Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Reviews of 30 Minutes or Less, Ides of March, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hangover II and TT3D: Closer to the Edge.

Based on a true story 30 Minutes or Less is about a guy called Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) who is a slob working at a pizza delivery restaurant which aims to deliver the pizza in 30 minutes or less (the smart ones of you may have worked out this is also the title). Nick drives out to some sort of scrap yard where two guys (played by Danny MacBride and Nick Swardson) knock him unconscious, tie a bomb to him and order him to rob a bank of $100,000 dollars. This money is needed to kill Dwayne’s (MacBride) authoritarian father (played by Fred Ward) so Dwayne could receive his dad’s inheritance money. The performances themselves are not bad (with the exception of MacBride who fails to raise one single laugh) but they are let down by a quite simply woeful script (written by Michael Diliberti) that lacks wit and ingenuity relying totally on swearing, nob jokes and gay jokes to generate the laughs. Unsurprisingly none of these are used in an effective way as the swearing begins to become not only needless but repetitive and never used in a clever manner but just for the hell of it. That said there are one or two good jokes, the best one relates to Jesse Eisenberg’s most recent and greatest project which is actually quite smart but it goes no further than that. Also the bank robberies are quite amusing but despite the very short running time of barely 80 minutes there is plenty of time to feel a tad bored. None of the characters are particularly likeable so it’s rather hard to care about whether the bomb explodes or not. It’s not unwatchable but it’s not one worth watching.  


George Clooney undertakes directorial duties for the fourth time crafting an enjoyable and gripping political thriller about backstabbing and loyalty. Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosling) is a promising young campaign manager and undoubtedly the mastermind behind Mike Morris’ (Clooney) campaign in Ohio.  Things are going well but Meyers gets dragged down into the dark traitorous world of politics where anyone is prepared to do anything to get ahead of the pack. While Ides of March may be slow out of the starting blocks by the second act it becomes a riveting thriller of lies, deceit and betrayal. It’s a very dark and cynical view of politics but one that will not come as a shock to many. Gosling is superb as a campaign manager; with a touch of arrogance Stephen Meyers is fully aware of the promising career that awaits him. George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti (as Paul Zara and Tom Duffy respectively) provide impressive support. Add to the mix a well written script (which was co-written by Clooney) and efficient directing from Clooney you have an entertaining thriller but not one that will stand out neither will it linger long in the memory.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a film that looks at many aspects of love, its craziness, stupidity and sentimental feeling and does it a very entertaining manner, Crazy, Stupid, Love is the surprise package of the year. Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) has just been divorced from his wife (Julianne Moore) and is found at a bar by Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling) who gives Cal Weaver his mojo back. Crazy, Stupid, Love has plenty of awkward, cringe worthy and hilarious moments that all adds up to create a very entertaining and sweet film. Crazy, Stupid, Love has a fine array comedic performances from Steve Carell and womanizer Ryan Gosling. Crazy, Stupid, Love’s wonderfully written script pulls back the crude humour and relies on charm and good humour to win the audience’s hearts and it does remarkably well as the audience warms to the likeable characters as Cal turns from loser to stud. There are many highlights (the meeting with the English teacher is one of them, Cal leaping out a moving car and a joke about Twilight) but Crazy, Stupid, Love remains more charming rather than funny (that is not a criticism!). The conclusion lacks believability but still remains delightful entertaining and directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa do a super job at keeping one entertained throughout the two hour running time. Crazy, Stupid, Love remains a breath of fresh air away from the torrid Jennifer Lopez and Katherine Heigl driven romantic comedies as Crazy, Stupid, Love is a romantic comedy with sweet romance and clever comedy.

The 2009 The Hangover was a hit, a great one too, it was hilarious, it was simple and crude but it was enjoyable and the stars had great chemistry. The Box Office figures were crying out for a sequel and so we got one and it is undoubtedly one of the laziest sequels of all time. Stuart ‘Stu’ Price (Ed Helms) is getting married, so the Wolfpack (Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis) travels all the way to Thailand to be there. However the next day the Wolfpack wake up in Bangkok with the bride’s younger brother Teddy (Mason Lee) missing so they attempt to find him in a city with a population of 12 million. In terms of plot The Hangover II is a carbon copy of the first one but as the same jokes are repeated the element of surprise is no longer there. The jokes mostly fail to amuse and as they are almost exactly the same in the first film they actually turn out to be rather predictable. One critic claimed ‘twice as mad and twice as funny’ this is utter rubbish but The Hangover II is certainly twice as crude. It’s set in Thailand and Bangkok so cue jokes about Thai transvestites and the name of its capital. There are amusing moments that stop the film being an unpleasant disaster and the stars work well together but the film is still lazy filmmaking of the highest order, a cash cow if I ever saw one. Paul Giamatti picks up a giant cheque despite, surely, having better things to do. There, sadly, is a third one in production, it undoubtedly will make a fortune. Helms won the award for Best Hissy fit at the Teen Choice Awards, nuff said.

Like the most recent documentary on the Formula one racing star Senna (directed by Asif Kapadia) it matters very little whether you are a fan of the sport or not as either way TT Closer to the Edge is gripping entertainment for fans and non fans alike. TT3D Closer to the Edge follows the main bikers who travel to the TT on the Isle of Man which is one of the most deadly tracks in the world and since the creation of the event in 1901 it has claimed 200 lives. We follow the main bikers Guy Hamilton, Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness as they prepare for the biggest event of their year. Surrounding the track are stone walls, houses and hills to tumble down thus the TT Isle of Man will punish you if you make one small error and at speeds of 200MPH they could be fatal, the drivers say nothing gets the adrenaline pumping as much as being right on the edge of a possibly fatal accident. It’s impossible to get that feeling watching a documentary but TT3D Closer to the Edge gets the blood pumping in a way that Hollywood blockbusters could only dream of. The sweeping camera shots are impressive and capture the speed and the danger of the track brilliantly, the pictures of bikes that have turned into a fireball are terrifying and the footage of serious bike crashes is shocking, all those factors and likeable personalities make TT3D gripping stuff.


  1. I fully agree with The Hangover Part II, which is a shame as the first one was greatly hilarious.

    May give TT and Senna a go, sound good despite me not caring for the sports

    as for the other two Ryan Gosling films you reviewed, i'm not big on political thrillers and love comedies, so you can guess which of the two i'm more likely to see.

    anyways, great reviews Myerla

  2. I think Helms did deserve that award.

  3. Frankly I thought you over rated Hangover part II, but that's just me.

    And yeah I thought Ides of March was a good film.

    And GRRR! I really want to see Crazy, Stupid, Love!!!!

    good reviews Myerla.

  4. HAK

    Overrated at 2/5?

    You must of really hated it