Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

Mr. Right (2015) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Mr Right.png

Director: Paco Cabezas
Writer: Max Landis
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, Tim Roth

Plot: A girl falls for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw: he’s a hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him.
Running Time: 95 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.3

Why I Watched It: Mostly for the cast and the trailer looked fun and a tad crazy.

Random Thoughts: I’m a huge fan of Sam Rockwell and now he’s just won the an Oscar and I hope he gets to do more as I think he’s very underrated but I will say he has to stop the dancing in almost every film it’s very out of place at times.

I like Anna Kendrick but I do find she’s now being typecast, she’s playing the same role over and over. It appears Hollywood sees her as cute/pretty but not beautiful so she gets the quirky roles, she seems to be cheated on a lot in films. She’s a good actress but needs to branch out a bit.

What I liked: Oddly Rockwell and Kendrick work well together and they do have some chemistry I think the big part is they both have very good comic timing and they play that off well. They’re both good here, Rockwell doesn’t have a whole lot to do he’s playing a hitman who now kills the people who hire him and he may be crazy. Rockwell runs with this cause he can play quirky like nobody’s business. One thing Rockwell always brings is this energy he’s always on, he can handle the humor and the violence very well.

The hook of this film is that it’s a quirky romantic comedy but thrown into an action plot and they do milk it pretty well Kendrick is kind of the anchor of the film cause she really carries the romantic comedy part and she does a good job of being naive and maybe also a little off, crazy I mean. The best parts of the film is when Rockwell and Kendrick are dating or just talking.

What I Didn’t Like: This is a mass up genre, black comedy but you add the romantic comedy to it as well and I do think tone is a problem, for the first half it’s quirky and fun but it gets darker and it gets pretty violent by the end. The had to do a huge shot out action finale and I think it hurt the tone of the film. The film tries to play it down the middle and it doesn’t completely work.

I was surprised how deep the supporting cast was and very disappointed that they weren’t used well. Tim Roth is fine and has a few moments but he’s wasted here, honestly you didn’t need him for this role except he’s about the same height as Rockwell. Mount is very miscast here and his character seems like most of his best scenes were cut. Eklund, Ransome and RZA were wasted in a subplot I don’t think they needed, but I will say I would watch them in a made for DVD action film. The funny thing is they had the cast to play it straight but making it a comedy hurt the overall flow of the film and really the plot. It’s one of those cases where the comedy hinders the action parts and the action parts break the flow of the humor the light tone they had going.

Final Thoughts: It’s a watchable movie and it made me smile a few times, the selling point is the cast and the film is lucky I’m huge fans of most of the cast.

Rating: 6/10

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Table 19 (2017) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

TABLE 19

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Writers: Mark Duplass (story by), Jay Duplass (story by)
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson

Plot:  Eloise, having been relieved of maid of honour duties after being unceremoniously dumped by the best man via text, decides to attend the wedding anyway, only to find herself seated with five fellow unwanted guests at the dreaded Table 19.

Running Time: 87 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 26%    Audience 40%

Why I Watched It: This is one of those I should take a break from genre and watch something out of my wheelhouse movies, I like Anna Kendrick and the trailers looked alright.

Random Thoughts: The story was written by the Duplass Brothers, not the screenplay though and that is telling.  Anna Kendrick is a very likeable presence and she brings charm but at times she feels like she’s holding back sometimes playing too safe a role. This film got very bad reviews and the thing I see is the film was not marketed very well, you didn’t get the sense of what this film was and after watching it I can say it’s not an all out comedy this films like an Indie comedy/drama about quirky characters.

What I liked: I really didn’t know what I was steeping into and the first third almost made me want to stop watching but I’ll save that for the what I didn’t like part, when the film starts developing the people sitting at Table 19 then the film becomes much more interesting.  They start off showing these strange/quirky characters, you know the type the ones with the one personality trait but they do go deeper and I like the fact that they showed how a bunch of strangers can connect at a wedding, or work, or stuck on a train, you throw different people together and see if they can click and here it worked for me because they had some very good actors to work with.

The acting here is pretty good, Kendrick is stuck with a tough role, she’s been dumped and there’s a lot more melodrama than we needed and actually her part is a romantic comedy cliched I’m very tired of and at times it doesn’t fit this movie.  I liked Kudrow and Robinson as a married couple that have forgotten why they’re together anymore, they take it beyond bickering to actually explore their relationship, thy have a couple of nice scenes near the end, plus we don’t often get to see people over 40 explore a relationship.  June Squibb squeezes more than she should have in her underwritten role but she’s also very good near the end.  That’s the funny thing with this movie that almost everything and everyone is better in the second half because I think that’s when they leave the “comedy” part and start exploring characters and I’m glad they did.

What I didn’t like: This film kind of fights itself, cause at first it really seems like it wants to be this quirky comedy and then it wants to be this very formulaic romantic comedy and then it throws it stuff that fights the cliches, there’s a decent moment when Kendrick’s character meets someone else and you think oh alright we’re changing it up but nope it goes back to the formula. The film to me is really a movie of two halves, the first half was boring and it dragged then in the second we started to have the humour be more character based and it worked better.  I blame some of this on the direction which is bland and that’s being kind, this is a short movie at under 90 minutes and you can tell the director didn’t fully no what direction he should go in.

The weakest part for me was the relationship with Kendrick and Wyatt Russell, Russell is a decent actor and he plays bad guys well but not so much a romantic leading man and their relationship is the really badly written, when they have the big fight to say what they didn’t say it seems really silly and not really thought out it was a plot point not a real drama and also points against the film for having a key moment when one of the couple is chasing after another one who is on a boat leaving but they scream and try to say everything they should have said before.  So cliched and it rings false.

Final Thoughts: This good have been a really good film and I have to say the second half saved it for me and I liked it more than I thought, it does fall into the “well it wasn’t that bad, for all the bad reviews” it was decent.

Trolls (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier 

TROLLS

Directors: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn (co-director)
Writers: Jonathan Aibel (screenplay by), Glenn Berger (screenplay by)
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel 

Plot:  After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch set off on a journey to rescue her friends.

Running Time: 92 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 74%    Audience 68%

Why I watched It: My 8 and 5 year old daughters picked this one, I will say it looked alright.

Thoughts: Give Trolls credit I liked that they picked singer/actors so you have the same voices doing the talking and singing.  Also to have Timberlake write some original  songs helped as well.

What I Liked: The film looked great, great animation, during the bright scenes in the Troll village it looked beautiful, the colours just popped.  All the tech stuff is solid here, sound, directing all very good.

The casting is very good here, Timberlake and Kendrick are both every likeable and both are good singers, the secondary roles are all casted well, the voice work is very good here. I would put this is both like and dislike but I will give them credit for being a tad dark, the story had real stakes here.  The message of just being happy or allowing yourself to be happy and not needing reasons for it is a good message for kids and adults.  Also liked the newer songs. I liked the fact that we had one of the “bad guy” characters as a good character, liked the fact they used more than just a couple of characters that they fleshed out sub-plots.

What I didn’t like: It is a tad too dark when you’re premise is the bad characters actually eat the heroes to make themselves happy, for a kids movie that’s a tad more than a tad dark.  So the tone is off at times, I get needing stakes but the smaller kids are going to be really scared. They used the heroes being in peril a lot, the film almost just turned into a chase film, run run we’re going to get eaten.

I wish they would have used more original songs, I’m getting tired of animated films just doing karaoke.  Just seems lazy.  It makes the film a little slight and not surprising less original.

Final Thoughts: Here’s how it went my 8 year old, liked the main characters and the music, my 5 year old said she hated it cause it scared her too much and I thought it was fine, not great but I liked it for the most part.  I liked that they took Trolls and came up with a decent story cause this could have been all about selling dolls.

Rating: 6/10

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

PITCH PERFECT 2

Director: Elizabeth Banks
Writers: Kay Cannon, Mickey Rapkin (based on the book by)
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld

Plot:  After a humiliating commando performance at The Kennedy Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  66%    Audience  64%

Why I watched it: I was pleasantly  surprised by the first one, I really enjoyed it.  My two daughters loved it and really wanted to see the sequel, I do think for all three of us the singing and the music were strong selling points.

Thoughts: I really don’t think these films are musicals even though yes there’s singing in it.  It’s more of a competition movie. Don’t really know if we needed a sequel, have to say they’re milking this by turning it into a franchise.

What I like: The high point in this film like the first one is the singing, good voices nice picks of songs and the feel and tone is upbeat and fun.  The film gets by on good will, this is not a mean spirited movie, it’s a lark.

The characters and the actors are the selling point here, the plot is secondary.  Now you can tell they’re going off the first film as we get more Rebel Wilson in this one, she’s a strong presence and she is very funny.  Anna Kendrick is once again the glue for the film, she doesn’t get that much to do and her arc isn’t very big but she can sing and once again she’s likeable and that’s huge for the film.

The set pieces, the songs, are very good the last two are done very well and there the reasons the films work, big songs and also the thing is produced well.  I liked that the “bad guys” here get a lot of time to show how good they are, it raises the stakes, they’re a very good group and sound great.

What I didn’t like: The plot is paper thin, I won’t give it a pass but the film knows what it is, just wished more thought went into the whole thing other than the songs.
‪Hailee Steinfeld is the big add here and I get it, she sings and is an actor but she adds almost nothing here and takes a big cast and makes it bigger.  The real problem here is the cast is so big people are going to get short changed, Skylar Astin who is likeable and a good singer has a couple of singing moments but gets stuck in the boyfriend role.  They do try sub-plots but they don’t go anywhere interesting.  ‬
The humour in this one isn’t as strong as the first one, they go for way too many easy jokes.  The film isn’t as clever and it makes sense the first one seemed more original and it’s hard for a sequel to be that.  The film uses the actors strong singing talents but sadly not their acting talents, good actors don’t have much to work with here.

Final Thoughts: It’s not as good as the first one, I know not a shock, but it’s a fun film and it does deliver on what it promises and if this carries any weight my daughters loved this movie, it was the songs.

Rating: 6/10

50/50 (2011) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

50 50

Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Will Reiser
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt,  Seth Rogen,  Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall

I recently revisited the movie 50 / 50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam a  27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Now for anyone who hasn’t watched this yet, this may sound like a depressing drama full of patronising clichés. In fact, “50/50” is a comedy of sorts and handles the subject with the right balance of enlightenment, inspiration, hope and care.

It’s always going to be difficult for any writer to angle for a comedic side to a story based on a cancer diagnosis, but Will Reiser who wrote “50/50” handles the topic with care and believe me the funny parts are funny and along the way there are some beautiful and surprisingly tender scenes between the characters.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has this knack of being a very likeable guy no matter what role he plays. Adam is a good guy who writes for a living for a local radio program and lives with his girlfriend Rachael (Dallas Howard). We find through conversation that the relationship is faltering and it’s really only when Adam is diagnosed that the couple become a bit closer to each other although it is short lived when Adam’s friend Kyle (Rogen) discovers Rachael is being unfaithful to Adam and captures this on his Cellphone. Bryce Dallas Howard although has limited time in the movie adapts very well as the girlfriend who bails on her Boyfriend when the tough gets going.

Gordon-Levitt portrays the role of Adam as a very subdued and content guy but as the story unfolds his temperament begins to unravel slightly when he begins to learn of his illness and dealing with the breakdown in his relationship. Gordon-Levitt is very subtle in his anxieties of his struggles and you only get to realise this more so in his therapy sessions that he has been attending with Katherine (Kendrick) these scenes at first are portrayed awkwardly and both actors really play off each other well in the situation.

Anna Kendrick as Katherine is a great choice of casting and plays the role perfectly as an inexperienced therapist (Adam is only her third patient) But by the time the movie concludes, she really comes into her own and all those little quirks she has early on are away as she begins to develop a closeness with Adam and understands him more.

Angelica Huston plays Adams mother Diane. We are introduced to Dianne when Adam decides to let his mother know of his condition and although she comes off as a little controlling and dominant to a degree we learn that her husband and Adams father Richard (Serge Houde) is suffering from Alzheimer’s and Diane is really just trying to hold things together. Huston although is in very limited scenes is very powerful in them and no more so in the scene when she reveals she has been seeking counselling herself to deal with her Son’s illness. It’s a very touching scene and this is where the writers find the balance and trust the audience will accept the seriousness of the situation in a “comedy”. I always believe there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy and it is really evident in “50/50”

Although Serge Houde as Adam’s father doesn’t have much to do it really is handled well between the relationship with Diane and his son Adam. Even more so when Adam is about to go into theatre as a last ditch chance to save his life. I’m telling you, get the hankies ready as Houde portrays a man who might not see his son again and looks lost and sad not knowing what is going on. I’m not really selling this movie as a comedy am I?

Seth Rogen for me is hit or miss. I always felt this with certain comedic actors that sometimes too much is…… too much. Hey I felt that way about John Candy sometimes so don’t judge me! Rogen in “50/50” does what he does best. He portrays the bumbling drunken friend that although comes across as trying to consume Adam’s life and giving him bad advice is at heart a good guy. Probably for about 85% of screen time Kyle is a pain in the ass and downright irritating but Rogen manages to even make that screen time funny and the payoff to his character is in the last third of the movie as we discover his insecurities, anxieties and a caring side to him and Adam’s conditions really has effected him.

Writer Reiser should be commended for these really fleshed out characters and Levine (Director) keeping the flow of the movie interesting and the pacing consistent. This is  evident in most scenes where the dialogue is consuming the screen and Adam’s hospital visits introduce us to two cancer patients in Mitch and Alan portrayed by the brilliant pairing of Matt Frewer and Philip Baker Hall. The chemistry between the three actors is balanced and adds light to the difficult storyline.

“50/50″ is a well written and directed film that has a strong cast and a great chemistry between them. Although released over 6 years ago the story and the characters is what makes the film rewatchable and enjoyable to revisit every few years. I recommend this movie to anyone who hasn’t watched it as I feel the right blend of comedy and drama will keep you interested. Highly Recommended.

The Accountant (2016) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

THE ACCOUNTANT

 

Director: Gavin O’Connor
Writer: Bill Dubuque 

Stars: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons 

Ben Affleck as a genius, obsessive, problem-solving martial arts expert who spends his time battering people who have contradicted his personal moral code? Nope, it’s not a potential script for the upcoming Batman movie. It’s The Accountant – a beat ‘em up with calculators.

Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a forensic accountant who happens to have a high functioning form of autism. Through a series of flashbacks we see that the young Christian had the opportunity to attend a private institution which specialised in the development of people like Christian. His father believed it would be better for his son to live at home and learn to adjust to the world, rather than expect the world to be kind to him.

Ultimately, this is the decision that led to Christian’s mother to leave her family, presumably because of the pressure in raising a boy with such violent and destructive behaviour along with his younger brother.

His father is in the Special Forces and believes that a life of focused discipline and carefully challenged energy is the key to living a productive life, even for his autistic son. Having his both his sons trained in martial arts and sharpshooting is, in his opinion, the cornerstone Chris and his brother need.

Years later, Chris has used that channeled energy to pursue a rather lucrative career as a forensic accountant with some very questionable clients, given assistance by an unknown woman who only contacts Chris by telephone. Chris is given a contract to audit a state-of-the-art prosthetics corporation, Living Robotics, where discrepencies have been found by their own accountant Dana (Anna Kendrick).

The CEO, Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) cooperates with Chris, while the CFO and Blackburn’s oldest friend, Ed Chilton, dismisses any findings. Chris uncovers a missing $61 million, leading him to believe that Chilton has stolen from his company and his friend. A hitman (Jon Bernthal) then pays Chilton a visit and forces him to overdose on the insulin he takes for his diabetes.

Ray King (JK Simmons) is the director of FinCEN in the Treasury Department and has recruited Marybeth Medina in tracking down the ‘Accountant’, as he’s known. He’s wanted in connection to a ‘hit’ on the Gambino crime family.

Through a recording at the site of the shoot-out, Medina is able to isolate Chris repeating the Soloman Grundy nursery rhyme over and over, which she suspects is consistent with autistic behaviour. It transpires that King had a brief connection with the Accountant at the site of the Gambino hit when Chris had his gone pointed at him. King, with his back to Chris, was spared when trying to capture the hitman after questioning him about being a “good father”, something King believes drives the Accountant’s own moral code. King further reveals that the woman on the phone had contacted him, revealing secrets about people who “violated” the Accountant’s code and, thus, helped King rise to the position of Director.

When hitmen come after Dana, Chris expertly thwarts their attempt using his acquired skill set expertly. Dana, confused as to how an accountant can take out a team of armed assasins runs and hides with Chris to a lock-up where he’s kept a Streamline trailer filled with cash, gold, passports and other such things he’s been paid in-kind, such as rare comic books and priceless works of art.

It would be easy to dismiss a lot about The Accountant but, in truth, it’s a wonderfully fun action thriller.

The dialogue in the interactions between Affleck and Kendrick is a little sloppy, and most of Chris’ genius stems from a formulaic blend of the clichéd wise fool and an unspecified military education with a 60 second scene of a young Chris training with an old Asian man in martial arts. And there’s a couple of jokes about how he ‘doesn’t get’ things. A bit hackneyed. But that’s just nitpicking. It is a very enjoyable movie, even with a twist that most could see coming from a great distance.

It’s worth it just to see Batman fight the Punisher in a comic book mash-up we’ll never see onscreen again.