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Jojo Rabbit (2019) Review

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & content that may disturb
Cast:
Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo “Rabbit” Betzler
Thomasin McKenzie as Elsa Korr
Taika Waititi as Adolf Hitler
Rebel Wilson as Fräulein Rahm
Stephen Merchant as Captain Deertz
Alfie Allen as Finkel
Sam Rockwell as Captain Klenzendorf
Scarlett Johansson as Rosie Betzler
Archie Yates as Yorki
Director: Taika Waititi

Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is a lonely German boy who discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi) — Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.

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Jojo Rabbit was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. I like Taika Waititi’s movies and so I’m always interested in what he’d do next, even with a premise as strange as this one (of course it definitely seemed like something he’d be able to pull off). The cast is also great with the likes of Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and more involved, so naturally I was looking forward to it. I really liked Jojo Rabbit, and so far I’d say that it’s my favourite of Waititi’s movies.

Jojo Rabbit is a mix of comedy and drama, mostly the former. It’s also a coming of age movie, albeit a very unconventional one. Taika wrote the script, and you can definitely tell that this is one of his movies, so it’s his type of unique comedy throughout. If you’ve watched his other movies (and I mean Boy, What we Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, not just Thor Ragnarok) and you really like them, I’m pretty sure you’ll vibe with Jojo Rabbit as well. If you just can’t get into them however, you’re probably not going to be able to get into his latest movie either. Personally, it worked for me, and basically all the jokes hit for me. On top of that, a lot of the movie is absurd and it’s meant to be that, with this movie being a satire after all. With that said, when the does movie gets serious and emotional, it does deliver. It doesn’t shy away from the seriousness of it at points, especially towards the last third of the movie. With it being a movie about Nazis and Hitler, there’s no way it’s going to stay funny all the way through. Despite being hilarious and over the top, Jojo Rabbit doesn’t forget what it is, a anti-war and anti-hate satire, and there’s a lot of heart behind the movie. Honestly for a movie that could be incredibly absurd, it really is an achievement that Taika managed to pull this off because it’s no easy task balancing it all out. I know that some people might be complaining that for whatever reason it’s not a scathing enough condemnation of fascism, I can assure you that the movie makes it clear that Nazis are bad.

The cast all bring their A game to their performances. I believe this is Roman Griffin Davis’s first performance, and for a big screen debut, he’s great in the lead role. He’s very convincing as this 10 year old boy who also just really wants to be a Nazi, who of course goes through some changes over the course of the movie. So much of this movie is riding on the actor working, and he’s in almost all of the scenes of the movie. He brings the emotion, comedy, self seriousness and innocence that this character needed to have, and Griffin Davis definitely delivered that perfectly. Honestly one of the best child performances I’ve seen. Equally as great was Thomasin McKenzie, the Jewish girl hiding in the attic, she really was outstanding and a highlight from the cast. She and Davis share great chemistry together. Of course when it comes to performances of the movie (and the movie in general), a lot of people will be talking about Taika Waititi as Jojo’s imaginary friend version of Adolf Hitler, played here as a complete buffoon and is hilarious. He’s not really the focus of the movie but he definitely steals the scenes whenever he’s present. Scarlett Johansson gives one of her best performances in a while as Jojo’s mother, Sam Rockwell as usual is great whenever he’s on screen. Other actors like Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant play their roles well. Archie Yates also deserves a mention as Jojo’s friend who’s hilarious whenever he’s on screen.

Taika Waititi’s direction is great as usual. The cinematography is stunning, and at a lot of points feels very much like a Moonrise Kingdom/Wes Anderson movie. Like with the script, the direction for the dramatic and comedic scenes are both played out very well. It has stylistically some larger than life moments straight from a child’s perspective, as well as a couple moments appropriately planted in realism.

With a fantastic cast, and Taika Waititi’s great writing and direction, Jojo Rabbit is one of my favourite movies of the year. It’s a hilarious and entertaining yet emotional and heartfelt movie that successfully balances its tone out well, managing to pull off its absurd premise. Definitely worth a watch.

Grimsby (2016) Review

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Time: 83 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use, sexual material & content that may offend.
Cast:
Sacha Baron Cohen as Norman “Nobby” Butcher
Mark Strong as Coddy/Commander Sebastian Graves
Isla Fisher as Jodie Figgs
Rebel Wilson as Dawn Grobham
Penélope Cruz as Rhonda George
Gabourey Sidibe as Banu
Annabelle Wallis as Lina Smit
Ian McShane as Commander Ledford
David Harewood as Black Gareth
John Thomson as Bob Tolliver
Ricky Tomlinson as Paedo Pete
Johnny Vegas as Milky Pimms
Scott Adkins as Lukashenko
Sam Hazeldine as Chilcott
Barkhad Abdi as Tabansi Nyagura
Director: Louis Leterrier

Dimwitted Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen) lives in an English fishing town with his loving girlfriend (Rebel Wilson) and nine children. For the last 28 years, he’s been searching for his long-lost brother Sebastian (Mark Strong). When the two finally reunite, Nobby finds out that his sibling is a top MI6 agent who’s just uncovered a sinister plot. Wrongfully accused and on the run, Sebastian now realizes that he needs Nobby’s help to save the world and prove his innocence.

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I was cautiously optimistic about Grimsby. It had the talent of Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong and the director has made some decent movies. However Sacha Baron Cohen can be very inconsistent with his comedy. Still, I was willing to give it a chance. This movie unfortunately didn’t really do it for me. There were occasionally a couple of okay and mildly amusing moments, and the action and Mark Strong were actually good. But for the most part it was just annoying and unfunny.

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I knew going into this movie that it would just be a dumb silly comedy with out there gross and offensive jokes, however even knowing all that, I didn’t like this movie. The movie really wasn’t that funny but what’s worse is that this film tries way too far at times to be funny. I found myself fast forwarding a lot of the scenes, mostly through the scenes where they kept going with a joke which was never funny in the first place. The ‘highlight scene’ of the movie involves elephants, and it constantly felt like they were trying too hard. Was it disgusting? Yes. Was it funny? No. Some of you probably heard that this movie had a Donald Trump AIDS joke and yes its there. But like most of the other jokes, its forced and they made a badly CG (like utter crap CG) Donald Trump, so its not even worth going to the movie to see that. Now there were some jokes that did work but for every 1 funny joke, there were at least 10 unfunny jokes. I couldn’t care about any of the characters as well or what was going on (though I feel like that wasn’t what they were going for). I will say this, the movie wasn’t boring. Instead it was annoying and occasionally obnoxious.

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Sacha Baron Cohen is talented but here he was annoying. It didn’t help that his character was so clueless, like borderline Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters 2016. That kind of role needed to be handled right to make it work well and it’s not handled well here. Mark Strong is by far the best part of the movie, though I wonder if that’s because I liked him in other movies. Everyone else really doesn’t anything much, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Barkhad Abdi have done much better in the past, it makes me wonder why they are here. I mean I know Rebel Wilson stars in dud comedy films but what is Ian McShane doing here?

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The director of this film is Louis Leterrier, who has done some action movies with Now You See Me, The Incredible Hulk, The Transporter and Clash of the Titans. Because of this, the action scenes are actually pretty good and are entertaining. There are a couple of segments where its done in first person and its done well. However I will say that this movie does have a lot of lazy CG at times.

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The one thing I will say about Grimsby is that it will definitely get a reaction out of people, positive or negative. This film has a couple mildly amusing jokes, enjoyable action scenes and Mark Strong. Aside from that however, this film was just annoying to sit through. If you really want to see this movie, at least go in knowing what you’re in for. I didn’t like it even though I knew what sort of movie it was. But hopefully plenty of other people can enjoy it.