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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.
Expanding from his 2006 short film, Oculus: Chapter 3- The Man with a Plan, director Mike Flanagan – along with help from writer Jeff Howard – approaches the subject of the supernatural with a considerable amount of imagination and manages to deliver some scares in the relatively unnerving ghostly thriller, Oculus.
The story follows the troubled lives of Tim (Thwaites) and Kaylie Russell (Gillan); a pair of siblings who witnessed the brutal death of their parents over a decade ago. Tim is convicted of the murders and is sent into protective custody and a psychiatric hospital, while Kaylie remains in a pit of despair without her family.
Years later, Tim is released on his twenty-first birthday and is now looking to rebuild his life and move away from his turbulent past. However, Kaylie has become convinced her brother was innocent and that something unnatural is at play.
Kaylie, who works at an auction house, has recently come across the very same oversized, 400 year-old mirror that she believes is responsible for their parents’ deaths. Moving back to their old house and installing surveillance equipment, Kaylie and Tim hope to record evidence of the supernatural being.
A Blumhouse Productions creation – the same people who brought you Paranormal Activity – Oculus, as luck would have it, steers clear of the increasingly overdone found-footage approach, despite what its trailer might suggest. Instead, director Mike Flanagan seems inspired by the horror films of the 70’s and 80’s, like recent flicks, The Conjuring and Sinister, and paints the mood of the film with a slow-burning tone of dread and an ominous fear of the unknown. The film transitions between the past and present wonderfully, all while keeping you on the edge of your seat.
Gillan, the Scottish-born actress known for her role in TV’s Doctor Who, proves to be a relatively solid lead and manages to paint Kaylie with an equal blend of self-determination and fear, while Thwaites’ doe-eyed qualities comes across as a little too sappy.
Sadly, Oculus is not without faults. The film is never fully realised as a story and although it provides its share of scare, it’s all really rather forgettable.
The follow up to Carlos Saldanha’s vibrant animated feature, Rio – a film that grossed over half a billion dollars at the box office - finds the Brazilian-born filmmaker returning to the pulsating streets of Rio Di Janeiro, before setting off into the wilderness of the Amazon.
Picking up some time after the end of the first film, Rio 2 finds the Blue Macaws, Blu (voiced by Eisenberg) and Jewel (Hathaway), happily married and living a carefree life while raising their three hatchlings, Carla (Crow), Bia (Stenberg) and Tiago (Gagnon), at the Blue Bird Sanctuary.
However, their children’s overly-domesticated habits begin to worry Jewel, who is fearful that her children are slowly losing touch with nature and what it means to be a bird. So, when she hears that there may be a flock of Blue Macaws living in the Amazon rainforest, the family decides to fly across for a vacation and a bit of an investigation.
Once there, not only does the family discover that there is more of their kind in the world, but that the flock is led by none other than Jewel’s long-lost father, Eduardo (Garcia). Jewel soon finds herself toying with the prospect of moving her family there for good, while Blu – who now must prove himself to Jewel’s apathetic and unconvinced father – isn’t too sure whether he’s ready to give up his life in Rio. Meanwhile, Blu’s lifelong nemesis, Nigel the Cockatoo (Clement), who is no longer able to fly, follows the family to the rainforest in search of revenge.
Eisenberg and Hathaway return to reprise their roles as the lovable Blu and Jewel and, although their shared chemistry can still be felt throughout, it seems that their second outing is not as charming as their first. Clement is hilarious as the grouchy Nigel, while all of the supporting characters, excluding Chenoweth’s hysterical performance as Gabi – a poisonous frog hopelessly in love with Nigel – aren’t given much of the spotlight, apart from indulging in a few impromptu sing-offs, including yet another cringe worthy rendition of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.
Just like the original, Rio 2 dazzles with its vibrant and bubbly tone; the opening scenes of the New Year’s Eve celebration on the bustling streets of Rio Di Janeiro are breathtaking and Saldanha, succeeds in adapting the alluring and captivating magic of Brazil.
The story, unfortunately, is not as engaging the second time around and Saldanha seems to have sent the story on a downward spiral the minute he decided to step out of Rio and move his flock of birds into the back woods of the Amazon rainforest.
There are still plenty of thrills and spills, but had it not been for the infectious Brazilian music and a handful of interesting characters, this would have been a complete washout.