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Comedy

On the Rocks (2020)

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You know what’s great about her?
She doesn’t talk. She just listens.
That sounds perfect for you.

 

Life is full of unexpected turns. As an 18-year-old, I rented the adult cartoon “Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle” just for fun. Probably because of the titillating vamp on the cover, lying naked on a huge platter and carried by figures that looked like penises. No one could suspect that a voice actor in this cartoon would become one of my most popular actors. If there’s one comedian who manages to make me chuckle without any problem, it’s Bill Murray. Like in “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters”. Or the incomparable film “Groundhog Day”. However small his role may be in a feature film, he always manages to create an unforgettable scene, such as in “Zombieland” for example. Put Murray in a horror, and his typical way of acting makes it a completely different experience. Just watch “The dead don’t die” and you’ll know what I mean. In short, a versatile actor who takes a film to a higher level with his contribution.

 

 

Lost in Translation.

This year I came to the conclusion that I had never seen the movie “Lost in translation”. A film directed by Sofia Coppola (daughter of) with Bill Murray and the very young Scarlett Johansson in the leading roles. Even though there was something slightly comical lurking beneath the surface of this film, the subject matter was far from comical. A film about two individuals who are right in the middle of an identity crisis. A film about love and loneliness. Loneliness not only because of the life situation they both find themselves in, but also because of the fact that they are in a country where they don’t understand the language, culture, and general way of life. Two lost souls who discover, sense, and encourage each other. I admit, I was moved after seeing this masterful film. Finally, after a long time a film that rocked my socks off. A thought-provoking film that’ll resonate for a pretty long time. Yes, some movies do that to me.

 

 

A wild search for the truth.

And then 17 years after the release of this magisterial film, we get a renewed collaboration between Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray. “On the Rocks” is not as magical as “Lost in Translation“. But somewhere deeply hidden it does have points of contact with the latter. Here, too, Laura (Rashida Jones) is in the middle of a crisis. Both in terms of her marriage and her writing career. The suspicion that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) just pretends to have lots of work since starting his own company, just to cover up an affair, grows stronger. And writing a new book isn’t easy either. The day she tells her father Felix (Bill Murray), a charismatic wealthy art dealer with an untameable flirtation habit, about her suspicions, he throws himself wholeheartedly into the case with full dedication. Before Laura realizes it, she is embroiled in a wild search for the truth.

 

 

Murray nails it.

On the rocks” isn’t such a depressing and melancholic story as “Lost in translation“. There’s more humor in it. How another mother at school tells Laura every morning about her love life. The interesting facts about human behavior and the evolution of relationships between men and women Felix tells about every time unexpectedly. The wild chase in a “not so suspicious-looking” red, noisy convertible through the streets of New York. Perhaps it’s rather light, uncomplicated humor. Still, it’s subtle at the same time. The chemistry between Laura and her father feels unforced and authentic. And this won’t come as a surprise: Bill Murray nailed it once more. He demands full attention every time he comes into the picture. His characteristic acting and the way in which he can charm random people with his smooth talk is simply superb. And it’s not just the female population that falls for his smooth-talking. The way he manages to turn a police officer’s mood from being reprimanding to being helpful is just sublime.

 

One more time.

“On the rocks” is about marital troubles, a complicated father-daughter relationship, and also about how people get lost in the turbulent and chaotic society in which they live. It’s not another masterpiece of Coppola, but surely it’s another successful cooperation between Coppola and Murray. I quietly hope that they will work together again in the future.

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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Comedy

Happiest Season Review

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It’s that time of year again, and even though its only November, Christmas movies are starting to be released as everyone puts up their tree and starts counting down the days. Now I’m not normally a fan of Christmas films nor am I really fan of rom-coms either, so, as you can imagine, I was very pleasantly surprised by how good Happiest Season is and by how much heart this film has.

Happiest Season follows Abby (Kristen Stewart) who plans to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) on Christmas at her parents’ annual holiday party but things don’t quite go to plan when Abby learns that Harper hasn’t come out yet to her parents. Abby and Harper have to pretend to just be friends to Harper’s family which creates problems for the couple.

The whole film is full of charm and joy but it also contains a lot of substance, which is very refreshing for a Christmas rom-com. At the film’s heart is Abby and Harper’s relationship, perfectly captured by the performances from Stewart and Davis. Stewart shows the frustration she feels about keeping Harper’s secret so well and she manages to shine in both the comedic scenes but also in the dramatic and sensitive scenes as well. Davis is very good too, but it does feel much more like Abby’s film than Harper’s. Whilst the film is anchored by Stewart and Davis, the supporting cast is filled with great actors; Alison Brie is so much fun as Harper’s older sister Sloane and Schitt’s Creek’s Daniel Levy is on great form as Abby’s best friend John. Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber also shine and provide lots more heart and laughter to the film.

As well as the impressive cast, the writing from Clea DuVall (who also directed) is really good too, with the film providing so many great quotable moments and many moments that made me laugh out loud. But the film also feels really tender and human as well and DuVall manages to juggle the comedic and sensitive scenes of the film really well and she handles the lesbian relationship at the film’s centre very well. Happiest Season can definitely join the list of fun, worthy Christmas rom-coms.

It’s just a lovely film and you can’t help but smile and laugh along with which is just what you’d expect from a nice straightforward Christmas film but Happiest Season has much more to offer than that as it grapples with ideas about sexuality and acceptance and family, thus creating a film with a lot of meaning and a lot of heart. For the first half of the film, it did feel a little bit generic and there was nothing too special about it as it shifts between some rather OTT comedy and trying to set up some really emotional and sincere moments but it was in the final act where the film really hit the mark and it really went somewhere and achieved something really strong and powerful.

Overall, Happiest Season is a nice, fun Christmas film with heartfelt performances and a great message that leaves you with that warm, bubbly feeling that you expect from a Christmas film.

3.5/5

Happiest Season is available on Hulu or available to rent or buy in many other countries now.

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Action

Fatman | Official Trailer – Starring Mel Gibson

To save his declining business, Chris Cringle, also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the military; a devious 12-year-old hires a hitman to kill Santa after getting a lump of coal in his stocking.

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Genre:

Action, Comedy, Thriller

Release Date:

November 17, 2020

Director:

Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms

Cast:

Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Shaun Benson, Chance Hurstfield, Bill Turnbull,

Plot Summary:

Santa Claus must contend with a hitman sent from a disappointed child.

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Comedy

The War with Grandpa | A Kind Of Mixture Of ‘Home Alone’ And ‘Dennis the Menace’

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Sometimes you have to make
sacrifices in a family.

 

What a top actor, Robert De Niro. Most of the films in which he played the lead, became film classics. Memorable roles that will still impress in decades to come. From “Taxi Driver” to “Goodfellas”. From “The Deer Hunter” to “Casino“. Unforgettable masterpieces. The only thing De Niro should have avoided in all these years is comedies. Besides “Last Vegas” there isn’t a single comedy (at least of those I’ve seen) with De Niro that I thought was worth watching. Lame humor and an irritating storyline are usually the biggest annoyances about such films. “Meet the Fockers”, “Analyze That”, “The Big Wedding”, “The Family” and “The Intern”, just to name a few. Every time I felt vicariously ashamed. This is also the case with “The war with GrandPa”.

 

 

The Family.

Let’s introduce grandfather Ed (Robert De Niro), who’s hopelessly left behind after the death of his beloved wife. Next, there’s the concerned daughter Sally (Uma Thurman) who wants her father to move in with her family, regardless of what the family members have to say about that. Husband Arthur (Rob Riggle) is again such a good-natured guy (and obviously Ed has nothing good to say about him) who looks at the whole thing with resignation and grudgingly agrees with the whole situation. Then there’s son Peter (Oakes Fegley) who’s screwed and reluctantly has to give up his beloved room. And this because grandfather’s legs refuse to work properly and so grandpa takes up residence there. Peter has to move to the dusty attic with a roof that’s not watertight and where unwanted pets run across the wooden truss. The eldest daughter Mia (Laura Marano) has the least problems since she’s living in her own teenage world. And finally, there’s the adorable daughter Jennifer (Poppy Gagnon). The only one who’s extremely enthusiastic about the new housemate.

 

 

Declaration of War.

You can already guess what’s going to happen after reading the title of the film. Yes, grandson Peter declares war on Grandpa Ed. The stake is the bedroom he had to hand over. At first, Ed finds it all highly amusing. The written declaration of war slipped under his door is treated with derision. And Grandpa Ed is willfully playing the game. It seems so innocent to him. I don’t think it’s going to be a surprise when it turns out that things start to get out of hand.

 

 

Average Family Film.

I thought it was quite astonishing that famous actors cooperated in this average family film. Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken, and Jane Seymour. Admit it, they are not the least. I suppose these actors would also like to experience a pleasant film set with a less demanding, relaxing role instead of a physically hard, intense one. Just like me wanting to have a peaceful moment in the midst of all the horror violence stuff I watch most of the time. The main subject being the clash between youth and the elderly in this movie seemed rather obvious. Unfortunately, there are other storylines that were added and not further explored. Like the love-hate relationship between the mother and her future son-in-law. Or the work situation of father Arthur. The only sidetrack that is gratefully used is the bullying of Peter at school. That was rather funny.

 

 

A slightly corny comedy.

The rest of the film is a series of silly jokes those two arch-rivals are playing on each other. The pace at which these pranks follow each other is blisteringly fast. And they are of the level as the April Fools’ Day jokes. Replacing shaving cream with quick-drying foam or replacing cookie filling with toothpaste. Well, the movie has its charms. It’s a slightly corny comedy. A kind of mixture of “Home Alone” and “Dennis the Menace”. Obviously the film aims at a younger audience because my 8-year-old son next to me laughed a lot while watching. I’m afraid I’m not part of the target audience. I guess I belong to De Niro’s age-group. But nobody will ever ask me to play such a part.

 

 

My rating 4/10
Links: IMDB

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