Very Bad Things (1998)

Very Bad Things
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Peter Berg
Cast: Jon Favreau, Leland Orser, Cameron Diaz, Christian Slater, Jeremy Piven, Daniel Stern, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Kobe Tai
Seen on: 11.4.2016

Plot:
Kyle (Jon Favreau) and Laura (Cameron Diaz) are about to get married. As Laura is fully occupied organizing everything, Kyle’s friends Charles (Leland Orser), Robert (Christian Slater), Michael (Jeremy Piven) and Adam (Daniel Stern) are mostly looking forward to his bachelor party in Las Vegas. Kyle isn’t quite as excited about it, especially not when a sex worker (Kobe Tai) shows up in their hotel room. As Michael goes to have sex with her in the bathroom, she hits her head and dies. The guys start to panic but agree to cover things up – which is only the start of the problems.

Very Bad Things is a prime example of the worst kind of edgy humor, confusing offensiveness with being funny at every turn and ending up a tired, uncomfortable  mess. No wonder it’s virtually unknown – it would have been better if I had kept it that way as well.

verybadthings

[SPOILERS]

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Annie (2014)

Annie
Director: Will Gluck
Writer: Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna (script), Greg Kurstin, Sia (new music)
Based on: the play written by Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music), Martin Charnin (lyrics) which is in turn based on Harold Gray‘s comic strip Little Orphan Annie
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Zayas, Cameron Diaz, Michael J. Fox, Patricia Clarkson, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Rihanna, Sia
Seen on: 23.01.2015

Plot:
Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is an orphan and lives with the difficult Ms Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) and several other foster children. She dreams of finding her parents and whenever possible she passes her time coming up with ways she could find out more about them. But her life takes an abrupt turn when she is saved from getting hit by a car by the self-involved businessman Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) who is running for mayor. Stacks’ PR person Guy (Bobby Cannavale) sees the perfect opportunity to make Stacks more likeable and convinces him to take in Annie, despite the misgivings of Stack’s assistant Grace (Rose Byrne). But Annie is not just a passive thing to be used – she makes her own life.

I don’t know whether I have actually ever seen the film from the 80s and I know for a fact that I didn’t see any of the other adaptations of this. And as practically an Annie virgin, I really enjoyed the film, even if it had its weak spots.

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In a World… (2013)

In a World…
Director: Lake Bell
Writer: Lake Bell
Cast: Lake BellFred Melamed, Michaela Watkins, Demetri Martin, Rob CorddryAlexandra HoldenTalulah Riley, Jason O’Mara, Ken Marino, Eva Longoria, Nick Offerman, Geena Davis, Cameron Diaz
Part of: Framing Reality

Plot:
Carol (Lake Bell), daughter of the famous trailer narrator Sam (Fred Melamed), has been dreaming of narrating trailers herself. But women just don’t do that – all movie trailers are narrated by men. So she struggles along with dialect coaching. Until one day she by chance gets to substitute for Gustav (Ken Marino), new star of the trailer voice over world. Despite the hostility from a lot of men around her, that was just the opening she needed to carve out a space for herself and female voices.

In a World… was funny, sweet, smart and feminist. I really enjoyed it from start to finish.

inaworld

[SPOILERS]

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The Counselor (2013)

The Counselor
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Cormac McCarthy
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Bruno Ganz, Brad Pitt, Toby Kebbell, Édgar Ramírez, Dean NorrisJohn Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, Goran Visnjic

Plot:
The Counselor (Michael Fassbender) is a lawyer who is about to marry his girlfriend Laura (Penélope Cruz). He is also somehow involved in the drug business through his client Reiner (Javier Bardem) and he’s about to get involved more deeply. And to no one’s surprise except his own, things go very wrong very quickly and it’s all somehow connected to Reiner’s enigmatic girlfriend Malkina (Cameron Diaz).

There were many things I could see going wrong with this film, but what I did not anticipate was that it would be Cormac McCarthy’s writing where things go very wrong. But unfortunately that was the case and the result was a film that was pretty much unbearable.

the-counselor

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Gambit (2012)

Gambit
Director: Michael Hoffman
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Remake of: Gambit
Cast: Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Tom Courtenay, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Cloris Leachman

Plot:
Harry Deane (Colin Firth) is the art adviser for rich business man Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman). He hates Shahbandar with a passion, so he hatched a plan to let him buy a fake Monet, painted by Major Wingate (Tom Courtenay). For that he needs the help of cowgirl P.J. Puznowski (Cameron Diaz). But as soon as they set the plan in motion, things are already going wrong and the entire plan is soon in jeopardy.

Apparently Gambit got really bad reviews. I don’t get it. It’s a perfectly entertaining film that makes its roots in the 60s felt and has a very nice sense of humor. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

gambit

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Bad Teacher (2011)

Bad Teacher
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Lucy Punch, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel

Plot:
Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz) dreams only of one thing: marrying rich and never having to work as a teacher again. She seems to have achieved her goal, but then her fiancé dumps her. So Elizabeth takes up teaching again and sets her mind on a new pair of boobs – that is sure to bring her the success she seeks. And when she meets Scott (Justin Timberlake), heir and new teacher at her school, she seems to have found her next target. But that puts her directly in competition with Amy (Lucy Punch), who is basically the exact opposite of Elizabeth.

I didn’t expect much of this film and therefore wasn’t really disappointed. It’s okay, it even made me really laugh a couple of times, but other than that it was pretty meh.

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The Green Hornet (2011)

The Green Hornet is Michel Gondry‘s newest film based on the characters created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker. It stars Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos, James Franco and Edward Furlong.

Plot:
After the death of his father, media mogul James Reid (Tom Wilkinson), party animal and general nuisance Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) takes over the family newspaper, albeit without any actual interest. But when he teams up with his father’s former assistant Kato (Jay Chou), a genius with all kinds of machines and martial arts, and they find that they could become superheroes, Britt uses the newspaper to his advantage – but with consequences he didn’t see coming. Mostly in form of the city’s villain Chudnofsky (Christoph Waltz).

The Green Hornet has much to commend it. And then there is Seth Rogen.

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Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day is the newest movie by James Mangold, starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano and Jordi Mollà.

Plot:
June (Cameron Diaz) bumps into Roy (Tom Cruise) on her way home. She then ends up on the same flight as him, which is nearly empty. They start flirting, but while June goes to the bathroom to amp herself up, Roy goes ahead and kills all of the passengers – and the pilots – who happen to be spies trying to catch Roy who seems to be a rogue spy himself. Things go only downhill from there. A plane crash and approximately 5 conspiracy theories later, June is thoroughly tangled up in Roy’s world and has to tag along, rather reluctantly.

I didn’t expect much from Knight and Day – though the trailer did make me laugh – and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not a great movie, but it’s good entertainment and I laughed actually quite a bit. Though there were a few things that bothered me, altogether the film was pretty enjoyable.

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Shrek Forever After (2010)

Shrek Forever After is the fourth and final Shrek film and the first one to be directed by Mike Mitchell. It stars the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn, Jon Hamm, Jane Lynch, Julie Andrews and John Cleese.

Plot:
Shrek (Mike Myers) should be happy – he has everything he ever wanted. He married the love of his life, Fiona (Cameron Diaz), he has three kids. His best friend Donkey (Eddie Murphy) comes over regularly. But the routine of it all, and the tourists on Star Tours, wear Shrek down. Out of desperation he makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) – Shrek gets one day as a regular, frightening oger, and Rumpel gets one day from his childhood. But Rumpel has ulterior motives, of course, and takes the day Shrek was born – which means that he was never born at all. Now Shrek has only 24 hours to find Fiona, make her fall in love with him and share true love’s kiss to break the deal.

There is nothing technically wrong with Shrek Forever After. But something crucial seems to be lacking from the film. And in the end, it leaves you feeling a little unsatisfied.

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