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.

The Town (2010) Film Review

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Charlestown, Boston. There are a group of guys who pull bank jobs, and they are quite good at it. However, things don’t go quite so ace on this last one and they end up taking a hostage for a short while. Bank worker Claire Kessey (Rebecca Hall) is trying to recover from her experience and being interviewed by FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) when she meets Doug MacRay (Ben Afffleck) and a relationship begins. Little does she know that Doug was one of the robbers, and he was checking to see if she remembered anything. Then he and his partner in crime, James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) are forced into another job by local heavy Fergus ‘Fergie’ Colm (Pete Postlethwaite) and things get more tense.

Ben Affleck directed this film and it was really fabulous. Strong story, not the most totally original (see On The Waterfront for some quite strong similarities in the relationship between the bad criminal and the good lady), but it is a good take on this. I really enjoyed the way the worlds of the film are created, and the way the characters totally inhabit the world. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Town was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Jeremy Renner).

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Film Review

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In 1951, a film was made which featured an alien visitor come to earth to warn the people of the planet that the planet would be destroyed if the destructive manner of the humans was not stopped. In 2008, someone decided that the message had not been received, and that the film should be remade. It was not the best decision.

Keanu Reeves plays Klaatu, the alien visitor who takes human form to report to the leaders of the planet. He leaves the secure site he is held in, helped by scientist Helen Benson(Jennifer Connelly) who believes he is not out to destroy the world. Add in her cute step-son, Jacob (Jaden Smith) and you have the makings of a mediocre disaster film. I’m not sure if anything could save this – it was corny and clichéd throughout. The special effects were pretty awesome, but neither they nor the talent of Kathy Bates or John Cleese could save it.