Two con men try to settle their rivalry by betting on who can swindle a young American heiress out of $50,000 first. (IMDb)
Takes too long to set up its juicily comedic premise (a boring training montage headlines a needlessly in-depth relationship history) but it’s pure hilarity and delicious dramatic irony as soon as Freddy rolls in on that wheelchair, hamming it up. Lawrence’s first counter-move is probably the funniest (see the leg-whipping scene) but I would be remiss not to mention the delightful ending that subverts the scoundrels’ sexism with not one but two punches–the first being shame, the second mercy.
Wallace Ritchie is mistaken for a spy and must stop a plot to assassinate international leaders at a banquet. (IMDb)
The humour is mostly just from that one note of dramatic irony, but Murray’s consistent charm as the oblivious wannabe actor Wallace (“Please don’t call me by my real name, it destroys the reality I’m trying to create”) and a wide variety of escalating situations in which he unknowingly and hilariously vanquishes his enemies (maybe it was just the goofy hat, but I was in tears during the entire banquet scene) keep it fresh and funny all the way til the end. A simple but effective comedy.
The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into the biggest restaurant business in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence and ruthlessness. (IMDb)
The familiar rising business biopic is given a bit of an interesting twist with the compelling Kroc vs. McDonalds dynamic that pits the former’s growing greed and business savvy against the conservative and sympathetic simplicity of the latter, but it still feels a little conventional and skimmed-over. All told though, it’s a solidly acted story that expertly fleshes out its main characters with well-crafted scenes (see Ray’s bookending monologues; the brothers telling their story at dinner).
7.5/10 (Really Good)
A Las Vegas casino magnate, determined to find a new avenue for wagering, sets up a race for money. (IMDb)
Its over-the-top plot contrivance-driven brand of comedy isn’t particularly clever or subtle, of course, but so help me, some dud bits aside, I still laughed quite a bit (the Jewish Pear family in Hitler’s car, Enrico and Zack delivering the human heart, and Owen with the bus full of Lucys were standout storylines) and Sinclair and his buds’ ridiculous bets were a fun side-gag. The misguided attempt at a heartwarming ending sticks out like a sore thumb though (Smash Mouth+crowd surfing=eyeroll).
A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell led by Gabriel Shear wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it’s all locked away. Gabriel brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson to help him. (IMDb)
So, Berry shows off her bod, Travolta’s got blonde highlights, and Jackman looks like the sixth member of N’Sync: Not necessarily fatal to taking the film seriously but it says something that they’re almost the only things I remember aside from a couple good bad-guy monologues, one cool scene where a bus dangles from a helicopter, and one cheesy montage of our hacker protagonist dancing to funk while talking to his computer. A mildly entertaining action thriller, but it’s both dated and generic.
In 1965, an unorthodox and irreverent DJ named Adrian Cronauer begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the U.S. Armed Services radio station in Vietnam. (IMDb)
I expected the rambunctious rapid-fire radio comedy (even if I rarely got the jokes, the montages with the rocking 60s hits were excellent and the uptight Hauk an almost too-perfect adversary); what surprised me was its serious commentary on the Vietnam war, not just with the army censorship issue but with the conflict’s effects on civilians as well (see the striking “What a Wonderful World” montage), though Aidan’s womanizing got that off to a rough start and the Tuan twist is left unresolved.
The U.S. President, low in the opinion polls, gets talked into raising his popularity by trying to start a cold war against Canada. (IMDb)
The classic American and Canadian stereotypes are played up to their fullest potential and elicit plenty of chuckles throughout (e.g. the gun auction; enforcement of bilingualism with the truck insults) as they’re laced with sharp American political satire (see the meeting with the Russians; hilarious anti-Canadian propaganda). The plot is unnecessarily layered though (see extra adversary Hacker and his confusing actions with the Hellstorm), coming to a goofy and unsatisfying ironic climax.