Review: War Dogs (2016)

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“They called guys like us war dogs. Bottom feeders who make money off of war without ever stepping foot on the battlefield. It was supposed to be derogatory, but… we kind of liked it.”
– David Packouz

SYNOPSIS: Based on the true story of two young men, David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli, who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7You know, I didn’t really know what to expect of this movie going into it. I didn’t read an awful lot on it, or hear a lot about it. My yardstick was some friends of mine tellling me that it was worth a look see, and was pretty entertaining. I have to say that I agree, this was quite a good one.

Jonah Hill is excellent as Efraim Diveroli, what an absolute tosser. He really owned the role and got into it. Miles Teller is a good actor, and he’s a welcome addition to the cast for this. Hill and Teller work together excellently and effortlessly, and just make this a fun watch. That’s another thing; I appreciated how War Dogs gave you enough story for you to understand, but not so much that it becomes a heavy, full-fledged drama. This movie is ultimately quite fun, despite the subject matter it deals with. What a fantastically crazy story!

The pacing wasn’t bad in this movie – it was fast and told you the story at breakneck speed, to be sure, but you had a lot of fun along the way, and got to see enough of what was happening to appreciate and understand it all. I also liked the score for this. There were some issues – I know I say this is fun and all, and it is, but I would have liked a little bit more substance to the entire crazy deal these young men pulled together.

I am not totally sure about the accuracy of this story, and I am sure that tons of liberties were taken, too, but I had fun. It was not great, and there were legitimate issues that were littered across it with characters and events, but it is a light, entertaining watch, and that is all that I could ask for. This is not an area that most people have a lot of knowledge, so it was something new.

Anyway, silly, entertaining, a few truly funny moments, War Dogs is worth a look see, regardless of the actual story, or how this compares.

Review: 22 Jump Street (2014)

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SYNOPSIS: After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them. – via IMDB

Well, the boys are back for a second outing, and I have been looking forward to this for months, since I saw the first one. I was duly rewarded for my wait, too!

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It played relentlessly on the fact that it was not about to offer up anything new.

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Getting into some more ludicrous situations.

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Definitely still have the moves!

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This whole argument of Jenko was just a thing of beauty… though by the end of it they had to run away, anyway!

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Dickson was really not a fan of Schmidt. Ever.

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The inability to even co-ordinate a door correctly.

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The inability of these two to think through what they say or how they demonstrated has not changed much at all.

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Their little bromance was hitting a snag again.

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They might be making the realisation that they aren’t as young as they used to be anymore.

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The epic prepare to kick ass.

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Getting roped into another hairy situation by Schmidt – Jenko cannot win.

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The extremely expensive getaway chase.

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GRADE 7Now, as much fun as I had with this, I cannot deny that it just didn’t tickle my fancy on the same level that 21 Jump Street did. Not to say that it wasn’t funny, because it was, it just wasn’t that amazing. The humour was great, I mean especially with Jenko’s reaction to the predicament between Schmidt and Dickson, I seriously could not stop laughing, that kicked it for me good and proper. Probably because, even though I saw it happening that way, my reaction was so similar to Jenko’s. It was not afraid to be itself, and it made jabs at the fact that it is just like its predecessor – and you know what? That doesn’t hurt it at all! Naturally Hill and Tatum are still working their bromance wonderfully, and these two are just hilarious to watch together. Sequels are usually not an easy thing to pull off, and ultimately end in disappointment, but the same cannot be said of the Jump Street films so far. They know exactly what they are, and work it to their advantage. Do not go into this thinking you are going to get some life changing event or an entire revamp of the franchise, because you will most certainly be in for a disappointment. However, if you want more of the same you got in 21 Jump Street, you have come to the right place. Instead of working against it, like it should, in all theory, you have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs once again. I loved some of the other humour in it, like Dickson’s office being a cube of ice (hehehe, small things, I know). The supporting cast was great again, which is nice. Overall, a good time if you are looking for decent comedy, which has become extremely rare, 22 Jump Street provides the good laughs and a show worth going back to at some stage.

Review: 21 Jump Street (2012)

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SYNOPSIS: A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring. – via IMDB

Going in blind, I had no idea what was coming. Needless to say, I absolutely loved how this all came together.

These two had hopes and dreams for after the academy… and definitely a different vision of reality than what they got.

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The dream:

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The reality:

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The fact that these two are cops and didn’t even read the Miranda Rights. Watching a few movies will make you an expert on the lines!

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Schmidt’s epic prayer closer…

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How in touch Dickson was with Korean Jesus’s needs and time schedule.

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I don’t even need to say anything, they were pretty dead on.

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Jenko’s view of an epic prom was pretty funny.

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And that dream was realised.

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The worst way to start the school year was a thing of beauty for me.

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Kids thinking they’re all cool being dealers and stuff… I mean seriously?!

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Definitely not on drugs… never occurred to me…

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The absolutely desperation to get the drugs out of their system, and the nasty stuff they were prepared to do to purge themselves of it.

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I absolutely loved Jenko’s shift in what chemistry and science meant to him and what it turned out to be.

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How amazingly in tune you can get with stuff you don’t know when you’re tripping.

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How ridiculously geeky and cute Jenko was by the end of it all after clicking the whole smart thing.

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Dickson’s source.

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Eric was so emotionally weird sometimes.

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The absolutely epic and ridiculous fight between Schmidt and Jenko.

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Raiding an evidence locker really must make for a hell of a party!

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Schmidt was such a twit, but I won’t deny that him being the latest “badass” and Jenko being the loser that needed protecting was hilarious.

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Schmidt must really find other ways to deal with his issues…

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It’s a serious problem, really…

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GRADE 8.5I cannot believe that I had never though to see this until Cara told me that it was certainly worth the watch. I had never seen Channing Tatum in a comedic role (and I do enjoy him as an actor), so watching his clip with Jimmy Fallon a while ago had me giggling quite a bit, so I figured I would check this one out. I was entertained for the entire duration of the movie. It never pretends to be something it isn’t, and even makes fun of it. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are also just excellent together, truly working off of each other, complementing the other’s work from the get go. That bromance is just awesome, no two ways about it. There is so much ridiculous crammed into one movie, yet it all managed to work. It made me laugh, which I did not expect, just due to how ludicrous it was, embracing what it was, and putting it out there. It was definitely a breath of fresh air. I am not usually a fan of comedies because I find most of them to be really daft, but this one had fun with all that was going on, and wasn’t necessarily just stupid humour throughout. I loved the whole commentary that was delivered on how much has changed in schools about what and who is cool and what isn’t. The times are truly changing, and Jenko had a lot of difficulty accepting this. Schmidt, on the other hand, realised that he was definitely born too soon. The storyline is predictable, what with them being opposites, then the best of friends, and then being torn apart by popularity, no matter that they are adults. Never mind that, though, it never has a moment where any of this is considered boring, and the implementation is just spot on. Definitely a fan of this!

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

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“This right here is the land of opportunity. This is America. This is my home! The show goes on!”
– Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young and idealistic man with big dreams for his future and to make money, and establishes himself as a stockbroker at a frim on Wall Street. His lifestyle and what he thought he knew is drastically changed when Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) tells him what he should expect, and that sex and drugs are what will keep him going, and that making the clients’ money is not the name of the game. However, when Black Monday rolls around, Jordan finds himself without a job. When he is ready to give up, his wife Teresa Petrillo (Cristin Milioti) spots an ad in the paper for a company that is actually hiring stock brokers. Jordan goes for an interview, and after what he is used to on Wall Street is shocked to find a dilapidated old building with a bunch of rejects trading penny stocks.

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“The name of the game, moving the money from the client’s pocket to your pocket.” – Mark Hanna

Desperate for work, Jordan takes it and makes a fortune trading the penny stocks. Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) approaches Jordan one day seeing as they live in the same apartment building. He cannot believe that Jordan makes the money he claims he does, but quits his job immediately to come and work for Jordan when he is shown a payslip indicating what Jordan earns. The two branch off and open up their own firm, and Jordan calls in his pot dealer friends to run it – Brad Bodnick (Jon Bernthal), Chester Ming (Kenneth Choi), Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff (P. J. Byrne) and Alden “Sea Otter” Kupferberg (Henry Zebrowski). They come in and start making a lot of money on the penny stocks, and soon Jordan changes the name of the game. He calls the firm Stratton Oakmont, and they are going for the big fish now, selling off stock that people will recognise but making a fortune on the penny stock just under that. The company rapidly expands and becomes a billion-dollar company, with plenty of employees from whom he has garnered much respect and reverence.

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“This is the greatest company in the world!” – Jordan Belfort

Jordan is living the life of a rockstar – sex, drugs, money, prostitutes and endless entertainment is the name of the game. Jordan’s parents, “Mad” Max (Rob Reiner) and Leah (Christine Ebersole) are brought in to deal with the finances. Jordan’s marriage with Teresa collapses when he falls in love with Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie). Jordan is addicted to all sorts of drugs and sleeping with numerous women. The marriage was doomed. Jordan and Naomi get married, and their new life together is supposed to be a glorious affair for a while. They even have a daughter named Skylet together. The FBI, meanwhile, has started looking into the dealings at Stratton Oakmont, and is headed up by agent Denham (Kyle Chandler). The investigation continues and gains heat and momentum, and it is becoming more and more difficult for Jordan to hide the things that are going on in his firm, and things get back when Donnie and Brad get into a huge fight, and Brad gets locked up. Jordan is worried seeing as Brad has been helping smuggle his millions of dollars into Switzerland so that the FBI will not be able to track and/or seize it. As if matters are not bad enough, Jordan learns through his private investigator that the FBI has bugged his phones. Max tries to get Jordan to step down from Stratton Oakmont and take a deal, though Jordan refuses.

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“Was all this legal? Absolutely not!” – Jordan Belfort

With everything that is heating up, will Jordan be able to continue running the massive scams he is? Will Jordan be able to keep his money hidden and out of the eyes of the FBI? Will Jordan have to sit down and speak to the feds, making a deal with them and stick to it? If presented with such an offer, would he even take it? Will Jordan be able to go straight, both in terms of the business that he runs as well as with his drink and drugs? Will his company eventually collapse, be taken down in a brutal and thorough investigation? Will Jordan and Naomi be able to stay strong through whatever may come?

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“Most of the Wall Street jackasses I bust are douchebags, just like their fathers before them. But you… you, Jordan, got this way all on your own.” – Patrick Denham

A 9/10 for The Wolf of Wall Street. I went in with really high expectations and will not even kid around – they were met to the extremes. I have been waiting for this movie forever, and made sure that I got to it this weekend. Leonardo DiCaprio just waltzed in and stole the show again, giving a hell of a performance as Jordan Belfort. He had no scruples, he had no boundaries, he did not care and embraced a dark and gritty, money-filled life and ran with it. Everything about the young man he was got lost, and so quickly, when he got onto Wall Street. His new life of drink, drugs and sex took over, and he had standards to maintain. DiCaprio plays Belfort with a specified flair, which is nothing short of what I had expected him to do. Jonah Hill gave a solid performance as Donnie, and he really was gross and disgusting but clever. I can see now why people have praised his performance. Seeing how everyone plays on Wall Street was a reward unto itself, and Scorsese was just amazing bringing the life and the feeling of everything to the screen. The soundtrack was fitting, the camera work amazing, everything came together so well! For a three hour movie it certainly zips by, keeping you hooked to the story and progression without an issue! You know you are going to get something beautiful when he and DiCaprio pull things together. I know that there were people that had moaned about the nudity and the swearing in this film, but trust me, it doesn’t detract from the viewing experience. It didn’t phase me in the least, though I know it is bound to make some uncomfortable. I really wish that this would be DiCaprio’s Oscar year, he really does deserve one. I laughed a hell of a lot in this movie, just at how ridiculous and ludicrous some of the things that they were doing were, how they just got away with things, how these people lived their lives and the things that they did. It’s disgusting and reprehensible, and nothing about Jordan Belfort says that he was sorry, though it is an interesting look back over the experiences he had. Overall it was a hell of a good watch and something that I would recommend going to see. Definitely my movie of 2013!