Simon Says – Sick Day

FADE IN:

INT. EMILIO’S LIVING ROOM – EVENING

The room is furnished with couches and chairs that don’t match, and the walls are painted a sickly green. Wooden masks hang along the back wall, and a wooden man with a spear stands in the corner.

EMILIO is lying across a couch staring at the TV. He lifts a piece of toast to his mouth. Nibbling the corner, crumbs fall down his shirt. Emilio lowers the toast and looks up to the ceiling.

The SOUND of the front door opening interrupts him. He glances towards the hallway as he hears thuds in the doorway. SHAUNA enters followed by TOM and ROB.

SHAUNA: What’s this rumour that you’re sick?

Emilio looks at them then turns away and shrugs.

EMILIO: I’m sick.

Shauna pushes papers on the coffee table to the side and sits down.

SHAUNA: You don’t get sick. You can’t get sick.

Emilio sighs and turns to look at her. He glances over to Tom and Rob.

EMILIO: You guys going to stand there like idiots?

Tom and Rob glance at each other then move to a couch and sit down. Emilio shakes his head then turns back to Shauna.

EMILIO (CONT’D): It’s a simple plan. Even Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum over there could figure it out.

Tom jumps to his feet, but Rob grabs his arm. Tom looks down at him as Rob shakes his head. Tom lowers himself back to the couch.

TOM: You’re lucky my good sense saved you.

Emilio rolls his eyes.

SHAUNA: I don’t care how simple the instructions are. I don’t like having you bail in the homestretch.

Emilio sits up, grimacing at her.

EMILIO: You want me to throw up all over your take? I think you can manage a single job without me.

Shauna glances back to Tom and Rob. They shrug. Shauna exhales and turns back to Emilio.

SHAUNA: You’re that sick?

Emilio covers his mouth as he lets out a dramatic cough.

EMILIO: So ill.

Shauna places her hand on her head and massages her temple.

SHAUNA: I want half your take.

Emilio laughs, but it turns into a cough. Shauna remains straight-faced.

EMILIO: You serious?

Shauna nods.

EMILIO (CONT’D): Fifteen percent.

SHAUNA: Forty.

EMILIO: I can’t go any higher than twenty five.

SHAUNA: Thirty.

Emilio crosses his arms.

EMILIO: Maybe I should go and throw up all over your take.

SHAUNA: Thirty percent of your take, and you can get all the beauty sleep your little face requires.

Tom and Rob snicker. Emilio shoots them a look. Their expressions go blank.
EMILIO: Fine, but if anything goes wrong, it’s out of your take.

Shauna stands.

SHAUNA: Nothing will go wrong. It’s a simple plan.

Shauna walks towards the exit, gesturing for Tom and Rob to follow. They stand, and Emilio watches as they all leave. Once he hears the door shut, he picks up his phone and makes a phone call.

EMILIO: I think I just heard someone planning a robbery.

FADE TO BLACK.

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Gallagher Says – Nightcrawler

I had heard good things about Nightcrawler around the time of its Academy Award nomination (for Best Original Screenplay). Its subject matter revolving around the broadcast industry made it somewhat popular among my follow students.

The story revolves around Louis Bloom played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Louis is unemployed and willing to do anything for a job. One night he stumbles upon an accident and is introduced to the world of freelance photography chasing crime scenes. Louis has a talent for it and begins to delve deeper into the wrong side of the law.

For the most part the film is a slow-burn thriller and character study of the type of people who film horrific images for a living. The opening of the film is lighter and has a little more humour, but this fades away as it falls into its creepier side.

The biggest thing holding the film together is the performances. Gyllenhaal does well in playing a focused and often creepy protagonist. The role suffers a little from being very straight-faced and monotone.

Rene Russo also holds her own alongside him as an equally eager news director with a similar love of the morbid. The standout role for me was Riz Ahmed as Rick, Louis assistant and navigator. Ahmed has the most grounded performance and is the character that allows the audience to connect with such a dark world.

My Favourites from the film: Ahmed’s performance was my personal favourite of the film. Louis setup for filming and his first shoots are fun and engaging. The finale works out very well and is quite thrilling.

My Less enjoyed parts of the film: I just have to say it was very slow. It’s two hours long, and one of those hours is purely building tension and moving the characters towards a somewhat expected outcome. The middle of the movie just really lost steam for me, and there’s a subplot where Louis is making romantic pursuits that I felt really went nowhere.

My Recommendation Not for casual moviegoers. If you are looking for an interesting character study with morality questions, this may be for you. It will also appeal to fans of dark thrillers, but be prepared for a slow plot.

Simon Says – The Party Is Here

FADE IN:

EXT. STREET – NOON

An office building stands taller than the rest of the buildings on the block. It’s wall of glass shines in the sunlight as taxis pass by below.

NATE steps out of the front door, carrying a box of miscellaneous items. He is in his mid thirties, clean shaven and well kept. He is clothed in a suit, but his tie hangs loose around his neck. Glancing back at the building for a second, he turns and walks down the steps to the street.

Once he reaches the bottom of the steps, he raises his hand to hail a taxi, but the box begins to fall from his arm. Doubling over, he tries to regain it. A taxi stops at the curb. Nate gets his grip on the box. The taxi begins to pull away, but Nate rushes over and pulls the door open.

INT. FANCY APARTMENT – NIGHT

The door swings open, and Nate glances inside. The apartment is dim with strobe lights flashing various primary colours. Paintings break the empty expanses of walls.

GEORGE is holding the door open. He’s in his late twenties and wears expensive clothes. He clears his throat.

GEORGE: You coming in?

Nate notice the droves of PEOPLE bustling around the apartment, drinks in hand.

NATE: I think so.

Nate steps closer, but George puts his hand out, stopping him.

GEORGE: Who’d you get the invite from?

Nate stares at George. He shakes his head.

NATE: I don’t remember anymore.

George shrugs.

GEORGE: Hey, what the hell. Don’t sweat it. Welcome to my pad.

George steps back, letting Nate inside. Nate steps into the apartment, nodding to George. ALICE dances past. She stops and turns back to them.

ALICE: Nate, you made it.

Nate turns to George.

NATE: I guess we found my invite.

Alice grabs him by the arm. Nate looks to her.

ALICE: I’m so glad you’re here. I was getting tired of walking to the bar.

She drops her cup into his hand.

ALICE (CONT’D): Could you get me a gin and tonic. Thanks.

NATE: Could we talk?

Alice has already left. Nate watches after her as she bounces over towards the DJ. Nate turns to George, but he is already gone. Nate looks down at the cup in his hand.

INT. FANCY APARTMENT – LATER

Nate is sitting beside the bar. He lifts Alice’s cup.

NATE: Another gin and tonic.

The BARTENDER sighs as he walks over. He refills the cup and hands it back to Nate. Nate chugs back half of it when Alice taps him on the shoulder.

ALICE: Is that my drink?

Nate turns to her. He looks down into what is left of the drink and holds it out to her. Alice rolls her eyes and turns to the bartender.

ALICE (CONT’D): Gin and tonic please.

The bartender slams a cup down and begins filling it.

BARTENDER: I can make other drinks if anyone cared.

He hands Alice her drink.

ALICE: Thanks.

The bartender grumbles as he turns away. Alice turns to Nate.

ALICE (CONT’D): What’s up?

Nate leans on the bar.

NATE: Work sucks.

Alice sips her drink.

ALICE: That place is such a dump.

NATE: Sucks more that it’s gone.

Alice lowers her drink. Nate finishes his off then glances to her.

ALICE: They didn’t.

Nate nods.

ALICE (CONT’D): I just got hired there.

Nate raises his cup.

NATE: Good for them.

Nate downs the rest of his drink.

NATE (CONT’D): All the best to you.

He walks away. Alice finishes her drink and raises her hand.

ALICE: Another please.

The music changes tempo, and she spins around, bobbing along to it.

FADE TO BLACK.

Gallagher Says – Free Fire

The biggest thing that drew me to the film was the cast. Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy have been favourites of mine for a number of years now. Additionally I’ve been looking out for Brie Larson films after seeing her in Room.

Free Fire has a very easy to follow plot. Two groups meet up in a warehouse to complete an arms deal. Tensions rise between members of the opposing sides, and a gunfight breaks out.

Each of the characters throughout the film gets their own small story lines as they try to attain their own personal goals or punish their adversary. The movie does well to develop the characters this way. It leads to shouting matches and break downs in communication during the lulls in the gunfire.

Despite the fact that the film’s full runtime is a prolonged gunfight, I wouldn’t label it as an action film. The gunfights are dirty and disorienting which makes for a hectic, claustrophobic thriller. The action serves more as a wait for the dust to settle, so you can check to see what new damage has been done to the characters and how they’ll react to new developments.

Secondarily it’s a comedy. It’s not a laugh out loud, sidesplitting comedy, but the chemistry of the characters and their struggles to one up each other make for lighter moments. This combines with the extremities of the situation and its crazier moments to add a levity to the film.

My Favourites from the film: The cast is great and works well together. The characters are all written in a way that makes them each feel unique, and the film’s direction gives them their own personal character moments. Despite it’s simple plot and setting, it moves along at a good pace.

My Less enjoyed parts: The limits of a dingy, dim warehouse as a setting makes the slower parts more obvious. There are a couple of points that feel like they were supposed to be further developments that would create new conflicts for the characters, but they ended up being just momentary distractions. The ending suffers a little from being a bit of a cliched, crime drama ending.

My Recommendation: This film isn’t for the casual moviegoer. It will only appeal to fans of small scale comedy/thrillers or some buddy comedy style films. It made me think of a low budget RocknRolla or even The Nice Guys.

Simon Says – Visiting Family

FADE IN:

INT. DINING ROOM – MORNING

TESSA is a woman in her mid thirties. She has short, dark hair. Her build is slim but fit, and she carries herself with confidence. As she walks over to the coffee maker, she looks back over her shoulder and flashes a grin.

Across the kitchen from her, seated at the table, MARK shakes his head. He’s in his late thirties but already has a bald spot developing. He’s slim and tall with a short beard on his slender face.

MARK: It’s not going to work.

Tessa reaches the counter and begins to pour herself a mug of coffee. Turning back to him, she continues to fill her mug.

TESSA: What? Being happy?

Smirking as she watches him, Tessa pours a little milk in her drink and stirs it.

MARK: I know that look. It’s not working today.

Tessa brings the coffee up to her lips and raises an eyebrow at him.

TESSA: How about this one?

Mark cover his eyes with his hands.

MARK: We’re not staying in today. You can’t make me.

Tessa walks over and sits on his lap.

TESSA: Maybe you’ll change your mind.

She circles a lock of his hair with her finger. After swatting her hand away, Mark wraps his head with his arms.

MARK: Nope. No. We’re visiting my family, and that’s final.

Tessa stands and sips her coffee.

TESSA: You’re such a spoilsport.

Mark grabs the paper and pulls it open. Tessa walks to the far end of the table, and sits down.

TESSA (CONT’D): I don’t know why you insist on making me go through with this. They hate me.

Mark flips the paper in half and looks at Tessa.

MARK: Don’t say that. They don’t hate anyone.

Tessa snorts.

TESSA (under her breathe): That’s not what their texts say.

Mark sets the paper down.

MARK: Excuse me?

Tessa waves her hand towards the paper.

TESSA: Is that story about the freed captives in there?

MARK: Have you been reading their texts again?

TESSA: I saved those people.

MARK: You can’t do that.

Tessa sets her coffee down.

TESSA: I read other people’s messages, and I save lives. Sue me.

MARK: Do you read my messages?

Tessa walks over and hugs him from behind.

TESSA: Only the ones you send me.

Mark turns to look her in the eyes.

MARK: Do they really say bad things about you?

Tessa nods.

TESSA: They’re pretty mean.

Mark frowns. He looks away then turns back to her.

MARK: They mention me much?

TESSA: Nothing I’d care to repeat.

Mark stares at a bird outside the window.

MARK: You were right.

Tessa tilts her head.

MARK (CONT’D): I did change my mind.

TESSA: Good. I told you I save lives.

Tessa releases Mark and picks up her coffee. She watches the bird as she takes a sip.

TESSA (CONT’D): Now we gotta figure out what we want to do first.

Mark stands and wraps his arms around her waist.

MARK: I have a few ideas.

Tessa kisses him on the cheek.

TESSA: Good. Cause I used all mine up already.

FADE TO BLACK.

Gallagher Says – Youth in Revolt

Michael Cera is one of those actors that plays one type of role, and you can never tell if he’s a good actor or just being himself. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed his characters in movies and shows like, Arrested Development, Juno, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and This Is the End. I had heard good things about his performance in Youth in Revolt, so I decided to check it out.

Michael Cera plays Nick Twisp, your typical mild mannered, hopeless romantic teenager. Needless to say, Nick isn’t popular with the girls, but he dreams of better days ahead. Nick’s small town life and the lack of attention from either of his separated parents don’t promise to make this easy.

Nick has a stroke of luck when his mom’s boyfriend angers some navy men, and they have to go stay at his trailer till the heat blows over. At the trailer park, Nick meets Sheeni, the most perfect girl in the world, but as he’s going to leave again, she tells him he needs to be a bad boy to get kicked out of his home and be able to stay with her.

The story of the film is a pretty standard good guy goes bad to win over the heart of a girl. What sets this apart from others of the same type is it tone. This movie melds the coming to age/sex comedy genre with a Napoleon Dynamite sense of style and uniqueness.

A big thing that creates this tone is the way in which the characters talk to each other. Everyone in the film use grand technical phrases when expressing dramatic thoughts. It expresses how all of them are trapped in their own poetic worlds.

Another point of interest in the film is Nick’s creation of an alter ego that only he can see. This alter ego is also played by Michael Cera and adds depth to his role as it is Nick’s evil persona, hellbent on getting everything Nick desires.

My Favourites from the film: The cast is great. Michael Cera delivers on the promise of the duel roles. The supporting cast is also well chosen. Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Jade Fusco, and Ray Liotta all make great additions to the film. The dialogue is fun, and the film has some stand out stop motion animation sequences.

My Less enjoyed parts: Justin Long as Sheeni’s brother just feels pointless in the film, and he doesn’t do much. There were some points in the film where I wasn’t sure if much time was supposed to have passed or not which made me unsure of how fast the pacing of the story’s development was. The plot’s predictability due to it’s strict following of it’s genre’s structure wasn’t very good either.

My Recommendation: I’d say give it a try. While the story isn’t very original, the setting and style make it feel fresh. It’s funny, and definitely a great film for Michael Cera fans or fans of smaller comedies.

Simon Says – The Boss Needs a Hand

FADE IN:

INT. WAITING ROOM – EVENING

JOHN is sitting in a chair, bouncing his knee as he glances around. John is in his late forties. He’s average height with a bit of weight on his stomach.

He leans forward and glances down a hallway. Spotting RICKY, he snaps back to an upright position. Ricky enters and tips his head back. Rising to his feet, John shuffles towards him.

Ricky holds up a hand, and John stops. Ricky pats him down then jabs his thumb down the hallway. After glancing from Ricky to the hall, John makes his way down the passage. Ricky falls in behind him.

They reach a door at the end of the hallway. John looks back to Ricky. Ricky nods, and John pushes the door open.

INT. OFFICE – CONTINUOUS

John enters and stops in the doorway, looking around the office. It is well furnished with mahogany. Ricky shoves him from behind. Stumbling forward, John sees ENRIQUE.

Enrique is a short man with a thin build. He’s in his early sixties and has gone bald on the top of his head. John laughs.

ENRIQUE: Is there something here you find amusing?

John shakes his head.

JOHN: When I received the threats to my store, I expected something a little more…
(beat): Well, threatening.

Ricky grabs John’s arm and twists it behind his back. John cries out.

RICKY: You show respect and speak when you’re spoken to.

Both John and Ricky look to Enrique. Enrique waves Ricky off while checking the nails on his other hand.

ENRIQUE: He was spoken to.

Ricky releases John and nods to Enrique.

RICKY: My apologies.

Enrique waves him away.

ENRIQUE: You may go.

Ricky nods again, but before he leaves, he gives John one more look over. John watches Ricky leave then turns back to Enrique.

ENRIQUE (CONT’D): You’ll have to pardon Ricky’s enthusiasm. He’s like an untrained pet.

Enrique stands and walks over to a side table. John watches as he pours himself a glass of cough syrup. Taking a sip, Enrique turns to John and holds up the bottle. John shakes his head. Shrugging, Enrique downs his glass.

ENRIQUE (CONT’D): Where were we?

JOHN: You were going to tell me why I should feel threatened.

Enrique nods as he walks over to the window.

ENRIQUE: Ah, yes.

He spreads the blinds with his fingers and peeks outside.

ENRIQUE (CONT’D): What if I told you I know two hundred seventy six…

Enrique looks at the ceiling and begins to count on his fingers. He glances back to John.

ENRIQUE (CONT’D): Seven. Two hundred seventy seven ways to kill a man with a single, empty hand.

John grins.

JOHN: I’d say you brought a hand to a knife fight.

John pulls a knife from inside the front of his pants. Enrique snaps his fingers, and Ricky shoves the door in. Ricky brings his arms up under John’s arms and grabs his head between his hands.

John tries to bring the knife down, but Ricky’s arms block him. Ricky twists John’s head.

CRACK!

John falls limp, and Ricky lets his body fall to the floor. Enrique shakes his head before turning away.

ENRIQUE: Clean up the mess.

Ricky nods as Enrique snaps his fingers.

FADE TO BLACK.

Gallagher Says – Bad Words

I have been watching a lot of Jason Bateman’s works lately. It started with binge watching Arrested Development. Next, I watched Identity Thief and The Gift. Most recently, I’ve enjoyed him in Zootopia and Central Intelligence, so the next logical step was to watch his directorial debut: Bad Words.

Bad Words is about forty year old Guy Trilby, played by Jason Bateman. Guy discovers he can enter a children’s spelling bee because he never completed the eighth grade. Guy uses this loophole to exploit the competition, much to the children’s parents displeasure.

Guy is accompanied by small-time reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn). She hopes to have his story as her exclusive. Once Guy gets to the national bee though, he is faced with Dr. Bernice Deagan (Allison Janney) the director of the bee who vows to not let him get to the finals. Along the way, Guy is befriended by fellow competitor Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand).

Bad Words is a dark comedy, so some of the humour and the situations created in the film definitely won’t appeal to all tastes. I found some of Guy’s interactions with the children to be weird and off-putting at times. That being said, Bateman’s scenes with Chand were the most enjoyable parts in the film.

Most of the film’s story and humour centre around its premise of an adult competing in a children’s competition. It doesn’t deviate much from this core which contributes to it having a short runtime. This isn’t a bad thing though. My main problem was when the film shoehorned in a couple minor subplots or tidbits of information that really didn’t deepen the film as much as it felt like they wanted them to.

The film has a very definite style to it. The scenes are darker than other comedies, and it has a very brown look to it. The photography is also interesting with Bateman chossing to frame his shots with foreground objects. This makes the film look like the audience is sitting in on conversations and lives they are merely eves dropping on. Bateman also uses slow motion to enhance actions for comedic effect.

My Favourites from the film: Bateman’s performance is on point for a character that you can root for but also dislike. The scenes of the spelling bees are fun to watch, and Bateman and Chand have great chemistry.

My Less enjoyed parts of the film: The scenes that attempt to add dramatic weight felt hollow, and the exposition felt forced or obvious. The immaturity of Guy is sometimes hard to watch, and Jenny’s part in the story was purely there to serve plot points.

My Recommendation: Not for all audiences. The dark humour and subjects of the film would be off-putting to some. On the other hand, the film is not ridiculous or rude enough for a strong R-rated comedy crowd. If you’re into strange, low budget comedies, it’s a good one. Excellent for the fans of Coen Brothers type films.

Simon Says – Home

FADE IN:

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

NATE is in his late teens. He has a slim build, and he wears clothing two sizes too big. His hair is spiked, and the tips are frosted. Lying on his back, he stares up at the ceiling. His bed is six inches to his left, but Nate remains on the floor.

His eyes are closed, and he winces as an angry voice pushes its way through his floor. Nate rolls over onto his side, burying his face in his hands. The voice stops. Nate glances over to his door.

Climbing to his feet, Nate walks over to his desk. He picks up a baseball and tosses it into the air. He misses the catch when the yelling resumes. Nate watches the door as he stoops over and picks up the ball.

Something breaks downstairs. Nate throws the baseball at the far wall. It plants itself above his bed. A dozen baseball sized holes cover the wall.

The yelling stops. Nate listens as LUCAS stomps up the stairs. The footsteps stop, and Nate walks over to his window.

LUCAS (O.S.): You’d better stop putting holes in my fucking wall!

Nate climbs out the window then pokes his head back inside.

NATE: Sorry. It slipped again.

LUCAS (O.S.): Slipped my ass, you fucking butterfingered klutz.

EXT. NATE’S HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

Nate walks over to the edge of the roof and climbs down lattice work. He drops down in the garden. Stepping out, he dusts his feet off. He ducks the window and tiptoes up the front steps.

He presses up against the door and listens. The yelling has resumed, so Nate bangs on the door.

NATE: (in a deep voice) I’m going to file a noise complaint if you don’t cut it out.

The noise dies down. Nate grins and ducks down. He’s in front of the porch when he hears the door swing open. Nate stays down while he glances over his shoulder.

Lucas is standing in the doorway. He’s in his mid forties with a muscular build. His hair is shaved at the sides, and tatoos run down his arms.

LUCAS: You think you’re clever. Don’t ya?

Nate glances to the lattice then down the street. He shuts his eyes and straightens up. Opening them again, he turns to Lucas.

NATE: Well you did tell me to smarten up.

Nate jumps back when Lucas takes a step towards him. Nate steps on a thistle and jumps up, grabbing his foot. Lucas grins.

LUCAS: Maybe that’ll teach you to be a smart ass.

Nate drops his foot and tries to stand as tall as he can.

NATE: Leave my mom alone.

Lucas steps down off the stairs.

LUCAS: Or what?

Lucas steps up to Nate. His shoulders are at Nate’s eye level, and he pushes his chest up against Nate’s chin. Nate tries to straighten his posture, but he ends up stepping back an inch.

LUCAS (CONT’D): Lose the wind from your sails, punk?

Nate falls back. He hits his head off the ground and is winded for a beat. He recovers, but Lucas has him by the shirt.

LUCAS (CONT’D): This is for your own good, ya little bitch.

Lucas raises his other hand.

KAREN: Stop!

Lucas looks over his shoulder. KAREN is standing on the porch with a pistol trained on Lucas’ chest. Lucas grabs at his empty pocket then glances down at it. When he looks back up at Karen, he forces a smile.

LUCAS: Karen, don’t do something rash.

He raises his hands, dropping Nate. Nate scrambles to his feet, looking from Lucas to Karen.

KAREN: This is for his good, bitch.

BANG! BANG! Lucas grabs at his stomach. He looks up at Karen as he drops to his knees.

BANG! He falls to the ground. Karen drops the gun. It clatters down the stairs. Karen leans against a post, and Nate rushes up to her.

He hugs her, but Karen pushes him away as sirens sound in the distance.  Nate looks at her.  She points down the street.

KAREN: Go!  Just leave.

Nate runs down the street.  He glances back and sees Karen as she sits down on the steps

Nate turns back to the street and keeps running.

FADE TO BLACK.

Gallagher Says – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot looked funny from the trailers, but I wasn’t a fan of Tina Fey. So I let it pass by. I continued to hear more good things about it, and I gained more interest as Margot Robbie was becoming a bigger star. Recently I’ve been binge watching Fey’s 30 Rock, so I figured now was as good a time as any to check it out.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is based on the real-life account of a war reporter in Afghanistan. Tina Fey plays the reporter, Kim. Kim has become bored with her life and job. She’s a news writer, but she only gets to write local fluff stories. Moving to Afghanistan and covering the war promises to make her life more exciting and advance her career beyond what she could obtain in America.

Once in Afghanistan, being one of the few female reporters there boosts her status even further, but it also leads to army commander Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) cautioning her to not mess with any of his marines. Kim doesn’t heed caution and becomes addicted to the thrill of chasing the best stories and footage.

Rounding out the cast is Martin Freeman as a freelance photo journalist, Iain. The cast is good but somewhat under-used. Thornton is great, but he has very few scenes. Robbie and Freeman have more screen time, but their characters don’t develop much beyond the plot devises they serve. This only really leaves Fey’s performance. She does well with the role, but her character is plain and predictable.

I have a hard time placing this film in any genre. The marketing and reviews on the DVD make it appear to be a war comedy, but it plays out more like a war biopic with a sprinkling of chuckles. I found this disappointing considering the cast and what it was marketed as. I found it had a few mild laughs and made me crack a smile at other parts, but it didn’t offer up any of the sidesplitting humour it promised. It was a very subdued, surreal flavour of film.

Storywise it offered very little thrills or character development, and it only gives a small bit of insight into the psyche of war time reporting or thrill seeking. The biggest waste was the amount of time it spent on partying which could have been inserted into any generic stoner comedy.

The worst thing this film did wrong was the flash forward opening. We get treated to a glimpse of the newsroom as bombs go off, and everything is thrown into chaos. We then go back to three years before when Kim hasn’t decided to move yet, and you just know they needed that scene in the opening because the next half hour is going to bore you to tears. When they finally catch up to the scene, there’s no reveal or deepened insight. It was literally chosen at random to keep you from walking out.

My Favourites from the film: Kim’s interactions with the soldiers and her fixer, played by Christopher Abbott. Tina Fey and Billy Bob Thornton have good chemistry, and the film would have been better if their story together was more focused on. Morgot Robbie gives a good performance. The photography is well executed.

My Less enjoyed parts: I had no interest in Kim and Iain’s romance. This was in part because it was forced and also because Iain was very uninteresting as a character. The film is tonally inconsistent as it tries to be a comedy and a biopic. It ends up being a bland biopic because it’s not very funny and not very dramatic therefore not much of anything. It juggles so many story ideas and important insights that it never really explores any of them.

My Recommendation: I’d say skip it. There are better films out there. I’d say check out David O. Russell’s Three Kings for a more enjoyable war comedy. If you like that, David O. Russell has other biopic type comedies: American Hustle and Joy. Another recent biopic style comedy about a big news story is The Big Short. Give those a try.