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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.
Known for his unique voice and understated approach to telling a story, writer-director, Jeff Nichols – see Take Shelter, Mud – returns with yet another distinctive and beautifully crafted tale of parenthood and faith in the undeniably special, Midnight Special.
The film tells the story of Roy (the always present and the always game Mr. Michael Shannon) who - together with his childhood friend Lucas (Edgerton) - has kidnapped his biological son, Alton (Lieberher), from a creepy cult run by Alton’s ‘adoptive’ father Calvin Meyer (Shepherd).
Where they are going is seemingly unclear but, what we do learn is that Alton – who spends most of the time wearing blue swimming goggles – is no ordinary child and that he possesses certain supernatural abilities that has not only drawn the attention of Meyer’s cult – who believe that Alton is their saviour – but that of the government as well.
Out on the run from seemingly everyone, Roy – who soon reaches out to Alton’s mother Sarah (Dunst) for the much-needed support - is willing and ready to do just about anything to keep his boy from harm which, naturally, only ends up putting them all against a number of obstacles and a great deal of danger along the way.
To truly and fully experience Nichols’ latest film, is to try and go in knowing as little as possible about the plot; the less you know, the bigger the impact. Staying one step ahead of the audience, the mysteries surrounding the story are gradually revealed, with Nichols making sure that all of his secrets and relevant story threads are exposed in their own time, ultimately providing the film with a quietly intensifying and slow-burning energy which is hard to shake off.
Gorgeously photographed, the mood and the atmosphere – which are supported by David Wingo’s hauntingly beautiful John Carpenter-esque musical score – is almost palpable, while the story’s 80’s retro setting – reminiscent of movies like E.T and Deep Impact – is beautifully captured and made relevant to the audiences of today. On the downside, however, some of the story threads could have done with a bit more exploration and had they had a bit more onscreen involvement, they could have carried a slightly deeper effect.
Marking his fourth collaboration with the talented director, Michael Shannon – quite possibly one of the most compelling actors working today – gives yet another all-in performance of a troubled father. Meanwhile, Lieberher shows great versatility for such a young actor, whilst Edgerton and Dunst are both complex and rooted in their respective performances.
Captivating and emotional, Nichols’ Midnight Special is an easy recommendation; a thoughtfully executed and a powerfully told sci-fi tale which uses on its wonderfully created visuals and unspoken words to convey its story.
Tapping into the historically disappointing world of videogame adaptations, Duncan Jones’ rather ambitious take on Warcraft – a popular real-time strategy game played by millions of fans around the world– hasn’t done much to change the perception that games just don’t translate all that well into films. While it has a big, sprawling universe to play with, Warcraft’s timeworn plot and over-the-top epic fantasy ambitions are difficult to digest.
The story begins with a fearsome tribe of giant Orcs fleeing their former rundown land of Draenor and entering the peaceful realm of Azeroth - a land ruled by King Llane (Cooper) and Lady Taria (Negga). Guided by Orc chief Blackhand (Brown) and Gul’dan’s (Wu) fearsome and unwavering leadership, the Orcs soon begin waging attacks on unsuspecting humans with the intention of claiming their land as their new home.
However, not all Orcs are happy with the savagery of the recent attacks, including Orc Soldier Durotan (Kebbell), who is worried about Gul’dan’s ruthless tactics and believes that a co-existence with the humans is possible. Meanwhile, in Azeroth, the King has called upon his loyal knight, Anduin Lothar (Fimmel), to come up with a plan of defense against the merciless tribe.
This basic plot is just the tip of the iceberg; with at least another ten characters and a handful of other subplots, Warcraft is one complicated and overwritten mess. Those unfamiliar with the videogame will definitely have a hard time understanding what’s going on, with Jones – who co-writes the script with Charles Leavitt - offering very little explanation and background to the creatures and the history behind the fantasy worlds they inhabit. Featuring every single epic fantasy trait under the sun, the film struggles to balance one too many ideas and never really stops for effect or any significant development for audiences to connect to.
The heavy CGI presence – you can almost see the green screens – is also another damaging factor to the production. While one could reasonably argue that there is plenty of craftsmanship involved with each and every shot, the sloppy and often heavy-handed editing, as well as the synthetic feel of the entire setup, gives this overcrowded film a seemingly empty presence. Another videogame movie misfire.