#39 – Daddy’s Home – by Nick Andersen

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Daddy’s Home is a 2015 comedy film directed by Sean Anders and written by Brian Burns, Anders, and John Morris. The film stars Will Ferrel, Mark Wahlberg and Linda Cardellini. Will Ferrel plays as Brad Whitaker, trying to get his stepchildren to like him and call him Dad but has his plans ruined when their biological father, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) returns. This is Ferrel’s and Wahlberg’s second collaboration since 2010 action-comedy The Other Guys. The trailer for Daddy’s Home looked good and seeing these two big stars working together again showed promise and possibly some 96 minutes worth of good entertainment. But sadly this wasn’t case. Not only was it not funny but it was lame. The chemistry between the two main protagonists was nonexistent and the whole air of the comedy felt forced with cheesy situations and weak jokes. All the stuff you see in the trailer are the good parts and that’s it! You are left waiting for character development that will never happen. Dusty’s character had you thinking he was a wild badass and there were moments you’d think he was about to prove that, but no such moment ever happened. The whole cast lacked energy except for two actors: Thomas Haden Church and Hannibal Buress. Those two had me genuinely laughing in each of their scenes. Basically, it was a total let down and would suggest everyone to stay away from this one. Don’t let your thoughts about Ferrel and Wahlberg be ruined by this terrible “comedy.”

#35 – A Walk In The Woods – by Nick Andersen

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A Walk In The Woods is 2015 R-rated adventure comedy biographical film, directed by Ken Kwapis based on the memoir by the same name by Bill Bryson. The film stars Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson. It follows Bill Bryson, a successful writer in his 60s deciding to hike the Appalachian trail, with his rotund friend Stephen Katz whom unexpectedly contacted him after many years without seeing each other, asking to tag along. The last film that I laughed so much out loud, must have been Ted (2012) and before that it was Pineapple Express (2008). With Ted it was because the humor was for the first time outrageous, and with Pineapple Express, it was hilarious watching two dumb stoners which James Franco and Seth Rogen nailed. A Walk In The Woods’ comedy is nothing like that. It’s honest and doesn’t force absurd or unlikely situations, which I believe has been the mistake many comedy films have made in the past. Reading and thinking now after watching it that it’s a biography, makes it that much funnier. Robert Redford himself said he had never laughed so much from reading a book.

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The film is a fun treat. The long-lost friendship between Redford and Nolte is great and Nolte’s character adds a lot to the story. He is so out of shape and his face is red almost throughout the entire film looking like he’s about to drop dead. He is the opposite type of person to try and hike a 2,000+ mile stretch. The screenplay is the winner here as it is hilariously good! Especially Katz’s remarks and comments to the small moments in each scene. At one point my face literally hurt from laughing so much. This is definitely a feel-good film. Besides the hilarity, the cinematography was stunning. So much forest and for so many miles all over. It was beautiful to see and learn about the Appalachian trail. I will certainly read the book and hope to get a good laugh out of the read as well. I highly recommend this one to anybody who’s looking for a good hour of fun. This biopic film will NOT waste your time.

Thanks for reading my short review!

– Nick Andersen

#28 – The Man from U.N.C.L.E. – by Nick Andersen

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a 2015 action comedy spy film directed by Guy Ritchie and co-written by Lionel Wilgram and Guy Ritchie, based on the 1964 TV series of the same name, which was created by Ian Fleming, Norman Felton and Sam Rolfe. The film stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki and Hugh Grant. In the 60s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin unite for a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which works to create nuclear weapons. Thinking the entire time that it had a James Bond feel to it, I later discovered that Ian Fleming (creator of James bond) is one of the three who created the film’s original TV series. You know it’s going to be good if the director is well enough known for his selective and distinct films. Guy Ritchie is that kind of director, where you see his name and go, “Oh that guy! He’s made some interesting films!” Not so many, but the few that he did do, have all been successful and this film is no exception. A great cast, stunning cinematography and wardrobe, good action, excellent music and a subtle but brilliant sense of humor.

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#27 – American Ultra – by Nick Andersen

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American Ultra is an R-rated 2015 action comedy film directed by Nima Nourizadeh and written by Max Landis. This is the director’s second film, his first being Project X. American Ultra stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace and Connie Britton. It tells the story of a pathetic stoner who is in fact a CIA agent but had his memories of one, erased. When marked as a liability and targeted for extermination, Mike Howell gets “activated” and unleashes his deadly skills on those who try to end him. This idea has been played with before like the Jason Bourne trilogy (not that garbage The Bourne Legacy), except the concept of a comedic twist to it sounds interesting and the trailer itself looked good. Unfortunately, that was it; the whole film felt like it could have been much better.

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#26 – Lars and the Real Girl – by Nick Andersen

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Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Nancy Oliver as her screenplay debut. It stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner and Patricia Clarkson. The story follows Lars (Gosling) a socially inept man, who starts a romantic yet platonic relationship with a lifelike doll which he ordered from an adult website. The trailer makes it out to look more like a comedy when it’s more of a sweet drama. The comedy is innocent, like Lars and the people who play along because of their love for him. We get to see a unique performance by Ryan Gosling; one where he isn’t the attractive and take-the-lead kind of guy. The film is a wonderful one with a great message and examples of caring friendships that won’t waste your time.

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#24 – Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – by Nick Andersen

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a 2012 comedy drama film directed and written by Lorene Scafaria as her directorial debut. It tells the story of Dodge, a recently divorced man, looking for a meaningful way to spend his last 21 days on Earth before an asteroid wipes out all of humanity. It stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Somewhere in the related videos section of films like The Way Way Back (2013) and Dan In Real Life (2007), I found this little independant one. While very funny at times, Steve Carell can also play the drama roles. The ones where he becomes the victim of some type of loss in his life yet in the end finds a way to be happy. To see the light out of all that darkness. This movie surprised me a lot of how good it became in the second half.

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#17 – The Men Who Stare At Goats – by Nick Andersen

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The Men Who Stare At Goats is a 2009 R-rated drama comedy directed by Grant Heslov inspired by Jon Ronson’s book of the same title. Both Jon and Peter Straughan are the writers for this film. The war parody of the true story behind the New Earth Army, an experimental US army unit of “Warrior Monks” with unparalleled psychic powers. It’s funny at times and entertaining but feels like it stretches or has you lose interest once in a while but then brings you back. Although a good cast, it’s a slightly weird film but with a funny touch.

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#14 – Up – by Nick Andersen

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Up is a 2009 animated film directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Bob Peterson. Both of them along with Tom McCarthy wrote the story. Before Inside Out, Up was Pixar’s best movie and even won the award for Best Picture. It tells the story about an elderly man fulfilling a promise to his late wife with the company of a young scout explorer, a house tethered to thousands of balloons, a long-lost explorer, some “talking” dogs and a giant bird named Kevin. It is a beautiful, funny and touching film. Pixar always knows how to make us emotional and in Up, you will most likely cry.

!!! SPOILERS AHEAD !!!

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#13 – Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – by Nick Andersen

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Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is an R-rated 2014 comedy and drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The film’s script was written by the director himself along with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo. It stars Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough and Amy Ryan. It is the story about a faded Hollywood actor, who once was famous for his iconic role as Birdman, now struggling not to lose his career by adapting, directing and starring in a Broadway play written by Raymond Carver. The film is quite extraordinary. Iñárritu’s one-take illusion is mesmerizingly unbelievable! Michael Keaton’s performance is the winner in this one; truly one of his best. Edward Norton’s was excellent as usual. Whatever is shown to us in movies, whether relevant or not at the time, it is important to keep those things in mind, for if we ignore them, we won’t be able to come up with more than one interpretation in the end and this movie definitely has more than just one!

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#10 – Kingsman: The Secret Service – by Nick Andersen

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Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2014 R-rated comedy film directed and written — alongside Jane Goldman — by Matthew Vaughn based on the comic books The Secret Service. It stars a wide known cast, but the main actors in this story are Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Samuel L. Jackson and Taron Egerton. To get an idea of Vaughn’s directing, think of films Layer Cake (2004), Kick-Ass (2010) and X-men: First Class (2011). If you haven’t seen Layer Cake or Kick-Ass you cannot appreciate this movie for what it is. Kingsman is its own film genre. It’s satirical, bloody, ridiculously funny, foul mouthed and action filled. It’s almost like watching a Tarantino film. I mean, Samuel L. Jackson is even in it!

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