “Mom”), Amanda Troya (Pepper), Peter Van Wagner (Harold Gray), Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie), David Zayas (Lou)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ANNIE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s Annie review on www.filmreviews.net.au

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David Griffiths:

The critics seemed to by baying for blood for Annie before the film had even been released. Many were tipping that it was the kind of film that was perfect for a Worst Films Of 2014 list and many even seemed to rejoice in the fact that the cast seemed to be ever revolving door as producer Will Smith tried to put the film together.

Then of course there was disaster for the film’s distributors Sony when Annie turned out to be one of the films that the hackers managed to steal from them and release online weeks before it was due to the cinemas. Yes it really did seem like it was going to be a hard-luck life for Annie, but luckily this has turned out to be a film that comes with a few surprises.

By the time Annie did reach the cinemas early there should have been more than enough warning signs to indicate that Annie might have a few things in its corner. First of all its director Will Gluck has good pedigree being the man responsible for the fairly well received comedies Easy A and Friends With Benefits. Add that to the fact that the cast contained the likes of Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Cameron Diaz and maybe it was time to start re-evaluating things.

Having said all that though Annie is the kind of film though that will divide audiences. Some will instantly dismiss it will others will be able to spot a certain quirkiness that makes Annie it an enjoyable, dumb-but-fun film.

Gluck it seems is the perfect man to be at the helm of Annie as he makes sure the film never takes itself too seriously, something that he sets-up from the get-go with an opening shot of a red haired Annie, showing he is only too aware of the original film. He then manages to keep the fun and games going while at the same time pointing out some very relevant facts such as how many black American students slip through the cracks when it comes to things like reading and writing. Gluck makes sure that the film is just the right amount of over-the-top, he allows Cameron Diaz to really go all out and also allows to Jamie Foxx to center himself in the middle ground between comedy and drama.

Even the early concerns that this was just going to be a rap/hip-hip version of Annie are put to rest with most of the original songs getting just the right amount of R&B flavour to make them new and interesting but not getting to the point where they are unrecognisable from the original. Bringing on board Sia to oversee a lot of the musical side of things was also a fair touch of genius from the people behind the scenes.

The one thing that will hit most people about Annie is how many actors use this film to showcase their many other talents. Rose Byrne has already shown the world she can do more than just drama with her comedic performances in films such as Bridesmaids and Bad Neighbors, here she shows she has another string on her bow by adding singing and dancing to her resume. Likewise Jamie Foxx capitalises on the fact that he already has a successful singing career behind him and manages to make himself a triple threat with music, comedy and drama.

Perhaps the biggest acting surprise in Annie though comes from pint-sized Quvenzhane Wallis who has already wowed audiences with her dramatic performances in Beasts Of The Southern Wild (which she scored an Academy Award nomination for) and 12 Years A Slave. Here Wallis also shows she is a worthy little singer and dancer and she quickly wins you over as she plays the sassy and intelligent Annie.

Annie isn’t exactly going to be the film that you are going to be raving about for years to come but it is fun enough that you won’t exactly be leaving the cinemas complaining about it either. It’s cute and funny, but never gets annoying, while it’s reworking of the story is just modern enough to make it work and create its own identity.

The real plus though are the acting performances. Everyone seems to be having fun and it shows on the screen, especially with Cameron Diaz who seems to love the fact that she is playing a role that completely allows her to lose control. Meanwhile the film even finds time to take a swipe at social issues such as modern politics and how the rich treat the poor making sure the film does have some substance as well. Also watch out for some smart cameos from Michael J. Fox, Sia, Rihanna, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.

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Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Annie (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Annie reviews: For our full Annie review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #110. You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Fault In Our Stars

Summary: Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who met and fell in love at a cancer support group. They share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th June, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Josh Boone

Screenwriter: Michael H. Weber, Scott Neustadter, John Green (book)

Cast: Mike Birbiglia (Patrick), Ana Dela Cruz (Dr. Maria), Willem Dafoe (Van Houten), Laura Dern (Frannie), Ansel Elgort (Gus), Milica Govich (Gus’ Mom), Sophie Guest (Jackie), Lily Kenna (Young Hazel), Randy Kovitz (Dr. Simmons), Johanna McGinley (Eva), Carly Otte (Alisha), Emily Peachey (Monica), Sam Trammell (Michael), Lotte Verbeek (Lidewij), Carol Weyers (Anne Frank (voice)), David Whalen (Gus’ Dad), Nat Wolff (Isaac), Shailene Woodley (Hazel)

Runtime: 126 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE FAULT OF OUR STARS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s The Fault In Our Stars review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

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Greg King: You can check out Greg’s The Fault In Our Stars review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

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Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s The Fault In Our Stars review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

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David Griffiths:

As a thirties something male I probably am not the target audience for The Fault Of Our Stars. I can let me re-phrase that I AM CERTAINLY NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE for this film. But some credit has to be paid to director Josh Boone (Stuck In Love) because despite the fact The Fault Of Our Stars is actually aimed for the female of the species it seems like Boone has realised that more than a few males will be dragged along to see the film so he has also set about trying to make the film accessible and enjoyable for them as well.

Based on the popular novel by John Green The Fault Of Our Stars centers around a young cancer patient by the name of Hazel (Shailene Woodley – Divergent, White Bird In A Blizzard) whose battle with cancer has left her with severe breathing difficulties.

Still she tries not to let life bring her down too much. She finds solace in her favourite novel which also tells the story of a cancer patient but also finds life is a bit of an up-hill battle due to the fact that her parents, Frannie (Laura Dern – The Master, Little Fockers) and Michael (Sam Trammell – Me, Things People Do) seem more determined to make her attend therapy groups rather than life her live like a real teenager.

But it ends up being one of these groups that changes Hazel’s life forever. While attending one she meets Gus (Ansel Elgort – Divergent, Carrie) and his best friend Isaac (Nat Wolff – Behaving Badly, Palo Alto), both of which are cancer sufferers themselves. Gus instantly has a romantic interest in Hazel and also helps her to try and take chances with her life, including travelling to Europe to meet Van Houten (Willem Dafoe – Bad Country, The Grand Budapest Hotel) to ask him about what she feels is missing from his novel.

As a film The Fault In Our Stars certainly has a lot of plusses. Given the subject matter at hand there was a real danger that in the wrong hands this could have become a ‘lunchtime television weepy’ but Josh Boone certainly tries to make the film a lot better than that. He tries to tap into that similar style and language that worked so well in Juno and while it works throughout the film there are at times when the audience feels like they are severely manipulated into being made cry.

For some reason though this is a film that keeps working despite its few flaws. The characters are so damn likable that you can’t help but care what happens to them. Then there is the fact that there are some characters that go so far beyond what you would expect from a Hollywood film that it almost takes this film into a whole different realm. Take the character of Van Houten for example. Normally when teenage characters meet their hero in a film it’s enriching experience with the hero normally spouting wisdom. But here Van Houten is almost the anti-hero, here he is as far removed as Yoda as possible with his alcoholic ways, abusive persona and the fact that he can randomly swing into a rendition of Swedish hip-hop. It’s these ‘not-sure-what-to-expect’ moments that will keep the audience tuned into The Fault In Our Stars.

The film also reiterates that Shailene Woodley is Hollywood’s ‘it’ girl at the moment. It is seriously coming down to the question of is there anything that girl can’t do? From action heroine in Divergent to a witty cancer patient in The Fault In Our Stars the roles couldn’t be more different, yet somehow this talented young actress manages to pull off these roles with ease. Then there is Ansel Elgort, a virtual unknown who is mainly known for playing Woodley’s brother in Divergent, a small part to say the least. But here he is a real standout, revealing himself as a witty talented actor who could be now rivalling Miles Teller for acting roles. When it comes to the older members of the cast Willem Dafoe is his usual brilliant best, however Laura Dern seems to struggle a little in an over-written part.

While some movie goers may be scared off by The Fault In Our Stars it is a film that is well worth a look. Just be prepared to bring the tissues out.

Stars(3)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  The Fault in Our Stars (2014) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Fault In Our Stars′: For our full The Fault In Our Stars review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #82

Trailer:

Sleepwalk With Me

Summary: “I’m going to tell you a story, and it’s true… I always have to tell people that.” So asserts comedian-turned-playwright-turned-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia directly to the viewer of his autobiographically inspired, fictional feature debut. We are thrust into the tale of a burgeoning stand-up comedian (Birbiglia) struggling with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship, and wild spurts of severe sleepwalking. Based on the successful one-man show, SLEEPWALK WITH ME engages in passionate and personal storytelling that transfigures intimate anguish into comic art.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th April, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Seth Barrish, Mike Birbiglia

Screenwriter: Mike Birbiglia, , Joe Birbiglia, Seth Barrish, Ira Glass

Cast: Lauren Ambrose (Abby), Mike Birbiglia (Matt Pandamiglio), Danny Borbon (Tommy), Hannibal Buress (Hannibal), Marylouise Burke (Aunt Lucille), Teddy Cariez (Pedro), Aya Cash (Hannah), Wyatt Cenac (Chris), William C. DeMent (himself), Lucy DeVito (Hilary), Philip Ettinger (Doug), Sondra James (Colleen), Carol Kane (Linda), Alex Karprovsky (Ian Gilmore), Jessi Klein (Lynn), Ben Levin (Philip), John Lutz (Chip), Marc Maron (Marc Mulheren), Emily Meade (Samantha), Cristin Milioti (Janet), Ron Nakahara (Ron), Amanda Perez (Tammy), Henry Philips (Henry), James Rebhorn (Frank), Kristen Schaal (Cynthia), Amy Schumer (Amy), Jason Selvig (Dave), Ray Thomas (Dr. Regan), David Wain (Pete), London Wainwright III (Uncle Max), Angelic Zambrana (Melissa)

Runtime: 81 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Sleepwalk With Me’ Review: Please check Episode #26 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for our review of ‘Sleepwalk With Me’.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Sleepwalk With Me′: Nil.

Rating: N/A

IMDB Rating:Sleepwalk with Me (2012) on IMDb