Sandy Wexler

I’m back in the UK now, although a busy week has meant I still haven’t had time to get to the cinema. So instead, decided to watch the new Adam Sandler movie on Netflix, Sandy Wexler.

sandy wexler movie poster

Growing up, I was a huge Adam Sandler fan – he is the hero of some of my favourite comedy movies, that I still laugh all the way through even now. However, in recent years, it seems the Sand Man’s career has gone off the rails, and has just released a number of medicore (at best) movies. It saddens me really to see someone who used to be so funny, so incredibly average now.

Unfortunately, Sandy Wexler is no different and is yet another bad Adam Sandler movie. It follows the story of hapless manager, Sandy Wexler, who has a stable of pretty talentless talent until he discovers a singer, Courtney, who is bound for stardom. The gist of the movie is it follows Sandy trying his best to help out this rising star despite being completely out of his depth, but never actually really realising it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some funny bits in there, but running at over two hours (far far too long!), a handful of laughs is a terrible effort for a “comedy”.  I thought Sandler played his character pretty well, and Jeniffer Hudson was also pretty good – if the performances had been as bad as the movie I’m not sure I could’ve got through it. And, as always with a Happy Madison production, all of Sandler’s usual cronies are on hand to make an appearance (many of which you only ever tend to see in Sandler flicks) and having grown up on Sandler movies, they are always a welcome sight that brings a smile to my face – even if some of them only get one or two lines.

This film felt like it was actually a pretty good interpretation of where Adam Sandler’s career really is – a man who thinks he is the greatest thing in Hollywood, and that everyone loves him and are laughing with him – but really, everyone is either laughing at him or just feel sorry for him. I really didn’t find the film very funny at all, with most of the attempted jokes being directed at the Sandy characters expense – a lot of the time it didn’t feel funny, it felt cruel. Also finding out after watching the movie that it is a roast of Sandler’s actual real life manager made it feel a bit worse. Finding that out and reading the back story, there clearly isn’t any malice in the content, I think the mark is just greatly missed, or perhaps you need to be a true insider to really appreciate the movie. Hey, after all, the man the film is based on appeared in it, so he can’t have been that offended.

I believe this was the third of his eight movie deal with Netflix (I haven’t seen the other two, but may give them a go), so there is clearly some demand for him, and I am hopeful he can turn it around…

To be honest, I am just getting tired of seeing bad Adam Sandler movies. I’m getting tired of laughing at him for being so terrible, I just want to laugh with him again. Back to the glory days of Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, when he truly was on top form as one of comedy’s powerhouses, when you knew seeing Sandler on a movie meant certain laughs.

Please Adam Sandler, just make one more hilarious movie before you are done to show us you still have it. Please!

Not advisable – 4/10

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A quick over-eview of recent releases

I’m currently still away so still haven’t watched any new films, but to keep the ball rolling, I’m just going to give a real quick overview of my opinions of a few films I saw on the big screen in the last few months before I started writing again.

Lego Batman

For those of you who were following this blog back in 2014, you may remember I pitted The Lego Movie as a candidate for the best movie of the year. Although I wasn’t writing by the end of the year, it was a view I stood by. With the second movie in the franchise (however, not a sequel), I am again making this claim for Lego Batman in 2017. I was super excited for this one, and thankfully not disappointed. Much like in 2014 I actually got to an advanced screening of this and loved every minute. It was incredibly funny but also had some sombre moments and, despite a kids film, a decent exploration into the psyche of the main three characters, Batman, Joker and Robin. This was not only a great Lego Movie, it also was a pretty good Batman film. Most likely to be enjoyed best by “big kids” – e.g. people like me!

I really loved this movie and could say an awful lot more so I may revisit this for a full review later on in the year.

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Free Fire

I had the chance to see this once again at an advanced screening (perks of the Cineworld unlimited card!). An interesting premise where the whole film is set in one location. Basically, what should be a routine gun deal goes wrong, and unfolds into what is essentially 80 minutes of back and fire gun fire. It seemed like it should be a lot of fun, and it was for a short while, but even at only 90 minutes, this film felt too long. I quickly grew tired of the monotonous back and forth fire which forced the jokes to become really stale. I think the filmmakers were trying to be too clever for their own good. A few big names were in the cast such as Armie Hammer and Brie Larson, but for me Sharlto Copley’s, Vernon, stole the show as a very enjoyable character to watch.

Not one I would recommend spending money on seeing – wait for a Netflix release.

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Power Rangers

When I saw the trailer for this, I became quite excited. I wasn’t expecting a great film but was one I wanted to see for nostalgia sake, having watched the Mighty Morphers as a kid. As predicted, this wasn’t great, but enjoyable nonetheless. Filled up with pretty unimaginative cliches and a predictable story arc this film plods along at a reasonable pace without really throwing anything out of the ordinary at us. That said, there were a few moments that happened which genuinely had me smiling ear to ear – when “Go go power rangers” started playing at the perfect time – it was, I’m not ashamed to admit, a great moment.

If you watched the shows growing up, worth giving it a go even just for a few of those moments that will take you back to childhood and give you a huge grin on your face.

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Beauty and the Beast

This was one I probably wouldn’t have seen if I didn’t have my unlimited card, but I am actually glad I saw it. I’d never seen the animated version but was pretty sure I knew the main plot points of the story. I have to say, when the first musical number started, I did have a brief look at myself and question what I was doing sitting watching this. However, when the second number started, and I suddenly found myself tapping my foot and smiling away to myself and realised – “dear god, I’m enjoying it”. Yes, I did go see this on my own, and I am once again – not ashamed.  This film has an awful lot going for it – it looked stunning, the musical numbers were catchy and well placed moving the story along nicely – oh, and Emma Watson. So much win for Emma Watson.

My one gripe, although not with the film itself, was that people clapped at the end. I don’t like when people do that – it makes no sense, who are you clapping for?! (sorry, it’s a pet hate!)

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Ghost in the Shell

So, I saw the trailer for this countless times and even saw a 20-minute preview before the film came out. And I still had no idea what this was going to be about. Regardless, it had me intrigued, so I was quite looking forward to it. But, to say I was disappointed was an understatement. I found this film to be very slow moving and everything happened far too conveniently and seemed to wrap up to a conclusion before it even seemed like the problems for the main characters really got going. I’m usually a big Scar-Jo fan, but I didn’t really rate her performance in this. I haven’t been privy to the original incarnations of this story, so can’t say if it did it justice or not – my gut feel is it probably didn’t – unless the original also sucked.

Wouldn’t recommend this one – drab, boring and felt very slow despite not having a particularly long running time.

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Going in Style

I’m a massive Zach Braff fan, despite not seeing him much other than in Scrubs (possibly the greatest show of all time!). This looked like it could be a bit of light relief fun, a story of three old men deciding to rob a bank after being screwed over by their old company who revoke their pensions. This film isn’t a classic –  full of cliches, is quite predictable, and makes a lot of easy “old man” jokes. But despite all that, it made me feel good, put a smile on my face and as expected, was a lot of fun. Not a great deal of thinking required and is a good one for switching off for an hour and a half and just having a good time. nice to still see the likes of Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin still on our screens, and Braff did a nice job in the director’s chair. Shoutout to Kenan Thompson who stole the show in the brief onscreen time he got, with some very funny scenes (always a soft spot in my heart for the hours spent as a kid watching Kenan and Kel!)

Not one to rush out and see but I would recommend it if you get a chance.

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I’ll leave it there…

I have seen a lot more films this year, that I haven’t reviewed, but I will leave it there for now. I may come back and do another over-eview in the not too distant if I don’t have any full reviews to write. If you saw any of these films and want to let me know what you thought about any of them, feel free to leave a comment.

Peace out for now.

 

 

 

 

A cure for wellness… or disappointment

As I’m currently away on holiday, I haven’t watched a new film in the last week but didn’t want to stop the ball rolling when I’m just getting back into writing again. So with this review, I actually watched the film when it came out in the UK back in February, and wanted to write a quick few thoughts on this one as it has stuck in my memory – but not for the right reasons, instead as one of the most disappointing films I’ve seen so far this year.

A cure for wellness poster

I ummed and ahhed about whether to see this one at first, as it seemed like the trailer was potentially pitching this as a bit of horror – and as will be noted looking through the archives of this blog – Ben don’t do horror. I’m sorry but I’m a big wuss, and just won’t watch them – “A film so scary you won’t feel safe in your own home” and taglines to similar effect, sorry but I actually like to feel safe at home, count me out. Anyway – I digress. I ultimately (obviously as you’re reading this, hopefully!) decided I was going to give it a go as the storyline looked like it could edge slightly more into a psychological thriller, which is definitely up my street. After all, it looked a very similar premise to Shutter Island, which I really loved when it came out, so much so I saw it twice in cinemas. However, I’m sad to say the quality of A Cure for Wellness does not even come close by comparison.

The premise is a young employee on Wall Street is sent to retrieve a board member of his company from a wellness centre in the Swiss Alps, but when he arrives everything seems a bit odd and by an unfortunate and bizarre incident becomes a patient at the centre himself and is seemingly unable to leave, beginning to question his sanity. (See what I mean about Shutter Island similarities?).

The plot starts off seeming like it has some legs, but it never quite picked up the pace to fully get me on board. There were moments in there which got me on the hook but then didn’t deliver the punch to give me that “wow that was clever” moment you are dying for in a thriller. In fact, calling this a thriller is a bit of a stretch as it was in fact, far from thrilling. The story seemed clunky in places, with a lack of explanation on some points, simple giveaways that spoil the satisfaction of a “twist” and when it became obvious where the story was going (don’t worry – I’m not in the business of spoilers – keep reading…), I was left thinking “oh, that’s where we’re going, really?”.

The film wasn’t all bad. I thought Mia Goth played her role very well, and Jason Isaacs as the eerie Dr Volmer had his moments of walking the line between being trusted or not. I wasn’t keen on Dane DeHaan’s character of Lockhart, as although the lead in the movie I never warmed to him, and struggled to get behind him. I’m still not actually sure if that is intentional by the filmmakers or not? If you saw the movie let me know what your thoughts on the character were.

In fairness, the movie actually looked great – the production did a great job, the visual effects (for the most part) were very good, and some great locations were used to capture scenes in and around the wellness centre. By contrast, I seem to remember being not overly impressed with the use of music/sound in the film, which is a pretty important component in a psychological thriller. I may be doing it a disservice and misremembering, but as I don’t remember it being good, it probably wasn’t.

Running at just under 2 and half hours, this film more than outstayed it’s welcome. That said, making it 45 minutes shorter wouldn’t have improved it, but it would have meant I could’ve left earlier. Maintaining a sluggish pace for its entirety, it felt like a long 2 and half hours.

I had relatively high hopes going into this one, but instead of a cure for wellness, I was left needing a cure for disappointment.

3/10

Sleepless

Tonight I had the chance to go and see an ‘Unlimited’ screening of Jamie Foxx’s new movie, Sleepless. I say new, it seems as though this was actually released in the US back in January. I thought the fact Cineworld were showing this as an ‘Unlimited’ movie that is was an early screening, but now I’m not actually too sure?

I was really looking forward to this film – I hadn’t really seen a full trailer, but from what I had seen it looked like it was going to be a fun one to watch, plus I do usually like Jamie Foxx films. However, my spirits were dampened a bit when I accidentally saw headline reviews, and they were pretty terrible (I usually actually try and stay away from reviews all together before seeing a film so nothing is spoiled and I go in with a clean mind about the film). Nevertheless, at the end of the day reviews are only someone’s opinion, so I still went in with hopes I would disagree.

But, this film was only okay. It wasn’t terrible, but then it wasn’t all that great. Sleepless doesn’t really do anything that we haven’t seen before in a dirty cop film. All the ingredients are there – a drug deal gone bad, angry drug dealer, kid taken as a hostage, doubt over who can be trusted.

Although there a number of twist and turns, everything is all very predictable, and at times the film does give us a couple of too obvious clues as to what is going on. I found it quite difficult to real root for any of the characters, as the film seemed a bit confused about this itself. But, the film chugs along at a reasonable and very angry pace. Everything in this film is angry, all the characters seem angry the whole time, the soundtrack is angry, even the way the film is lit makes it look angry. While I’m mentioning the soundtrack, I actually thought this area was pretty weak. The film was trying hard to build suspense, but never quite hit

As is often the problem with mediocre films, everything just seems a bit too convenient. The character of Jamie Foxx’s ex seems to have been cast as a nurse just so she can show up at the right time when shots have been fired. And also happens to know how to effectively neutralise drug lords henchman? There are a few occasions as well where the film seems to have forgotten they have included things. For example, at time Jamie Foxx’s character can hardly move because of a stabbing, but later he seems absolutely fine, only for it to kick back into pain a few scenes later. And a hand that must be shattered by a fire extinguisher, also seems to be forgotten about, almost immediately.

Sleepless has a couple of big stars in there, in Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan, it is just a shame we don’t get to see the best of them, as in previous outings I’ve really enjoyed them. I was also quite pleased to see David Harbour, as I thought he was great in The Newsroom series, despite only being a supporting role. Unfortunately, Sleepless doesn’t really get the best out of any of its stars, and this won’t be going down as one of their highlights.

One thing I will say for the film, is that I think it actually ends pretty well. Not that it is an amazing finale, but where a lot of films tie things up with a nice bow and everything has worked out for the best, Sleepless makes us think it is doing this, but then as the curtain closes, it tells us that although the story has finished for us, this isn’t the end for these characters who still have consequences to deal with. A nice touch you don’t see too often   – unless it is setting up for a sequel, which I really hope isn’t the case!

If this does have a wider UK release in cinemas, it probably isn’t worth your time. A shame, as i do usually like Jamie Foxx.

An average 5/10

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2

I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time, but amongst my excitement, has also been a little bit of worry. You tend to find with these kinds of films, when there is a lot of hype, there is always a chance you will be disappointed. There is also the possibility that there will be some exaggeration of how good the film really is – because of what it is. I have to admit, I fell into that a bit when Man of Steel came out, letting on that I thought it was much better than it really was – cos it was a Superman film AND Nolan was involved.

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But back to Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Movie Universe, and I am very pleased to say this certainly lived up the hype. (Yes, I really mean it!). I was reassured immediately, as the opening credit sequence is a beauty to behold itself. I don’t want to go too deep into the movie, because I really would recommend to just go see it, and enjoy yourself. So instead I’ll just pull out a few things as to why I enjoyed it so much. If anyone actually reads this, and does want to talk more detail about the film, just leave me a comment or shoot me a tweet – @benjoy93

  1. This film is really funny. Marvel seems to have progressively been bringing more and more humour into their films (with the odd exception), and I seem to remember when the original Guardians film came out, it was their funniest to date. Again this one didn’t disappoint and was very funny throughout the film.
  2. At over 2 hours the film doesn’t seem to lose pace. Sometimes you can watch a film and think it would’ve been better to have been a bit shorter. Although Guardians runs at two and a quarter hours, it doesn’t seem to hit a lull. That doesn’t mean it is action packed for the full 2.25 hours, but it remains interesting for the full length.
  3. Which leads on nicely to the next point, whereby I think this film does the characters justice. The sequel delves a bit deeper into some of the characters and we find out a bit more about their backstories, and who they really are. I mean some of it, we already knew without it being explicitly spelt out for us but it is nice to spend some time looking at the characters. We also meet a few new characters and we are set up nicely for the Marvel Movie Universe to continue to keep rolling.
  4. The soundtrack is absolutely on point. I think sometimes this element of films is often (wrongly so) overlooked, but actually plays a vital role. I thought Guardians got it absolutely spot on, pulling in old classics really well to move help move the story along, bring in some humour and also hit us in the feels. The original Guardians film had a great soundtrack, and Guardians 2 followed up with one just as good.
  5. Post credits. By now everyone knows you’re in for a little bit more once the credits start to roll in a Marvel film (with the exception of Logan, which omitted this for all the right reasons). We are treated to a whopping 5 – yes, you read that right – FIVE post credit scenes. Not all are that important, a couple are just humorous, but we get a glimpse of where Marvel could be heading for a couple of the future films. Make sure to stick around right until the very end of the credits to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Overall, I really enjoyed this film, and Marvel can take yet another one to the bank. You are pretty much assured to be in for a great movie experience when Marvel are involved. Definitely, go check this one out.

8/10