Tagged: Dan Byrd

 

Summary: A group of online friends travel to a Pop Culture convention to try and buy a rare comic they believe can warn them of an upcoming pandemic.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian Home Entertainment Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Toby Haynes

Screenwriter: Ryan Enright, Gillian Flynn

Regular Cast: Deson Borges (Wilson Wilson), Dan Byrd (Ian), John Cusack (Dr. Kevin Christie), Christopher Denham (Arby), Sasha Lane (Jessica Hyde), Ashleigh LaThrop (Becky), Jessica Rothe (Samantha), Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton (Grant), Rainn Wilson (Michael Stearns)

Guest Cast: Josh Bywater (Carson), Rammel Chan (Starweaver/Josh Chandler), Jose Antonio Garcia (Donald Resnick), Jenna Heffernan (Jenny), Dustin Ingram (Tallman), Farrah Mackenzie (Alice),  Jeanine Serralles (Colleen), Cory Michael Smith (Thomas Christie), Michael B Woods (Rod)

Running Time: 50 mins

Classification: TBC (Australia) TBC (Thailand)

 

OUR THE UTOPIA REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Utopia Review:

They say that art mirrors life and that has never been more true than when it comes to the brand new Amazon Prime series Utopia. The pilot gives us an early glimpse that a new pandemic is about to spread across the globe, yes it could be plucked straight from our headlines at the moment, but what separates Utopia from the hundreds of other pandemic or post-apocalyptic television shows or movies out there is the fact that here the prediction of the pandemic may have already surfaced in a graphic novel of all places.

Utopia centres around a group of four ‘friends’ who have all met online after they realised a pattern in a strange graphic novel titled Dystopia. When an ultra rare copy of its sequel, titled Utopia, is put up for auction by a naive couple at a convention named FringeCon the four friends – Wilson Wilson (Desmin Borges – Living With Yourself), Ian (Dan Byrd – Easy A), Becky (Ashleigh LaThrop – Fifty Shades Freed) and Samantha (Jessica Rothe – Happy Death Day) – all travel to the convention with the intention to buy Utopia so they can explore their theory that the comics predict the world’s pandemics.

But they are not the only people after Utopia after a rich art collector wins the auction suddenly a young boy called Grant (Javon Walton – Euphoria) breaks into the penthouse to steal it while at the same time two assassins – Arby (Christopher Denham – Argo) and Michael Stearns (Rainn Wilson – The Office) – also pay a visit to the penthouse to retrieve the valuable item.

The best way to approach the Utopia remake is to have never seen the original British series. From the pilot episode you can tell that this is a series that is going to have many twists and turns throughout – so not knowing what is going to happen next is going to be key. Especially with the cliffhanger of the pilot which sees a character turn up that may just hint that everything in the graphic novels is based on real life.

Tone wise Utopia feels like a nineties show such as Buffy but with some edge. As soon as Samantha drops the ‘c’ word you know that the show is going to go into adult territory, the head shots that the assassins deliver as they hunt their victims later on only enhance that theory. Having said that though there is a deep intelligence to the show. The theory that the graphic novels can predict what pandemics are to come gives the show a real suspense element that you feel is only going to get expanded even further and a brief news report we hear hints that a pandemic is just starting as well.

The key to the show working though are the characters and whether they are interesting to the audience, luckily Utopia seems to have that problem well and truly solved. Wilson Wilson seems to be one of the most interesting characters to have surfaced on television for awhile, while the other three friends also could easily carry the show. After the pilot the relationship between Ian and Becky is not so much ‘will they’ but instead ‘what will they do now’ while the great acting that we know Jessica Rothe is capable of also means we are very curious to see what happens with Samantha next.

Keeping the acting in mind the casting of Rainn Wilson in such a sinister role is also a stroke of genius. We are so used to seeing his comedy side that his cold-heartedness here is a bit of surprise and there still seems to be a lot of room to further expand his character as well.

There is little doubt that once you start watching Utopia that you will continue to watch. There are just too many questions that are left after the pilot for you not to want. Questions around who the hell Grant is, what the four friends will do next and even whether or not the assassins will go after them are more than enough to keep you watching. And then there is of course the big mystery – who the hell is Jessica Hyde and is she real? Yes television fans I think our answer to iZombie has finally landed.

 

 

 

 

Sisters

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.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th January 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

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

Classification: CTC

 

OUR SISTERS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

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.

 

Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Sisters (2015) on IMDb

 

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.

Trailer: