Film Review: They Came Together (2014)


Starring
: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Ellie Kemper, Cobie Smulders
IMDb synopsis: A small business owner is about to lose her shop to a major corporate development.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2398249/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

My verdict: Wow. I spent much of the film shouting “no!” in various levels of pitch and I kind of felt like I wanted to watch this through my fingers.

We recently watched the Michael Showalter/David Wain genius that is Wet Hot American Summer, and having loved it so as we had, we decided to watch They Came Together next, which is also a Showalter/Wain film. Paul Rudd plays Joel, a ‘corporate drone’ who works for a big sweet manufacturer, and Amy Poehler plays Molly, who runs a small independent sweetshop. One night, Joel and Molly are having dinner with Kyle (Bill Hader) and Karen (Ellie Kemper) and the discussion of how Joel and Molly met comes up. The film is basically them telling Kyle and Karen the rollercoaster story that is their life. It’s juat hilarious. And hard to watch. And cringe-worthy. Because basically, this film is a spoof of pretty much any rom-com, chick flick, romantically clichéd film you may have seen. Nothing is sacred; the scene with Joel and his Bubby made me actually shout, “noooooooooooo!” at the screen. As Lt. Joe Kenda says, ‘my, my, my’.

If you go to watch this, knowing it’s a spoof, you can’t go wrong. Reviews where people are complaining because it’s too silly, or they “don’t get it”, well, I don’t understand them because I loved it. But then, I loved Wet Hot American Summer too, and it’s just as epic.

Rating: 5 out of 5

As I love to quote from Travis from Clueless,

Wet Hot American Summer

WHAS

I’d recently seen adverts for the Wet Hot American Summer series, so I looked it up on Netflix. I hadn’t realised that there was a film before the series, so recently me and Michael had a bit of a WHAS Netflix marathon! (If you click on the image above, it’ll take you straight to the Netflix page with all 3 listed – how good to you, am I, eh?!)

First up, Wet Hot American Summer (2001) – the film
You need to watch the film first. It stars a whole host of big names, with quite a few of them crediting WHAS as their first feature film (Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Banks). The rest of the cast includes Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth and A.D. Miles. I tried to write a synopsis, but then I realised that Wikipedia had already created a great one, so here it is:

In 1981, Camp Firewood, a summer camp located near Waterville, Maine, is preparing for its last day of camp. Counselors have one last chance to have a romantic encounter with another person at Camp Firewood. The summer culminates in a talent show.

Beth (Janeane Garofalo), the camp director, struggles to keep her counselors in order – and her campers alive – while falling in love with Henry (David Hyde Pierce), an astrophysics associate professor at Colby College. Henry has to devise a plan to save the camp from a piece of NASA’s Skylab, which is falling to Earth.

Coop (Michael Showalter) has a crush on Katie (Marguerite Moreau), his fellow counselor, but has to pry her away from her rebellious, obnoxious, and obviously unfaithful boyfriend, Andy (Paul Rudd). Only Gene (Christopher Meloni), the shell-shocked Vietnam war veteran and camp chef, can help Coop win Katie—with some help from a talking can of vegetables (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin).

All the while, Gary (A.D. Miles), Gene’s unfortunately chosen apprentice, and J.J. (Zak Orth) attempt to figure out why McKinley (Michael Ian Black) hasn’t been with a woman, the reason being that McKinley is in love with Ben (Bradley Cooper), whom he marries in a ceremony by the lake; Victor (Ken Marino) attempts to lose his virginity with the resident loose-girl Abby (Marisa Ryan); and Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben attempt to produce and choreograph the greatest talent show Camp Firewood has ever seen.
It really is a funny film, and I highly recommend you watch it!
Watching time: 1h 37 minutes

Then, there’s the series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
This eight-episode Netflix series is a prequel to the original film, and so really I would recommend watching the film first. The series is set on the first day of camp, and so (if you’ve watched the film first), a lot of things will start to make sense. Like, how did Gail end up with Ron? How did Katie get to together with Andy? Why is there a talking tin can in the film? All these answers, and more! As well as all of the original cast, there are a number of famous faces who pop up: Chris Pine, John Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Josh Charles, Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Jayma Mays and even “Weird Al” Yankovic.
Watching time: There are 8 episodes at around 30 minutes each so let’s call it 4 hours

Then, there’s the making of Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot
This is a behind the scenes view of the making of the 2001 film, when Michael Showalter (one of the writers) and David Wain (the other writer and director) try to make a film set on one sunny day in camp, when in fact the elements are against them and they had nothing but driving rain and muddy conditions. After watching the film and the series, it is a perfect way to round off your Netflix binge watch.

Watching time: 1h 4 minutes

Total watching time: 6h 41 minutes

All totally worth it 🙂

Film Review: Life After Beth (2014)

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, Anna Kendrick
IMDb synopsis: A young man’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2581244/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

My verdict: I saw the trailer for Life After Beth a long time ago and I couldn’t wait to watch it. Then I read other people’s reviews and most people seemed to pan it, which was disappointing. I noticed it was on Netflix and decided to give it a go. I have to say that I did like it, but it was slow in parts and there was, as usual in films about zombies, no explanation for how the people came to be zombies. I think Aubrey Plaza is great in anything she’s in, and I have always been a big fan of John C. Reilly’s, so I would have watched it until the end no matter what. It’s a funny film and I’m glad that I watched it, but I wouldn’t rush to watch it again.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Film Review Friday: Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Eddie Marsan
IMDb synopsis: Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0988045/?ref_=nv_sr_1)

My verdict: I must admit that before meeting my husband Michael, I hadn’t actually watched any Sherlock Holmes films. He has since introduced me to Robert Stephens’ The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) and Christopher Plummer’s Murder by Decree (1979). I loved both of those films so I was really excited to watch Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes film. I’m a big fan of Robert Downey, Jr., ever since I saw him in Weird Science (1985). I loved this version of Sherlock Holmes, and I was pleased to see Eddie Marsan was also in it who I love watching.

I highly recommend it, it’s a great action film 🙂

Film Review Friday: Saved! (2004)


Starring
: Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, Eva Amurri

Runtime: 1 hour 32 minutes
Rating: 12
Netflix synopsis: When Mary, a devout senior at a Christian high school, accidentally gets pregnant, she starts to see her peers and her faith in a whole new way.
(Source: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/60033351?trkid=50361908)

My verdict: I’d heard of this film years ago (though I was convinced it was a musical), so I was pleased to see it appear on Netflix. I hadn’t seen Jena Malone in anything before, but she was so funny and had great comic timing. Mandy Moore was hilarious as Hilary Faye and Macaulay Culkin was so sweet. Eva Amurri seemed familiar and it wasn’t until I looked the film up on Wikipedia afterwards that I realised that she was Susan Sarandon’s daughter.

I loved it and I highly recommend it 🙂

 

Film Review Friday: The Groomsmen (2006)

Starring: Brittany Murphy, Edward Burns, Matthew Lillard, John Leguizamo, Donal Logue, Heather Burns
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
Rating: 15
LoveFilm synopsis: A groom and his four groomsmen have a series of misadventures in the week before his wedding. Grappling with growing up and the responsibilities that come with it, this group of thirty-something men realise they can’t be adolescents forever.
(Source: http://www.lovefilm.com/film/The-Groomsmen/156758)

My verdict: I love a good romantic comedy and this one didn’t let me down. The cast seemed to have a good chemistry and were really believable as friends. The sight of Matthew Lillard with his shirt off made me laugh!

Film Review Friday: Hansel and Gretel – Witch Hunters (2012)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare
Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes
Rating: 15
LoveFilm synopsis: 15 years after their traumatic gingerbread-house incident, siblings Hansel and Gretel have become a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world.
(Source: http://www.lovefilm.com/film/Hansel-and-Gretel-Witch-Hunters/174130/)

My verdict: I had heard so many good things about this film so I was glad when it arrived from LoveFilm. I must admit that this is the first film I have seen Jeremy Renner in and I only knew Gemma Arterton from the St. Trinian’s films. I really enjoyed it, and even though it’s a comedy horror, the horror bits weren’t too gruesome but the comedy was often and very funny. Famke Janssen was beautiful and scary (depending on which face you were looking at) and Peter Stormare was hilarious as Sheriff Berringer. I would recommend this film and I am looking forward to watching the sequel when it comes out.

Film Review Friday: The Stroller Plan (2012)

Starring: Raphael Personnaz, Julie Ferrier, Charlotte Le Bon
Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes
Rating: 12
LoveFilm synopsis: A lighthearted romantic comedy centered on one modern man’s reckless plan… Thomas gets dumped by his girlfriend Marie, because he’s unable to commit. But a year later, Thomas still can’t get over her. When he finds himself with a baby on his hands, he decides to use the child in an attempt to win back the girl of his dreams.
(Source: http://www.lovefilm.com/film/The-Stroller-Plan/222361)

My verdict: This is a French film with English subtitles and is available to watch on LoveFilm Instant. It was a really funny film with quite a few watching through your fingers cringe moments. Thomas is so likeable that you’re championing his cause to win Marie back from the start. Baby Leo, who he has to look after for his sick neighbour, is so cute that he almost made me broody! I would recommend this film to everyone as it was so enjoyable 🙂

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Film Review Friday: Dancer In The Dark (2000)

Starring: Peter Stormare, Stellan Skarsgard, David Morse, Udo Kier, Bjork, Catherine Deneuve, Joel Grey, Jean-Marc Barr
Runtime: 2 hours 14 minutes
Rating: 15
LoveFilm synopsis: Selma (Bjork) is a Czech immigrant who works as a machine operator in an American tool factory. Almost blind herself, she struggles to make enough money to pay for the operation which will save her son’s eyesight, and has nearly collected the complete sum when the money is stolen from her by the cop (David Morse) who lives next door. Discovering this, Selma goes to appeal to the cop’s mercy, but he refuses to listen and pulls a gun on her, an act which will have fatal consequences for the both of them. With songs by Bjork herself and spectacular dance sequences filmed with a mass of digital cameras, Lars von Trier’s film is both an ultra-modern take on the film musical and a tear-jerker in the classic tradition.
(Source: http://www.lovefilm.com/film/Dancer-in-the-Dark/155121)

My verdict: I have been a fan of Bjork’s music ever since I first heard her song Human Behaviour. Her 1993 album, Debut, has always been one of my favourites, especially the song, There’s More To Life Than This, so I was excited to see the film Dancer In The Dark available to watch on LoveFilm instant.

Even though I have known of Bjork as a singer for twenty years now, her performance was so compelling that I actually forgot that she was acting and I believed that Selma was real. I was drawn into the film so much that at times I was actually shouting at the TV. Catherine Deneuve was brilliant as Selma’s friend and work colleague, Kathy and Siobhan Fallon Hogan was fantastic as Brenda (I won’t spoil things by saying who she is). Just to say that I loved Siobhan Fallon Hogan in New In Town (2009) so it was great to see her in another great role.

The film was brilliant, but definitely not a comedy. If you like watching films that make you think, you really should check it out. Bjork is simply outstanding. I haven’t been so angry with a film in a long time, though to be fair I do usually watch romcoms, so not much call for shouting and getting annoyed there!

I have just checked LoveFilm’s website and Dancer In The Dark is only available to watch on LoveFilm instant for the next 16 days so don’t miss out!!!

Song Of The Day: Tich – Dumb

I’ve just been introduced to a song called Dumb by a new singer called Tich. It’s so so so catchy and I think it’ll be a big summer hit. Tich is trying to get to number 1 in the UK charts today so if you like it, you can download it from smarturl.it/dumb

Here’s the video: