Get Out

4.5 Stars

This unlikely mix of horror-thriller and comedy is pure brilliance!

Since the disappointing plot of A Cure For Wellness in February, I have been hanging out for a thriller that absolutely delivers – and I seem to have gotten my wish far sooner than expected. Writer, producer and director Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele and Keanu fame) is an absolute genius to marry these two genres together with such ease in his directing debut. The humor ends up being a perfect antidote to the very serious and sinister story as it unfolds.

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) have travelled out to stay with Rose’s Mum (Catherine Keener), Dad (Bradley Whitford) and brother (Caleb Landry Jones) for the first time as a couple. The already apprehensive situation of meeting her folks is compounded by the fact that he is of African-American descent. And why are the cook and groundskeeper are acting so peculiarly?

I have so many good things to say about this film. The acting overall is really impressive. Daniel Kaluuya gives a remarkable and emotional performance, which I think makes a huge difference to the realism and impact of what happens. You would never know he’s actually British, his American accent is flawless. LilRel Howery provides much of the comic relief as Chris’s friend Rod and is laugh-out-loud funny.

It’s a breath of fresh air these days when a film can stand on its own two feet without any big name actors, acclaimed directors, or franchises behind it to justify its presence.

Rewatchability is very important to me and Get Out is certainly a film I could watch over again. It’s the kind of film you’d like to watch again with someone who hasn’t seen it, so you can clock their reaction.

Get Out gives the cliché line “If you only see one movie this year…” relevance. Probably the best film i’ve seen since reviewing films for Siaeva. But don’t just take my word for it, my fellow critics gave it a round of applause at the end of the press screening!

Get Out premieres in Sweden on 19 April.

Why Him?

2 Stars

First-rate actors in a second-rate film.

Come on, Bryan Cranston, James Franco and Keegan-Michael Key – what were you thinking? It’s a crying shame that this group of fine actors would sink so low as to appear in this. I can’t imagine how much of a dud it could have been without them.

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Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) is dating millionaire gaming tycoon Laird (James Franco) and it is finally time to introduce him to her father Ned (Bryan Cranston) and family at Laird’s mansion. Together they are like chalk and cheese; Laird’s unconventional nature and penchant for curse words drives Ned crazy, in spite of the fact that Laird is hell-bent on making a good impression. German estate manager Gustav (Keegan-Michael Key) adds an extra dose of whacky to proceedings.

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Understandably there is a clash of personalities but it doesn’t make much sense that Ned is completely unimpressed by the fact that his daughter is dating someone who could afford to provide and look after her every want and need. Surely this is something that a father ought to be elated about?

Let’s be honest, this is a film that never needed to be made. If you really fancy watching a movie about a disapproving father, watch Meet the Parents.

The trailer is a pretty good indication of what you’re in for. Why Him? premieres in Sweden on 25 December.

Hello, My Name Is Doris

3.5 Stars

Cute ‘n sweet

Sometimes a film is only as good as the strength of its main character. You care about what happens to them, and therefore you want to watch the movie. I’ve been completely turned off films simply because I found the main character irritating and difficult to relate to (Notably, Amélie and Into The Wild). This is where Hello, My name is Doris shines. Doris (Sally Field) is such a loveable and charismatic character, you can’t help but root for her.

There’s the saying ‘Age is just a number’, but when the age gap gets up to 30-something years, it starts to seem like it can only belong in the realms of fantasy. This is precisely what happens when Doris develops a major crush on the young new art director at her work, John Freemont (Max Greenfield).

This isn’t your usual mass-produced romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, or equivalent. Sally Field is absolutely perfect in her role as the quirky Doris. Even though she is 69 years of age, she manages to put forth a youthful exuberance which makes her so endearing.

There are some amusing moments, but there isn’t much laugh-out-loud material here. It’s more of a light-hearted drama than a full-blown comedy. Yet at the same time there isn’t too much heavy material either. If you’re after a cup of hot cocoa and warm blanket movie on a Friday night, this is it!

Hello, My Name Is Doris premieres in Sweden on 27 May.

Hail, Caesar!

2.5 Stars

High quality pointlessness.

As a pitch, it sounds like a sure-fire success. Esteemed directors The Coen Brothers, an unlikely mix of actors delivering superb performances, the glamour of old Hollywood, and a bit of lighthearted wit thrown in – what’s not to love? But in spite of all of this, somehow Hail, Caesar! manages to underwhelm.

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Following on from ‘Trumbo’, this is the second film in the last few months about the blacklisted communist screenwriters of Hollywood. Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a ‘fixer’ working for Capitol Pictures. It’s up to him to make sure all of their brightest stars are kept out of trouble, namely Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich) and Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum).

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Alden Ehrenreich’s performance is especially impressive, I hope we see a lot more of him in the years to come.

I see that on IMDB Hail, Caesar! is currently rated overall at 7 out of 10 and 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. This makes me wonder if people feel obliged to like it just because it’s by the Coen Brothers, in a sort of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ situation. If so, I don’t mind being the person to point out that the king is actually naked.

Lighthearted films can work, but there isn’t enough laugh-out-loud comedy in this to give it the push it really needs to feel worthwhile. In spite of all the merits it can boast on paper, I can honestly say I would feel rather shortchanged if I had paid to see this.

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Hail, Caesar! premieres in Sweden on February 19.

Images © Universal Pictures

Zoolander No. 2

3 Stars

Completely over the top, as it ought to be.

As far as consistency goes, Zoolander 2 is on par with first film – not a claim many sequels can make. From the the ridiculous comedy to guest appearances galore (blink and you’ll miss them!), It’s safe to say that fans of the original will not be disappointed.

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Ex fashion models Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) are tempted back into the industry by the Zoolander universe’s answer to Donatella Versace, Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) and the hippest designer around, Don Atari (Kyle Mooney). Their paths cross with Melanie Valentina (Penélopa Cruz) as she is investigating the deaths of pop stars who have died in mysterious circumstances, for the fashion division of Interpol.

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The gags range from hilarious to mildly amusing to downright stupid; but comedy is subjective and there’s something for everyone here. The Justin Bieber scene at the start is great, unfortunately much of the punchline is given away in the trailer.

The pace is varied, it starts with a bang, gets a little boring in the middle and then picks right back up at the end. If nothing else, this film is jam-packed with clichéd references to this point in time (Netflix, Uber, selfie sticks, you get the idea). Done in such a way that you can’t help but be embarrassed about us when future generations watch it.

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If you haven’t seen the first film yet i’d recommend you see that first, so you have a better understanding of some of the references.

Zoolander No. 2 premieres in Sweden on February 12.

Irrational Man

3 Stars

Typical Woody Allen.

No one can mix the genres of comedy, romance and murder mystery quite like Woody can. In fact, no one else would probably even dare to try. As soon as you see his trademark typeface in the opening credits you know that you’re watching a Woody Allen™ movie and can rest assured it’s going to be good.

Jill (Emma Stone) is infatuated with her oddball psychology professor Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) who has completely lost his lust for life. As their friendship grows ever closer and Jill becomes more and more interested in Abe, she tries her best to revive his spirits but to no avail. That is, until a random overheard conversation in a diner turns his world upside down.

Irrational Man has quite a comfortable tempo, fast-paced enough to keep you interested, but still very down to earth and relaxed. It almost lulls you into a false sense of security. The crowning glory of the film is how perfectly it all ties up in the end – very reminiscent of Match Point. Special mention for Parker Posey, who is absolutely spot-on in her supporting role as Abe’s equally disillusioned fellow teacher, Rita.

So much more than your average romantic comedy, fans of Allen’s work will not be disappointed.

Irrational Man premieres in Sweden on October 2.

The Wedding Ringer

2.5 Stars

Not as good as The Wedding Singer.

When I first heard the title of this film, I immediately thought of ‘The Wedding Singer’ with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sander, one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time. Could The Wedding Ringer be as good as that, perhaps even better? Well, not quite…

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The distinct similarities don’t end at the matching titles; soon after the opening credits there’s a loud, upbeat backing track with guests dancing at a wedding – a direct copy of its namesake.

Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is in a bit of a pickle. He needs to find a best man and groomsmen for his upcoming wedding to admittedly out-of-his-league fiancée Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). So he enlists the services of Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), head of Best Man Inc. – a best man for hire. Jimmy is an Eddie Murphy/Chris Tucker type character, although perhaps not quite as funny.

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The overall concept of the film is unique and interesting, but it feels like it has been watered down somehow – some scenes were unnecessary and drawn out. There also doesn’t seem to be quite enough chemistry between the main characters Doug and Jimmy, if their bromance came across as more genuine it could have really made a big difference. There are a few hilarious moments though, I especially enjoyed Ignacio Serricchio’s minor role as the ridiculously camp wedding planner.

Lastly, one very important thing in its favour is that this is a real movie’s movie – watch this one with popcorn! The Wedding Ringer premieres in Sweden on February 25.