Night School: The Joys Of Learning And Christian Chicken

Night School is a comedy film directed by Malcolm D. Lee. The plot revolves around Teddy (Kevin Hart) a man who never graduated high school, and who has spent his life trying to ‘fake it till he makes it’. However, after a series of setbacks Teddy finds that he needs to go back to school to try and get his GED.  

This is the funniest film that I have seen in a long time, certainly in 2020. Usually the comedy stylings of Hart and his co-star Tiffany Haddish aren’t to my taste, but they really work here. Not only that but this film also has an incredibly big heart, it is the sort of film that is nice to watch during trying times like these.

The twist that Teddy had learning difficulties, was handled well, but it was incredibly obvious, so it failed as a twist. Moreover an enemy of Teddy’s from high school is now Principal and sets out to make life hard for Teddy. This inter character relationship really adds nothing to the film and feels tacked on.

Overall, despite a few writing flaws that let it down, this is still an incredibly strong comedy film that often had me in stiches, and permanently glued a smile to my face. Comedy is subjective though, however.

Pros.

The comedy

The heart and the rootability

Kevin Hart

Tiffany Haddish

Cons.

The twist was obvious.

There was needless side characters that resulted in story padding.

4/5

Reviewed by Luke

Four Brothers: Marky Mark Learns The Importance Of ‘Family’

Four Brothers is an action crime film directed by John Singleton. The plot sees four brothers reunite after their mother is killed seemingly by accident. The brothers decide to investigate for themselves and finding answers in the depths of the local underworld.

So love him or hate him, this is Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg’s film. It rests on his unhinged kind of charm. He goes from very meek and mild to in a fit of murderous rage in a very quick amount of time, whilst also having the character stay likeable. Wahlberg’s character does some quite bad things and by the end of the film is basically the new leader of the underworld, if unofficial, yet you are still rooting for him.

The action is solid and quite intense, the issue on this front though is that the film takes quite a long time to get to this action and drags its feet. The first twenty minutes of the film feel far too long and a bit like filler.

The wider supporting cast were all pitch perfect Terrance Howard captivated my attention whenever he was one screen, though he was killed off without much fan fare and I found that to be disappointing. Tyrese Gibson is good and gives off emotion better than Wahlberg, who seems to constantly just be angry. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a very menacing villain and he plays the calculating gang lord with cold relish.

Overall, an entertaining action film that has it moments, but can never truly be considered great because it mostly wastes its cast and suffers from numerous structural issues.

Pros.

Mark Wahlberg

Tyrese Gibson

The action.

Cons.

The first act is a slog

It wastes the potential of a strong cast

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

Spy: Who Knew Jason Statham Was Funny?

Spy is a comedy spy film directed by Paul Feig. The plot sees unlikely spy Susan (Melissa McCarthy), get sent out into the field when it is discovered that the other secret agents’ identities have been compromised. For once her relative obscurity works in her favour.

I have to say when compared to the other Feig/McCarthy collaborations this is most likely the weakest. Bridesmaids and The Heat both had gross out humour and cheap jokes, but they also had more intelligent witty humour that felt well throughout, that worked to balance the film’s comedy. This film however, skews far more towards the crass and the low rent.

Melissa McCarthy does not have funny jokes here, no, her whole bit is deeply over reliant on physical comedy. If you don’t find her falling over funny then she likely won’t make you laugh in this one. Jason Statham on the other hand has a surprisingly strong comedic turn, though he is criminally underused.

The plot feels very familiar, especially to McCarthy, but it helped along greatly by a talented supporting cast with people like Statham and Rose Byrne helping to keep you engaged with the film, even if you don’t find McCarthy at all funny.

Sadly, everyone’s luck has to run out eventually. Feig can’t make McCarthy funny this time, as such the film is centered around a character who only makes you cringe and roll your eyes; talented supporting performances can’t make up for that.

Pros.

Jason Statham

Rose Byrne

Cons.

McCarthy’s slapstick isn’t at all funny

It feels been there done that

It is on for far too long, with really seems to be an issue with Paul Feig’s films overall.

2/5

Reviewed by Luke       

Sandy Wexler: Exploitative And Mean Spirited

Sandy Wexler is a comedy drama film directed by Steve Brill. The plot follows the life of talent manager Sandy Wexler (Adam Sandler), as he tries to become ‘the King of Hollywood’.

Before we get into this I want to say that I find this film to be exploitative, very much little something like Billy Maddison the joke here is that Sandy is a little off, (indicated by the fact Sandler is doing a voice),  he is dumb and seems to have incredibly poor social skills. The film goes out of its way for you to laugh at this person, rather than feel sorry for them, and personally I didn’t find it funny at all I found it to be incredibly mean spirited. Humour is subjective remember.

This film almost feels like a tragedy, rather than a comedy film. It is depressing, I am not going to lie to you, I found it very hard to finish. Sandy’s life is so awful, and he is treated so badly by almost everyone, yet you are still supposed to laugh at him, it reaches a point past desperate where it just became cruel.   

Unrelated, this film is on for over two hours and there is no reason for it. The ‘jokes’ get tiresome after 10 minutes and none of the characters or their stories are worth sticking around for. It is a pain to finish

Overall, don’t watch this please. Spare yourself.

Pros.

It has one or two laughs spread out

Cons.

It feels exploitative

It isn’t funny

The characters are intensely unlikeable

It is on for far too long

0.5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Scooby Doo, Pirates Ahoy: Aliens, Ghost Pirates and Hypnotism

Scooby Doo Pirates Ahoy is an animated family directed by Chuck Sheetz. The plot sees Scoob (Frank Welker) and The Gang be invited on a cruise by Fred’s (Also Welker) parents to celebrate this birthday, the cruise is mystery themed and the gang make quick work of all the fake baddies, then they stumble upon some real evil; ghost pirates

I enjoyed this quite a bit, I enjoyed the metaness of it. I found the idea of the gang going on a mystery cruise to be quite humours and I liked how they handled it. I thought unlike some of the other animated Scooby Doo films this one had far more life, soul and warmth to it, which is always a good thing.

I enjoyed the pirate theme and thought the sea shanty esque soundtrack was used to great effect and really gave the film a nice sense of personality. I thought the ghost pirates themselves were well done and scary enough villains, however it was super obvious who they were and why they were doing it.

Another minor issue I had with this film was that it felt too busy, as well as the pirates there was a lot of other stuff going on and from time to time I would be slightly confused as it if I had missed something.

Overall, a very enjoyable Scooby Doo film that was brimming with warmth and charm. The pirate theme is used to great effect and I had fun with it.

Pros

The metaness

The comedy

The warmth

The pirate theme

Cons

A little overstuffed

Very predictable  

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

Suicide Squad: ‘What Is This Some Kind Of Suicide Squad’: Solid Foundations With A Rancid Coat Of Paint

Suicide Squad is a superhero action film directed by David Ayer, as part of the DC Cinematic Universe. The plot follows a group of DC comics baddies who get bombs placed in their necks and are then forced to do the bidding of military spook Amanda Waller (Viola Davis).

Yeah this is going to be a controversial one.

I enjoyed this film, yes I know that isn’t the popular opinion and yeah there are a hell of a lot of issues with this film, we will get into that, but personally I found more good than bad here.

I enjoyed the ensemble; I thought the whole group had a great repour and back and forth. Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot are the obvious standouts, but the wider supporting cast was still good, hell even Jai Courtney had his moments. I personally feel that Robbie’s Harley works better in an ensemble rather than as centre stage, as then she gets a bit grating.

The wider universe stuff this film tries to do, and the things it tries to set up are impressive and I appreciated the world building, but the issue with it was that they tried to do too much, making the film feel overstuffed. Because of all it had going on, a lot of the interesting side characters got pushed to the side.

My main issue with this film was the design of the Joker (Jared Leto), he looked awful and Leto felt like bad casting. I’m not going to get into because people will be like oh if you saw him in the Ayer cut he would be so much better, no he wouldn’t, he would still be the tool with the toothy smile tattooed on his hand.

Overall, I can see why it gets so much hate, but I enjoyed it and think it had potential.

Pros.

Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Smith’s Deadshot

The World Building

The team ensemble and the way the film handled the ‘death’ of El Diablo (Jay Hernandez)

Cons.

There is too much going on

Jared Leto should have never been cast

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

The Devil All The Time: The Scent Of Sin Is Hard To Wash Out

The Devil All The Time is a crime thriller film directed by Antonio Campos. The plot follows Arvin Russell (Tom Holland), a man who witnesses the worst the world has to offer at a young age. One day he snaps and decides to right the wrongs of his past.

Can I just say before we get into this that this film has been mismarketed in the extreme. Netflix has presented this film as some sort of slow burn horror film, this is not that, rather it is a crime epic. An exploration of the depths of sin in a small town and how the tendrils of said sin spill out and infect the people therein. It is gruelling and quite hard to watch at times.

The performances are all great. This film really convinced me, as I am sure it will a lot of other people, of Tom Holland’s acting ability. The feature as a whole is unrelentingly violent and grim and Holland perfectly matches that and gives a very visceral turn. Robert Pattinson is not in it as much as has been promoted and yes, he does only have a small part, but he plays the the slimy preacher well. The real standout of the film for me was Bill Skarsgard as Arvin’s father, who we only really see at the start of the film briefly, Skarsgard dominates the screen and makes the most out of every second, it is he who you will be walking away from this talking about.

My one complaint would be that it is on for far too long and has a lot of bloat as a result. There are plenty of side characters and side stories that could have been cut to make this more succinct.

Pros.

The performances

The raw brutality of it

It is hard to look away from

Cons.

It might be a bit too dark for some

It has pacing issues galore

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Jungle: Lost In The Wilderness

Jungle is a biopic survival film directed by Greg McLean. The plot follows young Israeli explorer Yossi Ghinsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), who gets stranded alone in the amazon for three week, the film details his fight to stay alive.

This is a harrowing film especially towards the end when you can see the physical and mental tole the whole ordeal has had on Yossi; it makes you question just how much the human spirit can endure. Adding to that when it is revealed that Karl (Thomas Kretschmann), was not who he said he was and that he had taken other people out to the jungle before, with said people never coming back, it adds a whole chilling other tone to the film.

I think for his part Radcliffe is trying his best, he gives a strong performance especially with the physicality of it but is limited by a weak script. That would be my fundamental problem with this film, the way it is structed and set out from a writing sense. The bit up until Yossi is left behind feels like it goes on for ten years, it is painfully dull and takes up far too much of the film. Likewise the actual survival parts of the film, the interesting bits, feels far too short almost rushed.

Overall, I can only recommend the last half an hour of this film, as that is the only bit that is compelling and interesting. The rest feels torturously slow and drawn out being crippled by poor writing.

Pros.

Radcliffe

The very real feel of the survival parts of the film/ the physical transformation

Cons.

It is incredibly slow

The writing is bad

There is only half an hour of the film that is interesting

1.5/5

Reviewed by Luke    

Parenthood: Questionable Child Nudity

Parenthood is a comedy film directed by Ron Howard. We see inside the life of the Buckman family, their trials and tribulations as they try and raise their kids their own ways and keep everything together.

I never thought a film would show a little kids dick, I thought there was some common decency rule about that, but this one does in the opening 10 minutes. It feels off and troublesome and not the sort of thing that you can explain way as a ‘oh those were different times.’ It is made worse by the fact that the film also shows little kids arses quite a lot as well.

I suppose the counter to my point would be ‘oh this film is trying to show what having a kid is really like’ hence the questionable nudity. I do get that vibe from this film, it is trying to show you how life is for a lot of people, you get stuck in a job you don’t like, to support your family that keeps growing forcing you more and more into a box that there is no real escape from. From that you wouldn’t know that this is supposed to be a comedy film.

The comedy might have made me laugh a few times throughout, it certainly was not a laugh a minute, but hey comedy is subjective. Steve Martin does a fine job leading this film and he sells the drama rather well; the rest of the adult cast are likewise serviceable. No great performances, but they are all pretty good.

Overall, I question the need for the nudity of little kids and think that it should not have been included, however ignoring that the film is quite a compelling look at what real family life is like a far cry from Martin’s Cheaper By The Dozen films.

Pros.

The cast are all good

The drama is compelling

You feel invested

Cons.

The comedy is more miss than hit

The little kid nudity

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

Blue Iguana: Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz Are The Pairing You Never Knew You Needed

Blue Iguana is a crime comedy film directed by Hadi Hajaig. The plot sees two American bank robbers get drawn into a plot to steal from a UK gang lord and his underlings.

This film is held together by the sheer star power and likeability of Sam Rockwell, without his involvement this would surely have faded into the background becoming yet another forgettable crime film. The on-screen chemistry Rockwell has with his heisting partner Paul (Ben Schwartz), is magnetic and keeps you invested throughout, the two play off each other nicely.

The film itself is not as clever as it thinks it is, or even as smart as a lot of better crime/ heist films. Everything is fairly predictable and there are no real twists and turns. That said there are a few memorable moments mostly steaming from the films antagonist Deacon (Peter Ferdinando), who is definitely an asset of the film.

This is definitely more of a comedy film than a crime film, as the drama often takes backstage to the jokes. For me this is a problem as often the jokes don’t land and only serve to take away from any sense of tension. Whenever, the characters feel in danger you know they will be fine, because it is that sort of the film; one that has no stakes.

There are some neat visuals towards the start of the film that feel very Edgar Wright inspired, it is a promising start, but said visuals disappear midway into the film leaving a void and disrupting the style of the film.

Overall, a visually interesting if lacking comedy crime film. Boosted by the talents of Rockwell and Ferdinando

Pros

Rockwell

Swartz

Ferdinando

Cons.

No stakes or tension

The jokes didn’t work at all  

2/5

Reviewed by Luke