Keeping Up With the Jonses (2016) Film Review

It’s the suburbs somewhere in the US. Jeff Gaffney (Zach Galifianakis) works in HR for a big firm. He and his wife, Karen (Isla Fisher) have just sent their son off to summer camp when a new couple move into their cul-de-sac – cool travel writer Tim Jones (Jon Hamm) and his stunning wife Natalie (Gal Gadot). Karen becomes suspicious and well she should, because they are spies – but are they spies for good or for bad? And are the suburbs their toughest challenge yet?

Wanna see a good spy movie about spies trying to live normal lives? Watch True Lies (1994) or Mr and Mrs Smith (2005). There are plenty of good and funny moments in this, and it is a really top-notch cast, but it’s just not good enough. It felt a little like it could decide if it was going to be a daggy slapstick or a clever and witty affair and tried for both, missing both by a fair whack.

Now You See Me (2013) Film Review


J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKenney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) are four magicians (of different varieties) who are brought together by a mysterious other, they don’t know why. They appear as a big new act in Las Vegas; “The Four Horsemen” and do a performance that lead FBI Agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol Agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent) investigating their every move. The magicians are being bankrolled by multi-millionare Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) and the authorities are being assisted by a magician who now makes his money revealing tricks, Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). But who is who, and what is really going on?

I’m not a massive fan of magic. It’s not that I don’t get it; I reckon I get as wowed as most people. I just don’t really care how it’s done. I’ll go along for the ride if I must, but I’d be just as happy avoiding it. What I do like is a really clever film that has everyone one step ahead of everyone else… or, at least, you never really know who is doing what for who and why. And I really, really love that moment at the end of a heist film where everything is revealed, or the final plan takes place. Spy films, too. What is really ace about this film is that there are several times when all this happens. It is fast, constantly confusing and totally amazing.

Loved it. Lots.

Horton Hears a Who! (2008) Film Review



Horton (Jim Carrey) is an elephant who discovers a microscopic community, lead by the Mayor (Steve Carrell) living on a speck of dust. He becomes their protector, trying to save them against the evil Kangaroo (Carol Burnett) who wants to destroy them, to stop the creatures in this world believing in things they can’t see.


I’m not sure how close this is to the original book; if there really is the angst between the Mayor and his emo teenage son or what. Whatever, though. This is what it is; a pretty decent kids film. The animation is beautiful, there is a bit of humour, and the ‘message’ is not bad:  “A person’s a person no matter how small”



The Great Gatsby (2013) Film Review



Nick Caraway (Tobey Maguire) decides in the boom of the 1920s to become a trader in New Work, taking a small house in Long Island. He soon becomes lured into the wild, decadent life of his neighbour, Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). In the spin of things are his cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her husband, Tom (Joel Edgerton).


The idea of Baz Luhrmann making the film got me quite excited – it really needs the lavish touch that only Baz can bring. I had been concerned that some of the deeper moments may be lost – especially as I’d heard on the grapevine that the film was only about glitz and glamour and lost the key themes. I must read the book again, but for me it worked beautifully as is. I must keep my eyes open for if it gets re-screened in 3D. I’d like to see that, especially the tracking shots through the amazing parties.







The Rise of the Guardians (2012) Film Review


What happens when Pitch, the bogeyman, decides to take over the world to make every child scared of the dark by taking away their belief in the magical characters that make their lives better? The Guardians must assemble – Santa (called North, a massive, Russian, knife wielding dude voiced by Alec Baldwin), the silent Sandman, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Aussie Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). Not only battling Pitch (voiced by Jude Law), the Guardians must welcome the new and reluctant Guardian, Jack Frost (Chris Pine).

It’s a really good kids film. It’s beautiful, even when watched in 2D on a television. There is some good humour, a splash of emotional schmaltz and a pretty cool storyline. If you are around kids and need something to watch, this is a decent watch with quite a few laughs.

The Rise of the Guardians was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature.

Wedding Crashers (2005) Film Review


Two adult men crash weddings to get laid. Then one falls in love.

That’s about it. It’s pretty terrible. Vince Vaughan is very funny for part of it. There are a lot of overly long and tedious montages, including one with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams being cute of bikes. It’s really dumb. I hated almost all of it.

Rango (2011) Film Review


Johnny Depp voices the character known as Rango – a chameleon who is a pet until an accident ands him in the desert where he is forced to fend for himself. Being an animation, I was expecting the usual light-hearted children’s film. Yes, this film is somewhat aimed at children, but wow, it is pretty dark. The first sense of this came when Rango was standing on a road in the middle of the desert and his skin dries up, then sheds and then dries up again. Shortly after this, he meets an armadillo that has been run over flat by a passing truck. The armadillo is talking, and we meet him again later in the film in a more healthy state. But still, it was creepy as.

The animation is beautiful. The characters are beautifully drawn and magnificently animated. It was only after that I did some research and found it was created by Gore Verbinski who also made the Pirates of the Caribbean films – or, at least the first three. I’m not sure I’d necessarily recommend it for most children, certainly not young children. But for older kids, it’s awesome fun.