Tag Archives: comedy

Kingsman: The Secret Service Review

KSS CoverKingsman: The Secret Service

Released: February 13, 2015

Rated: R

Runtime: 129 Minutes

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a spy comedy film directed by Matthew Vaughn and stars Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Samuel L. Jackson. A spy agency recruits a struggling, but promising young man into their training program while an evil tech genius tries to take over the world.

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As you can probably already tell from the first paragraph, there’s nothing particularly original about the story; we’ve heard it many times before. However, does that make this movie bad? Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the polar opposite of a bad movie. When I first saw the trailers to this film, I wasn’t sure what to think about it. The film looked energetic and fun, but nothing made me want to see it…until I saw it was directed by Matthew Vaughn. This guy’s filmography is pretty great. You might recognize some of his other films like XMen: First Class or Kick Ass (sorry, it’s just the title of the movie). Both of those are really fun action movies revolving around young people trying to better themselves for the greater good. This movie is the same way, and it does the formula justice.

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The action scenes are very well crafted and very well directed. There are so many fight scenes that had me on the edge of my seat and are a bloody good time to watch. The dialogue is expertly written and is often humorous. The acting is also in good shape. I would complain about Samuel L. Jackson’s performance in this movie. His character speaks with a lisp and it’s very distracting at the beginning, but as the film progresses it starts to fit more with his character and it even fits the film’s mood quite well. The movie is very self aware in the best possible way. It’s constantly spoofing and paying homage to spy and espionage movies, it often makes for some genuinely funny moments. Bottom line, Kingsman: The Secret Service isn’t quite a breath of fresh air in filmmaking, but it’s definitely a good time at the movies. The film does have some pacing issues, but that’s the only flaw I can think of. Definitely check this out the next chance you get.

Verdict:

4 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

     -The movie is rated R for sequences of strong violence, language, and some sexual content

-There’s a scene towards the end of the film where sex is implied, and there’s also brief shot of nudity. Nothing too graphic.

-Cursing throughout the film including sexual dialogue.

-There are a couple scenes that display church-going people as a bunch of racist, hate mongering idiots.

-Quite a bit of bloody violence in this movie. It’s very stylized and nothing too graphic, but it could disturb some people.

-Don’t take young children to see this.

Faith Verdict:

1 out of 5

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Check out the trailer for Kingmsman: The Secret Service below and let me know what you thought of the film!

St. Vincent Review

St Vincent CoverSt. Vincent

Released: October 24, 2014

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 102 Minutes

St. Vincent is a comedy-drama directed by Theodore Melfi and stars Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard and Jaeden Lieberher. Murray plays Vincent, an old, grumpy ex-war veteran who gets a pair of new neighbors in a divorced mother named Maggie (McCarthy) and her son Oliver (Lieberher). Vincent and Oliver form an unlikely friendship when Maggie needs a babysitter since her new job requires her to work long hours. Throw in Vincent’s unordinary romantic relationship with a “lady of the night” named Daka (Watts) and you have a recipe for a great time.

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I really enjoyed St. Vincent, even though I didn’t have high hopes going in. It seemed to be a bit different and the style didn’t seem to match each respective actors’ traditional groove. But, I was pleasantly surprised. The film is very warm-hearted, boasting some emotional depth and several funny moments. The chemistry between each character is natural and everyone is on point at all times. The humanity within each character is also something to note. These are normal people with normal lives going through normal every day problems and scenarios. Yes, it is funny at times, but it plays more like a drama most of the time. There are several different things going on as the story progresses.

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The performances are great all the way around, with Murray being the best as the rough and rugged Vincent who is now an alcoholic when someone he hold dear seems to be wilting away at a local nursing home. He brings much to the table with his signature comedic flare. Old age doesn’t seem to be slowing this guy down at all. McCarthy’s performance is a breath of fresh air for her after playing her typical obnoxious self in movies like Bridesmaids, The Heat and Tammy. The biggest surprise is Lieberher as Oliver. It is one of those special child performances. The film is paced quite well and you never grow tired, as it is always entertaining. Throw in a few life lessons for children and adults alike and you have a quality dram-com. St. Vincent is a film you must see at least once.

Verdict:

4 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

-One sex scene

-Partial nudity; There is a scene at a strip club

-Profanity scattered throughout

-Some blood when two kids fight

Faith Verdict:

2 out of 5

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Check out the trailer for St. Vincent below. What did you think of the movie?

Paddington Review

Paddington Cover

Paddington

Released: January 16, 2015 (US)

Rated: PG

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Paddington is the story of a Peruvian bear, who after a series of events, goes to London in search of a new home. There, he meets a family who takes him in, but has trouble coping with life in the city and many adventures then ensue. Of course, Paddington the character is based on the real life stuffed bear which is famous worldwide and has been around since 1958. The film is based on the original story my Michael Bond.

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My fiancé and I decided to see Paddington at one of our favorite local theaters on a Friday night. It was around a 9:45 showing. I was utterly shocked to find out we were the only ones in the theater when the lights dimmed. Everyone else was busy seeing movies like Mortdecai and Strange Magic, films that have been met with critical and even viewer disdain. I know Paddington is an English movie and hasn’t got much publicity, but come one people! Look at him! This is easy the cutest bear I’ve ever seen on-screen, well except maybe for Kenai from Brother Bear. The animation and CGI are absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. The entire movie is cute, for that matter. The story chugs along at a perfect pace as we are introduced to Paddington and his (hopefully) new family after being taken in following an unfortunate chain of events. Ben Whishaw voices the adorable bear, while the supporting cast consists of Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins play the bear’s parents, Henry and Mary. They all do a wonderful job, along with Nicole Kidman as the evil Millicent, who will stop at nothing to capture Paddington.

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I couldn’t get over just how cute, innocent and engaging this film was. It is not just for kids! There’s plenty of humor to go around for all ages and you’ll find yourself chuckling with joy several times. The story is immensely heartwarming and you really care for the characters. We see compassion, forgiveness, love, happiness, sadness, tension, excitement and more from our characters. They also all have great chemistry. Most impressive of all though, is Paddington’s message about standing up for family, showing forgiveness and offering second chances. This can easily become a classic, with the right recognition and support.

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I was blown away by Paddington. It has a unique charm and is smart in its storytelling and wit. The cute little bear can become just as much of a film icon as he is a stuffed toy icon. Watching him try to adapt to a new way of life and interact with humans is funny and entertaining. With heavy emotional weight and wonderful characters, not much goes wrong, fundamentally. The same can’t be said for Henry, Mary and company, as Paddington does just about everything to push them over the edge, but that is where all the love and life lessons come in. The only problem I had with the film was its tendency to be unrealistic. If a bear pops up at a train station, aren’t people supposed to notice? Other times I questioned the bear’s emotional reactions to things (not going to spoil). Overall, Paddington is an excellent film, one of the best in recent years actually. This is a must-own on Blu-Ray when released, no question. Now, where can I find my own Paddington to adopt?

Verdict:

4.5 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

-Rated ‘PG’

-Some kissing

-A woman wears questionable clothing, such as tight clothing and high heels

-One scary and intense scene could frighten some children

-There is a scene of an implied death

-A couple alcohol references

-Some moments can be emotionally draining and very sad

Faith Verdict:

4 out of 5

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Check out  the trailer for Paddington and let me know what YOU thought of it in the comments below!

The Wedding Ringer Review

Wedding Ringer Cover

The Wedding Ringer

Released: January 16, 2015

Rated: R

Runtime: 110 Minutes

Review by contributor Austin Winkler

The Wedding Ringer is a comedy directed by Jeremy Garelick and stars Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. Gad plays Doug Harris, a socially awkward guy who’s about to get married. When he can’t find anyone to be the best man and groomsmen in his wedding, he hires Jimmy Callahan (Hart) who runs a business that provides best men for grooms in need. 

I’m going to cut straight to the chase on this one. I was pretty disappointed with this movie. I didn’t have high hopes at all walking in, but I expected it to be a stupid comedy movie that I could genuinely laugh at. Turns out I got even less than that. The movie has no depth and no connection with the characters. I really didn’t care about a single person in this movie. The plot also has potential, but it isn’t handled well at all. Overall the story is very bland and lacks substance.

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The movie isn’t all bad though. Josh Gad and Kevin Hart are an excellent comedy duo. They aren’t Seth Rogen and James Franco or Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, but they do their jobs respectively. The story, while lacking in depth, does send a good message about being with the people you love, and there are even a couple scenes that had me laughing. But nothing about this movie made me want to watch it again and there wasn’t a single moment that stuck to me. In fact, I vaguely remember seeing it because it’s just that forgettable.

Before I move on, I want to make one thing clear. Before you say anything like “Oh, it’s a stupid comedy, you can’t look too hard into it,” know that I absolutely love comedy movies. Yes, I love a movie to be thought provoking, emotional and deep, but I also love movies that are genuinely fun like Pineapple Express or Guardians of the Galaxy. I am not bashing this movie because I want to be that guy who hates on everything mainstream. I am simply voicing my honest opinion on the film.

Bottom line, I didn’t hate The Wedding Ringer, but there are plenty of other movies out there that are significantly better. The acting from the two leads are good and the movie screams potential, but the end result is squandered. I personally wouldn’t want to see this movie again, but if you want to see it, I would suggest waiting for it to be available to rent or see it at a matinee viewing.

Verdict:

2 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

-The movie is rated R for crude and sexual content, language throughout, some drug use and brief graphic nudity

-The script is riddled with bad language

-Some sexual dialogue, but there are no sex scenes.

-A scene showing a party with people drinking. There are also very brief shots of topless women.

-A scene showing a dog biting a man’s penis. We see it happening, but it’s one of those “blink-and-it’s-gone” moments.

-Some violence, but most of it is comical.

-A couple scenes where characters smoke marijuana.

-Definitely do not take young children to see this movie.

     Faith Verdict:

1 out of 5

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The Interview Review

Interview CoverThe Interview

Released: December 24, 2014

Rated: R

Runtime: 112 Minutes

The Interview is a political comedy directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.  The film is just now making it’s way to theaters, a few days after the original release date. We all know about the controversy surrounding this film, but is it worth it?

The Pineapple Express boys are back, but not quite better than ever. Interview 1No one can deny the chemistry Rogen and Franco share. It’s impeccable. They have formed a hilarious bromance that has blossomed over the past few years. This time around, the comedic duo play Dave Skylark (Franco) and Aaron Rapoport (Rogen). Skylark is the host of one of America’s most popular Hollywood entertainment TV shows and Rapaport produces it. The two are hired by the government to assassinate the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. It just so happens, Kim Jong Un’s favorite TV show is Skylark’s.

The story is obviously way out there and obnoxiously ambitious. Rogen and Franco’s performances are spot-on, but unfortunately Interview 2there aren’t as many laughs as you’d hoped. That’s due to a script that simply isn’t as good or funny as past movies like Pineapple Express or This is the End. Sure, there are some quality laughs, but a lot of it is just profanity-laced grossness or there for shock value. For supporters, Lizzy Caplan gives a ho-hum performances as a CIA agent and on a brighter note, Randall Park as Kim Jong Un is just fabulous. I was hoping for more chuckles, but hey, Pineapple Express 2 may be coming right?

You can count on Rogen and Franco to be their usual, over-the-top selves in The Interview. It’s craziness from start to finish. Sometimes it becomes utterly ridiculous, especially at the end. It’s a comedy through and through, but the movie sends a few good messages, especially the important political one. Who else would make a movie like this? MERICA.

Overall, I was a little disappointed with The Interview. Sure, its twoInterview 3 leads try their best to keep the laughs going, but eventually it becomes tired. The script could have been a lot better. On the flip side, the representation of Kim Jong Un is absolutely hilarious and there are some good laughs to be had.  I firmly believe that if the script writers would have focused more on quality dialogue than overused vulgarity, the film would have been much funnier. To put it simply, this movie is just okay. I would go as far as to say it’s more of an important movie than a funny one. I’m just glad it is getting released solely for that sake.

Verdict:

2.5 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

-Foul language throughout

-Sexual references throughout

-Some nudity

-One sex scene

-Some violence

-Not recommended for anyone under 17

-Accountability partner highly recommended

Faith Verdict:

0.5 out of 5

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Check out the teaser trailer for The Interview below and tell us what you thought of the movie in the comments!

Birdman Review

Birdman CoverBirdman

Released: October 17, 2014

Rated: R

Runtime: 119 Minutes

Review by Austin Winkler

Birdman is a comedy-drama directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and stars Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, and Edward Norton. Keaton plays a washed up actor who once played an iconic super hero. Throughout the film, he’s trying to get back in the game by producing, directing, and starring in his own broadway play while trying to overcome his ego and family troubles. 

To say this film is interesting would be an understatement. It’s not your typical movie, and not for the casual movie-goer. It’s very indy, artsy and different, but it’s also one of the best movies I have seen all year. The first thing I noticed about this movie is how it was directed and shot. It’s all made to look like one continuous take with very minimal edits. There are certain scenes where I could pick out where they might have added in an edit here or there, but it’s all done so expertly, it’s very hard to tell. The illusion of a continuous shot also made the movie more tense and visceral. Some scenes were a little slow, but that’s the film’s only flaw. Everything else literally had me on the edge of my seat because of the tension created with the camera work. The script is also very well written with tons of realistic conversations and clever dialogue that’s sometimes even quite hilarious.

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The film features an all star cast, as you could probably already tell from the first paragraph. Usually this is a bad sign for a film, but it totally works here. I can’t think of a single actor who was miscast for this film. Michael Keaton and Emma Stone have excellent chemistry as a very dysfunctional father and daughter who are both overcoming personal demons and trying to get through life. Edward Norton is also very good, but the actor who surprised me the most has to be Zach Galifianakis. He has proven to me he can do so much more than just a lovable idiot. His performance showed an incredible amount of emotional depth and it makes me excited for his acting career. Possibly my favorite thing about this movie is the message it sent. The movie explores directing, acting, criticism, and art in general and how hard it is to be successful without being a complete sell out. One of my favorite scenes in the movie shows a character going off on a theater critic, talking about how all they do is use big words in their reviews to intrigue potential audience members. It struck a chord with me because I feel like a lot of critics are like that. Now, I consider myself a film critic, but I do what I do not because I’m a wanna-be hipster who hates on everything, but because I genuinely love movies and I want to be able to voice my honest opinion on them.  I hope this movie had the same effect on other critics out there as well because it’s a message that needs to be heard.

Bottom line, Birdman is one of those movies that starts growing on you as you leave the theater. When I first watched this movie, I didn’t really know what my opinion was, but now that I’ve had a couple days to think about it, I can safely say this is one of my favorite movies of 2014. The film is just as thought provoking as it is entertaining. Casual movie goers may be hesitant to watch this movie, but I still encourage everyone to check it out as soon as you can.

Verdict:

4.5 out of 5

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Wade’s Thoughts:

When Austin and I arrived at the theater to watch Birdman, I knew what to expect. One of those quirky, odd, art-house projects that are always praised by critics. From the first scene, I knew it was going to be weird. But hey, weird is good when it comes to this movie. Why? Because it transcends the typical bizarre tone given by so many independent films. It is such an interesting concept, bringing a mainstream, veteran actor like Michael Keaton into a picture of this nature. It works…and it works well.

Sure, we’ve all heard the story before. The old, washed-up actor or artist gets a second chance, hoping for redemption in his now seemingly miserable life. But, when you have an important message, family drama, genuine characters and a top-notch cast all sprinkled in, you have a recipe for greatness and Birdman embraces this. With a career-resurrecting lead performance from Keaton, along with the likes of Zach Galifinakis, Edward Norton and Emma Stone, you’re always interested. On top of that, the script is exceptional.

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What pushes Birdman above everything else is its message. This message is directed squarely at critics, primarily of film and theater. It’s  a frustrated outcry or maybe even punch in the mouth to those who claim to know it all about film and the industry. This is socially and culturally significant, letting everyone know that everyone has their own opinion and its not worth hurting others to get across. We don’t have to know it all, we don’t have to critique every little detail, but we can indeed have an opinion. When things get personal, that is when everyone gets hurt.

Overall, Birdman is quite brilliant, as it boasts nearly every tool to make an excellent film. It then goes a step further, having its own opinion and voice in an industry dictated upon what “critics” say. It isn’t revolutionary, but it brings new ideas to the table and begs the audience to think for themselves and ask questions. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Verdict:

4.5 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

-Coarse language throughout

-Some sexual references, but no sex or nudity

-Mild violence

-Drug use

Faith Verdict:

2 out of 5

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Check out the trailer for Birdman below:

The Wolf of Wall Street Review

Wolf Wall Street CoverThe Wolf of Wall Street

Released: December 25, 2013

Rated: R

Runtime: 180 Minutes

The Wolf of Wallstreet is a dark-comedy directed by Martin Scorsese based on Jordan Belfort’s novel of the same name. The film stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie in the leading roles. The story takes place in the 90s and revolves around Jordan Belfort (Dicaprio) who is a stock broker running a firm participating in security fraud and corruption on Wall Street. I’m going to do this review a little differently than my other reviews. This film has received a lot of controversy due to its moral ambiguity. So I’m going to address my thoughts on the controversy as well as discuss whether or not the film is worth your time.

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It’s utterly amazing how corrupt someone can become through attaining a ridiculous amount of money. Jordan Belfort’s fall from grace is captured so perfectly and so viscerally that the film sparked tons of controversy. The film holds the record for most F-words used in a mainstream non-documentary film, but the horrible language is only the tip of the iceberg. The film contains gratuitous sexual content, I can name a couple scenes that made me think “am I supposed to be watching this?” I remember reading about the content of the movie on my phone’s “plugged in” app and on the internet movie database. I almost didn’t watch this movie because I was utterly disgusted with what I read, but I decided to give it a chance anyway.

 The Wolf of Wall Street - liquid lunchWhat the viewer might find relieving is the fact that most of the scenes don’t last but for a few seconds. Yes some are indeed graphic, but the majority of the scenes don’t last but for ten seconds maximum. Also, I didn’t think it took away from the plot like other explicit movies. You have to understand the film is trying to pay respect to the novel and the real story behind Jordan Belfort. I haven’t read the novel, but I saw a few interviews with the real “Wolf of Wall Street” and he claims everything in this movie actually happened with very few exceptions. The things these guys did were obscene, but the film uses its vulgarity to display a sense of realism and show you how far Mr. Belfort fell from grace. Some may disagree with me, but I thought the use of vulgarity was necessary for the story telling. I’m not saying I celebrate its use of vulgarity, but the film wouldn’t have the same effect on the viewer without it.

Wolf Wall Street 3Now that I’m off the subject of controversy, you might be asking yourself “how is the movie in general?” As I’ve said before, this is one of 2013’s best films. It was nominated for several Oscars, but won none…how dare the Academy let this happen. Leonardo Dicaprio is a force to be reckoned with and delivers an Oscar-worthy performance (which he was once again snubbed for). Scorsese also shines with his directorial style. He really knows what he’s doing behind a camera. Every single shot of this movie comes to life with vibrant colors and tons of energy. The script is where the film shines the most. The dialogue is clever, realistic and absolutely hilarious. Without spoiling anything, there’s a scene where someone tries to get high on Lemmon Qualude pills and the effects don’t kick in until later on. This scene made me laugh so hard, I might have cracked a rib or two.

     Bottom line, The Wolf of Wall Street is undoubtedly vulgar, but well worth your time if you aren’t bothered by those types of things. My only problems with this movie are a couple scenes that felt too drawn out. But this is one minor flaw in an otherwise flawless film. 

Verdict:

4.5 out of 5

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Faith Advisory:

-The film is rated R for sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence.

– There are many sex scenes as well as other scenes containing very perverse sexual content. Even though most are pretty brief, they are still very uncomfortable to watch and can get pretty graphic. Especially this one scene in the first ten minutes of the film combining sex and drugs.

-As I said in my review, the film holds the record for the most uses of the F-word in a mainstream, non-documentary film. To be exact, according to imdb, the word is used 569 times (18 times sexually). The film also contains many uses of other curse words.

-Quite a few scenes containing heavy drug use. A couple of these scenes are intended to be comical, but they can still potentially disturb some people.

-There are only a few scenes containing violence. Most are pretty brief and they aren’t gory. 

-As a film buff, this is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. I can only name a handful of movies that have come out in the last few years that are better than this one. However, as a Christian, it’s very hard for me to recommend this to anyone due to the film’s vulgar content. 

-If you do decide to watch it, pray first, and view with an accountability partner.

Faith Verdict:

0 out of 5

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Check out the trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street below: