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QUICK REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Howdy people of the internet, time for another film review and today I’ll be talking about Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I saw the trailer but this film around 2 to 3 weeks ago I believe and I knew it was one to look out for, however, I wasn’t sure it’d get a viewing in my local cinema because it seemed too indie for my cinema, but lucky me I got to see it and now I’m ready to pass judgement!

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The plot can be summed up as the following:

“High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.”

It is a little hard to describe my feelings on this story. Like in my reviews of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and more recently Paper Towns, I love films that have a heavy focus the lives of young people in school, their transitions into college/university and their bonds of friendship, and this film definitely had that in spades. This film is basically about a boy who befriends a girl who is dying and their time together. But what I loved about this film was that there was a heavy focus on Greg, his school life, backstory with Earl, in addition to his interaction with Rachel during her time with leukemia. I also loved the film references as they were really well-done, funny and I liked how self-aware the film was too. The first half of the film is quite strange, awkward and funny, but eventually the film does get quite serious and it hits really hard. Cancer is a serious subject matter that has to be handled with care and this film tackled it in a realistic manner, and it also helped that this film really effected the relationship between Greg and Rachel together and individually. At one point I found myself on the verge of tears because the emotions were riding really high and the drama was heavy, this film had me emotionally. However, because of the nature of the story things do get a little heavy and depressing, and while this shouldn’t be a negative, it does make repeat viewings and my enjoyment of the film drop a bit.

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The cast was really impressive and did such great jobs in their roles. Firstly Thomas Mann was great as Greg Gaines, at first Greg comes across as an awkward, introverted yet smart individual who has a system in place for getting through high school, but everything changes when he meets Rachel and has to deal with a new kind of situation in terms of friendship that he hasn’t dealt with before and allows him to come to terms with some of his own issues. RJ Cyler was also good as Earl, he provided a lot of great moments of humour and drama, and had some lovely chemistry with Mann as these two friends/associates who make films together. And then there’s Olivia Cooke as Rachel Kushner who was wonderful, Rachel’s quiet, yet witty and nice and it’s interesting to see her bond and change over the course of the film from being alone to accepting people who befriend her in dark period of her life. I really liked Jon Bernthal as Mr. McCarthy as he was humourous and memorable. I also liked Connie Britton and Nick Offerman as Mr. & Mrs. Gaines, they were quite interesting characters especially Offerman as Greg’s father who had such a strange yet funny personality. And Molly Shannon was hilarious as Denise Kushner being this loving, funny yet strangely flirtatious mother to Rachel.

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I also have to mention the use of animation as their use was quite humourous and helped create some interesting transitions between scenes. And the soundtrack by Brian Eno and Nico Muhly was gorgeous, it had a lot power and emotion behind it, and there is one track in particular towards the end of the film which is so moving and beautiful, it is both sad and amazing at the same time.

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In conclusion Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a powerful film, that has a touching story, really great performances and a lovely soundtrack. That being said the film’s subject matter really does make it hard to recommend and it isn’t a film I’d want watch again anytime soon. But its positives do outweigh the negatives, it really just depends on what you’re looking to get out of the film.

Rating: 8/10

So have you seen Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see you on the next review, laters! ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Joys of Watching Parks and Recreation

Howdy people of the internet, time for a semi-review of sorts. Today I wish to talk about one of my favourite TV shows in recent history, Parks and Recreation, one of the best comedy TV shows I have seen for a long time. If you have read this blog before then you will know a little while ago I did a blog post about my history with TV shows and some of my favourites of all-time, but the one show I was probably missing and I would add now is Parks and Rec. It is THAT good. Now that the show is in its final season with the final two episodes set to air tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to talk about this show and why it kicks so much ass.

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Before talking about the show, I wanted explain why I started watching it. basically I had heard some talk about Parks and Rec back in 2012 and 2013 on various websites and fair amount on AMC Movie Talk. But it wasn’t until Chris Pratt was cast as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy that I decided to give the show a watch (that and the fact that John Campea of AMC Movie Talk spoke so highly of him on the show). And that’s where it all started.

So why do I love this show? Allow me to explain…

In a nutshell the story of Parks and Rec follows the absurd antics of the town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place. The show is set Pawnee, Indiana and follows the adventures of Leslie Knope as she attempts to improve the town through government with her crew from the parks department.

The reason the show works is because of the following three main reasons: 1) It is funny, 2) The cast is brilliant and 3) It never stays the same.

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I have to admit that the first season did take some time to get into, it was fine, but the show didn’t find a focus and it’s funny factor until season two. From there all of the stories have more focus and energy, the jokes are much better and the characters really start to show their more unique and hilarious personalities. Each season afterward presents new, exciting and absurd stories for us as viewers to see, nothing ever stays the same for too long and thankfully things change for the better rather than ruining the formula of the show. The are surprises to be found and plot twists that happen in the most surprising of ways, the show’s almost like a comedy mixed in with a soap opera. There is good humour but also a lot of drama to be found (but I’ll get to that later in this post.

One of the main things that make this show work so well is the humour. People who read this blog know that I’m not the biggest fan of comedy-based stuff, though when I find a TV show that I find really funny, then I’m a happy place. For a time I thought Community was the funniest US TV show I’d watched, but then Parks and Rec, came along and blew the former out of the water. Parks and Rec is funny, it is really funny. The show has some of the snappiest humour I have seen in any show in a long time. Whether it be verbal or physical humour, it works so well and as the seasons go on the show’s funny factor stays consistent and provides many laugh-out-loud moments. Plus since the show is done in a documentary style with characters able to the break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, it just adds a level of intimacy and humour that other shows lack.

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The best thing about the show is its characters. The characters of Pawnee happen to be some of the most absurd fictional human beings ever conceived, they’re like all of the people that go to Community‘s Greendale Community College, except on a much crazier level. Whether it is the primary, recurring or guest cast members, everyone gets their chance to shine in this show. What is neat about the citizens of Pawnee is that most of them are all given plenty of screen time for you understand who they are and why they are funny, so when they make future appearances you remember and appreciate them more.

Firstly we have Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope who is delightful to watch. Leslie is a woman crazy obsessed with government and a lot of strange habits, however she is also very kind and is a brilliant friend to all of her coworkers. Poehler is just perfect for this kind of role and I love how much her character’s progressed. The gorgeous Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins is also great, she start’s out as an outsider and a nurse but eventually become integrated into the government through her friendship with Leslie. Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford is one of the most funny people in the show, the man is classy, but also selfish, arrogant and sarcastic, but all of those traits make him so likeable. Then there’s Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson who is arguably my favourite character. He is a man of few words, hates government, loves meat and normally likes to distance himself from his coworkers, and that’s just a few elements that makes him amazing. I LOVE Offerman’s performance and he just makes me smile whenever he has key scenes in the show.

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Another great person is Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate. Here we have a live-action version of Daria, except much more creepy, cynical and lazy. April is SO much fun because she is cute and yet so awkward and strange. And then there’s Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer who is the character I think it arguably the best person in the show. The guy is incredibly stupid and child-like, but he’s also very sweet and his singing and physical humour makes the show SO much fun to watch. Pratt’s energy and charisma really elevate the show and provide some of the most memorable scenes in the series. Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt is probably my least favourite character in this group, that being said he has his moments where he is pretty funny (and that mainly comes from being around Leslie). Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger is just one of the best people ever. He is inhumanly heathy, absurdly positive and has such a great relationship with everyone. Jim O’Heir and Retta also bring me much joy as Jerry Gergich and Donna Meagle. Donna is a surprisingly funny and sophisticated woman who has great moments with Tom while Jerry is a man who just suffers, whether he is getting into accidents, being ignored or just being pranked by his colleagues, there is never a dull moment when he is around.

I also love small recurring characters like the brilliant Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), the sassy/crazy Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins), the absurd/sexy Tammy II (Megan Mullally), the humourous Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini), the absurd Bill Dexhart (Kevin Symons), the always entertaining  Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) and quiet and creepy Orin (Eric Isenhower) just to name a few.

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Watching this show feels like more than just 30 minutes for fun TV, it feels more like checking on good friends and seeing what they’ve been getting up to from episode to episode. What the writers and actors do so well with this show, more so than a lot of others, is make you feel connected to these characters and their situations with very real, emotional and relatable stories. For all of the humour that takes place in this show, there is a A LOT of heart, so much so that there are episodes that make you want to cry tears (sometimes of joy and sadness). I love the show so much that I re-watched the whole thing again (before season seven had aired) and now we’re on the final season and I’m not quite ready for another one of my favourite shows to end, but I guess this rollercoaster ride has to end at some point.

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In conclusion Parks and Recreation is pretty much one of the best TV shows I ever decided to watch. Few shows have the power to engage me on such a level where I am addicted and need more like a crack-head junkie. The cast is brilliant, the humour is great and each season beyond the first brings something new, strange and fun to the table in ways that most shows can’t. If you haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Parks and Rec then I implore you to do so, you’re missing out on some good stuff yo. ūüėÄ

So have you seen the awesomeness that is Parks and Recreation and if so what do you think or it? Whatever your thoughts be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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22 Jump Street Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to a new film review (man it feels like ages since I’ve said that haha) and today I’ll be talking about 22 Jump Street, a film I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now. As most of the people who follow this blog know, I’m not overly fond of comedies, however there are a few that I do like and 21 Jump Street surprised me back in 2012 so I was definitely down for the sequel especially after the trailers dropped. So how does this comedy sequel fare? Well read on and find out!

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The story for the film can be summarised as the following:

“After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt and Jenko when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.”

In a nutshell this story is awesome. The story on display here basically does the same thing again, except changes the setting and story elements, like for instance instead of it being school it is college and rather than Jenko having a bad time, its Schmidt this time round. 22 Jump Street does what The Hangover 2 tried to do, but rather than fail miserably, this film gets the sequel formula right. I will admit at the beginning I thought the film was just alright, but around the middle when Ice Cube came into the film more was when the film really picked up and by the end it was insanely funny. The humour is just as funny as its predecessor, if not more so, but beyond that the story has some touching moments to it too. I love how self-aware the film is, it references a lot of pop culture, pokes fun at itself and the concept of film sequels and at one point even does something similar to Tropic Thunder but takes it to a new level of fun and absurdity.

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When it comes to the cast they’re all very good offering various levels of humour throughout. Firstly there’s Jonah Hill as Morton Schmidt and Channing Tatum as Greg Jenko. They’re back as this odd dynamic duo and they’re just as funny, if not funnier than they were before. These two clearly are having fun with their roles and they’re chemistry is amazing and kinetic. Hill is funny because of his character’s awkward lines of dialogue, weird interactions with people and poor levels of physical strength and Tatum is funny because his character is a blockhead, seems to be some kind of superhuman and his stupidity leads to some really funny one-liners in the film. Also I just want to note how frigging cool Tatum was, his action scenes were awesome and his acrobatic moments really make him look like he’ll fit into a superhero film in the future (let’s hope he does Gambit justice). Ice Cube as Capt. Dickson is just on the highest level of awesomeness in this film. I thought Dickson was funny in the last film, but here he is on fire just being like the most angry stereotypical black man ever and Cube just kills it. I have not laughed at one person so much in a film in a long time.

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Peter Stormare as Ghost is great too, he’s the main bad guy and he has a bit of stage play performer vibe about him, but I like that and how cocky and weird he is too. Wyatt Russell as Zook is just amazing, he is a very odd man, he has some very strange personality traits and dreams, but that’s what makes him so funny and his interaction with Jenko is awesome. Amber Stevens is gorgeous as Maya, she’s a person Schmidt befriends and she’s a smart and kind-hearted soul, I like her. Jillian Bell as Mercedes is really funny, her lines in this film were insane, rude and kind of repetitive in the subject manner but also funny. Also seeing the return of Nick Offerman as Deputy Chief Hardy is just perfect, I love how Hardy delivered his lines in such a deadpan kind of way, Offerman was clearly channeling his inner Ron Swanson as it was pretty much the exact same character and to be honest I loved it. Dave Franco as Eric Molson and Rob Riggle as Mr. Walters were awesome in their segment in the film too. There are also some cameos in the film that I won’t spoil which are just awesome and hilarious.

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In conclusion 22 Jump Street is awesome and is a prime example of how to do a comedy sequel correctly. I had hoped for a good experience watching this film, but it was way funnier than I expected and I was actually laughing out loud which has not happened since 2011. This a great fun-filled experience which is basically the same thing again, but better. I can easily recommend this as some summer fun in the cinema.

Rating: 8/10 (Ice Cube is a don! XD)

So what did you think of 22 Jump Street? Did it meet your expectations or were you let down? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review. Laters! ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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The Lego Movie Review: “Everything is awesome!”

Howdy ladies and gents, it is time for a new film review and today is the first of three starting with The Lego Movie. At first I thought the concept of this film was absurd, then I got into the trailers and after hearing about the great reception it got in the US I knew I had to watch it. So yesterday I checked it out and I’m now ready to share my thoughts.

The story in this film involves a prophecy, where a person called the “Special” will find the Piece of Resistance capable of stopping the superweapon known as the “Kragle”. Later on in life an ordinary guy by the name of Emmet, mistakenly thought to be the “Special” and a MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant known as Lord Business from destroying the Lego universe with the “Kragle”.

I thought the story was great because of its playful, funny and energetic. The whole deal with Emmet and his journey has been done in films before, but this film has enough different elements to make it unique.¬†What I love is how the film speaks to people of all ages offering moments of action and adventure, humour, pop culture references and nostalgia.¬†Another great point is how wacky and fast-paced in nature the story and tone is, a lot of it is strange but it works with in the context of the world and characters. As with any animated film there’s a heartfelt message behind the film and the story will speak to anyone who has played with Lego at any point in their lives. The only nitpick would be that the story slows down a bit at one point towards the end which kind of messes with the flow.

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The voice cast are brilliant, all embody their characters so well, are bursting with personality and most importantly they are all extremely funny.

Chris Pratt as is amazing Emmet Brickowski, as the main character he is so charismatic, silly, hilarious and relatable too.¬†Emmet, while average, has good intentions, is very strange and always full of hilarious moments and I think part of why I loved him so much is because I could always imagine him as Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation.¬†Will Ferrell as Lord Business was cool and brought he’s comedic chops to his role. He was one of those kind of villain who was ruthless but also funny and likeable at the same time. I also liked¬†Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle, she¬†was great because she had badass persona and did so many amazing things both as a builder and masterful fight (was getting Matrix flashbacks). I think one of the stand-out performances comes from¬†Will Arnett as Batman.¬†Arnett kills it as Batman, he has the voice and personality was cool and funny. Batman had some of the best lines, great comedic timing and the film loves him while also taking the piss at the same time.

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Nick Offerman is good as Metal Beard, his voice was unrecognisable for me and the character was so strange, but he was very good too.¬†Alison Brie was wonderful as Uni-Kitty, her character was adorable, always happy and just had a strange view of the world which made her amusing to watch. On and¬†Charlie Day was incredible as Benny, a “1980-something space guy.”¬†Day was awesome as the spaceship-obsessed astronaut offering so many random and humorous moments in the film.¬†Liam Neeson was another stand-out as Bad Cop/Good Cop, his character mood switches made for some hilarious moments with verbal and physical humour. And¬†Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius the wizard was awesome, Freeman is great in every film and in this one he was very funny, eccentric and silly.¬†There are also some amazing cameos featuring the some other cool Lego characters with some delightful celebrity voices, but I won’t ruin it, watch it for yourselves haha.

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The presentation or the film is incredible too both on the visual and audio side of things. Visually the film is amazing, the unique Lego world is colourful, vibrant and the attention to detail with the computer animation recreating the style of stop motion animation is insanely impressive and leads to a lot of humorous moments throughout the film. Also just seeing the different Lego characters, models, toy sets and references was such an awesome nostalgic rush. And then there’s the soundtrack by¬†Mark Mothersbaugh, it is pretty good but has a bit of an electronic/dubstep feel at times and for the most part it works but is also kind of awkward. By the way¬†the song “Everything Is Awesome!!!” will be in your head long after the film is over, it is really addictive and hard not to like and sing a long to.

In conclusion The Lego Movie, simply put is awesome. While it didn’t meet the epic hype I’d heard about in America, it was extremely inventive and hilarious. The voice cast really make these characters come to life and the humour is definitely the film’s strongest aspects! I would recommend this film to anyone looking for a good time at the cinema. ūüôā

Rating: 8.5/10 (A bright and colourful adventure with great characters and humour)

So what did you think of The Lego Movie? Did it tickle your funny bone and fill you with happiness and nostalgia or were disappointed? Whatever your thoughts, drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo. ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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