Film Friday #246

Dope (2015)

Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his two best friends, Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) are from a rough California neighbourhood called Inglewood. They are self-declared geeks who get bullied for being into “white” things like skateboards, getting good grades and wanting to go to college… oh and they’re totally obsessed with 90’s hip hop. After a chance encounter with a drug dealer called Dom (Rakim Mayers), the three friends end up at his birthday party where a large quantity of dope ends up in Malcom’s bag during a police raid. This sets off a series of adventures that require Malcolm to use all of his street smarts as well as all of his geek smarts to ensure that he keeps his dream of attending Harvard alive. I had an absolute blast with Dope. Malcolm is a fascinating character and Moore gives a complex and layered performance that speaks of an interesting career ahead of him. I loved seeing his view of the world as well as his transformation from someone who was constantly being put upon to really finding his inner strength. Revolori and Clemons give great supporting performances and I particularly enjoyed Blake Anderson playing hacker, Will Sherwood. Not only is Dope hilarious, it manages to inject enough grit and peril to ensure that there’s tension throughout and the possibility of Malcolm failing to get himself out of the pickle he’s in is ever-present. It’s not all sunshine though, there are a few too many coincidences to make it truly believable and while making light of violent crime leads to laughs it does kind of make you wonder if its entirely responsible. While Dope appears to be attempting to make some kind of social commentary it can’t quite seem to decide if its primary goal is laughs or a message and ultimately it comes across as a little confused. That is certainly not a reason to avoid it though and I really hope more people get to see it since my local cinema only did about five showings. 3.5/5

And that was when I said, "fuck the police!"

And that was when I said, “fuck the police!”

American Ultra (2015)

Stoner Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) lives in the small town of Lipman, West Virginia with his girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) who he desperately wants to take to Hawaii and propose to. The only problem is he has a panic attack every time he tries to leave the city. After they miss their flight because he can’t force himself out of the bathroom Mike goes to work at the local convenience store where a strange woman (Connie Britton) arrives and spouts what he thinks is a bunch of gobbledegook at him. A few minutes later he catches some guys trying to break into his car and when he tries to stop them he kills them both. Because what Mike doesn’t know is that he’s an asset in a defunct CIA programme, he’s just been activated and some pretty nasty characters are after him. Will his training kick in in time to save him and just how much does Phoebe know about his past? You know when you watch a movie and it turns out they put all the good shit in the trailer? Well this is one of those movies. The trailer made it look fun and off the wall, which it kind of was except that it was also completely implausible and nowhere near fun enough. In fact for the most part it was a pretty bog standard action movie about a bloke who can kick the shit out of more people than can kick the shit out of him. Jesse Eisenberg is surprisingly believable in the fight scenes and Kristen Stewart is fine, as is Connie Britton. John Leguizamo appears as Mike’s drug dealer and a scene with him and two of his henchmen arguing about fantasy football is probably one of the funniest bits of the movie but he’s criminally underused in a role that is essentially just a walking cultural stereotype. Oddly enough the stand out is Topher Grace who plays a borderline sociopathic CIA desk jockey who has it out for Mike.Ultimately ultra skippable. 2/5

"Why did you talk me into appearing in this shit movie?"

“Why did you talk me into appearing in this shit movie? They haven’t even given me a shirt!”

Identity Thief (2013)

When super-cautious dad Sandy Patterson’s (Jason Bateman) identity is stolen by a professional identity thief his life falls apart and he finds himself at risk of losing everything. His only hope is to track down the thief who calls herself, Diana (Melissa McCarthy) and get her to turn herself in but it won’t be an easy journey and it doesn’t help that he’s not the only one trying to track her down. Whether or not you enjoy Identity Thief will entirely depend on whether you enjoy watching Melissa McCarthy play her usual ballsy, foul-mouthed, hot mess character and Jason Bateman playing a put upon straight man because if you don’t this movie will probably make you want to kill yourself. Personally I enjoy a bit of McCarthy and there were some moments in this film that made me laugh out loud. The premise is ludicrously silly though and as someone who has actually been a victim of identity theft it also made me really angry.  Essentially it’s no different really from any odd-couple road trip movie and there are many that are considerably better. Only for hardcore McCarthy/Bateman fans. 2/5

You see it days it right there on my ID, I'm Julia Robers

You see it days it right there on my ID, I’m Julia Roberts

Chloe (2009)

After Catherine’s (Julianne Moore) husband, David (Liam Neeson) misses his flight and the surprise birthday party she has planned for him she becomes suspicious that he is having an affair. She decides to test her theory out by hiring a prostitute named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to tempt David and see if he will take the bait. As Chloe tells Catherine more and more stories about he liaisons with David, Catherine’s feelings for Chloe become confused. At the same time Chloe becomes progressively more obsessed with Catherine and her life with disturbing consequences. The premise of this psychological thriller is pretty cool and Catherine is an impressively fucked up character played with style, as always, by Moore. The execution is a bit of a mess though. Chloe herself should be dark and mysterious but Seyfried is so flat that she’s not believable. I also saw the supposed twist coming a mile away and the ending was really, really lame and sudden. Meh. 2/5


What do you mean you only drink 40 ounces


  1. I love the concept of Chloe, but have never managed to summon up the motivation to actually sit down and watch it :/

    1. abbiosbiston

      Don’t bother. Lol!

  2. MIB

    I have to say I’m glad you sit through all this tosh so we don’t have to! 😉 😛

    “Chloe” is actually a remake of a French film “Nathalie…” starring the alluring Emmanuelle Beart (before the duck lips), My thoughts (if you are interested) – 😉

    1. abbiosbiston

      I aim to serve! The original does sound much better.

  3. Chloe had a fun premise but thanks for the warning. Sorry to hear you’ve been the target of identity fraud.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Yeah trying to resolve it has been going on for over a year and it has caused real problems for my credit rating.

  4. I just reviewed Identity Thief. That was tough to sit through..haha!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Lol! Oh dear. I found it pretty harmless but I can see why it might drive you nuts.

  5. sorry your choices weren’t very enjoyable this week! 😦 Better luck next week Abs!

    1. abbiosbiston

      So far it’s been another mixed bag…

      1. Kbow the feeling. ..

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