Mascots: Life Behind A Costume

Mascots is a mockumentary film directed by Christopher Guest. The plot of the film revolves around several mascots who are competing for the World Mascots Association championship’s Golden Fluffy Award; hilarity and hijinks ensue.

I have had this film in my Netflix que for quite some time, there has always been other films that have got in the way of me watching it, that should have told me something.

Mockumentary films for me are incredibly hit and miss, for every What We Do In The Shadows there are thousands of others that are either middling or bad. This I would say is on the better side of middling, but only just.

For me, the idea of people who dress up as mascots and have that be a big part of their life is an intriguing concept. There is a lot to mine from this topic as a lot of people, myself included, only have a very surface level knowledge about this subject. To an extent the film does dive deep into the topic albeit in a humorous way.

That was my main issue with the film, the comedy. This is a very quirky film and a lot of the comedy steams from that, however, for me 98% of it didn’t land. A lot of the time Mascots may have got a weak smile out of me, but that was it. I found a lot of the jokes to either be hitting low hanging fruit or incapable of delivering. The film did make me laugh once though, when one of the characters was explaining to the other about Furry culture; that amused me greatly. Take all of that with a pinch of salt of course because as we all know comedy is incredibly subjective and personal.

I thought a lot of the characters were unique and memorable, especially Chris O’ Dowd’s Zook. In my opinion this is one of this film’s greatest strengths; it’s originality. The characters are all very different to one another and have different motivations and drives, as such it is interesting to see them interact on the big screen. The wide variety of different characters helped to keep my interest spread across the whole ensemble.

Overall, this is a quirky and deeply original film, however the comedy really didn’t land for me, which meant in the end I didn’t feel much for this film. It is nice to see Chris O’ Dowd give a good performance for a change.


Novel and Original.

Interesting Characters.

Chris O’ Dowd.


The Comedy Didn’t Land.

It Was Mostly Forgettable.


Reviewed by Luke

BoJack Horseman: Back In 2014 Netflix Made The Best Animated Show

BoJack Horseman is an adult animated comedy series, which along with Big Mouth and a few other series make up the bulk of Netflix’s original animated content. The plot revolves around BoJack Horseman (Will Arnett), a past his prime actor that still likes to pretend he is relevant. Over the 6 seasons of BoJack so far, we have seen him be plagued by his demons and then try to overcome them. As well we have been introduced to a wide cast of characters that are all rich and varied, in many ways the supporting cast help to make the show what it is.

BoJack Horseman is known for being deep and mature, the show often goes to the darker side of life and has a lot to say while it is there; often times having a very nuanced take on said topics and themes. Part of what makes this show so special is how well it works as a character study, the character of BoJack has been broken down and rebuilt time and time again as such we feel like we, the audience, know him; he is a three dimensional character which is nice to see in an animated show. The other characters that appear in the show get as much development as the titular horse if not more, characters like Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), have whole episodes dedicated to their characters as such we care deeply for them all.

What’s more the writing of the show present Hollywood, here called something slightly different, in a very realistic way, it does not sugar coat it. BoJack Horseman shows the ugly side of Hollywood, the side that can drive a person to drugs or alcohol or many other vices; it handles this in a very mature way. This is a show that can make you think/feel just as much as it can make you laugh.

Overall BoJack Horseman is one of Netflix’s best shows, it is one of the most widely praised as well, the writing is nothing sort of superb and does a lot of things that you wouldn’t expect to see from an animated series let alone an animated comedy series. It has made me personally consider things about my own life and has had an emotional connection with me, it is a real shame that the series is coming to an end tomorrow, as of the time of writing, I just hope that the series can end on a high note and becomes one of the best series of modern times.

I can’t rank the series as a whole yet, as it hasn’t ended and this is an overview of the show as a whole, as opposed to an individual series review, I can’t make a final judgement, but if I was ranking the seasons so far it would have to be a 5.

Reviewed By Luke

Avatar: A World Beyond Imagination

Avatar is an epic science fiction film directed by James Cameron. The plot of the film revolves around Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a marine who arrives on the planet of ‘Pandora’ to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and join the Avatar Program. Once Sully dives into the native’s culture he realises that they are a wonderful people and that he is on the wrong side of the conflict; he then goes native.

The story of his film is one we have all seen before, solider goes undercover and learns about another group of people and then switches sides, think Dances With Wolves. There is a timeless quality to the narrative. The Na’vi’s world is deep and rich and every inch of it seems rife to explore, it is stunningly designed, and each character design is a marvel to look at; James Cameron truly did something special with this film.

Sam Worthington is serviceable as the lead, but he is in no way memorable. It is a surprise to no one that Worthington has been in nothing of note since about 2010, his time has very much passed. My main issue with his performance is that anyone could play that character, he doesn’t make the character his own. This problem is only made more evident when you compare his performance to some of the heavy hitters in the cast such as Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver. Stephen Lang plays the film’s antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch, a man who wants to wipe the Na’vi out as he sees them as a threat and as standing the way of what he wants.

Lang is easily one of the best things about the film as he is a great menacing villain and one that has something about him. When Cameron brings out the inevitable 4 sequels, that no one has asked for or wants, I would love to see Lang return; with some type of Science Fiction magic obviously.


Overall, I think the strongest thing about this film is its world. It is this world that I want to see more explored not the characters. I hope the sequels reflect that. If Cameron can show us more of this world then I think they could be hits. The thing that stops me from grading this film higher is the fact that the main character is bland and in no way unique.


Stephen Lang.

Beautifully Designed Creatures And Characters.

Fantastic World Building.


Pacing Issues.

Sam Worthington.


Reviewed By Luke

The Wicker Man: Not A Bee In Sight

The Wicker Man is a British horror film directed by Robin Hardy. The film centres on Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), who travels to the remote Summerisle to try and find a missing girl, and once he arrives, he finds that the locals have abandoned Christianity and have embraced a pagan religion that involves human sacrifice.

This film is the stuff of filmmaking legend not just in the horror genre, but in British cinema in general. It is one of the best UK horror exports. The reason why it is so revered is because it plays on the fear of ‘others’: people who aren’t like us, and in this case in positions them as a direct threat to Christianity. There is a shocking and unpredictable nature to this film which is accompanied by a creep building sense of fear and permeates the whole film.

To me this film reminded me somewhat of Children of the Corn as they both had an underlying sense of something isn’t right here and has the antagonists worship some other evil deity, that is proven to be real to some extent. The Wicker Man also plays on the idea of being single minded, the protagonist is so convinced that his Christian way is right that he is blind to everything going on around him; a mistake that proves to be fatal.

The late great Christopher Lee appears in this film and he is phenomenal. Not only is he terrifying but he has that cult leader quality; the ability to convince others to do what he says through sheer magnetism. Lee proves his worth as a horror master a veteran of the genre, his Lord Summerisle should give you goose bumps.

There are some explicit scenes here and there that serve a purpose narratively but do feel a little over the top. The thing about these scenes is that they seem to come out of nowhere, they serve the purpose of showing how the pagan society clashes with the protagonist’s Christian views and can be viewed as quite shocking, especially when the film came out.

Overall this film is a masterpiece of horror filmmaking, it has been copied into modern horror (here’s looking at you Midsommar) because there is a timeless quality to this story that will never go out of fashion. A Must Watch!


A Fantastic Culture Clash.

A Compelling Mystery.

Christopher Lee.

A Very Unique Identity.

Great Atmosphere And Horror.




Reviewed By Luke

The Do-over: Sandler At His Most Unlikeable?

The Do-Over is a buddy action comedy film directed by Kevin Barnett. The plot follows Max (Adam Sandler), a man who has recently found out that he has cancer, he then, very fortunately, finds out that there is a drug that can cure cancer on a recently dead doctors I-Pad, he then fakes his and friend’s death, because why not, and then takes over the life of the dead doctor and his friend as a means to find out the cure.

Does that plot sound confusing to you? It should do. I tried my hardest to sum it up for you all in the clearest way I could, but it was hard. It doesn’t help that every word that comes out of Sandler’s characters mouth seems to be a lie, which makes understanding what is going on quite hard.

Netflix era Sandler is near-universally hated, I personally don’t think his Netflix work is as bad as some people say it is, but it does have some woeful moments and bad Sandler performances. The Do-Over is one of those performances, Sandler’s character Max is loathsome, Sandler takes some of his less likeable qualities from his other movies and turns them up to 11 here. If I didn’t know better, I would say he must have thought he was playing the villain. Every single bad thing a person can do Sandler’s Max does and then some; all the while we are supposed to cheer for him.

You know it is a bad state of affairs when Sandler’s Co-Star David Spade vastly upstages him. Spade plays Charlie, Max’s childhood friend who ends up taking over the life of the deceased doctor I mentioned before. Spade himself is a terrible actor and has given many many bad performances, but here he is charming and likeable; more so than Sandler. In a lot of these films that Sandler does he likes to include his real-life friends, they are usually there to support Sandler and take an easy paycheck, they aren’t supposed to upstage him crucially, however, Spade does.

Can I say before I wrap this review up, that this film much like Let’s Be Cops that I reviewed recently features Natasha Leggero, here playing Charlie’s Wife Nikki. Leggero is a hugely talented comedic actress and I am tired of seeing her only getting bit parts in films, she deserves parts that reflect her talents. She is one of the highlights of the film.

Overall this film is not offensively bad, which is my personal measure for Sandler quality, there are a few good jokes here and there and Spade and Leggero are good. My issue with this film that stops me from scoring it higher is the fact Sandler is just so damn unlikeable in it.


Spade Is Actually Good.

Leggero Is Great For The Short Amount Of Time She Is On Screen.

There Are Some Laughs.


The Plot Makes No Sense At All.

Sandler Is Deeply Unlikeable And Almost Unwatchable.


Reviewed By Luke

Dragged Across Concrete: A Pulp Fiction Novel Done In 159 Minutes

Dragged Across Concrete is a Neo-noir action thriller film, directed by S. Craig Zahler. The plot revolves around two cops, Brett (Mel Gibson), and Anthony (Vince Vaughn), who are suspended after an excessive force incident. However, for various reasons both men need to make money, so they decide to rob a group of criminals that have robbed a bank.

Craig Zahler is a very strange filmmaker to talk about as his films have a very specific style to them, if you have ever seen any of them you will know what I am talking about, said style can be incredibly polarising. I enjoyed his debut effort Bone Tomahawk but thought that his follow-up Brawl In Cell Block 99 went a little too far for my tastes and veered into vile and uncomfortable viewing. This film, however, seems to hit a sweet spot, it has moments of extreme violence, but these aren’t excessive rather instead well used.

One of my favourite bits from this film is one of those violent moments. Jenifer Carpenter plays Kelly a recent mother who is having separation anxiety as she has to be away from her baby and go back to work, can I just say here that even though her role is under 10 minutes I think this is one of the best performances of Carpenter’s career, once she is back at work she gets caught up in the bank robbery and killed. What makes this worth talking about is the fact that this is incredibly shocking as she is a recognisable actress, and had a big part in Cell Block 99, we don’t expect her to die so suddenly yet she does. This moment actually made me gasp out loud, I am being serious.

The antagonist of the film is also terrific from the moment we are introduced to Lorentz Vogelmann (Thomas Kretschmann), he is menacing. Furthermore, the choice to have him be in a mask for most of the film really adds to the sense of terror. He is the first ‘bad guy’ in a long time that has actually captured my interest.

Gibson and Vaughn are both solid leads and have a good repour, you can easily buy that these two men have been partners for some time. Moreover, the character motivations for the two are well written as well, Vaughn’s Anthony wants to propose to his girlfriend, he dies as he listens to a voicemail of her rejecting him this perfectly captures that gritty sense of reality that this film is going for. Brett, on the other hand, wants to provide a better life for his family, which in a sense he does, and this provides the film it’s happy ending.

Overall, this film feels as though S. Craig Zahler has brought a pulpy crime novel to the big screen in the best way. Usually, these sorts of films, especially with a run-time as long as this (159 minutes) start to lose my attention, but this one kept me hooked right the way through to the end. A modern masterpiece in noir cinema. A Must Watch!


It Is Genuinely Shocking.

It Is Everything A Pulpy Crime Film Should Be.

It Is Gorey But Doesn’t Over Do It.

Great Leads.

A Career Best For Jennifer Carpenter.




Reviewed By Luke

Dolemite Is My Name: Eddie Murphy’s Masterpiece

Dolemite Is My Name is an autobiographical comedy film directed by Craig Brewer. The film stars Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore, real-life comedian and the filmmaker responsible for Dolemite in 1975. This film charts Rudy’s rise to fame and shows the trials and tribulations he went through with both his comedy career as well as his filmmaking.

This is a wonderful, wonderful film. I didn’t realise how much I had missed seeing Eddie Murphy on screen until I saw this film. This is a triumph for him as well as the rest of the cast easily being one of my favourite films of last year. Murphy plays Rudy with such a sense of plucky optimism that he perfectly captures the underdog spirit. Right the way through the film you are cheering for Rudy and you want to see him do great things, he is instantly likeable and relatable and that is this film’s greatest strength. Given to a lesser actor, the character might not have had these charming qualities which would have lessened the overall emotion of the film.

An example of what I am talking about is during the film’s third act as the crew are driving to the Dolomite premiere, they read some negative reviews of their film, this is quite a down note, but Murphy’s Rudy turns around and makes it positive. Later on, when Rudy realises that people will have to wait for hours to watch his film, he decides to entertain them while they wait, rather than see his own film, it is touching. This film has such a good-natured soul to it, and I believe that is all down to Murphy and his remarkably positive energy.

The supporting cast is also incredibly talented, and they all give good performances. Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Tituss Burgess, Wesley Snipes and more are in this film and though a lot of them only have bit parts they all deliver memorable and important performances. Da’Vine Joy Randolph is the female lead of the film, Lady Reed, she gives a particularly moving performance as someone who conquers their inner demons and comes out on top, she overcomes her shyness and does great things and I for one found that inspiring. She also has great on-screen chemistry will Murphy which is a treat to see.

Overall, this is an incredibly strong, incredibly sweet film that needs to be seen. This is more than a comeback for Murphy this is proof of his talent both as a dramatic and comedic actor; he was robbed of a nomination for Best-Actor which I believe he deserved. This is a must-watch!


Eddie Murphy.

An Uplifting Story.

A Great Supporting Cast.

A Good Nature.

A Near Perfect Ending.




Reviewed By Luke

The Witcher: A New Fantasy King Rises

The Witcher is a fantasy drama series based on the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski. The plot of the series revolves around Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), a Witcher, a mutant who hunts monsters. Over the course of the series we see Geralt try to escape destiny and his responsibility towards Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan), a child whose fate is tied to Geralt’s through the law of surprise. The series builds to these two characters meeting.

I have to say before I get into this review, I am a huge Witcher fan, I love the games and the books. So, I had been eagerly awaiting this series for quite some time. This series does play homage to both of these, that have come before, taking elements from both. I would say it probably leans more towards the books in terms of faithfulness.

When I first saw him on screen, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Cavill as Geralt, but he did grow on me overtime. I think Cavill did a good job as the character and I can’t wait to see where he takes the character in the next season. I think he especially did a good job with the voice; he sounds just like the voice actor from the game; if you close your eyes and listen you will see what I mean.

The breakout star of the series for me is Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, who did a great job. Yennefer is the love of Geralt’s life, and their relationship is a huge part of the series. I think the writing of her character was quite weak in the first few episodes, but when she becomes a full-fledged Mage in about episode 2 or 3, she becomes far more engaging.

The world of this show is fantastic it is deep and rich, it is easily one of the best fantasy worlds ever brought to the small screen. The story is told in 3 separate sequences that all take place outside of one another. Geralt has one, Ciri has one and Yennefer has one, they all come together in episode 6, but before that it can be a bit confusing to figure out what is happening and when; on second watch it all makes a lot more sense.

Overall, this is one of Netflix’s best new shows and can easily fill the void left behind by things like Game Of Thrones. If you’re a fan of the games or the books or just fantasy in general, you will love this series and it is definitely one to watch!

Ps. The fight sequences are a thing of beauty.


A Solid Lead.

A Rich Developed World.

Multi Layered Characters.

A Loving Homage.

Anya Chalotra Is The Breakout Star.


The Out Of Sequence Story Telling Can Be Confusing.


Reviewed By Luke

Fist Fight: I Would Rather Take A Beating Than Watch This

Fist Fight is a comedy film directed by Richie Keen. The plot follows Andy (Charlie Day), an English teacher who on the last day of term gets one of his colleagues fired. As such the teacher who was fired, Ron (Ice Cube), challenges Andy to a fight after school. Andy knows the fight won’t turn out well for him, so he does a series of things to try and stop it from happening, but he is ultimately unsuccessful, and the fight happens anyway. The two then become friends and learn a little something from one another.

Boring, boring, boring and done before.

This film feels like it was made in the early 2000s, it feels dated. All the jokes, if you can call them that, don’t make you laugh, but rather starch your head as you wonder which executive got fired for making this film; as someone should have been. This is one of the most painfully unfunny comedies I have watched in my entire life, not a single joke lands, there is not even a small chuckle to be had; essentially this is a comedy film that is not fun to watch.

I understand that when watching a film, one has to suspend their disbelief, but in the real-world Ron would never have been hired, as he has clear anger problems and is a menace to the children. Andy getting him fired is arguably the right thing to do, but instead, it is positioned in the film’s narrative as though Andy did a bad thing that he needs to atone for. Ice Cube’s character is a straight-up villain, that the film tries to make you root for, he is through and through a bad person. This then makes the end of the film worse when the two men are friends and Andy is more like Ron, so now Andy is becoming more of a bad person.

What’s more and I must have said this 1000 times Ice Cube can’t act, he plays the same character over and over again and I for one am starting to get sick of it.

Just a brief aside before I conclude, what is with Christina Hendrick appearing in all of these terrible comedy films? I understand that maybe the post-Mad Men world hasn’t been kind, but she is capable of so much more than this.

Overall, this is a lazy, deeply unfunny film that has a bad message.  A horrible film.


Charlie Day Is Okay.


This Is A Major Step Down For Christina Hendricks.

Ice Cube Can’t Act.

It Is Painfully Unfunny.

It Has Some Very Nasty Messages.


Reviewed by Luke

Special Correspondents: A Crime Against Humanity

Special Correspondents is a satirical comedy film about a journalist (Eric Bana), and his sound guy (Rickey Gervais, who also directs the film), who are supposed to be covering a foreign war, but end up losing their tickets. As such they decide to pretend that they have gone and fake all their coverage from a room above a restaurant.

This film doesn’t know the meaning of subtly. It is the most garish, in your face, forcing itself down your throat film I have ever seen. The characters are all caricatures and are played up to a ridiculous degree. It is clear from the beginning that Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), doesn’t love her husband Ian (Gervais), as she sleeps with Frank (Bana), this would have been enough to set her up as a bad character and one we as the audience are not supposed to like. But No!

The film then does one better and has her trying to profit off her husband’s disappearance and refuse to pay his ransom, which would obviously come out in public but never mind. At this point, the film takes all the subtly and nuance that it could have had and sets it on fire. They make Eleanor almost like a cartoon villain.

The two main guys are themselves just stereotypes Bana is the gruff tough action hero type and Gervais is basically playing a slightly nerdier version of his character from The Office, neither one of them is developed any more than that, the characters actually have no arcs at all. What’s more the one singular good thing about this film is Kelly Macdonald’s Claire. Macdonald is the only person in this whole waste of time movie that seems like she is trying to give a good performance, but she is hamstrung by the fact that she is given little more to do than being seen worrying for the two leads. She has a little B plot that goes nowhere, but essentially, she is just a love interest for Gervais’s character, which is again the most obvious thing in the world.

This film is so bad that you sign off midway through it, you don’t care what happens to any of the characters because the film can’t make you care about them. The confrontation between Ian and his wife that you had hoped would happen since the beginning of the film is handled in the weakest possible way, feeling like one final slap in the face from the film. I have seen some bad films in my time but, this is a special kind of bad. Please stick to in front of the camera stuff Ricky.

Ps. America Ferrera you deserve better than this stinker of a film.


Kelly Macdonald.

An Interesting Concept That It Then Wastes.


The Characters Have No Arcs.

The Ending Is A Slap To The Face.

It Is The Most Aggressively Average Film You Will See All Year.


Reviewed By Luke