iCarly: i’M Wild And Crazy

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, realises she is the boring one of the friend group and so asks Harper, played by Laci Mosley, to take her on a wild night out.

This was a nice episode for the most part. I enjoyed seeing more of Harper and Carly’s friendship on screen and have them both get some much needed character development. I thought it was nice to see the series reference back to Harper’s breakup and her processing period rather than just move immediately past it and act like it never happened. I thought both Cosgrove and Mosley were on top form here as well.

However, the b-plot about Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, and Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, coming to blows over there business partnership was not only dull but it also brought out the worst in Spencer as a character. I have written before in other reviews about how I dislike that the show treats Spencer as a constant get out of jail free card, with his undetermined wealth allowing him to do practically anything, it feels like lazy writing and it is on perfect display in this episode. The conflict between Spencer and Freddie comes about as Spencer buys them an old smoothie bar as an office location for their business and then slowly loses interest in their start-up and instead wants to restore the old smoothie bar. Within this conflict not only do we get yet another lazy set up paid for by Spencer’s magical wealth, but also Spencer being his most childish and ridiculous. These last few episodes have really gone out of their way to show that as an adult Spencer is a failure, he can barely function in the adult world and just throws money at things to make them go away, and though I never thought he was the most efficient character ever, I did think he was more competent than this. It is sad to see the character reduced so much.

Overall, a better episode than the last but the show needs to decide what it want to do with Spencer as a character.

Pros.

Carly and Harper’s friendship explored in more depth

Cosgrove

Mosley

The references to Harper’s break-up and the character growth

Cons.

Spencer is being reduced to a poor cliché

The b-plot serves no purpose

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The Lost City: Daniel Radcliffe Continues His Journey Into Strange

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A romance novelist, played by Sandra Bullock, and her cover model, played by Channing Tatum find themselves deep within the jungle, on an Indiana Jones like adventure.

Honestly I enjoyed the trailer for this film more than the film itself, which is sad as I had been eagerly awaiting this film for some time. I thought a lot of the film’s best jokes were wasted on the trailer, leaving the actual viewing experience as devoid of humour, with me laughing maybe once or twice at most.

I thought for the most part this was a deeply generic adventure film though it had its moments. I enjoyed the romantic connection between Bullock and Tatum, I thought they had great chemistry and were a very strong on screen pairing. Moreover, this film is a strong return to form for Tatum and marks yet another good step in his return to the big screen following on from a great performance in Dog. Likewise, Daniel Radcliff continues his journey as one of the most versatile and strangest performers in Hollywood with his character being a highlight of the film, whenever he came on screen the film seemed to pick up.

However, on the other hand this was a very by the numbers performance for Bullock, and Brad Pitt was barely in this film, again all his best bits were used in the trailer, clearly they couldn’t afford his day rate.

Another big issue I had with this film was its tameness, clearly in the beginning this film was supposed to be raunchier than it is, but was then made tamer to appeal to a wider audience in my mind this was a huge mistake.

Overall, entertaining but disappointing in the long run.

 Pros.

Tatum

Radcliffe

It is very watchable

Cons.

Pitt

A lot of the good jokes were spoiled by the trailer

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The Nan Movie: Elder Abuse

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Catherine Tate tries to resurrect her career by bringing one of her characters from her noughties sketch show to the feature film realm, with rather unsurprisingly negative results.

Who was this made for? I am curious as this didn’t act as a gateway into Tate’s sketch show so it can’t have been for new audiences, maybe it was made for older fans but then if that was the case then why wait so long? It doesn’t make sense.

This films brand of comedy has not been funny or in vogue for about 10 years. This comedy can only be described as laughing at those with differences, the Little Britain sense of humour. There were multiple jokes in this film were the punchline was the fact that the lead, played by Tate, was being homophobic or laughing at a man in drag, not only is this not funny but it is borderline offensive. I am not one of those people to get up in arms over something not being PC, but here it felt mean spirited, excused away by ‘oh the joke is her reaction and her attitudes’, to me it felt like Tate and her fellow co-writer couldn’t think of any funny jokes so just decided to bash people not like them.

Moreover, I was sad to see Katherine Parkinson in this as she is so above this kind of slop that slumming it would be an understatement, I hope she at least got a big pay out for this appearance. The flashback stuff worked well, perhaps better than the present day sequences that range from nonsensical to desperate, sadly the flashbacks are undercut by the rest of the film and clash horribly.

Overall, a desperate film made for a bygone age.

Pros.

It is watchable

The flashbacks work well

Cons.

It isn’t funny

It is offensive

It wastes the talents of Katherine Parkinson

It is dull

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iCarly: iObject Lewbert

1.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Several old faces from Carly’s past return in an effort to end her web show.

My, my how do you go from a first episode that by all accounts was very good and pushed the show as a whole forward to this? Quite frankly, this second episode might be one of the worst of the revival.

The most egregious thing is just how badly this episode wants to milk nostalgia, bringing back all of these old familiar faces to try and sue Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, thereby forcing in member berries in a way that couldn’t be more blatant. The court trial simply serves as a means to be like oh remember this person from this episode? Remember?

Moreover, this is only added to by the worst ending of an episode of iCarly possibly ever, whereby when it looks like Carly might have to face some consequences for her past misdeeds Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, just buys her way out. The reason why this sucks is because it could have been an actual emotional moment which could have led to some character development for Carly or at the very least a shift in perspective, but no.

Additionally, this episode forces in a Harper, played by Laci Mosley, and Millicent, played by Jaidyn Triplett, side-plot that is the definition of time wasting. It goes nowhere and undoes a lot of the great Harper work the first episode does, reducing her back into the loud, obnoxious stereotype.

Overall, a sorry state of an episode made worse by the fact it followed such a good one.

Pros.

A few funny jokes

It is watchable

Cons.

The nostalgia baiting

The terrible ending and message of it

Reducing Harper back into a stereotype

Seemingly doing it best to stop any kind of character development

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Human Resources Season 1: The Desperate Phallus

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A Big Mouth spin-off centred around the various different types of monsters that appear across the show.

I thought this show was considerably weaker than Big Mouth in quite a few ways, but still maintained enough charm to be watchable.

My main criticism of this show would be that if anything it is a little too over the top, like yes within Big Mouth there are a number of out there elements, but it never goes as far as seeing two dicks fight each other, or a full on orgy, both of which feature in this show as it crosses over into bad taste at times.

Moreover, the monsters themselves are in no way as interesting as the kids from Big Mouth, perhaps it is because they lose the relatability factor that the kids of the show have, or perhaps it is because they are demystified to a point whereby you know too much about them. Regardless of which it is you can’t shake the feeling that the characters just aren’t as good here.

I don’t think it is all bad as there are still some funny jokes, and Maury, voiced by Nick Kroll, is just as loveable as ever. However, Maury is given somewhat of a back seat here and therein lies another problem of the show it feels the need to force in a lot of new characters most of which just feel bland, I’m looking at you Emmy, voiced by Aidy Bryant.

Overall, an okay stand in for Big Mouth in the off season but nowhere close to being on the same level.

Pros.

Maury

Connie

A few good jokes

Cons.

A lot of bland new characters

It goes too far with the gross out, to the point of desperation

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Metal Lords: Yet Another Film About High School Outcasts Forming A Band

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of high school outcasts form a metal band.

My, my the originality of this film is honestly a little shocking, I am being sarcastic if that wasn’t obvious. How many films before have had this exact same plot, I would find it very hard to say but I would say it is a very large number.

I understand D.B Weiss, yes one of the Game Of Thrones writers who you thought had faded away into infamy, wrote this based on his own personal high school experience but there is so little love or personality here that it just sort of fades into the shadow of other better films like Deathgasm.

Adrian Greensmith was well cast and does manage to give us a truly haunting performance of a deeply troubled young man who is lashing out at a world that has never shown him any kindness. He and an oddly perfect cameo from Joe Manganiello do help to make the film somewhat more enjoyable, however it simply isn’t enough.

Overall, this is the sort of film that will be promptly forgotten about 10 minutes after watching.

Pros.

Greensmith

Manganiello

Cons.

It is generic

It adds nothing new to the genre

Most of the cast are deeply milquetoast

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iCarly: iGuess Everyone Just Hates Me Now

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After the events of the first season’s finale Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, is facing an ice queen image online and so in order to combat it decides to fake date Freddy, played by Nathan Kress, to show that she can indeed love.

I thought that this was a strong start to the second season, it was an episode that was firing on all cylinders and that advanced the Carly/ Freddie will they won’t they romance sub-plot somewhat. Admittedly, in the latter regard it is all just a tease and those of us who want to see Carly and Freddie get together for real will have to wait a while longer, though they do share some sweet scenes here.

I also enjoyed that this episode humanised Harper, played by Laci Mosely, and gave her more of a dramatic arc, which was a nice change of pace from the very over the top, loud and brash way she is often presented. I thought her brief scene with Double Dutch, played by Poppy Liu was both sad as well as a little touching, it got me a little misty I won’t lie.

The only reason I haven’t given this episode full marks is because I found the humour a little dumb at times, such as when asked to throw a grown up mature party Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, puts together a funeral- albeit unknowingly. This joke bothered me because Spencer is supposed to be a grown man, who moves in the art world so him being unknowing and unable to put together a sophisticated party seems stupid and the visual joke doesn’t land.

Overall, a strong return for the series only let down by a few iffy jokes.

Pros.  

Carly and Freddy

Giving Harper an emotional arc

It follows on nicely from last season

The ice queen recurring segment

Cons.

Spenser was really quite dumbed-down here

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The Bubble: Actors Have It So Hard

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of actors are placed in a bubble during a film shoot in the pandemic, hijinks ensue.

So, I don’t think this film deserves a lot of the hate it is getting online, yes it is by no means a perfect picture, we’ll get to that, but it does have a lot going for it, including quite a few funny jokes that land well and great performances from Karen Gillan, Pedro Pascal, Peter Serafinowicz and surprisingly Daisy Ridley.

I also enjoyed the craziness of the film and applaud the fact that it raised itself above simply a parody of our recent past and actually went somewhere original beyond that, it would have been very easy to just comment on the different stages of the pandemic and cover the main talking points of them but thankfully this film did more than that.

However, that is where the praise ends. I do think it is far, far too soon for films about the pandemic, not just for the fact that it represents a still open wound for a lot of folks, especially those who lost people, but also because most have become so apathetic towards anything regarding covid that it can be a turn off when it comes to films and TV shows based around it.

Moreover, the area where this film lost major points for me was in everything to do with Iris Apatow’s character. Now we can’t really move beyond the fact that Iris was only cast because of nepotism, as there simply is no other explanation for her presence in this film, her performance is easily the weakest of the whole film and can be described as distractingly bad at times.  In addition, though this is not Iris’ fault, her character is written to be such a bad cliché of how older generations view Gen Z that it goes beyond cringe to the point of suggesting just how out of touch Judd Apatow and Pam Brady are.

Finally, yet another reason parts of this film suck, which ties back into my last point, is how obsessed with Tik Tok it is, this film has multiple Tik Tok dance scenes which only serve to reinforce my earlier point that Apatow and Brady are badly out of touch and think that the only definable characteristics of young people today is the fact they like and use Tik Tok which is just lazy. The references to Tik Tok start out annoying and unwanted and only get more so.

Overall, better than a lot of the 1 star reviews will have you believe, but certainly nowhere near good.

Pros.

Gillian, Pascal, Serafinowicz, Ridley

Becoming more than just a parody

A number of funny jokes

Cons.

Everything to do with the Krystal character

The Tik Tok references

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Plunder Quest: In Search Of Whiskey

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Searching for a lost bottle of prohibition era whiskey Thomas Waters, played by Jake Fallon, goes on the adventure of a life time.

This film was a lot of fun, definitely one of the best adventure films I have seen in a while.

The score of this film is easily one of the best things about it, whoever designed such a well put together piece deserves a pat on the back as this really is top notch. Not only does the score capture the pirate life spirits of adventure of this film but also its rogue like sense of charm.

Moreover, the cast of this film all also do a really good job, with no one letting the side down: a rare treat indeed. I thought everyone got their time to shine here, but none shone as brightly as Fallon who really does his best to create a lead that is not only capable but also likeable too.

Furthermore, the film kept me guessing which I greatly appreciated and never went in a direction I was expecting it to, which kept me solidly engaged throughout.

Overall, a very fun film to watch.

Pros.

The cast

The score

The writing

The fun

Cons.

Pacing issues

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Pitch Perfect: When They Give Up On The Pretense That Adult Actors Are Uni Students

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A group of people, who are far too old to call themselves students, gather together for a university  acapella tournament.

I may be alone in my belief, but I actually think that the Pitch Perfect films get better with each subsequent instalment, that is to say that when they get sillier and more out there I enjoy them more. As such I found this university set competition all too familiar and boring. What I wouldn’t have given for a boat chase or a global romance arc.

My main issue with this film is that it has been done before and feels far too similar to its predecessors, there is no drama or stakes as we all know where it is going. Moreover, rather than feel like characters each of the girls in the main group just feel like different stereotypes and cliches stitched together by an algorithm.

Furthermore, the villain of the piece, if you can call him that, Bumper Allen, played by Adam DeVine, is as paper thin as you can get. Moreover, the plot just abandons him when it realises it doesn’t need him anymore which makes no sense and reeks of convenient  writing. Usually DeVine can save a project but this isn’t his day at all.

Overall, a weak start to the franchise.

Pros.

The songs

Anna Kendrick is a serviceable lead  

The pacing

Cons.

DeVine

Most of the characters are cliched

It feels far too familiar

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