Tag Archives: Zac Efron

The Beach Bum (2019) Revew

Time: 95 Minutes
Cast:
Matthew McConaughey as Moondog
Isla Fisher as Minnie
Snoop Dogg as Lingerie (“Rie”)
Zac Efron as Flicker
Jonah Hill as Lewis
Stefania LaVie Owen as Heather
Martin Lawrence as Captain Wack
Jimmy Buffett as himself
Director: Harmony Korine

Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is a fun-loving, pot-smoking, beer-drinking writer who lives life on his own terms in Florida. If he can put down the drugs for just one minute, he may finally be able to put his talent to good use and finish the next great American novel.

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The Beach Bum is a movie I’ve been hearing about for a little while. All I knew about it outside of the cast was that it was directed by Harmony Korine, who also made Spring Breakers. I haven’t seen Spring Breakers, but I heard that it was quite divisive, so I expected The Beach Bum to be similar and wasn’t quite sure how it was going to be. Having seen it, I honestly can’t tell who will like it and who won’t. I don’t hate The Beach Bum, and it has some aspects that I liked, but for the most part it really didn’t work for me.

Stoner comedies aren’t necessarily one of my favourite genres to say the least but there’s a few I like. The Beach Bum meanders quite a lot and is really unfocussed, sometimes that can work but it really didn’t here for me. For the first 30 minutes or so I was somewhat on board with it, or at least willing to give it a chance. It didn’t necessarily have things that annoyed me, but after a while it got tedious. After that first 30 minutes I really dropped off, and was liking this movie less and less as it was progressing. I know that a lot of people found the movie hilarious, but personally I didn’t find really any of it funny, I was just watching things happen, and at times it could be painfully unfunny. By the time it got halfway through this movie, I wanted to switch the movie off. I really didn’t get anything from the movie, I wasn’t even entertained. Even McConaughey’s performance could only do so much to make me not give up.

The cast are generally good. The absolute highlight was Matthew McConaughey as the lead character of Moondog, which was perfect casting, I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role. While I really don’t think I liked his character as much as the movie wanted me to (it’s actually quite obnoxious how much it really loves him), McConaughey is electric in the role that he makes it work for at least a good amount of time. Without him being so good in that lead role, I think I might’ve been on the point of borderline loathing watching the movie. Most of the supporting performances are pretty good, with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Isla Fisher involved contributing a decent amount. Jonah Hill and Zac Efron are alright (Efron is actually really good and does a lot to make himself stand out, even alongside McConaughey) but they don’t really get a lot of screentime.

Now this is the first movie by Harmony Korine that I’ve seen, but I mostly like his direction of the movie. It’s got a good look to it and the music choices were also good, they fitted the movie quite well. For the most part I don’t really have many issues with his overall direction. There’s enough here for me to give maybe some of his other movies I chance (potentially).

As someone who haven’t seen Harmony Korine’s other movies, I guess I can say that if you’re already really interested in seeing The Beach Bum, check it out and see it for yourself. Otherwise I’m not sure that I can recommend this movie. I mostly liked Harmony Korine’s direction of the movie, and there is some good acting (mainly from McConaughey), but after the first 30 minutes (which I wasn’t even really into), it just grows incredibly tedious and borderline annoying. I still might check out Spring Breakers, I really hope I like it a lot more than Korine’s latest.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019) Review

Time: 108 Minutes
Cast:
Zac Efron as Theodore “Ted” Bundy
Lily Collins as Elizabeth “Liz” Kendall
Kaya Scodelario as Carole Ann Boone
John Malkovich as Judge Edward Cowart
Jeffrey Donovan as John O’Connell
Angela Sarafyan as Joanna
Dylan Baker as David Yocom
Brian Geraghty as Dan Dowd
Jim Parsons as Larry Simpson
Haley Joel Osment as Jerry Thompson
Director: Joe Berlinger

A courtroom frenzy ensues and sweeps 1970s America when a young single mother (Lily Collins) reluctantly tips the attention of a widespread manhunt toward her longtime boyfriend, Ted Bundy (Zac Efron).

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile was a movie I was curious about. With it being a movie about Ted Bundy, and with the cast involved (especially with Zac Efron playing Bundy) I was interested, but wasn’t really sure how the movie would be. Having seen it, I can say that the performances were very good and it was kind of interesting to watch, however doesn’t quite reach its fullest potential.

First thing to note is that the director Joe Berlinger directed earlier this year Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, a Netflix series about Ted Bundy. I’ve never seen it but it seems that the film is helmed by someone who knows a lot of the subject matter. It is worth knowing going in that Extremely Wicked is mostly a court case sort of movie, and the court case scenes start much earlier than expected. You don’t actually see Efron’s Bundy kill anyone (for the most part), you do hear about some of his crimes but that’s it. The first half of the movie was alright, as it shows Ted with his girlfriend Liz as suspicions about him being a serial killer build up over time. I did feel like it dragged a little bit and didn’t have me fully invested. The second half is where the movie picks up, as it heads towards the main court case, with John Malkovich as the judge and Jim Parsons as the prosecutor. From there it’s much more interesting to watch what is happening. The thing that probably let down the movie mostly was the weak script. I think one of the biggest problems is that the movie from the beginning seems to intend on seeing Bundy through his girlfriend’s perspective. However, he gets arrested pretty early on and we don’t really get to spend much time with the two of them together before or during this period, and the movie breezes right through it. The second half of the movie almost abandons this approach, with the majority of it being a bunch of court cases and then once in a while cuts to Liz hearing about what’s going on. It’s like they really didn’t know what approach they should take and so tried to do everything. A lot of people were worrying that the film was going to glorify Bundy but I’m not sure how anyone could think that after watching the movie. In fact, I think it played much of the movie way too safely, like it deliberately feels caged in and restricted to avoid controversy. As I don’t know much about Ted Bundy, I was reasonably interested watching the movie but come to think of it I don’t think I’ve learned a whole lot more about him than I did before watching it. I feel like people who already know a lot about him or have watched The Ted Bundy Tapes won’t get anything more out of it, outside of the acting.

Zac Efron gives his career best performance as Ted Bundy, he is great here. Efron effortlessly conveys Bundy’s charm and you can see why so many people could be tricked by him and got away with so much. The first half of the movie you really just see Efron’s charismatic side and it’s a while before you really get to see the darker aspects. In the second half though you really get some glimpses of Bundy’s more serial killer side, even without showing any killings on screen, and he’s excellent in the last 20 minutes. I do feel like Efron wasn’t really able to fully embody Bundy as the movie only shows certain sides to him. It was good for what we got though, and at the very least it shows that Efron is more than up to the task for playing much more challenging roles. Lily Collins was also really good as Bundy’s girlfriend Liz and considering that the character really wasn’t handled the best in the story, Collins elevated the role with her performance. It’s a little difficult to buy their relationship as in the early stages of the movie, their moments together are just shown in montages and we don’t really get a chance to see it unfold, so some of the relationship isn’t fully convincing. Not that they have bad chemistry or anything, both of them work together on screen well, it’s just that we didn’t get enough of it. The rest of the cast, which consists of Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons, Haley Joel Osment and more also played their roles well.

Joe Berlinger directed this movie fine enough, there’s nothing wrong with how he handled the movie, the cinematography, editing and all the rest are competent enough, just nothing special or noteworthy worth mentioning.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a decent enough movie but isn’t as great as it could’ve been. The movie didn’t seem to know what angle it was going to take on the story, whether it be from the perspective of the girlfriend or to be a court case movie, and it’s a little messy all round. Weak script aside, from what I can gather, you’ll get a lot more out of it if you don’t know a lot about Bundy beforehand, as it doesn’t show or reveal a whole lot about him. As someone who really didn’t know much about him beforehand, I liked it but I can see how others didn’t get much out of it. With that said, it does pick up with the second half, and Efron and Collins give some really good performances and I think that’s enough to make the movie worth watching. If you have Netflix and you are curious about it, then definitely give it a watch.

The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

Time: 105 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Hugh Jackman as P. T. Barnum
Zac Efron as Phillip Carlyle
Michelle Williams as Charity Hallett-Barnum
Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind
Zendaya as Anne Wheeler
Director: Michael Gracey

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman), The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

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I didn’t know what I would think of The Greatest Showman. There seemed to be quite the hype for it, with it seeming to promise an entertaining musical with some good songs. There was a lot of talent involved with Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and others involved. However, I had a feeling that it would just be entertaining but not that great overall as a movie. Unsurprisingly, that was pretty much what I got. The Greatest Showman is entertaining but there’s not a whole lot of substance, it’s flashy and stylistic and has actors you love performing some great songs but that seems to be all it really has to offer. The movie even gets worse when you look into it more, as the way the filmmakers try to use the story of real life person P.T. Barnum to make it a musical is highly questionable at best. However there is still fun to be had with the movie.

Even outside of its accuracy to real life issues, The Greatest Showman does have some plot issues. At times it was trying hard to get you feel things but it felt shallow and by the numbers. The story is also quite predictable, there aren’t really any surprises. Despite it being an hour and 45 minutes long, it drags at some points, particularly in between the flashy sequences. There are some aspects that feel not as interesting like with Rebecca Fergusson’s character, there was quite a lot of focus on her and then she just disappears from the movie at some point. It feels like all that time should’ve been spent between Zac Efron and Zendaya as their storyline were a little more interesting. Now onto possibly the biggest fault of the movie. From what I can tell, this movie isn’t very accurate at all, usually I’m a little lenient on some movies based on true events but this is a case where a lot of the changes really bothered me. From what little I researched about P.T Barnum, The Greatest Showman makes him unbelievably likable in comparison to his real self. In retrospect, they really should’ve just taken some inspiration from P.T. Barnum and create their own story completely. Earlier I mentioned how Rebecca Fergusson’s character didn’t fit in with the movie, apparently she plays a real life person named Jenny Lind, once again if they only took inspiration for the story they wouldn’t have to put her in the movie (it is also worth noting that they got a lot of things about Lind wrong). Zac Efron and Zendaya’s characters also never existed in real life, despite them being some of the main characters of the film. It’s like someone saw a very rough outline of P.T. Barnum’s life and what he did, took random bits out and turned it into a musical. All the faults of the movie as a story are made even worse by the inaccuracies to real life, if they could just make up things, why couldn’t they write a better story? So for enjoyment’s sake, I just look at this movie as a fictional musical. P.T. Barnum is not a good subject of focus for a musical, if they really wanted to make The Greatest Showman and have it inspired by some of Barnum’s life, they should’ve just taken some aspects but otherwise make just about everything fictional, and also don’t claim to attempt to basing the movie off of him. Inaccuracies aside, the story is just passable at best, nothing really that special.

Hugh Jackman is good as always, whether it comes to acting, dancing and singing. As I said previously, he’s not really playing P.T. Barnum, for the way that his role was written though, he was good at it. Just imagine that here he’s playing someone named P.T. Barnum who isn’t related to the real life P.T. Barnum. The supporting cast with Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Williams, and others were also good. Although her character wasn’t so great, Rebecca Fergusson was good enough in her role, although it felt a little odd and out of place that the rest of the main cast sung whereas her singing was dubbed by Loren Allred.

The Greatest Showman’s greatest strengths aside from its actors is the direction and the music. It is directed rather well by director Michael Gracey, who makes his directorial debut here. The musical sequences are all pretty great, the choreography, cinematography, production design, everything is on point, if rather over the top, overblown and silly at certain points. Nearly all the songs are great, with maybe 2 or 3 songs paling in comparison to the rest of the songs. It is a very flashy and entertaining movie, I can say that, which helps make the so-so story somewhat bearable.

The Greatest Showman was entertaining but that’s all I can really say about this movie. Aside from the good performances from the actors, some flashy and fun sequences and the songs, it really is a sort of passable movie with a shallow and average story which relies way too heavily on its style and its entertainment factor over having enough actual substance. The inaccuracies to the story just make the movie worse and are more bothersome the more you look into it. I will say that I still did enjoy watching The Greatest Showman, but there is a lot of things wrong with it. I’d say give it a chance if you like some musicals, just don’t expect it to be mindblowing amazing and be aware that this movie might as well have nothing to do with the real life P.T. Barnum. Accuracy aside, it is still an entertaining movie and to a degree I recommend checking it out, despite its faults.

The Disaster Artist (2017) Review

Time: 103 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast
James Franco as Tommy Wiseau
Dave Franco as Greg Sestero
Seth Rogen as Sandy Schklair
Alison Brie as Amber
Ari Graynor as Juliette Danielle
Josh Hutcherson as Philip Haldiman
Jacki Weaver as Carolyn Minnott
Zac Efron as Dan Janjigian
Director: James Franco

Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) become friends after meeting each other in an acting class in San Francisco. Hoping to achieve Hollywood stardom, Sestero moves to Los Angeles and signs on to appear in his buddy’s project. Financed with his own money, Wiseau writes, directs and stars in “The Room,” a critically maligned movie that becomes a cult classic.

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The Disaster Artist is one of my most anticipated films of all time. The Room has become a uniquely iconic film that I love for the same reason that many other people love it, because of how bizarrely and hilariously bad it is. I read the book about the behind the scenes of The Room titled The Disaster Artist (written by Greg Sestero) and I was immediately hyped when I saw that they were going to adapt it to the big screen. With James Franco (who both stars and directs), Dave Franco, Seth Rogen and more involved, I couldn’t help but be excited. The Disaster Artist was so great, it was pretty much everything I wanted it to be.

I will admit that it’s been years since I’ve actually read The Disaster Artist so I can’t remember exactly if everything in the movie is accurate to the book but I do think that at least most of it is right. One thing I loved is how this movie wasn’t just a piss take of The Room, it could’ve easily become that. You can tell that everyone who worked on this movie loved The Room and wanted to bring he story behind all that to the big screen. And they really achieved that. Don’t expect this to be just a story about The Room. This film almost feels like its in two parts, one is Tommy and Greg as friends trying to get into Hollywood and then the other is the filming of The Room. There was a good balance of drama and comedy overall, the movie is hilarious (it’ll be particularly funny for fans of The Room) but it also allows you to be invested in this story.

One question that immediately is asked by many when it comes to The Disaster Artist is whether you necessarily needed to have watched The Room beforehand. I’ll say this: you can watch The Disaster Artist without watching The Room but you won’t get the full experience, at the very least try to learn about it and/or watch some clips from it. Fans of The Room will love it, and the best part is that it doesn’t ruin the experience of The Room, it’s a great accompany piece and if anything it makes it even better and helps you appreciate it more. The story of The Disaster Artist is quite inspiring, Tommy Wiseau set out with a dream and ultimately fulfilled that dream. It may have not been exactly what he wanted or expected but he made it in the end. And I think that was shown greatly. Make sure to wait for the post credits scene.

James Franco is absolutely fantastic as Tommy Wiseau. To be honest, the portrayal and performance of Tommy was something I was worried about going in. Franco is a good actor but I’d doubt the performance of any actor cast as Tommy because it can’t just be an impression, he needs to full embody Wiseau as a person (and I read The Disaster Artist, so I knew about some of the things that happened). And he did that. You do not see James Franco, you see Tommy Wiseau. He also portrays Tommy as a real person, it shows his weirdness and doesn’t shy away from how troublesome he was during the shooting of The Room, much of which consists with his very bizarre filmmaking decisions. But it also allows you to really see him as a human being trying to fulfil his dream. Both aspects are balanced well. It poses questions about him that everyone to this day is asking (like how old is he, where was he born and where does he get his seemingly endless supply of money) but it never answers them, still keeping the mystery of Tommy Wiseau. Dave Franco shouldn’t be overlooked either, this is probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. Despite the two being brothers, you quickly forget that, the two share such great chemistry and feel like best friends. There are also a lot of good actors in supporting roles with Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver and Zac Efron, and they are all great here. I do wish that we got a little more of the supporting cast, especially those who played the people who worked on The Room. They are great in their screentime though. There are also some really enjoyable cameos that I won’t spoil.

This film is directed quite well by James Franco. The recreations of The Room were done very well, it is surprising how much attention to detail they had, if you are a fan of The Room you will appreciate these parts a lot. Also the makeup on James Franco was great, making him look as much like Tommy Wiseau as possible without being too over the top.

I had high expectations of The Disaster Artist and it absolutely delivered. The performances were fantastic (from both Francos particularly), the story is great, it is entertaining and for fans of The Room such as myself, it is an absolute must see. Honestly it is a bit of an inspiring movie as well, an very unconventionally inspirational movie. The Disaster Artist is one of my favourite movies of the year and I couldn’t be happier to say that.