Dream Horse: A Questionable Welsh Accent

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Many have taken issue with Toni Collette’s Welsh accent in this film, but after hearing it, it’s not as bad as I was expecting though I can’t really speak to the matter as I am not Welsh but have lived in the area in the past.

This followed a similar film to a lot of other feel good animal films, it certainly wins no points for originality, they raise the horse, it brings the community together, it proves to be a winner, oh no the horse is injured, its okay in the end: beat for beat you can see where it is going.

The film for the most part is functional as a feel good film, that is to say it made me feel good, however, I would say it has pacing problems that make it less pleasing and more irritating as it belabours the point in a few sections.

Overall, this film is very much what is says on the tin, your early guesses for what the film will be like based on the trailers and other promo materials will be pretty much right- this film is not surprising. However, the question is does it need to be? As though predictable there is also something comforting about this film.

Pros.

It is feel good

It is nice to see some Welsh representation within wider British Cinema, even if most of the actors cast are not actually Welsh

You become attached to the horse

Cons.

It is bloated

It is deeply obvious and predictable

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Together Together: A Film Not Afraid To Laugh At Woody Allen

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

I enjoyed this film a lot, it was a nice surprise.  I thought this film was very sweet, I enjoyed both characters and thought it was nice that the film did not force them into a romance but rather had them remain friends- it was refreshing. Moreover, I thought this film was very progressive and I liked what it did with gender roles, having the man really want to have a child and the woman being less so and wanting different things; it was nice to see.

I thought this film felt like the quirky comedies of Woody Allen, which is funny as the film finds time to mock him, another brilliant moment. I thought the film wasn’t hilarious but was instead charming and very warm: it made me smile a lot.

I think this may be Ed Helms best role to date, and he totally changed the way I view him as a performer.

Overall, this may be a film that you might be sleeping on, don’t, this was one of the best surprises I have had all year check it out.

Pros.

Helms

The gender roles

Keeping the leads friends

The charm

Cons.

It wasn’t hilarious

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Pride: Fight For The Change You Want To See In The World

Pride

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

This film made me both happy and sad, as paradoxical as that might be. On the one hand it was hopeful to see the miners embrace the LGBTQ+ activists, but on the other, seeing the horrible homophobia made me sad. I left the film feeling conflicted towards humanity.

This film can beautifully play with your emotions, as it did to me, and that is a testament to the writing, but also the real events that inspired the film. The film feels empowering to watch, inspiring you to make a change for the betterment of society.

The acting talent on display here is undeniable, Joe Gilgun, Dominic West, Andrew Scott and an always reliable Paddy Considine all perform well and leave an impression long after the film ends. George McKay is a little less strong and does drag down some of the scenes he is in, but thankfully he is not given much of the heavy lifting to do.

Furthermore, Pride does struggle with pacing and ends up feeling overly long and a little indulgent, by the time we reach the end the film is already starting to outstay its welcome.

A final note before concluding, Faye Marsay is terrific and should be cast in more films- a staggering young talent.

Overall, a good film that suffers with pace.

Pros.

The acting, bare McKay

The message

The empowering tone

Cons.

The Pace

George McKay

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Playing With Fire: John Cena Learns To Cry

Playing With Fire is a family comedy film directed by Andy Fickman. The plot sees a group of smoke dodgers look after three children for a few days and finding out that they are more work than they bargained for.

Will this film win awards? No it won’t. Will it be the best film you will see all year? No again. Will it make you smile? Yes, it will and is that not the most important thing?

I put this film on looking for some wholesome entertainment and I found just that. The comedy is quite good, there are a few laugh inducing moments throughout the film, but mainly you find yourself just smiling at the wholesome fun of it. For me, the slapstick comedy of the film, mainly done by John Cena (who is also the lead), did not really work. It felt juvenile and even then quite base, on the whole Keegan-Michael Key and John Leguizamo steal the show comedically.

The plot was nothing new, it was all fairly standard the twist about the kids is fairly obvious and the decision at the end is signposted from the start of the film, so neither feel surprising. If you are looking for a strong plot then this is not the film for you, it took things that you have seen before and did then again well enough to be entertaining.

I enjoyed the wholesomeness of this film and watching it defiantly improved my mood.

Overall, far from perfect, but it will entertain you and make you smile

Pros.

The comedy

The wholesomeness

The ending is sweet

Cons.

The plot is fairly been there done that and the plot twists and turns are obvious

The slapstick doesn’t work and feels too dumb

Cena is a weak lead

3/5

Reviewed by Luke   

Delivery Man: Don’t Trust The Banks, Sperm Banks

Delivery Man is a comedy drama film directed by Ken Scott based on 2011 Canadian film Starbuck. The plot follows David (Vince Vaughn), a meat delivery driver whose life is going nowhere fast, that is until one day he finds out he is the father to over 500 kids as a result of an incompetent sperm bank. He then has to decide whether he wants to be part of his kid’s life or not.

So, the biggest complaint I have seen levied against this film is that it is too sentimental. Now that is a non-issue for me because I like mushy films, but I have to say after seeing it that it is no mushier or more sentimental than most other feel good comedies.

Personally, I found this film to be quite touching. I enjoyed seeing Vaughn play a soft kinder role, rather than his usual jerk guy kind of persona. I thought he had a few good scenes here where he was able to flex his dramatic chops and he was quite good in them. I have often said that Vaughn is a deeply underrated dramatic actor.

The comedy of the film also worked for me. I thought that Chris Pratt was the star on this front, his weary life beaten dad character worked nicely against a more optimistic Vaughn. There were several jokes that made me laugh out loud and I was often smiling; both of which are good signs.

Overall, I found this to be quite a pleasant watch both Pratt and Vaughn were good, and the film made me laugh, would recommend if you’re looking for an easy watch.

Pros.

Vaughn playing a slightly different type of characters

Vaughn’s few dramatic moments, that he nails

The jokes and Chris Pratt

The feel-good wholesome message

Cons.

Outside of Vaughn and Pratt the film wastes most of its cast

4/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Chef: The Definition Of Food Porn

Chef is a comedy drama film directed by Jon Favreau. The plot sees world renowned chef Carl Casper get into some hot water when his argument with a local food critic blows up online. Faced with needing to start again he opens a food truck with his son Percy (Emjay Anthony), and he teaches him how to cook and they bond.

This is a touching film in a lot of different ways, I enjoyed the father son dynamic of it and how real and genuine it felt. The writing of was spot on and the relationship between these two felt right for the situation. I enjoyed seeing them bond, it brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions I thought it was beautiful done.

The story itself was not hugely complex, but it was very enjoyable; it is hard to go wrong with an underdog story. There is no real conflict, but then again there doesn’t need to be, seeing his once great chef, get to start again and rediscover his passion is already quite the emotional journey.

The side characters were amusing and made me laugh, I especially enjoyed the reunion with Favreau Iron Man co-star Robert Downey Jr. However, ultimately this is a father son film and that is where it shines the best.

 A touching tribute to fathers and sons everywhere, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but more than anything it will make you hungry.

Pros.

The father son relationship

The heart

The comedy

Well done side characters

Great Marvel reunions

Cons.

Nonapparent

5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Smallfoot: Bring Back Channing Tatum!

Smallfoot is an animated family fantasy film directed by Karey Kirkpatrick and Jason Reisig. The plot follows Migo (Channing Tatum), a young yeti who dares to think differently. Migo believes that creatures called Smallfoots (Humans), exist, a view that gets him banished from his village. So, he sets out into our world to capture and bring back a live Smallfoot to prove himself right.

This film is made good by the never-ending charm of Channing Tatum. Tatum hasn’t been in anything for a while, so I had forgotten what a fabulous on-screen presence he has. I kid you not, if a lesser actor has the role in his stead then the film would never have been able to rise above average. This film owes a lot to Tatum.

What I really enjoyed about this film is its heart. The inter character relationships are particularly strong amongst the main cast, with the bond between Migo and Percy (James Corden), perhaps being the most heartfelt of all. This is furthered by the fact that Corden is playing a toned-down version of his usual ‘character’, which really helps the character to be likeable and not grating.

The one area where the film falls down is in it’s supporting cast. There are plenty of talented names amongst this films’ supporting cast, but most of them have little more than one or two lines and leave no impression on you at all. It is an insult to the craft to even call a lot of these minor characters and they’re so paper thin that they might as well be non-existent.

Overall, a happy family film that will leave you feeling good.

Pros.

Tatum

Character relationships

A toned down Corden

Feel good message

Cons.

The side characters aren’t even characters

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Hotel Transylvania 3: Dead And Loving It

Hotel Transylvania 3 is an animated fantasy family film directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. The plot sees Dracula (Adam Sandler), and family go on a summer cruise as a means to unwind and spend more time together as a family. Dracula himself is on a quest to find love after he realises how lonely he is, however, the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with turns out to be the great granddaughter of his worst enemy.

The Hotel Transylvania trilogy is one of ups and downs, the first film was strong and had a keen emotional arc that worked, the second abandoned this and instead decided to focus on cheap jokes and walking back the character development of the first film. The third film, however, is the best of the 3, it loses the ensemble of the previous films, they are still there just not focused on, and instead tells a very personal story focusing on Dracula coming to terms with moving on after his wife’s death 100 years ago.

The concise storytelling allows for us to really go on the journey with Dracula and connect with him. Much like the first film the emotional heart of this film is strong and powerful, it made me feel something. I also thought having Mavis (Selena Gomez), come to terms with her dad dating again, to get another perspective on the issue, was a touch of genius from a writing point of view as it brought it all together.

Overall, this film learns from the mistakes of the previous films and betters them in every way, creating a film with something meaningful to say that will hit you with the same emotional weight as a good Pixar film.

Pros

The focus on Dracula

The strong emotional connection/ message

Mavis and how they use here

Moving the character development to interesting and new places

Cons.

I wish we got more of Dracula and Jonathan, Samberg and Sandler have great on-screen chemistry

4/5

Reviewed by Luke

The Peanut Butter Falcon: The Next Champion Of The World

The Peanut Butter Falcon is an adventure film directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. The plot follows Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young boy with down syndrome who dreams of becoming a professional wrestler just like his hero. However, in order to do that he needs to escape from the old people’s home that he has been forced into and venture into the great unknown on a voyage of self-discovery.

This is one of the most touching films I have ever seen, I kid you not there were a good few time when I had a tear in my eye. This one will hit you right in the feels. I think part of what makes this film so easy to connect to is its characters. They’re unlikely heroes, in a more simplified sense underdog.  

I think Gottsagen was great throughout, he was easily the most loveable character and you will want to see him become a wrestler so much. I also thought this fatherly connection with Shia LaBeoufs’ character of Tyler was also incredibly well done. The two make a great pair and are incredibly endearing together. This was the film that made me stand up and take notice of LaBeouf as a serious actor.

Overall, I think this is a very lovely film and is the sort of film we need right now when times seem so dark. It will have you smiling and cheering throughout. A must watch for sure.

Pros.

Gottsagen

LaBeouf

Johnson

The relationships between the 3

A small appearance by Yelawolf

Cons

None

5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

The Princess Diaries: The Disney Formula

The Princess Diaries is a comedy family film directed by Garry Marshal. The plot sees Mia (Anne Hathaway), find out that she is the next in line for a fancy foreign throne, but will she accept the mantle of Princess and future Queen?

This is your stereotypical Disney film, every girl become a Princess standard wish fulfilment. Nothing new there. However, despite the lack of originality I found the predictability of this film some what comforting, the film as a whole defines the term ‘comfort viewing’, there is nothing challenging to it, it is just warm turn your brain off fun.

Hathaway does a commendable job in the role; she is very easy to root for and her transformation feels earned; even if the ending feels overly sentimental and a bit forced. For those people who make insane internet conspiracy videos about how celebrities are vampires, you will find something to write about here as Hathaway looks very similar to how she looks now in the current year of 2020; it’s a bit trippy.

I enjoyed the relationship Mia has with her Grandmother Clarisse (Julie Andrews), the current Queen, I thought by the end of the film it felt quite genuine. Andrews character is definitely one that grows on you overtime, as I found myself liking her more and more as the film went on.

Overall, this is your standard Disney fare, you know what you’re getting if predictability and a lack of surprises sounds like comfort and safety to you right now then this is the film for you.   

Pros.

Anne Hathaway

Julie Andrews

Safety in predictability.

Disney charm.

Cons.

It is predictable as hell.

3.5/5

Reviewed by Luke