The ‘Burbs (1989) [review]

It would be easy to say that this is a fun, funny and entertaining film and leave it at that, but this is a film that had a great story, great director, great actors who knew how to play their parts in such a way that we felt that we were in on the adventure with them.

Characters questioning the sanity of each other while considering the possibilities of what is going on, as they find one household the focus point of the neighbourhood, to the point where the imaginations of all those involved going beyond that which it should, especially those who seems to have nothing better to do than stick their nose into other people’s business.

The curiosity of these people is so engrossing that we want to know what is happening, we see how the minds of the nosy neighbours are working and can’t help but wonder if they’re right… maybe even hoping that they are, therefore we want there to be something out of the ordinary in the neighbourhood. As we know very little about the new neighbours and we let our curiosity pull us in further. We watch one situation escalate into another and want to see how far those involved will go to find what they are looking for, theorising about who’s doing what and why.

This is a film wasn’t made with the idea of you watching once and forgetting about it, but actually making you feel as if you were watching something that was made by people who were interested in more than just being paid. All the pieces came together at the right time and therefore we have a film which I would class among the classics, not only of the 1980s, but in film history. This is certainly a gem which is something I’m sure will bring an audience back to watch and re-watch with a fondness for all that this film has to offer. From enjoyable character, to an entertaining situation and adventure set in a small part of a town.

This is a mystery which you can’t help but get involved with and laugh at the ridiculousness… maybe even wonder how far any of us would go when it comes to our own neighbours. There is a fantastic, underlying feeling of 1950s films, something which I have always enjoyed about this and Joe Dante created nicely without laying it on too thickly.


Quentin Tarantino’s “Star Trek”

The idea of Quentin Tarantino making a “Star Trek” film is a curious thought… I’m a fan of the director and the film/TV series and find myself wondering if it is a good idea, how it would work, would the greatness of either cancel the other out and therefore create something that satisfies neither fans of “Star Trek” or Quentin Tarantino. But saying that, we have no information other than the suggestion is floating out there, that Tarantino has offered an idea to the makers of “Star Trek” and he could possibly direct. But, apparently, the idea could be for the fifth film in the reboot film series, as part four is already in development.

For now all we can do is wait and speculate on the possibilities, and I will not be getting my hopes up for it to happen, partly because I’m really not sure if I like the idea or not, plus we have such a long wait for the fourth film. We obviously don’t know how successful that film will be; therefore we don’t know if there will be another after that. For those of us who care to think of what could be, we’re left to wonder.

Raising Arizona (1987) [review]

Some films, regardless of how many times I’ve seen them, I will enjoy seeing again and this is certainly one which I have seen more times than I can tell you. There is a quirkiness which is one of the many great aspects which the Coen brothers gave to their early films, which is something I’ve always enjoyed.

The characters are certainly the kind to make you want to know more about them find, they’re charming and I find that I can’t help but feel some kind of attachment to them. There is something which you find enthralling about them and even want to see more and  if like me, you want to see them get what they deserve. Although, there are characters which sit on the fence and could be placed in either camp of good or bad.

The story is told in such a way that it may feel ridicules at times, but not far fetched… if that is possible. This feels like a film which has many different plots and characters, which, is lesser hands than the Coen Brothers would not have come together so brilliantly, in a way, The Coens presumed the audience could keep an eye on all that was going on. Not to say that this is overly complicated, but it does not shy away from the possibilities that we can keep up with all that is going on.

There is a heart and soul to this film which brings you into the situation of why H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) and Ed (Holly Hunter) find themselves. Everything comes together so perfectly, that you forget that the main point of the story is that the couple actually commit a crime, but there is a fondness for the pair that you can’t help but understand why they would go as far as they have, and you happily hope that they get away with it. Although, simatainiously you understand the feelings of those who the crime has been committed against.

This is a film you can watched and re-watched many times and still find something to catch your eye and enjoy for its brilliance. Although, I do feel that the film does fall into the category of that you will either love or hate it, which is certainly a good sign of a film… Why go for bland and boring when you can have something such as this, which will pull you in for all the right reasons.

Smiley Face (2007) [review]

If you are looking for a dark, gritty, realistic drugs film, this is not for you.  But there is fun to be had in the clichés of a drug user over the course of one day, who cannot get herself together due to the amount she has consumed.

This is a comedy which doesn’t try to tell you whether or not drugs are good or bad, but has fun with the situations as Jane F (Anna Faris) stumbles from one situation to the next, as she goes from her apartment towards a destination which she constantly needs to remind herself of. Situations which she manages to fall into with the greatest of ease and somehow manages to deal with them in such a way that you, if you were to take it seriously, would wonder how she manages to come out the other side as successfully as she does. While Jane thinks she can handle the day, but seems to have no idea what she’s doing, fumbling her way through these moments without considering her actions and the consequences… at least when it comes to the long term effects on her life.

Do not take this film seriously; it is purely there to entertain. If you enjoy seeing a person stoned, loose in public in the random places she finds herself, as she tries to find her way from point A to point Z. None of the situations really have any connections, apart from that Jane F knows some of the people previous to the start of the day and therefore gravitating towards them. Sometimes without even caring if she ever liked them or not in the first place, as long as she can focus on something for a moment or two while she figures out what she’s supposed to be doing.

Go with the flow of not needing to find too much depth to the characters or story and there is something to be had here. This is certainly not a film which needs to be intelligent or well thought out, sit back and relax and you will enjoy the ride for an hour and twenty minutes. You will at least smile at the film, it is not a taxing film and therefore you’ll take it for whatever you wish to. It may not be remembered long after you’ve watched it, but you’ll enjoy it while it’s on… and sometimes that’s all you need or want.

The Disaster Artist (2017)

This is something I’m looking forward to checking out, as “The Room” (2003) was a brilliantly entertaining for all for all the faults it had. If you’ve already seen that film you’ll know what I mean, if you haven’t, well, I sagest you grab a copy and check it out.

I’m interested in seeing what went on behind the scenes… or at least what this interpretation of the events. From what I’ve seen in the trailer, there is plenty to enjoy about the film, but we’ll have to see if it comes close to that which inspired the filmmakers to make this. I’d also be interested in what Tommy Wiseau thinks of what we have here, although saying that, he does have a part in this film.

It’s been over a decade since “The Room” came out and has found itself with a cult following which I am happy to say I am among the crowd who enjoy the film. I want to see how those who made “The Room” are thought of and portrayed in “The Disaster Artist”, as I’m a little sceptical. As a fan of “The Room”; I would not like to see an attack on the individuals involved, as I do have a fondness for what we’ve come to enjoy.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) [review]

John Hughes certainly knew how to create films with characters that we could not help but love and enjoy seeing their journey. In this case seeing two people who were complete opposites, stuck on the same journey and winding each other up, but underneath it all, they were great for each other.

Not only do we have the joy of seeing Neal Page (Steve Martin) being uptight and barely tolerating the situations he finds himself in, we have Del Griffith (John Candy) who goes with the flow of where he finds himself and in a way, maybe even has a little fun along the way.

Not only does the pair come up against the situations, it’s the reactions and willingness to deal with how and why they find each other so irritating that makes this comedy. This allows both to find their own floors and peeves to the point where we see both sides of the argument. This is a worm and funny comedy which centres around Thanksgiving and family, even if the families are the destination rather than being involved in the journey itself.

From Neal who we see talking to his wife on the phone for a few moments as he tries to get home before the holiday, to Del who talks of his wife on how he feels about her. This is a great film to watch on the holiday with your family and enjoy the misfortunes of others as they deal with the pressures they put upon themselves to get where they want to be.

This is a 1980s classic which still hold up nicely in the modern world, we still find so much of what was going on with the characters, in that it’s a story of two people being human, in a somewhat everyday possibility. Therefore we can’t help but sympathise with the characters. Maybe we consider that we take some aspects of life too seriously and we should enjoy life a little more and appreciate what we have.

Not only is this a comedy of misfortunes, but the fact that we can get into our own ruts and find those around us more than we’d like to find ourselves involved with. We should broaden our outlook on life, going beyond the world we have created around ourselves. This is a film which reminds us that there is much more positive around ourselves which we have forgotten over the years.

Vegas Vacation (1997) [review]

This film managed to reduced so much of what made the previous three films so enjoyable and funny. This is entertaining, but on a much lesser level than the previous films in the series. The characters seem to be different, less intelligent than we had become used to… not to say they were the smartest of characters, but at least they had something about them which lead us to liking them.

This film was not written by John Hughes, I assume he knew when to let go of something while it still had life in it. This feels like an afterthought; disconnected from the previous films, it almost has a made for TV movie feel to it… a better TV movie, but one which does not have the charm the fans of the series enjoyed in the first three films.

I think that part of the problem with this film is, the four members of the Griswold family go out on their own excursions and are less of a family unit, and therefore we do not see the family getting on each other’s nerves as much as they did in the previous. Clark (Chevy Chase) is less obsessed with keeping the family together and putting them through testing situation in which he created. Some may think the series could only put the family through it so many times… three films and that was it?

This is certainly a film which you will watch if you are somebody like me, who; if you watch a film and like it, you will check out the whole series. Don’t expect too much from this and you will find a handful of moments which you’ll enjoy make you smile.

We do get Eddie’s (Randy Quaid) part of the family again, but; like the rest of the characters, his intelligence and entertainment value has taken a nose dive. This feels like nothing more than money grab by those playing on our fondness for the series. I wouldn’t blame you if your mind started to wonder off onto something else while you were watching. It is a film which seems to rely on unknown and unfamiliar characters coming in to try and hold your attention.

There really is a lack of a… soul, for a lack of a better expression. I cannot say this is a terrible film, but it is not on the same level as the first three. It is something which is easy to forget once you’ve watched it.