Tag Archives: comedy

Film Review: The Winning Season (2009)

Sam Rockwell plays a disgraced, highschool basketball couch and part-time arsehole who’s been reduced to a dishwasher. His spirits are lifted when he gets the opportunity to couch again, but he wasn’t expecting it to be girl’s basketball.

The plot is nothing new; Rockwell‘s character has to turn his team around so they can actually win some games, while dealing with his bigotry and personal problems, which make him the arsehole he is. We’ve seen plenty of similar films before. What makes this one stand out for me is the slightly unusual performances from many of the actors. The exchanges between the teenage girls are not the normal stilted Hollywood formula, they seem more genuine and realistic. The same goes for the other actors and situations. Even though these character relationships are not explored to great depth, you’re given enough to help you care about them. Which adds more weight to the emotional and comedic moments.

I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It’s quite an emotional rollercoaster, dealing with various personal issues without over simplifying them with unrealistic easy solutions. And with a good smattering of laughs it makes for a very nice, feel-good flick.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Winning Season on IMDb

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Film Review: Year One (2009)

An adventure, comedy staring Jack Black and Michael Cera. Initially living with their primitive tribe in the woods, events thrust them into ancient civilisation where they enjoy and suffer the delights and injustices that come with it.

It’s not very good. While I did laugh at times, mainly due to the performances of Black, Cera and the other fine comedy actors involved, it’s not a well written or executed film. It’s fine for some escapism that doesn’t require much thought. It’s like the simpleton brother of Apocalypto, which is a fine film. Although this film doesn’t have the same epic scale in the sets, costumes, etc. It’s all rather cheesy.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Year One on IMDb

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Film Review: Dean Spanley (2008)

Set in Edwardian England a son makes his usual weekly visit to see his ageing, cantankerous father. Tired of the routine he decides to take his father to hear a talk by an Indian mystic. Which leads to a series of encounters with the increasingly eccentric Dean Spanley, played expertly by the eminent dinosaur dude Sam Neill.

It’s tricky to say much about the film without giving away details which would be best left unsaid. And it’s a fairly simple story and concept. I will say that it’s a charming and heartwarming tale. As it unfolds the story becomes somewhat incongruous with the straight, stiff upper lippedness, but that’s more than forgivable. Peter O’Toole in the role of the the old man is suitably infuriating and it’s nice to see him still in the acting lark.

If you enjoy the company of dogs you’ll likely get additional enjoyment from this film.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Dean Spanley on IMDb

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Film Review: Submarine (2010)

The directorial debut of Richard Ayoade (Moss from The IT Crowd) can lazily be labelled a quirky, indie comedy. So that’s what I’m doing. The film is set in a Welsh town in the mid-80s and follows a relationship building between two unusual teenagers. While I generally like quirky, indie comedies I found the two central characters unlikeable and struggled to enjoy the film. Perhaps you would fair better. The other, secondary characters are just as strange, but they didn’t grate for me. And the film is amusing, just a struggle for me personally. I’m still keen to see more from Mr. Ayoade.

To be honest I didn’t pay close attention to the latter half of the film, so this review is compromised. Scoring would be unfair.

Submarine on IMDb

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