Hotel for Dogs (2009)

This used to be my little brother’s favourite film. When he was young, he used to watch it over and over again, obsessed with the dogs in the film and rewinding to start again. So therefore, it has been one I’ve seen a few times too, and I’m not moaning about it, because it’s great! It’s a heart-warming, nice film, nothing to say that’s wrong with it because it’s just such a lovely easy-watching film. It is more of a kids film, although I still enjoy it.

Hotel for Dogs

Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin play sister and brother, Andi and Bruce; foster children in a house unloving and controlling. The film starts showing us they are understandably not happy with their new foster parents, Lois (‘Friends’ Lisa Kudrow) and Carl (Kevin Dillon), as they rebel and scam people for money. Soon we find out this is all to feed their family’s dog before they lost their parents. This dog is Friday, an adorable feisty terrier, that is mischievous and does anything for food with his great sense of smell. This is comically played on when Friday can smell a hot dog even though he cannot see it. Friday is a brilliant little dog, who alone is adorably funny in this film.

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When the children are involved in something that is nothing to do with them, they accidentally find an abandoned old vacant hotel to hide in. In this hotel are two stray dogs. Soon, the siblings have taken it upon themselves to rescue stray dogs from the pound and from the streets to give them a place to live. As you can probably tell the story is heart-warming and simple in its brilliance.

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We soon discover Bruce is magnificent in creating inventions as he creates an automatic ball-thrower for the new resident Georgia and a toilet to deal with any poop in the hotel. All the dogs are adorable and create a little comical element, for example Cooper who eats everything. It’s just a nice film to watch. Yeah it is a Nickelodeon movie, but you know what it’s one that is considerably better than others. It’s got so much to it, that is meaningful and heartening. If you like a simple family film, one of dogs and siblings trying their best to stay together and create their own family, then this would be perfect. It makes you giggle; it makes you feel for all the dogs and the siblings. I wouldn’t say it’s a ground-breaking film, it’s just nice. And sometimes that’s one of the best things of a film, it’s enjoyable and a little escapism for a while.

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Scary Movie (2000)

This is a movie you cannot take seriously, you have to accept it for what it is. Its humour is one of a kind, one I stress is for certain comical tastes, this is not a film for all. For starters, it’s an 18 and for very good reason. Plus, the humour is quite offensive… Well outrageous and will stretch to any limits. It’s definitely a darker humour. But for this reason, it creates laughs in the crazy potentials and the spoof of horrors.

‘Scary Movie’ is one of the horror comedy spoofs of the 2000s, which was followed by many other Scary Movies’ years later. There must have been a demand with so many sequels following after. The humour is rude, sexual and shocking. Yet ridiculous and hilarious in its own way. Ok, there are parts I do not find funny at all, because they’re a bit too much for me, but some parts I did have a giggle, in its outrageousness, it does gain laughs. ‘Scary Movie’ laughs in the face of horrors, spoofs stereotypes and mocks itself as a film.

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‘Scary Movie’ follows teens exactly one year after they accidentally kill someone and cover it up. On Halloween, a Scream-copycat figure goes around haunting and killing the group. But instead of the horror, he is seen hiding behind the couch, he gets hit by a piano rolling down the stairs and he’d rather rap and do drugs instead of kill. Also, a girl in a state of irony, breaks her own leg to have her head chopped off; in a dramatic scene the audience misunderstands a murder; and there is the famous scene of wassssaaaappppp on the phone. When I watched this when I was younger, I think the concept quite scared me, but it is definitely more comedy and I think I was confused by the whole concept.

The actors and actresses in this film are actually ones you’d probably recognise. To begin with, the main protagonist is played by the excellent Anna Faris, whom I’ve seen in many films, such as ‘The House Bunny’ and ‘What’s Your Number?’. Secondly, the film is written by the Wayans brothers, Shawn and Marlon, who both star in the film too. And even a young Hal Cooper from ‘Riverdale’ makes an appearance in the group.

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So to recap: a film of particular humour taste, of light-heartedness and not-to-be-taken-seriously. The film echoes a spoof of Scream, with comedy embedded and stupid ridiculously. Please remember it did come out in the 2000, it is just a spoof of everything. Take it as it is, or watch because it’s difficult to figure out who is actually behind the mask…

Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)

Johnny English returns in a third film of 2018. A Johnny English who hasn’t changed one bit since 2003 when he first hit our screens. I just love that English is only ever referred to when he is the only agent left, and it is the same in this film. National crisis has hit when the British security has been hacked, the only agent they can turn to is one who is retired and now a geography teacher… Johnny English. He is eager as ever, yet as silly in his stupid mistakes, which we recognise as his two main personality traits.

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Everything loved by the previous two films is brought back in this third. Rowan Atkinson shines as our most determined British spy. Bough (Ben Miller) returns as our most dedicated sidekick in his blind loyalty and “yes sir”s. And humour returns stupid and comical. Finally, our Prime Minister played by the brilliant Emma Thompson, frantic in decisions she has to make. I have to admit, ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’ does seem to have a very strong political edge, more than I’ve read in the other films. The Prime Minister in this film seems to echo a message reflecting Britain’s current political state…

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Johnny English and Bough go on a traditionally old British mission, refusing technology and new cars, English feels the need to hold ground to his old spy days. They embed in car chases with an old loud car and an electric one, but nevertheless English remains strong to his decisions of tear-gassing cyclists in the road and walking up the side of a boat in extremely magnetic shoes. My favourite scene had to be the virtual reality one, where English accidentally leaves the building in a virtual reality state attacking people in the street and crawling across roads, it is classically Johnny English and comical for all audiences.

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Of course, once again the film is more comedy than action, although there are the scenes with action, that goes tragically wrong, because why wouldn’t it when it’s Johnny English? The whole film is riddled with ironic humour, feel-good giggle moments and light-hearted ridiculously. If you enjoyed the others, I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy this one too! ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’ is a classic Johnny English film, predictable although you don’t watch it for twists and turns. It’s not the most hilarious film I’ve ever seen, but it gets your smiling in the silly mishaps. Poor Johnny English is just a knight in shining armour who just wants to be taken seriously.

The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)

Action comedy with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon, why not? Looks good, looks funny, looks full of action, what else do you need for an enjoyable film? And after seeing, ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ definitely ticked all those boxes. It’s not a film that will change history in film culture, but it was a comical, entertaining film.

As the title suggests, it’s quite a self-explanatory plot-line. Audrey (Mila Kunis) is dumped abruptly by her one-year boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux – aka Drew Barrymore’s revengeful ex in ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’). However, what she doesn’t know is that her now-ex is in fact a spy in the CIA. People are in search for him and they are led to Audrey and her best friend, Morgan (Kate McKinnon). Following, are alleged spies Sebastian (Sam Heughan) and Duffer (Hasan Minhaj), and an unknown terrorist group who brings in an assassin. Suddenly Audrey and Morgan are wrapped into a first-time adventure to Europe that becomes comically explosive.

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There are quite a few elements of genre in ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’. Obviously the comedy is at the forefront of the whole film, there are many hilarious or giggle-worthy moments. There is definitely one star who should get most of the praise for this comedy component: Kate McKinnon. Her ballsy persona and honesty to her parents is hilarious. She is definitely a great comedy actress, not to say she was the only comedy element, because Mila Kunis was also brilliant, as she always is.

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Now the action element. More brutal than I thought it would be, there are a lot of murders. Some good bad-ass action scenes, not forgetting the character Sebastian’s action scenes, which were magnificent. We also watch as Audrey and Morgan become more of action figures throughout the film which is great! Due to the plot-line, the action actually brings in a mystery configuration. Which I do have to admit was executed well. There is a constant feel of ‘who can you trust’ throughout the film, which did get me double-guessing every character all the way to the end. I quite liked this element, just brought that little more to an action comedy. Finally, this is a 15 for a reason, there is a lot of swearing, nudity, and murders.

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Honestly, I couldn’t say I had any issues with this film, it was easy-watching, fun and exciting. We travel all around Europe from Paris to Amsterdam, to so many more places. All travelling round with these two best friends, one who “never finishes anything” and another who is a “little much”. We learn more and more about this comical duo as they have no idea what’s going on. 

Tag (2018)

A comedy inspired by a true story – as they’ve highly advertised. Even at the start of the film, ‘Tag’ is dominant is portraying that it is a film inspired off one true and real-life. Although, this doesn’t mean it follows the tales of the same people’s lives or that the facts are set in stone from reality; the whole essence of this film, is based off the fact that the same group of friends have been playing the same game of tag for decades. And please don’t miss the end, it’s got a beautiful part where they actually show video recordings of these real friends playing their magnificent game, surprising each other unannounced.

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Introducing the characters of ‘Tag’. Five friends since they were nine have been playing the same game of tag, every May it starts up again and the game can start again. Hoagie, who claims himself as the heart and soul of the game is the one determined to bring them all together. In a surprise visit to his mate’s work, he tags Bob Callahan mid important meeting. Next is to collect Chilli, the weed-headed one, with a cigarette always in his mouth. Finally, Sable, mid therapist meeting. All come together as they are told this could be the year they can finally tag Jerry, the one and only tag-player who has never been tagged. However, only this year Jerry has announced he will be retiring. Along the way, Hoagie’s over-aggressive and over-competitive wife, Anna (Isla Fisher), joins in on the vacation. And reporter, Rebecca, is also determined to follow Callahan to discover what just interrupted their important meeting and why they insist on running around tagging each other.

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The actors and actresses are truly great. It’s nice to see Jeremy Renner in a different sort of film, although this film does still contain a bit of action usually because of him. Renner plays the only one never tagged, Jerry. His competitive ways are hilarious and creative, he truly shows the limits he goes to just to not get tagged. Although, his bride-to-be, Susan (Leslie Bibb), I wasn’t a fan, to be honest just a bit psycho and didn’t quite have the charm Jerry did and more really just made me dislike her competitive rude nature. Hoagie played by Ed Helms, was brilliant, he was the over-excitable determined character, nothing would please him more, especially to get all his friends together. Callahan was played by Jon Hamm, also great, and Sable by Hannibal Buress who was hilarious with some of his comments. But Chilli, ‘New Girl’ Jake Johnson, who I love so much, he could literally play any character and I would still love him. He was comical with his pessimistic nature in his divorce and broke state. Comical when he doesn’t really know the right way to say things. Finally, the reporter who ‘tagged’ along, sorry (not sorry), Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis), was a great addition as she didn’t understand what was happening, all the things explained to her were therefore being explained to us as we were thrown in quite quickly with the plot. She got told the background of the game, the rules and amendments that could be made etc etc etc. This led to great flashbacks, comical and fun.

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I would definitely recommend ‘Tag’, I thought it was a great, hilarious film and I would watch it again, over and over. It also has quite a bit of emotion and background story-telling to it, but it all works and combines with action moments of trying to tag Jerry. The whole film is revolved around Jerry’s wedding and the plotting and scheming to catch him. There were also a variety of camera adventures, for example attached to Chilli as he was running away, which just added to his peril of being caught and desperate need to run away. Or another creative element was hearing Jerry’s thoughts as he figured out where his friends were hiding and explaining how he will fool them and escape as he has so many times before. This all added to the creativity of the whole film. Hilarious film, really enjoyable!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.

Life of the Party (2018)

A new Melissa McCarthy film, so of course I went to go see it! I think she is a great actress. Yes, she is an actress that pretty much plays the same characters, but when she can make these characters hilarious and brilliant and they are different in different plots, then what is the problem with it? Then if there’s Melissa McCarthy, her husband Ben Falcone is soon to show on screen, of course he does! Come on, it’s not just me that when watching a Melissa McCarthy waits for Ben Falcone’s starring moment? Also credit to him for directing, producing and co-writing the film, co-written and produced with Melissa McCarthy.

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When Deanna’s (Melissa McCarthy) manipulative husband declares he wants a divorce as he’s fallen in love with another woman, mother of one realises she hasn’t lived the life she wanted to. The one biggest regret being dropping out of college. So she decides that is what she will do, return to college, the college her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon), is at. Deanna’s transformation from a full-time mother to a college girl is fun and creative. Along the way, Maddie’s friends soon become her mother’s. Helen (Gillian Jacobs) has to be one of my favourites, known as “coma girl”, she’s hilariously weird and blunt. Throughout it all is Deanna’s over-supportive friend, Christine (played by the brilliant Maya Rudolph), declaring herself a lawyer through the divorce and hilariously supportive of Deanna’s new casual sex with one of the frat boys. Deanna tries to be upbeat and positive with her new found personality and determination to get her archaeology degree. Living with hilarious Leonor (Heidi Gardner), Deanna tries to have a conversation with the girl who never goes outside and hides in the closet. Bumps along the way include the stereotypical bitch of the film, hating that a ‘mum’ is appearing at parties. This is actually played by Debby Ryan, very different in her role, moving away from the good girl ‘Suite Life of Deck’ Bailey and other Disney Channel shows.

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‘Life of the Party’ definitely made me laugh. It also stars Gordon from ‘Dodgeball’! Throughout the whole film, I couldn’t place where I knew him from! Christina Aguilera may also appear… All the characters are so unique, it’s a nice refreshing film. The comedy definitely got better as it went along, as Deanna settled more into her college experience. It is actually quite a quick pace film, the divorce announcement is literally in the first 5-10 minutes of the film. Then the decision of going to university is again quick and then she’s there. I love that it’s fast pace, because then her transformation can hit quickly and her comical personality is ready to explore university. The acting of Maddie however, wasn’t the best, she did annoy me at times. I get she was a character with a bit resistance of their mum being at college with her, that’s completely understandable, but just the way the actress pursued this wasn’t the best, things seemed a little laggy. But I quickly got over it.

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This is definitely a classic Melissa McCarthy film and an enjoyable one at that. I’m not going to say it’s the best comedy of the year, but it made me laugh and I would watch it again. Melissa McCarthy is obviously the star of the show and deserves it as she executes the character to perfection and hilariously, as she always does. I don’t think there’s a film of hers that I don’t like! If you’re a fan of Melissa McCarthy then this film is the next to watch, but if you’re not, then don’t…

Bad Moms (2016)

When mother Amy finally snaps after an extremely long day, she quits the PTA and decides she will become a bad mom (or mum). She quits trying to be the perfect mum when things keep going wrong and starts putting her own needs first. The mums that join her, single feisty mum Carla and stay at home, controlled mum Kiki. Along the way, Amy soon finds an enemy in the President of the PTA, Gwendolyn, and the two constantly by her side, Stacy and Vicky.

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I love the actresses of this film, the stardom is brilliant. Mila Kunis as Amy, Kathryn Hahn as Carla, and Kristen Bell as Kiki. Firstly, these three do have an amazing chemistry, they are all great together. If I’m honest, I have watched many interviews with these three and I love them together, and of course that helps in a film! Gwendolyn is played by the great Christina Applegate too, although her character is one that goes to some extreme extremes. Like I’ve already said, ‘Bad Moms’ has a great cast, plus some other great additions. The music is fab in this film, it’s fun and is modern popular songs, from Demi Lovato’s ‘Confident’ and DNCE’s ‘Cake by the Ocean’. It really does add to the fun of the film. There’s also a lot of slo-mo moments, again I think it all just adds to the fun of the film. It adds comedy and just go very well with the upbeat music.

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All the characters are very different, they all have their own parenting style, but all highlight a bad mum struggling but having so much love for their children. Mila Kunis’ character carries the plot of the film, it’s mainly her life that becomes the dominant family in the film. Amy is the parent that has always tried, she does everything for her children, does their homework, makes them the perfect lunch and rushes around to make sure they get to their extracurricular activities after school. When a bad day occurs Amy snaps, and heads to the bar. Here she meets Carla. Carla’s a single mum who’s always been excluded in PTA meetings, she’s very crude and provocative, nevertheless, she’s hilarious in her feistiness and truth. Then there’s Kiki, who is a stay at home mum, she does nothing for herself, and her husband does nothing for the children. Kiki is pretty much domesticated and controlled by her husband to be the “mother of the household” stereotype. To be honest, I really didn’t expect her character to be like this, but her growing throughout the film and her doing stuff for herself made her into such a strong character and funny too, with her hilarious dancing or her awkward ways.

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This is a 15 and for good reason. There are hundreds of sex talks and references. There is also a sex scene and a lot of swearing. But a comedy for this audience and it’s a really funny one. There are heart-warming moments, a breaking moment (obviously, as all films do), and many hilarious moments. Yeah it’s predictable, but it’s enjoyable and funny, and isn’t that all you need in a comedy? You don’t watch a film like this one for twists and turns, just a fun watch and that is what it is. The actresses are superb and the film is one I would definitely watch again. It’s a film for many to enjoy and laugh with, and love these bad mums.