There are some films that I really think don’t need to be made – and I guess what I mean by that is that there are people who can be really fabulously clever and funny, and it’s disappointing when you see something that is less than great from them. Masterminds is one of those films. It’s a ridiculous film based on a real story. Though surely the real story is not so absurd.
Zach Galifanakis stars as David Ghantt, a man with a terrible haircut, not much brainpower and who works for an armoured car company. Engaged to the strangely insane Jandice (Kate McKinnon), he is briefly partnered with a woman who he develops a deep crush on, Kelly (Kristen Wiig). So when she, after leaving the job, decides to convince him to rob a van, he goes happily along to do this, in the stupidest possible way, with his unknown sidekicks lead by Steve(Owen Wilson).
There’s some humour here. Silly, bad hair, spider eating humour. But really, it’s a dud. It’s like this is a script that should have been workshopped a lot more, perhaps something could have been made of it. Instead, it’s a bit of silly fun that is several levels below what most of the cast can do, and it was really disappointing.
It’s the 70s. Minnie (Bel Powley) is a teenager whose mother, Charlotte (Kristin Wiig) has come out of a long-term relationship with a man who restricted her freedom. She now has a boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard) and together they regularly get drunk and high and have a great time. Then Minnie starts having sex with Monroe without her mother knowing. And she loves this secret, despite feeling ugly and terrible.
It’s an odd film. I hate the idea that this man takes advantage of this girl, but yet he ultimately seems more unhappy and basically effed up than anyone else. But is him feeling a bit crap any real punishment for his seducing this young, innocent girl? The fact that both she and, ultimately, her mother come out better at the end doesn’t really make up for his sleazy behaviour… does it?
I love the occasional use of animation, and the fact that the girl is ultimately stronger than she thinks, and despite her mother, you feel that she’s got a good future at the end. I think I liked it; I definitely likes Bel Powley as Minnie and look forward to seeing more from her.
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is trying to be taken seriously as a science academic, but is haunted by her past with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and their book that dealt with the possible reality of ghosts. So when she meets up with Abby again, now working with the weird and wacky Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they actually see a ghost, she has to reconsider many life choices. Then things start to get a bit out of control in the ghost world; they end up hiring a very handsome and very stupid secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), get a fourth to their group, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), become celebrities, but then quickly get shut down by Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia) and… it continues.
Yes, there was a lot of talk about the remake of a classic film, and even more when it was revealed that the main characters would all be women. I understand the fear that the original, that so many of us grew up loving, might be tarnished by a remake. Well, I thought it was fabulous. It had much of the silly humour of the first, as well as a few of the scary shock moments. And what an awesome cast! I kind of wish that it had been more of a long-awaited sequel – I couldn’t be bothered with a whole origin story. But still, I just loved it. Especially the Holtzmann character – it’s been ages since I’ve seen such a fun 80s style crazy character.
On Mars, things can be unpredictable. Like, you may just be doing some routine things, collecting rocks or whatever and then a big storm can hit and you have to get out. But what happens when one of you gets left behind? Well, if you happen to be Mark Watney (Matt Damon), you are a lucky guy. You’ve got a whole lot of brains, and you can do stuff to keep yourself alive in the hope that your awesome crew and the folks back on Earth can figure out that you are still alive and try to work out how to get you back
Apparently a lot of the science is based on real science, but really, I don’t care. It was a good, fun film. Matt Damon gets to play a character who has a lot more personality than I’d expected. The supporting cast are pretty terrific, just check out these names: Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and it goes on and on. I loved the suspense, the fear, the making things work -it was like a whole new and exciting Apollo 13.
The Martian was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Matt Damon), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay). It won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Matt Damon) and was nominated for Best Director – Motion Picture (Ridley Scott). IT was nominated for BAFTAs for Best Director (Todd Hayes), Best Actor (Matt Damon), Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound and Best Special Visual Effects.
After Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) found a way for his people to become friends with dragons in How to Train Your Dragon, he spends a lot of time with Toothless investigating the wider world. And then he discovers that not everyone in the wider world is nice. And there are a whole bunch of battles and fights, and not everyone survives.
Made me laugh, made me cry. And I think was a pretty top sequel to the first one. And there are a few decent female characters – sure one chick is totally boy crazy, but she also kicks arse somewhat.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature of the Year and won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.
Alison (Katherine Heigl) takes her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) out partying to celebrate her new onscreen role on a television entertainment show. He meets Ben (Seth Rogan) who is out partying with his stoner friends. They spend the night together and then, a few weeks later, she discovers that she is pregnant. The film takes them through the discovery and up to the birth with them trying to form a relationship with each other and prepare for a baby.
It’s pretty average. There are certainly fun moments, but there seemed to be no reason for it to go on the way it did. I could not figure out why on earth they would pursue a relationship given how much they really didn’t get along. But luckily, it seemed that having the baby meant they will have a happy life. Whatever.
Gru (Steve Carrell) is an evil villain, but an evil villain is only as respected as his last act of evilness. So when a new villain, Vector (Jason Segal) comes on the scene, Gru, his side-kick, Dr Nefario (Russell Brand), and his minions need to step up big time.
Excellent cast, good story, some reasonable female characters (still not enough, animated film makers, come on), I really should have loved it a lot more than I did. I’d been told by a lot of people that I’d really like it, but it just seemed a bit samey to me. Funny, yes. Cute, definitely. Well conceived, sure. So what didn’t work? I just can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps I am just a bit over the bad guy who ends up not being the bad guy? (Although I loved the bedside stories). I’d be concerned it was being over animated films, but I really enjoyed Frozen just recently. It’s not you, Despicable Me, it’s me. You’ll find someone who loves you for who you are. Just not me.
Despicable Me was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for Best Animated Film.