Half Magic – Brand New Trailer!

Heather Graham has had at turbulent career but now she returns in raunchy sex comedy Half Magic. 

The film revolves around a bunch of gals trying to find a decent partner who is good at sex as well as emotions.

I am super excited to have Stephanie Beatriz in a film so that’s a plus but there is something a bit off about this film. What do you think?


Half Magic is out 2018! 

The Weekend Binge – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I remember when I was first introduced to Rachel Bloom: It was during University where a friend  urged me to watch an insane yet brilliant music video.

It was this one.

With subversive, sexual lyrics and a top video about a prolific science fiction writer that was also filled with ludicrous puns and hilarity, I was sold. I knew I was going to love this artist  for a very long time.

After becoming popular on Youtube, Rachel Bloom and co-creator  Aline Brosh McKenna presented us with  a musical television that was, I have to stress, absolutely nothing like Glee. That television series was Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Two Golden Globes, any live shows, and a whole legions of fans later, the songstress  and producer have created a massive hit with their intricate, emotive, and lovable television series.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend revolves around Rebecca Bunch who is a successful lawyer in New York City. When offered a promotion, her emotions come crashing down and she realises that for all the work she has done, it has never been enough. Whilst having a panic attack in the street, she sees a sign pointing to Josh Chan, an ex-boyfriend from her teenage years. Feeling he is the answer to her problems, Rebecca moves across country to West Corvina to start afresh….and to fall madly in love with Josh Chan. With help from new friends and a musical number or two, can Rebecca get the guy?

Bloom and McKenna are goddamn geniuses. I won’t take anything less. They have overturned all stereotypes and crafted an immutable and unforgettable show. What they have  has created here is a mastery of song, colour, and important character development.

With Rebecca, Bloom is unafraid to portray her every single faults in an complex and human way. The lead character is relatable in her unravelling and, yes, heinous in other difficult places. Bunch inhabits a woman in the midst of a breakdown but who can fool herself into falling in love whilst making very realistic mistakes. Her character is so incredible because she is flawed, and Bloom portrays her in such an engaging and empathetic way.

Bloom is helped by some impressive side-players. Donna Lynne Champlin as Becca’s best friend Paula goes through her own strife (and also has some of the best moments,) whilst Santino Fontana, Scott Michael Foster, and Vincent Rodriguez III as her turbulent lovers are superb additions to the show. The deadpan Vella Lovell, the love to hate Gabrielle Ruiz, and the adorable Pete Gardener equally have stellar roles.

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Let’s talk about the songs. The songs! THE SONGS!

The songs are pure gold. There is not a genre that isn’t mimicked in some appealing way with lyrics that play mockery to the situations Bunch & Co are in. From the pop/dance anthem of Heavy Boobs (my ringtone, by the way,) which slices down the difficulties of being “blessed” with a heavy set to the incredible epic After Everything I’ve Done To You which involes Gypsy‘s crashing crescendo, each musical outing is a parade of mischievous talent. That being said, Bloom also uses her skill to pen heart-wrenching moments that capture self-deprecation, loneliness, and more. Working with themes and lyrical brilliance that resonate so deeply, Bloom and a team of composers (Adam Schlesinger, Frank Ciampi, and Tom Polce,) have crafted some of the best songs of all time. And no, I’m not being hyperbolic.

I could spend this time listing all the best songs but it’s best to head over the the Youtube Channel. I do have to add; I Go to the Zoo is a revelation. 

The latest episodes in Season 3 have switched the tempo, and without spoiling too much, it is a defining moment for the characters that can help others in equal distress. Bloom pours her heart and soul into this vivid world and it shows. Entertaining yet emotional, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of the best series on television.

I’ll end this review on the song that made me go from like to obsessed. Which is fitting….

P.S. As I don’t have the words to talk in depth about each and every Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode, please head over to the AV Club to see Allison Shoemaker’s thoughts because they are beautifully written and often on point.


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is available on Netflix

Brawl in Cell Block 99 – Review

by Scott Bates

Best known for his “likable everyman” roles in mainstream romcoms such as The Break-Up and Couples Retreat, Vince Vaughn takes on the role of a tough, tattooed drug courier ordered to perform a prison hit after he finds himself behind bars in Bone Tomahawk director S Craig Zahler’s brutal grindhouse thriller Brawl In Cell Block 99.

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Vaughn’s Bradley Thomas is a former boxer turned drug courier who works for Gil (Marc Blucas), an old friend, delivering packages to clients by day and relaxing at home with his pregnant wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) by night. One day, Gil sends Bradley along with two associates to retrieve a package dumped in the harbour – the retrieval is successful, but the getaway isn’t. Bradley soon finds himself incarcerated at Greenleaf penitentiary, where he’s informed by a mysterious visitor that Lauren has been kidnapped and will be killed unless he murders a fellow prisoner residing in cell block 99.

Director Zahler is making a name for himself with dark, gritty genre films – his 2015 western Bone Tomahawk received rave reviews and has garnered a cult following, and now Cell Block 99 looks likely to do the same. This isn’t your average fast-paced Hollywood action film – it’s a rare example of a thriller that takes its time to tell its story and develop its characters, and respects the intelligence of its audience by not throwing in an unnecessary action sequence every 15 minutes. Bradley doesn’t end up behind bars until around 40 minutes in, and it’s another 20 minutes before things begin to get really violent. And make no mistake about it, this is one violent film, especially in its second half. There’s enough broken limbs and stomped-on heads here to shock even the most hardened gore fanatic – the elevator scene in Drive looks like Balamory compared to this.

That said, the violence never feels overly nasty, not given the film’s story, and if anything just goes to show just what a genuinely great actor Vaughn is – it’s hard to imagine Fred Claus snapping arms and legs with reckless abandon but Vaughn manages to pull off all his brawls here (and there is more than just the one in cell block 99) as convincingly as any trained fighter or action star. Bradley Thomas is a determined, desperate man capable of doing terrible things, and Vaughn plays the emotional elements of him just as well as the physical stuff. The first half-hour of the film introduces us to Bradley and allows us to get to know him as a person, making us sympathetic for him when his wife is threatened and giving us an idea of what he can do if he really wants to – an early scene features Bradley literally tearing up a car after discovering Lauren’s infidelity, smashing windows, pulling out mirrors and headlights, even tearing off the hood and launching it across the street. But he’s clearly a man of some sensitivity – he’d rather take out his anger on the car than Lauren herself, calmly going inside their house to talk to her afterwards.

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It’s rare that a genre film like Cell Block 99 has such a well-developed, genuinely engaging lead character, and moves at a pace that favours character and plot development just as much as action. The brawls themselves are shot particularly well, with none of the rapid cutting every second so often seen in bigger Hollywood films. We really get the full impact of what’s going on – an arm break in the first fight was just one of several moments that elicited a physical and audible reaction from my audience.

With its uncompromisingly graphic violence and relatively slow pace, Cell Block 99 certainly won’t be for everyone, but genre fans and those wanting an action film that stands out from the crowd will certainly find plenty to like. Vaughn’s naysaysers should give it a watch as well – this could really be the beginning of a Matthew McConaughey-style career revival for him.


Brawl in Cell Block 99 is on DVD & Blu-Ray Boxing Day! 

A Futile & Stupid Gesture – Brand New Trailer!

National Lampoon is one of the best comedy collectives of all time, from magazine to Animal House. And if there weren’t enough movies about white men objectifying women, taking drugs, and doing something mildly successful, then this has pushed it overboard.

The film revolves around Doug Kenny and the rise and fall of National Lampoon.

Starring Will Forte and Domnhall Gleeson, this could be fun but eeehhh. What do you think?


A Futile and Stupid Gesture is out on Netflix in 2018! 

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – Brand New Trailer!

Boy. Never has a title been so appropriate for a film. Yes, of all the films in the world, cheesy and over the top musical Mamma Mia! is getting a sequel. This time with more Abba songs!

The film revolves around Donna, Rosie, and Tanya as well as Harry, Sam, and Bill, looking at the past and present and intricate relationships.

Bringing back the same crowd; Meryl Streep, Christine Birinski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skasgaard, and Colin Firth as well as introducing Lily James, Alexa Davies, and Jessica Keenan Wynn as the young Donna, Tanya, and Rosie. It’s a star-studded cast but could it be any good? Objectively no, but it’s going to be good cheesy fun!

What do you think?

 


Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is out 20th July 2018