Baby Driver

Image Credit: Sony Pictures

Baby. B-A-B-Y, Baby.

Heist movie, meets car movie, meets love story, meets one killer soundtrack. Directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End), Baby Driver is a true break through film.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young hot-shot driver whose skills have him in the unwilling employ of criminal master mind, Doc (Kevin Spacey). A childhood injury has left Baby with a constant ringing in his ears which he drowns out using his favourite tunes, letting him choreograph his life to his personal playlist.

Not one to enjoy the criminal life, Baby is happy when things start changing. His time with Doc is coming to an end, and the beautiful Debora (Lily James) is the start of a new tune. Of course, things don’t go to plan; but it wouldn’t make for a good movie if he could just whistle a tune and end his contract in peace.

The film kicks off with a heist. As Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and Griff (Jon Bernthal) head in to rob a bank, Baby is left in the car, waiting to make a quick getaway. This is the first example of how important music is going to be to this film. An epic lip sync routine ensues to Bellbottom by The Jon Spencer Blue Explosion ensures while Baby is waiting. Music continues at the forefront of the film, really becoming a character all its own. Different situations require different songs, and Baby carries around numerous iPods to ensure he’s never left without the right track.

The specific choreography of the film really comes to light in the second scene as Baby heads out on a coffee run. The way Elgort moves down the street blending to the music as the street itself matches up with lines from the song using graffiti, store signage and more to create the ideal music video for life.

Throughout the film camera angles chop and change to make the most of each scene. With aerial shots and street view following Baby’s insane route through the city.

If you’ve listened to anything about this film, chances are you heard it described as ‘cross-genre’; there isn’t a better way to describe it than that. Action filled car chases and adrenaline fuelled gun battles blend with love in the diner and witty work colleagues in a seamless way.

Baby Driver will have you completely invested in the first 5 minutes, and unable to look away until the very end.

The House

Image Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

When a much needed scholarship falls through, Scott and Kate Johansen have to find a way to send their daughter to the college of her dreams. A trip to Las Vegas gives them the perfect idea.

The only logical choice, of course, is to open an illegal casino.

Bored wives and husbands from around their suburban neighbourhood soon get involved and ‘The House’ is a roaring success; they rake in the cash and draw in on their goal before things start to go wrong.

You’d think Will Farrell and Amy Poehler on screen together would result in non-stop laughter to the point tears. Unfortunately, ‘The House’ stops short of the mark.

With a lacklustre dialogue and a few attempts at physical humour, the movie falls fairly flat. Jeremy Renner does provide a change of pace eventually, but that comes in far too late in the piece to be a saving grace.

Die hard Farrell or Poehler fans might enjoy ‘The House’ but it’s not guaranteed.

Sing

Image: Illumination

While he may not be the best businessman, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) has the spirit of a showman; and anyone who is serious about showbiz knows one key thing. The show must go on! In an attempt to save his beloved theatre, Moon decides to host a singing contest. Que all animals great and small! From a tiny snail to a giraffe whose head in in the rafters, there are auditions of all kinds, their acts and varied as their species.

In the end, the line-up includes Gunter (Nick Kroll) and Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), two pigs with very different styles, Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a little mouse with big opinions of himself, Ash (Scarlett Johansson), the rock and roll porcupine, chronically shy elephant, Meena (Tori Kelly), and Johnny (Taron Egerton) the gorilla, wanting to find something more than the family business. Continue reading

Red Dog: True Blue

Image: Screen Australia

Whether it be the beauty of the Australian outback, an adorable dog, or the story of a young boy and his best friend that draws you to this film, you won’t go away disappointed.

Director Kirv Stenders returns with Red Dog: True Blue, both part prequel and sequel his 2011 Red Dog that captured (and broke) so many hearts. Without spoiling too much, the prequel part of the tale tells the story of young Sydney boy, Mick (Levi Miller), whose mother sends him to live with his grandfather after the death of her husband. Michael’s grandfather (Bryan Brown) owns and runs the NAME cattle property. Living this rural and remotely is a challenge for Michael at first, but when a storm brings a little red pup, Blue (Phoenix), to his side, things start to change.

Continue reading

Keeping Up with the Joneses

Image: 20th Century Fox

New neighbours are always interesting, but suburban couple Jeff and Karen Gaffney get more than they expected when the Joneses move in.

Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifinakis) works in HR. His wife Karen (Isla Fisher) is an interior designer. They live a quaint and happy life in their suburban cul-de-sac, raising their two sons, going to barbeques, and enjoying time with their nice, normal neighbours. After sending their sons to summer camp, the couple come home to find that the empty house on the street has been sold. Enter the Joneses.

Tim (Jon Hamm) and Natalie Jones (Gal Gadot) are unlike anyone else living in the Gaffney’s street. With Tim finding his career as a travel writer and Natalie running a food blog and following her passion to help orphans, these two beautiful, young, well-travelled individuals seem too good to be true. Of course, this is where the action kicks in. The Joneses are in fact spies. Jeff and Karen are soon dragged into the world of espionage.

The slightly bumbling nature of the characters as they try to look suave is a little reminiscent of the Spy Kids movies. Not that that’s a bad thing. With a few jokes and plenty of action in the form of car chases and gun fights Keeping Up with the Joneses does make for an enjoyable movie. The lack of crude humour is definitely a stand out feature for this film. While there are a few adult references, there’s not an overabundance of swearing or sexual references that are so common these days.

As far as action and comedy goes, Keeping Up with the Joneses should be pleasing for a wide audience.

Spin Out

Image: Stella Rose Productions

My first thought upon watching this movie? I’m pretty sure I know these people!

Billy (Xavier Samuel), Sparrow (Travis Jeffery), Lucy (Morgan Griffin), and their friends are just your typical Australian country kids. Spin Out follows these characters as they gear up for another BnS (Bachelors and Spinsters) party. The BnS, as usual, is a legendary night full of good times with mates, loads of drink and laughter, a few nutty antics, and life decisions being made.

The overall storyline of finding, rescuing, and reaffirming love in its many shapes and forms is there, as seems to be a necessity for many movies. The shenanigans, slang, and competitiveness that are so stereotypically Australian also play a large part.

As far as the characters go, it’s nice to see that not everyone follows the basic outline for what many people think ‘country’ is. Mary, in particular, helps to shows that country doesn’t mean just one type of person.

Anyone who has spent time in a small country town can probably relate to at least some part of this story and its characters.

Sausage Party

If you’re easily offended, stay away from Sausage Party. This latest brain child of Seth Rogen leaves no one untouched in its rude, politically-incorrect insanity. And it’s outrageous.

While I’ll be the first to admit I’m usually not one for offensive and crude humour, the simple fact that no one is left untouched in this nonstop run of insults and one liners did make me laugh.

Rogen’s frequent partners in crime, Jonah Hill and James Franco, ad their voice talents to this cinematic supermarket. And if you’ve watched anything else involving these men (This is the End is probably a good example) you might have a fair idea of what you’re in for!

Just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of vulgarity, the end of the film steps it up another notch, throwing you over a cliff. Please remember, even though this is an animated film, it has more than earned it MA15+ rating.

As far as storylines go, I was surprised to find that Sausage Party actually had one at all. The writers were quite adept at working in the stereotypes of many groups of people, all the while portraying and likening them to different foods.

Although I can’t say I’d watch this one again, if you’re a fan of Seth Rogen’s more outlandish work, or up for a laugh at some dirty jokes, Sausage Party is probably one for the watch list.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

From start to finish, this movie is an absolute hot mess; and I laughed through every moment.Mike and Dave Strangle (Adam Devine and Zac Efron) are two brothers who just like to have a little fun. Unfortunately, their track record isn’t real great when they bring this fun to family gatherings, where it usually results in serious, although accidental, harm to people and property. When the time for their only younger sister to get married rolls around, Mike and Dave’s family give them an ultimatum. They must find nice, sensible dates to bring to the wedding to keep the boys out of trouble. And so, one craigslist ad later… 

The boys only expected a few replies to their ad. Instead, they are bombarded with hundreds as the ad goes viral. All different manner of ladies apply to b their dates for the wedding. Which just happens to include an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii. Who wouldn’t want that?

As you may expect, the women who respond to an ad on craigslist aren’t all exactly the type you’d want to bring home to mum and dad. Luckily(?) for the Strangle brothers, two particular girls have caught wind of their hunt, and decided to take matters into their own hands. Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) arrange to meet the Mike and Dave; without the boys realising they’ve been set up. A few drinks and some white lies later, the girls are on their way to Hawaii.

From there, the film continues to build in pressure. It just keeps going and going until, like a balloon, it can’t hold any more. The final bang is long anticipated, and yet still hilariously funny. But the film still isn’t over and there are still more giggles to be had. 

Throughout this picture, there are a few different forms of comedy, including some rather crude moments. Most of the time, though, they manage to build up, then still leave your imagination to fill in the rest.

The one thing I still can’t get over is that, although the writers and director have taken an artistic license, the main idea of the events is based on a true story! Mike and Dave are real guys who posted a real ad on craigslist to find real dates for a real wedding. 

I’ll admit, when I saw the trailer for Mike and Dave, I expected a few laughs, but certainly not as much as I got. This really is a comedy for the masses (over the age of 15. There are a few reasons why it’ rated MA15+). 

Ghostbusters

Paranormal Activity ain’t got nothing on these ghosts!

Right from the start, we get thrown into this world of spooky happenings and hair-raising apparitions. These fearsome phantoms leave us with one question. When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gona call?

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a physics professor at Columbia University. She enjoys her respectable job until somebody asks for her opinion and help on a highly unrespectable subject in the science community. Ghosts.

Erin is pulled back into research she thought she had left behind when she tracks down her old friend and Abby Bates. While Erin has been teaching, Abby (Melissa McCarthy) has been continuing her paranormal studies with the help of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), a brilliant (if slightly unorthodox and manic) engineer.

The last two members to round out their team are Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). Patty, although not being overly fond of ghosts after her own encounter, bring her can-do attitude to the team; she’s not taking rubbish from no ghosts! Although well meaning, Kevin isn’t overly competent at his job as the team’s receptionist. However, he does add more levity to the already hilarious movie.

The lead roles are very well cast, the four blending together well while still bouncing off each other’s quirks and personality’s. The diversity of these women’s attitude and aptitudes when it comes to the different parts of their job and interactions with each other makes you want to be part of their team.

Throughout the film there are so many throwbacks to the original movies, and yet they still managed the ‘same but different’ concept well by paying homage to their predecessors while still making this their own. Keep an out to see who or what you spot.

So put on your jumpsuit, grab your proton pack, and prepare to be slimed by ghostly, ectoplasmic goop as you watched these chicks do what they do best!

Central Intelligence

Badass is alive, and it wears a fanny-pack!

Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) has discovered that life after high school isn’t always as you might expect. From star athlete, student body president, and prom king, to middle aged accountant who feels like he’s hit a dead end.

Enter Bob Stone. Stone (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) has changed A LOT since high school. From Robbie Whierdicht, class dweeb with no friends and a whole herd of bullies on his tail, to shorts and fanny-pack wearing, unicorn loving, overly enthusiastic Agent Stone of the CIA.

When Stone drags Calvin into his latest case, the chaos begins.

In what is definitely a fun role for Johnson, we get an action packed flick with guns, cars, explosions, and some creatively used office supplies that make up a pretty boss fight scene.

Meanwhile, Calvin just wants out! Hart plays his role wonderfully as his character finds himself way out of his depth with no idea who he can trust.

Scattered thickly throughout the movie are so many pop culture references that there should be something that everyone understands. From celebrity gossip to movie references and so much more, it adds a fun layer into an already entertaining movie.

So check out Central Intelligence for a good laugh and be sure to wait for the credit scene before you leave.