Crazy, Stupid, Love: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #49

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of the biggest genres in Hollywood is romantic movies. Every year, a fair few romantic movies are huge successes, like A Star is Born, Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I Loved Before. One film that did quite well in its year of release – and was one I watched recently and enjoyed – was 2011’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. Seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day today (or was when I published this), this is my review for Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (who have also co-directed other movies such as Focus and I Love You Phillip Morris) and with a star-studded cast including Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, is Crazy, Stupid, Love. Cal Weaver’s perfect life comes crashing down when his wife, Emily reveals that she wants a divorce and has been unfaithful to him. Naturally, this is a shock to Cal and he begins to drown his sorrows at a bar he’s always passed but never been to. There, he meets Jacob Palmer, a suave playboy who will teach him how to get back in the crazy game that is love.

Steve Carell played Cal Weaver. I’m currently mid-way through The Office US so it’s hard to not picture him as Michael Scott. Nevertheless, Cal was easily the best character in the film for me. Carell is such a talented actor and his ability shone in this film. He brought humour and heart in a good blend. Julianne Moore played Cal’s significant other, Emily Weaver. She was a good character but was a bit bland and flat in some areas. Moore, like Carell, is a brilliant actress but I felt that her true acting potential was not reached in this film. Jacob Palmer, the smooth playboy who helps get Cal back in the game, was played by Ryan Gosling. His character was basically a less-funnier, cinematic version of Barney Stinson. As much as I like Gosling as an actor, I was in two minds about his character. He was a likeable character who was fun to watch Gosling play on screen, but I couldn’t help but feel that Gosling could have maybe put something more into Jacob’s character. Jacob’s love interest was Hannah, played by Emma Stone. She is revealed to be Cal and Emily’s oldest child. Stone evidently enjoyed playing Hannah, but there could have been a bit more of her character and, if there was, the film would have been better. I felt that the chemistry between characters was strongly acted out between all characters, so despite the individual character flaws, the actors all worked harmoniously together which actually helped to make the movie better.

 

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Jacob coaches Cal how to woo a woman.

 

The music was sweet and well suited to the tone of the film at parts, but was also quite irritating and just seemed to consistently play in the background of the film nonstop. It was a nice little instrumental piece but it just seemed to always be there, despite it not always suiting the mood of the film. The worst thing about the music in Crazy, Stupid, Love was that even after something big or dramatic or important to the story had happened, it would just jollily continue in the back without much regard for what had just happened.

The storyline was quite straightforward, but it could have been executed better. The story was definitely there, but it seemed that the run time for it was too short. The film tried to cram a happy ending into the last half hour, and it kind of worked but still was a bit messy in places.

Overall, Crazy, Stupid, Love gets a 7.2/10. It was a good film that I enjoyed watching and, despite its flaws, still made for a sweet and nice story that was entertaining to watch.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else you could want. Give this blog a follow to be the first to read my weekly reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. As it’s the Oscars next weekend, join me next week for the review of an Oscar-nominated 2018 musical movie. See you then!

Step Brothers: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #48

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

There’s a definite difference between comedy in British movies and comedy in American movies. In my opinion, most American comedies are lazier and don’t make use of what’s possible with what’s available when you can make a movie. To be fair, some American TV comedies have actually done this, such as The Office and Parks and Recreation. Other than that, the movies rely on jokes to make the movie a comedy. And some are better done than others. One movie that has pretty good humour both audibly and visually is 2008’s Step Brothers.

Directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly is Step Brothers. Dale Doback and Brennan Huff are two jobless losers in their forties who are still living with their respective father and mother. When Robert (Dale’s father) meets Nancy (Brennan’s mother) at a conference, the two hook up and get married. Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other and get along. Naturally, mischief and craziness ensue, leaving Robert and Nancy no choice but to sell their house and retire so that their sons can get jobs and become adults, something they are far from.

Will Ferrell played Brennan Huff and did a great job in the role. Ferrell was good fun to watch and he was funny, but as much as I liked Brennan, I preferred Dale’s character. Dale Doback was played by John C. Reilly and is arguably one of Reilly’s best roles to date. Reilly was hilarious and made the movie more enjoyable to watch. Together, Ferrell and Reilly were a fantastic comedy duo who made the film hilarious, and their character chemistry was so natural and it was great fun to watch. Mary Steenburgen played Brennan’s mother, Nancy and was a great addition to the cast. The same is true for Robert, played by Richard Jenkins. Honestly, there’s not much else I can really comment on their characters. Adam Scott also featured in the film, playing Brennan’s brother, Derek. He was quite funny and his performance was impeccable. One character who I loved was Randy, played by Rob Riggle, but there should have been more of his character. Randy genuinely had me bursting out in laughter.

The music had some generic songs, such as ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall and Oates and ‘A-Punk’ by Vampire Weekend. However other songs that I’d never heard of, such as ‘Breathe and Stop’ by Q-Tip were good additions to the film that added to the mood of the movie. It’s worth mentioning the songs done by the cast too, like Derek and his family acapella-ing to ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ or ‘Boat’s and Hoes’ sung by Brennan and Dale. These moments were funny and made the film more entertaining, but the best musical moment in Step Brothers easily goes to the operatic-drum solo scene with Brennan and Dale performing Por Ti Volare at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

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Brennan and Dale show off their talents at the Catalina Wine Mixer.

It’s a straightforward story but with the right details and actors mixed in, you have a pretty decent movie. I’m not saying that Step Brothers is a bad movie, but it’s not the best. It’s quite dull and flat at times, and the comedy sometimes did not land well and just left for an awkward moment.

There were some laugh-out-loud moments that were great and funny additions to the film. I like the whole scene of Brennan and Dale getting into a fight after Brennan puts his testicles on Dale’s precious drum set was hilarious to see it escalate into a stupidly funny fight. Another scene I liked was when Dale and Brennan then became ‘best friends’ and make bunk beds and did awesome karate kits Dale’s long fart in his job interview with Seth Rogen tasting it was one of the funny awkward moments in the film too. Dale and Brennan’s big release of Boats and Hoes for their business, Prestige Worldwide was also hilarious to watch. The reveal of Derek being an unlikeable character, especially with his introduction was well done and funny. Brennan gets a job working for Derek, and there’s a scene I love that takes place in Randy’s office, with Randy yelling ‘pow!’ every so often which was funny too. The best part for me was at the Catalina Wine Mixer with Brennan and Dale’s epic performance, which had me in stitches.

Step Brothers gets a 6.8/10 from me. It’s possible that a movie that isn’t as high scoring as others that I’ve reviewed can still be loved. It has great comedy and is a film that should be watched by everyone. Step Brothers is currently available to watch on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) to stay up to date with the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. As it’s Valentine’s Day next Thursday, I’ll be reviewing a romantic movie. See you then!

 

The Silence of the Lambs: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #47

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of the most notorious movies of all time is the Silence of the Lambs. It’s got brilliant acting, iconic quotes and brought something new to cinema screens. It even won the Big Five at the 1992 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Male Actor, Best Female Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay). I’d heard so much about it and finally got the chance to watch it (and check it off my watchlist). This week’s review is the Silence of the Lambs.

Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, the Silence of the Lambs is based on the book of the same title. It follows Clarice Starling, a young student at the FBI’s training academy. As she is a top student, Jack Crawford enlists her help to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter, one of the craftiest and violent psychopaths. Lecter is currently serving lifetime behind bars for his acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford needs Clarice to interrogate Lecter as he may hold information about a new psychopathic murderer on the rise, Buffalo Bill. Clarice holds the key to extracting the information out of Lecter and stopping the graphic murders.

Anthony Hopkins played the criminally insane and psychopathic Dr Hannibal Lecter, who is admittedly one of the best movie characters ever. Hopkins portrayal of a creepy, cannibalistic psychopath was so brilliantly and perfectly executed that Anthony Hopkins rightfully earnt his Oscar award for Best Male Actor. The role of Clarice Starling was played by Jodie Foster. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic performance, and it was definitely award-worthy, but maybe not Oscar-worthy. She was well suited to play Clarice, and there aren’t many people who could have delivered a better performance than Foster, but I couldn’t help but feel that her delivery was lacking ever so slightly in a couple of areas. One was her vocal delivery, as I found it quite monotone at parts. I can’t quite put my finger on the other area. Having said that, the way Foster and Hopkins portrayed their characters when Clarice and Lecter were interacting with each other was so amazingly done. Buffalo Bill was the main antagonist and was played by Ted Levine. I thought the way Levine played Buffalo Bill was very well done on his part but would have liked to have seen more of his character.

The way the film came to life from the book was well done on Demme’s part. It created mystery and suspense in a way that left me intrigued by the film. The storyline is quite straightforward and, with the help of good music and acting, is produced into a film that kept me interested throughout and on the edge of my seat. The film also tended not to suffer from giving too much away via exposition but it did happen in a few places.

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Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter have a dramatic encounter.

Now for my favourite parts. I loved the opening of the film. It had dramatic music that left us in suspense and immediately got me thinking ‘who is the girl, why is she running through the woods?’. It used no exposition to give this away and was done smoothly in a way that I enjoyed. Then the joint best scene was up next, and it was the first meeting between Clarice and Lecter. It was such a perfect introduction to Lecter’s creepily psychopathic cannibalistic character and the interaction between the two was something brilliant to watch. The film dies down for a while but is still interesting. The next scene I enjoyed most when Lecter was being held at the cage prison cell in Tennessee and he attacks the guards and escapes his cell. This entire scene (including the reveal of Lecter wearing one of the guards faces as a mask) was so crazy and exciting to watch and was perfectly delivered in terms of its visual depiction on screen. I liked the whole system of figuring out which order the victims were in, but what really got me was the plot twist of Clarice knocking on Buffalo Bill’s door when it was set up to be the FBI at Buffalo Bill’s house. The entire scene of Clarice fighting against Bill was fantastic and was made even better by the night vision fight. Lastly, the film’s end was the perfect ending to the Silence of the Lambs. It saw Hannibal Lecter having escaped prison phoning Clarice from Bimini. The camera cuts over to Frederick Chilton (Dr Lecter’s nemesis) walking through Bimini before Dr Lecter ominously tells Clarice that he’s ‘having an old friend for dinner’ before hanging up the phone and stalking Chilton through a crowd of people.

Overall, I’m giving the Silence of the Lambs an 8.4/10. Jonathan Demme’s great directorial skills were combined with some of the best acting I’ve seen from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster (whose admittedly was not as good as Hopkins, but was brilliant nonetheless) and an interesting story from Thomas Harris made for a fantastically enjoyable and awesome movie.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for the review of a comedy movie, and while the film may not be the best, it sure is hilarious. See you then!

Whiplash: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #46

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Admittedly, there are loads of movies I haven’t seen. With this in mind, I made my way through IMDb’s Top 250 films of all time and added some to my watchlist and have begun to start watching them. The list includes some films such as Fight Club, The Usual Suspects and The Princess Bride. I aim to watch all 52 movies by this time next year. And the game was afoot. One which was on the list was 2014’s Whiplash, so I watched that first, as it was readily available on Netflix. I actually loved the film so much that it is now this week’s review.

From director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, First Man) and starring Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons is Whiplash. It tells the story of Andrew Neiman, a talented young drummer and a first-year jazz student at the Shaffer Conservatory. While practising, Terence Fletcher spots his talent and invites him to play in a more prestigious Studio Band. However, there is more to Fletcher than meets the eye. He is abusive and insulting towards his students. As Neiman tries to cope with the stress caused by trying to achieve perfection and living up to Fletcher’s high and harsh expectations, he is pushed to the brink of his ability and his sanity.

Miles Teller played Andrew Neiman and was well suited for the character. I found he was a little rigid in terms of his acting in a few scenes, but overall Teller played Neiman incredibly well. What’s more impressive is that there was no hand or body double to play the drums; it was all Miles Teller, who is a self-taught drummer. That epic drumming solo at the end? That was Miles Teller! The other lead in Whiplash was the ruthless teacher, Terence Fletcher, who was brilliantly played by J. K. Simmons. Simmons fully immersed himself in the role and delivered an award-winning performance. He rightfully won the tens of awards for his performance in Whiplash, including the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. There were other characters that weren’t main, such as Nicole (played by Melissa Benoist) and Andrew’s dad, Jim. Personally, Nicole could’ve been cut from the movie and it wouldn’t have changed anything. All it demonstrated was Andrew found love but had to break up with her because his drumming came first. There could have been some other way to show this, such as Andrew not going to the movies with his dad anymore as he had to focus on his drumming. On the subject of Andrew’s dad, Jim was a great character well played by Paul Reiser. I’m torn in two about his role, however, as he was crucial to the film in supporting Andrew, but could have had some more character development to him.

The music in Whiplash was absolutely brilliant! I loved it! I’ve had ‘Whiplash’ stuck in my head for days on end. The scene and song Fletcher played on the piano in the club was brilliantly done too, but the best scene and song for me had to go to the finale. Neiman plays an epic drum solo to Caravan where he completely proves his talent to Fletcher and the two exchange a cheeky proud smile before the film ends. It wasn’t the best ending (I’ll come to that later), but for what it was, it was a brilliant and neat ending for the film.

The storyline and plot were interesting. It was something that everyone could feel and relate to but still be shocked at the craziness of Fletcher. I liked the way that Chazelle brought the story to life on screen with the use of creative and interesting camera shots and the fantastic acting abilities of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons.

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Fletcher disciplines Neiman about how to play in his tempo.

There were a lot of moments that were so awesome to watch. I loved the opening with the first awkward encounter with Neiman and Fletcher, as it set the tone of the film immediately yet also left room for development and mystery. The next scene that was great to watch was when Neiman moved up to the Studio Band and was playing Whiplash when Fletcher threw the chair at Neiman, then slaps him and rebukes him for not playing at his tempo. The scene where Neiman loses the lead drummer’s music at a music competition then goes on to play ‘Whiplash’ perfectly from memory was awesome. Following this, Andrew is promoted from alternative drummer in the Studio Band to the core (main) drummer, but then we see a power struggle for the role core drummer between Neiman, Connelly (Neiman’s rival from his old band) and Carl (the old core in Studio Band). The three are subjected to a gruelling drum-off late at night with Fletcher hurling insults and getting violent towards the teens. Neiman eventually earns the part and is to play at another competition as the lead drummer. However, en route to the competition, Neiman’s bus breaks down, so he rents a car and arrives late to the event, but convinces Fletcher that he will play, despite the fact he has to rush back to the car rental dealership as he left his drumsticks there. While rushing back, Neiman is involved in an accident and is injured, but continues to make his way to the competition. With blood running down his face, Neiman plays but screws up and embarrasses himself and the Shaffer Conservatory. Fletcher tells Neiman that he’s out and turns to the audience to apologise, before Neiman tackles and attacks Fletcher. That entire piece of the film just left me at the edge of my seat. Both Neiman and Fletcher lose their respective places at the Shaffer Conservatory. Later on in the film, Neiman sees Fletcher playing at a jazz club, and after the performance, Fletcher invites Neiman to chat. Fletcher explains that he never produced a prodigy, like how Jo Jones did when he threw a cymbal at Charlie Parker’s head, which explains Fletcher’s harsh teaching methods. Fletcher then invites Neiman to play at an upcoming jazz festival with him. This leads to one of the best moments in the film. At the festival, Neiman is playing the drums but doesn’t have the sheet music to play, and this was intentionally done by Fletcher. Just when Neiman storms off the stage, he returns and begins to perform an epic rendition of Caravan. Fletcher is furious yet surprised.  Neiman continues to play with the rest of the band and ignores Fletcher’s whispered threats to him. Neiman then goes on to perform an epic drum solo and Neiman and Fletcher share a smile before the finale. Admittedly, the ending could’ve been better, as it was a bit flat. That being said, I liked how it allowed the viewer to wonder after the film what would’ve happened after the film and how the film ended on a high note.

Overall, Whiplash gets an 8.6/10 from me. It was such an amazing film that I am looking forward to rewatching at some point. It was well directed,  had interesting camera shots and awesome music as well as brilliant performances from J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. Whiplash is definitely on my list of favourite movies, and for those looking to watch Whiplash, it’s currently on Netflix. I highly recommend watching it.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow me on Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for a psychological thriller review. See you then!

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #45

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain spoilers marked by bold headings as to where they start and end.

I love Black Mirror and how it tackles how creepy and weird technology can be. Recently, Netflix released a new special Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch. It had the typical Black Mirror signature, something crazy and creepy about technology. Except Bandersnatch carried a twist; it was a choose own your adventure episode. After playing the episode and exploring more of what you could do, I decided to review it.

Set in 1980’s London, you play as Stefan, a 19-year-old game developer who has an idea for the emerging gaming industry. Based on the choose your own adventure book, Bandersnatch, by Jerome F Davies, Stefan creates a game for Tuckersoft, a game company. However, Stefan doesn’t feel in control, and he is sent down a path of insanity that he cannot return from.

Fionn Whitehead played Stefan Butler, and it was clear to see that Whitehead fully immersed himself in the role of Stefan. I found his performance convincing and the transition between scenes and decisions chose in the episode from his character were smooth and very well done. Craig Parkinson played Peter Butler, Stefan’s dad. The on-screen relationship between this father and son was brilliantly acted out by the pair, especially as more of the backstory is revealed throughout the episode. He could have had some more development as I quite liked his character, but other than that he was a good character. Another character I loved was Mohan Thakur, the head of Tuckersoft Games, played brilliantly by Asim Chaudhry (also known as Chabuddy G). He brought a bit of humour to the episode as well as making Mohan a fun and interesting character. Bandersnatch also starred Will Poulter as Colin Ritman, a famous game developer who helps Stefan develop his game. Depending on which storyline you chose, you’d either see a lot of Colin or little of him. As a character, I liked him, but I found his tone rather flat and drone-like.

As a lover of 80’s music, Bandersnatch’s music was something that I loved. There was ‘Relax’ by Frankie goes to Hollywood, ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ by Eurythmics and ‘Too Shy’ by Kajagoogoo. The songs were well chosen and I felt the songs made the experience of the episode better.

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What should Stefan have for breakfast?

In true Black Mirror fashion, the episode looked at something creepy with technology. In Bandersnatch, it showed Stefan being controlled by a hidden force (you, the viewer/player). The storyline and its corresponding endings were smart, scary and shocking. Watching Bandersnatch felt a bit like the Truman Show, where there was a bigger force controlling your life. This could be said for real life. What if someone else chose for you to read this review, or to do certain actions? What if they controlled your life, where you were not in the driver’s seat of your own life? Crazy, right?

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE!

Because there are so many various endings to Bandersnatch, they result in different spoilers. The most shocking for me was when Stefan killed his father and Bandersnatch being rated 5 stars, but there were other endings like the death of Colin (or Stefan depending on who you chose), Stefan dying in the therapist’s chair and Stefan ending up in prison. This flow chart on Reddit perfectly allows us to follow all decisions. Netflix and Black Mirror make a bold and powerful episode about the control of technology and the slip into insanity in Bandersnatch, and I look forward to more interactive TV episodes in the future.

SPOILERS END HERE!

Overall, I really enjoyed the choose your own episode of Bandersnatch, it was great fun to play and see the events unravel. It gets an 8.2/10 from me. There were other Black Mirror episodes which I found were better but nonetheless, I had a good time experiencing the thrill of the episode. I also hope that Netflix and other streaming services will begin to produce their own choose your own movies and TV shows.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow me on Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) to be up to date with the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else you need movie-wise. Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week when I’ll be reviewing a movie about music from recently.

 

American Animals: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #44

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of my favourite types of movies are those based on true stories. These feature Goodfellas, Selma, BlackKklansman, Hidden Figures and, most recently, American Animals. I saw the trailer and it looked somewhat interesting. I was lucky enough to attend a screening in London followed by a Q&A with director Bart Layton. It was a fantastic experience and I had an amazing time. Here is my review of American Animals.

Directed by Bart Layton and starring Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters is a cinematic depiction of a true crime caper. When Spencer Reinhard begins studying at the University of Transylvania, he discovers a book in the library that is worth $12 million. He tells his best friend, Warren Lipka, who decides the pair, accompanied by Lipka’s other friends, will steal the book and make their millions. However, unforeseen circumstances play their part and the heist goes horribly wrong.

Evan Peters took on the role of Warren Lipka, the brains behind the heist. Evan Peters was very well suited to play Warren Lipka and he was great in this film. Peters acting ability is so brilliant and his talent shone throughout this film, particularly when he was expressing his feelings, like the desire to steal the book or the anger when it all falls apart. Warren’s primary partner in crime was Spencer Reinhard, played by Barry Keoghan. I preferred Keoghan in The Killing of a Sacred Deer (review here), but Keoghan doesn’t have much range. His voice is quite monotonous and depressing and, while that suited the latter part of the film, the half of Spencer being happy and actually kind of enjoying life was just mismatched to Keoghan’s acting ability.  Jared Abrahamson played Eric Borsuk, a quiet and reluctant member of the heist. He was well played, especially for being a quiet and shy crew member, but I felt there could have been more of his character. The final heist member was Chas Allen, played brilliantly by Blake Jenner. Allen’s character was reluctant to join and was the most vocal member of the group when it came to not doing the heist. I loved the way that Jenner played Chas as he immersed himself in the role and delivered a good performance.

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Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) plans out the heist and getaway.

The music was brilliant throughout the movie. Though it was a little cliché in places (Using ‘A Little Less Conversation’ for the dream heist scene), it overall used good music that was suited to the movie and made it more enjoyable to watch. The best use was ‘Who By Fire’ by Leonard Cohen, for when the police come to arrest the guys for their crimes. It beautifully juxtaposed what was happening in the movie and made for a great scene.

Since the story is something that happened in real life, you can’t really critique it, but you can discuss how it was portrayed on the screen. Honestly, Bart Layton did such a brilliant job with the direction of the film. The opening was so stylish and created a tone of mystery that had me hooked for what would be shown throughout the film. The use of cutting between the men in real life in the present after the crime (with the real Warren Lipka, Spencer Reinhard, Eric Borsuk and Chas Allen in the film) and them describing what happened with Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan playing the younger versions of the men who carried out the heist. The scene transitions were sleek and carried the film nicely, leaving me more invested into what the film was showing. The film showed how the boy’s memory was unreliable and it had the same scene but with different little details in places that made the film more interesting to watch. One of the best parts of the film was seeing how the heist was planned out and how it took place. It was also great to see a Reservoir Dogs reference by code names like Mr Pink (and Chas getting mad about it like Steve Buscemi did). When asked yesterday, Layton explained that one of his biggest influences for the style of his direction in American Animals came from ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, a 1975 movie starring Al Pacino. In Dog Day Afternoon, a bank robbery goes horribly wrong from the start. You can see how Layton draws inspiration from Dog Day Afternoon to bring the story of American Animals to life.

Overall, American Animals gets an 8.2/10 from me. I actually cannot wait to watch this film again. It may have been a little dull in places and could have had more development but makes for a brilliant movie that I thoroughly enjoyed watching.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else movie related you could want. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for a Black Mirror episode review. See you then!

What to watch in 2019

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Happy New Year! I hope you have a great 2019. It’s gearing up to a fantastic year, cinematically speaking. In this post, I’ll be looking at what movies and TV shows are coming out this year and what you can expect from them. I’ll be speculating some plots so you have been warned if any are actually true. Links to trailers for the films and their release date will be attached if it is available.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD – 26th July 2019

For those who didn’t know, my all-time favourite movie is Pulp Fiction. So when news of Quentin Tarantino directing his ninth film came out, I was hyped. Of all the great movies coming out this year, nothing has me more excited than Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Damien Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino and so many more amazing actors and the plot itself seems quite interesting. Rick Dalton, a faded TV actor, and Cliff Booth, his stunt double, try to make a name for themselves in the film industry in 1969 Hollywood, during the Helter Skelter period. I’m looking forward to seeing Tarantino direct again, especially with a storyline and cast as awesome as what’s lined up for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Tarantino describes it as the closest thing he’s done to Pulp Fiction. Furthermore, Tarantino has said that he’d only make 10 movies, so I’m hoping that his films get better with time. As to whether Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be a better film than Pulp Fiction and take the top spot as my favourite movie, well, only time will tell.

CAPTAIN MARVEL – 8th March 2019

In the post-credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War, a mid-dusting Nick Fury sent out a pager to Captain Marvel in a last minute attempt to save the world. We now get her backstory and uncover why she is the key to the future. Brie Larson plays the titular character, with Samuel L Jackson playing a younger, two-eyed Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn playing villainous Talos, leader of the Skrulls. Captain Marvel serves as a set-up prequel to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and hopefully will a good film.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – 26th April 2019

It’s fair to say that the biggest movie of this year is Avengers: Endgame, the follow-up to the biggest film of 2018, Avengers: Infinity War. To try to undo the decimation and devastation caused by Thor not going for the head (and the consequent snap), the remaining, non-dusted Avengers must band together to somehow magically rewind time and stop the massacre from ever happening. Starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner and more, and the film being the last one in Marvel’s Phase Three (and the end of some of it’s biggest heroes), Avengers: Endgame is shaping up to be an awesome film.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – July 2019

As if Avengers: Endgame isn’t enough, Marvel are releasing another film next year, Spider-Man: Far From Home. Following the events of Endgame, Peter Parker goes on a summer vacation around Europe with his friends, but he struggles to keep his identity of Spider-Man hidden as the threat of the Elementals rises. Tom Holland is back playing Spider-Man, with Jake Gyllenhaal playing Mysterio, Jon Favreau playing Happy Hogan and Zendaya back as Michelle. Seeing as Far From Home will be the first film released after Endgame, it’ll be interesting to see what the impact on the MCU will be.

TOY STORY 4 – 21st June 2019

Despite all the tears shed after Toy Story 3, Disney are back with Toy Story 4. Though there is no storyline put out there, the trailer shows that it’s something about new toys being played with, in this case, it’s Forky. There’s also something about a carnival, as seen with the soft toys voiced by Key and Peele. I think that part of the storyline will be that Bonnie has grown bored of Buzz and Woody and instead created her own toys (Forky), but I’m not too sure how the carnival will fit in. Tim Allen has said that the film’s story is “so emotional” and he “couldn’t even get through the last scene” while Tom Hanks has also said that the ending scene was a “moment in history.” Only time will tell, but Toy Story 4 is definitely going to be a big film for next year.

GLASS – 18th January 2019

The Unbreakable Universe is expanding. Glass follows David Dunn trying to bring The Beast out of Kevin Crumb, the man with 23 personalities living inside of him from 2016’s Split. In the background, Elijah Price, also known as Mr Glass, emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets that are critical to the pair. The cast includes James McAvoy, Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson and is from director M. Night Shyamalan. The thriller seems promising and seeing as it will combine the universes of Unbreakable and Split, it is likely that Glass will one of most successful horror/thriller movies of 2019.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL – 14th June 2019

Though it’s not the best franchise of all time, I really love the Men in Black series. It’s funny, smart and together the films are a great piece of sci-fi movies. Directed by F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator,  Straight Outta Compton), the Men in Black reboot sees Thor: Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite to protect Earth from alien scum, except this time, it’s a mole in the Men in Black organisation. The spin-off could go either way, but I have faith in it. It has a good director attached, stars brilliant actors (Hemsworth, Thompson, and even Liam Neeson is in the film too!) and from the look of the first trailer, it looks to be a great movie.

THE LION KING – 19th July 2019

Disney’s 1994 classic is getting a live-action remake with a phenomenal cast, including Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) voicing Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar and even James Earl Jones back to voice Mufasa. Just having Childish Gambino and Beyoncé duet to a classic Lion King song is enough to get me excited for this film. The Lion King is shaping up to be a huge success, though I’m not prepared to see Mufasa die again.

JOKER – 4th October 2019

It’s difficult to do a reboot, especially of a character who has been played so well (Heath Ledger) and quite badly (sorry Jared Leto), but I have faith in Joaquin Phoenix in playing the Joker. With Todd Phillips (The Hangover) directing, Joker is an origin story looking at how Arthur Fleck turns from being a failed comedian to a life of crime in Gotham City. It also has a great cast, including Robert De Niro and Zazie Beetz. Having seen Phoenix’s performance in last years ‘You Were Never Really Here’, Joker is a film that I am looking forward to seeing how it does.

ZOMBIELAND 2 – 11th October 2019

Ten years after the first film, Zombieland finally gets a sequel. The 2009 hit was loved for its great comedy, gory action and it just an all-round great film. Zombieland 2 sees the original cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) back to play Colombus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, where they must face off against evolving zombies, meet other survivors and adapt to the joys and pains of their makeshift family life. Joining them are Avan Jogia and Zoey Deutch, and there are reports that Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray (who died in the first film) are in the film too. If Zombieland 2 is anything like the first, then it definitely going to be a brilliant movie.

US – 15th March 2019

Though I’m not the biggest horror movie fan, I thoroughly enjoyed Jordan Peele’s 2017 success, Get Out. This year, Peele directs and writes Us, the story of Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, a couple who take their children to their beach house. Their fun with friends is disturbed when some unexpected and uninvited guests turn up. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elizabeth Moss, the film looks to be pretty awesome. Knowing that it’s directed by Peele and has the acting abilities of Nyong’o and Duke, it’s safe to say Us is going to be good anyways.

STAR WARS: EPISODE IX – 19th December 2019

The intergalactic adventures of Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB8 continue this year, with Star Wars: Episode IX. Not much is known about the film’s plot, but it should be awesome. Mark Hamill is to play Luke’s ghost, Billy Dee Williams is back as Lando Calrissian and archive footage of Carrie Fisher is being used for Princess Leia’s character. What’s more, JJ Abrams (The Force Awakens) is back to direct, so it’s going to be a great conclusion to this trilogy.

Thanks for reading this week’s post. What are you most looking forward to seeing this year? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews!

Once again thanks for reading this week’s post. Join me next week for a TV show/game review. See you then!

The Best of 2018

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As we near the end of 2018, it’s fun to look back at what a long and awesome year of movies and TV shows we’ve been treated to. And like most things in life, there’s the good and the bad. In this review, I take a look back at the best of 2018’s movies and TV shows that I watched. I’ll try to keep spoilers down to a minimum but you have been warned! There will be indications as to which movies or TV shows contain spoilers and links to reviews of those which I have reviewed.

BOJACK HORSEMAN: Season 5

Kicking off this list is everyone’s favourite cartoon horse and washed-up celebrity, Bojack Horseman. Netflix released season 5 in September and it showed Bojack taking the job on Flip McVicker’s new show, Philbert. Princess Carolyn continues to look for a child to adopt, Mr Peanutbutter and Diane go through a rough patch and Todd creates a sex robot who becomes the head of whattimeisitrightnow.com. Bojack Horseman season 5 delves deeper into Bojack’s mental state and sees him internally struggle with his insecurities while trying to deal with the joys and troubles of the outside world. One of the best things about Bojack Horseman’s recent seasons is the music, and season 5 is no exception. The ending was admittedly a little disappointing but season 5 as a whole was one of the best seasons of Bojack Horseman. Season 6 has been confirmed, and I for one can’t wait.

BLACK PANTHER

2018 was a year of diversity within Hollywood, and one of the films that portrayed this best is Marvel’s Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther marks a turning point in the future of Hollywood movies. With a predominately black cast, Black Panther tells the story of T’Challa rising to the throne of Wakanda and finding the balance of being a good king and a hero while encountering a powerful enemy who poses a huge threat to  T’Challa and his country. Black Panther smashed records and was an entertaining movie that combined beautiful cinematography with great action and a good storyline to produce a film that will be loved for generations to come.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Contains spoilers!

The biggest film of 2018 and now the fourth highest grossing movie of all time, Anthony and Joe Russo directed Avengers: Infinity War, a film that was loved by billions this year. It saw most of Marvel’s heroes (with Hawkeye and Ant-Man missing) face off against the biggest villain yet, Thanos, who is on a mission to collect all six infinity stones and kill half the universe. He succeeds and in a literal snap of his fingers, half of the universe turned to dust. It’s now down to the remaining heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Hawkeye (now Ronin), Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, War Machine, Okoye, M’Baku, Ant-Man and Pepper Potts to try to rewind time and undo the decimation. All this will be revealed in next year’s Avengers: Endgame, which is gearing up to be the biggest movie of next year too.

DEADPOOL 2 – Contains spoilers!

Ryan Reynolds is back in red spandex to break more fourth walls and kick ass in Deadpool 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Deadpool. To stop a young mutant and the Juggernaut from creating a horrific future, Wade must team up with Cable and Domino to save the day. Reynolds proves again that he was made to play Deadpool, the jokes were more self-aware and hilarious and the action was something to adore. David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2 and John Wick) was perfectly suited to direct the sequel and, together with Ryan Reynolds’ incredible acting and great writing from Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick, Deadpool 2 was a brilliant sequel and certainly lived up to the hype plus plus.

READY PLAYER ONE

Steven Spielberg directs Ready Player One, a story set in 2045 where everyone lives in a huge virtual reality world called the Oasis, where the late creator, James Halliday, has left an Easter Egg challenge where the first gamer to find all three Easter Eggs would inherit the Oasis and half a trillion dollars. With gorgeous animation and an engaging storyline, Ready Player One was a great film that I had fun watching, and the hidden real-life easter eggs made the film even better.

McMAFIA: Season 1 – Contains spoilers!

Way back in January of this year, BBC released a thrilling look into the world of the mafia. The series followed Alex Godman, the son of an ex-mafia Russian family trying to forget the past. Alex is lured into the dark and hidden realm of crime that sees Alex being brought closer to those who have wronged his family. Meanwhile, Alex’s family have no idea about his actions that bring him closer to the mafia. Eventually, Alex tells his family about his actions with Vadim (the family’s nemesis) and the mafia, before heading to Moscow for one final confrontation with Vadim, before becoming the top of the food chain and was backed by the government by the looks of it while also cutting off all ties with his family back home in a dramatic and brilliant finale that had me on the edge of my seat. BBC have commissioned the show for an eight-episode season 2 that hasn’t begun filming yet, but I am already excited for season 2 and wondering what’s next for Alex Godman.

BLACKKKLANSMAN

Similarly to Black Panther, BlacKKKlansman brought more diversity to cinemas by bringing a true story to life before showing it’s relevance into modern-day America. Starring John David Washington and directed by Spike Lee, BlacKKKlansman tells the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. The film ends by looking at the events in Charlottesville last year, where the Ku Klux Klan launched the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally to promote their ideology of white supremacy. The film provided a shocking and eye-opening look at racism in the last 50 years, and the way that Lee was able to direct and portray this in a movie was fantastically done.

GAME NIGHT

One of the best comedies of 2018, Game Night is a film I am looking forward to rewatching. The Fabergé Egg chase was one of my favourite scenes of cinema this year. Game Night had a good cast with even better character chemistry and jokes that were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this film the first and second times, and it is definitely one of my favourite comedies of all time.

AMERICAN ANIMALS

Another true story film that took me by surprise this year was Bart Layton’s American Animals. It’s the true story of the 2003 Transy Book Heist, where 4 young men dared to try to steal a book worth $12 million but it goes horribly wrong. Told in Reservoir-Dog-esque way that gets the real men to explain and talk about the heist American Animals was a film that wasn’t heard of or seen by many this year but deserves to be.

THIS IS AMERICA

Yes, it’s not a movie or a TV show, but Childish Gambino’s music video is definitely deserving of some praise. Not only is an awesome song, but the music video looks at the life of being black in America and some of the issues, such as gun violence and police brutality. The ‘This is America’ video and song is one of Gambino’s best songs and it carries a strong and powerful message.

Thanks for reading this week’s mega-review of my favourite movies and TV shows, the best of 2018. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest in movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I wish all you the best for 2019 and hope that you join me next year for more movie reviews! Next week, I’ll be revealing some of the big movies and TV shows coming out in 2019 that I’m looking forward to and hopefully you are too. See you then!

 

Elf: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #43

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As it’s Christmas very soon, I decided to review one of the most festive movies around. Usually, when you say Christmas movies, the first films that pop into people’s minds are Die Hard (review here), Home Alone and Elf. Seeing as I reviewed Die Hard last week, Elf was next in line to be reviewed.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man and next year’s The Lion King), Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human who is accidentally taken to the North Pole as a baby and raised as an elf. When Buddy grows up, it is revealed to him that he is actually a human. Buddy’s decides to travel to New York to meet his father, Walter Hobbs, who is a grinch. What follows is a sweet and hilarious story about family and Christmas.

Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf and one of Ferrell’s most notorious roles to date. He brings a sweet charm and enthusiasm combined with a childlike naivety to Buddy’s character that makes him lovable and a hilarious character. It does reach a point of Buddy being a bit of a nuisance in places, but nonetheless, Buddy is a great character who is brilliantly played by Will Ferrell. Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s grinchy father, is played wonderfully by James Caan. Though Walter Hobbs was the main antagonist in Elf, the way that Caan played Hobbs was done well and his acting ability was put to good use in the film. Of course, there was a love interest in this film, and it was Jovie, a shop assistant at Gimbels, who was played by Zooey Deschanel. Jovie was a good character and all, but I felt she was just put in to lengthen the run-time and create a few more comedic moments in the film. Elf also featured Peter Dinklage, who played Miles Finch. Honestly, I’ve seen Elf about 10 times and can’t remember who he has. All I can remember is Buddy chasing him and mistaking him for an elf. Dinklage did a great job playing Miles Finch, but he was just a forgettable character.

The music was classic Christmas stuff (Let it Snow, Rocking Around the Christmas tree, Sleigh ride and so forth) which was well suited to the film. I liked the song choices throughout the film as it made the movie more enjoyable to watch. There’s nothing to criticise here.

ELF, Will Ferrell and Artie Lange, 2003 (screen grab)CR: New Line Cinema

Buddy discovers​ that the Gimbel’s Santa is not the real Santa.

Elf’s storyline is one that is quite smart and straightforward, a human who is raised as an elf is sent to reconnect with his human family but his dad is a grinch. The human tries to convince his dad to enjoy Christmas time and hijinks occur. It’s where additional parts are thrown into the film that it starts to deteriorate. You have so many subplots squeezed in to get more laughs out of the audience, and it worked in some places but flopped in others. It’s evident that Will Ferrell really enjoyed making this film and he really put everything into making this a great film, but I felt that too much was packed into what was an already good film. The comedy was well done by Ferrell, and it’s clear that he’s mastered the art of making people laugh. It was mainly the additional subplots that ruined the film.

Overall, Elf gets a 7.2/10 from me. It was a good movie that featured great comedy from Will Ferrell but threw too much into the film to make it longer. Admittedly, Elf is not Jon Favreau’s greatest work but nonetheless is a good film. To get you in the festive feeling, Elf is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and join me next week for a yearly look at the best movies and TV shows we were treated to in 2018. See you then!

Die Hard: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #42

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

There are some age-old questions in life. Is there a God? Do aliens exist? What is the meaning of life? Then in 1988, John McTiernan created another that would divide humanity; is ‘Die Hard’ a Christmas movie? Seeing as we are in the festive season, I decided to answer this question and review Die Hard.

Directed by John McTiernan and starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman is the notorious movie, Die Hard. New York cop John McClane travels to Los Angeles to reconcile with his wife at the Christmas party, held at the Nakatomi Plaza. The party is disrupted by German terrorist Hans Gruber and his crew who are holding the guest’s hostage. It’s now down to McClane to save the hostages and defeat Hans Gruber.

John McClane was played by Bruce Willis and, though I’m not the biggest Bruce Willis fan, he was awesome in Die Hard. His character was witty and fun and smart and Willis immersed himself in this role so much so that John McClane is one of the most notorious characters in cinema history. Similarly, Hans Gruber is one of cinema’s greatest villains who was brilliantly played by Alan Rickman brilliantly. Despite the odd “German” accent, Rickman was the perfect choice for Hans Gruber. Rickman demonstrates his phenomenal acting ability in Die Hard and makes the film so much more enjoyable. Holly Gennaro, John’s wife, was played by Bonnie Bedelia and I liked her character. I felt that there could have been a bit more from her but generally, her role in the film was good. Sergeant Al Powell, played by Reginald VelJohnson and he did a great job of playing the character, and the amount of screen time he had was perfect. There was also Harry Ellis, played by Hart Bochner, who is killed by Gruber. Though he was an unlikeable character, Bochner’s acting was commendable and he did a good job playing Ellis. Along with Hans Gruber, my other favourite character in Die Hard was Argyle, played fantastically by De’voreaux White. He was funny and an interesting character that made the film more enjoyable. One of Hans’ crew was Karl, a tough German hitman, played by Alexander Godunov. Godunov was amazing in this role and really made the film more fun to watch.

die-hard-walkie-talkie-21

Hans Gruber talks to John McClane over walkie-talkie .

The plot is pretty straightforward, but once the action is added into the film, you have more of a movie. The action was beautifully executed, and there were so many awesome scenes that were amazing to watch in the film. Admittedly, my favourite stunt scene was when James and Alexander were killed by McClane with the C4 attached to the office chair. It was a smart idea that was great fun to watch.

Die Hard has become one of those iconic movies like The Shining, where it gets spoofed and imitated regularly by other movies and TV shows. It’s because McTiernan took the film to new heights (both figuratively and literally) and brought something both entertaining and awesome to movie screens everywhere in 1988. As the film’s tagline says, it’s 40 stories of sheer adventure, and the film delivered on this. It’s also because of the incredible acting from Willis and Rickman, combined with great dialogue from the novel’s writer, Roderick Thorp, and screenplay writers, Jeb Stuart and Steven de Souza, that makes the film more epic and memorable. As mentioned earlier, John McClane and Hans Gruber are some of the most notable names in cinema, and this is because of how brilliant Die Hard was. It’s no wonder that the film was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry, as it is a defining and iconic movie that will stand the test of time and be lived for generations to come.

To answer the age-old question, of course Die Hard is a Christmas movie! It’s set at Christmas, has Christmas music, and basically is an adult’s version of Home Alone. Why shouldn’t it be? Despite Bruce Willis claiming that it isn’t, Die Hard is loved by many and enjoyed over the festive period.

Overall, Die Hard was a fantastic film that I loved watching. I give it an 7.9/10.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow @Ryans.Movie.Reviews on Instagram to have your say on what Christmas film I review for next week. See you then!