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21 Jump Street: Ridiculously Fun & Hilarious Action Comedy
A purely emotional review of this film would consist of a lot of uppercase letters, a bunch of acronyms, hell yeahs, plenty of celebratory swear words and a positive slew of exclamation marks. However, we do have to be a bit more articulate than that, so here goes.
While 21 Jump Street may not be the ’best film ever’, it’s definitely the most fun we’ve had in the cinema this year – by a long shot. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play Schmidt and Jenko; a quintessential high school nerd and dumb jock, respectively. The duo manages to get over their mutual high school hatred of each other and bond in the Police Academy where they soon become partners and best friends. Due to their youthful appearances and highly immature ways, they’re stationed as undercover policemen in a high school where a new drug is going round; one that’s already resulted in the death of a student. Their assignment is to infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier before the drug spreads to any of the other schools. On their first day undercover though, they find that high school has completely changed. Nerds are now in, dumb jocks are out and the partners find themselves navigating through completely different high school experiences than their first time around.
What makes this film so much fun to watch is that Hill and Tatum are plainly having a ton of fun onscreen. The story is basically about two dorks who, despite their training in the Police Academy, still harbour a fantasy that being a policeman involves a ton of car chases, explosions and gunfights. They’re fundamentally immature and seem to think Die Hard is an accurate portrayal of an officer’s day to day life, but their attitude is infectious and watching the film is a rather exhilarating experience. The duo play off of each other perfectly; their comedic timing is impeccable and their relationship is so cute that at times, it’s touching. The film also has a solid supporting cast with Dave Franco as an eco-friendly drug dealer, Ice Cube as a pissed-off commanding officer, and a surprise cameo that is just too awesome to spoil!
The film isn’t just a comedy though, it has some pretty sweet action sequences as well. We get car chases, explosions, fist fights and shoot-outs galore. And despite the amount of action in the film, it’s doesn’t feel superfluous in anyway; it really manages to balance the fast pace action and humour – bringing out characters that you really end up caring for and sympathising with.
In conclusion, just go see it. It’s a ton of fun and it’s worth both your time and your money.
Sinister looking children’s toys – dolls and puppets in particular – are a common feature of many a horror film, often somehow possessing dark demonic powers. Annabelle, the latest horror of such kind and the prequel/spin-off to the last year’s summer hit, The Conjuring, unfortunately is rather dull.
Directed by John R. Leonetti – of The Conjuring, Sinister and The Mask fame – and written by Gary Dauberman, Annabelle is set in the early 1970s and follows Mia (Wallis) and John Gordon (Horton); a young married couple living in Santa Monica, who are expecting their first child.
One night, their next-door neighbours are killed as a result of a satanic cult home-invasion job. Unfortunately, the drama doesn’t end there and they soon end up victims of a similar crime, but after a certain amount of struggle – and blood spilled – the couple manages to come out alive.
Soon after their traumatic ordeal, their home – that they’ve grown to love and care for – begins to suffer a series of supernatural occurrences and after it becomes a little too much to handle, they decide that it’s best to move. Unfortunately, trouble follows them to their new home and John and Mia soon realise that Mia’s prized collector’s doll might have something to do with it all.
Annabelle starts off strong, with Leonetti and Dauberman weaving a decent amount of tension and suspense into the opening. However, although, their ideas are relatively solid – and some of the scares genuinely frightening – the plot soon become repetitive and what little novelty the premise has wears off pretty darn soon.
In terms of performances, both Wallis and Horton managed to sustain a good amount of chemistry; however, their characters – just like the story – aren’t formed well enough to form a connection with the audience.
Riddled with clichés and familiar formulas, Annabelle is little more than an attempt to cash-in on the success of its much more convincing and entertaining predecessor.
With films like Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight finding unbridled box office success, adult feature film adaptations have, to some extent begun, to reach saturation and the latest proves exactly that.
The Maze Runner builds on a genuinely intriguing dystopian setting that fails to offer anything new to the genre as a film, despites the interesting premise of James Dashner’s 2009 book.
Directed by first-time filmmaker, Wes Ball, the story follows Thomas (O’Brien); a young man who finds himself waking up with amnesia and surrounded by an army of equally curious young men. He soon learns that he has woken up in the Glade; a sprawling savannah that is towered off by high – and maze-like – concrete walls.
Just like Thomas, the boys, led by Alby (Ameen) – who has been stuck in the Glade for the past three years – are unable to recall who they are and how they got there. The increasing number of new arrivals eventually led the confused boys to build a functioning mini-society of sorts, that depends on ‘runners’ – the fittest, fastest and most agile of the group – to race into the maze each day and look for a way out. The task is made all the more daunting by the fact that the gates that guard the maze close buy sundown and no one dares imagine what could happen to anyone who gets stuck there with the large monsters known as Grievers who patrol the maze at night.
Thomas initially has a hard time believing the myth, but realises the severity of the situation when one of the boys’ life is put into danger. The group is soon thrown into complete chaos when the first girl to arrive at the Glade, Teresa (Scodelario), shows up with a threatening message, making the boys realise that they can no longer wait for a miracle but, that they themselves must find a way to escape – and fast.
The Maze Runner marks the first and the opening chapter of a planned three-part series that once again sees a group of teenagers fighting for their lives against a mysterious and much superior force. To its credit, though, the story is fairly engaging, as the plot builds on a similar premise to William Golding’s 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies.
The film succeeds in projecting a deliciously claustrophobic tone and the characters are likeable, while even the action is pretty solid throughout.
However, the film plays out like an intro to the series and those who haven’t read the book might feel a little cheated by the fact that the character of Thomas is never really explored and short-changed by the abrupt - and calculated - finale.
Overall, The Maze Runner is a decent, if unremarkable, first chapter to the series and now the pressure is really on for the second.