Blockers

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MA15+Blockers

Director: Kay Cannon

Writers: Brian Kehoe & Jim Kehoe, Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg, Eben Russell

Produced by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, Chris Fenton

Executive Producers: Nathan Kahane, Joseph Drake, Josh Fagen, Chris Cowles, Dave Stassen, Jonathan McCoy

Stars: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Indira Viswanathan, Gideon Adlan.

The latest in a long and never-ending line of American teen comedies, this film follows three parents, played by Mann, Cena and Barinholtz, who discover their teenaged daughters have made a pact to lose their virginity on prom night, and try to stop this from occurring. The film was originally titled “The Pact” but was later changed to Blockers with a silhouette of a rooster preceding it, thus inferring “Cock Blockers”.

One reviewer thought this film was “empowering” because it “shows girls flourishing on their own terms, surrounded by supportive friends and nice boys and well-meaning parents.” While this may be true, it isn’t the message one will take away from viewing this film. What lingers is the enthusiastic way teens seize on any opportunity to get totally drunk, and how easily they mislead their well-meaning yet clueless parents.

I expected this film to be composed of wall-to-wall crass humour (based on the trailer) and yes, there was a lot of vulgarity, but there were also some sweet moments between the parents and their children that helped to establish close bonds between them from their first day at school right through to their prom, which explained the parents’ over-protectiveness. In many ways the children seemed more savvy and worldly-wise than their parents, whose similarly rebellious acts during their youth appeared tame in comparison.

A theme running through the film concerned the undeclared sexual preference of one daughter, which I wasn’t expecting to see in this type of film. Her father’s desire to prevent her from bowing to peer pressure was actually quite thought-provoking and mature in a film mainly devoted to depicting drunkenness and vomiting. It was also amusing yet touching how the object of this daughter’s desire was usually photographed in heroic slow-motion, recalling a super hero.

The three male dates for the prom were not depicted as stereotypical brainless hunks with only sex on their minds, with one of them having an enterprising side line in recreational chemicals. While the boys did behave like teenagers, they were also shown to be capable of courtesy and consideration, and were so good humoured about the train wreck unfolding around them that they seemed too good to be true.

The parents were less endearing, with former pro wrestler John Cena probably the weakest link as he overacted like He-Man and his delivery of dialogue was often hampered by poor sound quality or possibly just his enunciation. Lesley Mann reprised her scatter-brained, slightly dippy depiction of a mother who was scared of change. Ike Barinholtz as the outcast father had some touching moments trying to set the record straight while mostly being ignored.

The funniest moment for me was when the three parents snuck into the house of another couple who were into role playing, with amusing results as the three intruders got caught up unintentionally in the other couple’s shenanigans.

So while it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, with some funny moments, it was just another one of those juvenile American movies with lots of swearing instead of witty dialogue, numerous drunken escapades by teenagers and adults alike, and all that rites of passage stuff (getting drunk, trying to lose one’s virginity on prom night, etc.).

If you enjoyed the Bad Moms movies you’ll probably like this one as well. But if you prefer your humour to be more sophisticated and subtle, then this isn’t the movie for you, being just another unoriginal comedy, with predicable situations and largely two dimensional characters.

The Wall

GoMovieReviews Rating:

Rated: MA15+The Wall

Directed and Produced by: Doug Liman

Written by: Dwain Worrell

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena.

A taunt psychological thriller set in 2007 when President George Bush declared the War in Iraq over.

Rebuilding the country, contractors are brought in to build pipelines across the desert.

After been radioed for assistance, two soldiers, Sergeant Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) an Army Ranger who serves as a spotter to Sergeant Matthews (John Cena), lie amongst the rocks, camouflaged, waiting for movement.  All they see on the dusty ground is the bodies of dead contractors, all head shots, and one marine holding a radio in his dead hand.

All is quiet, yet they wait, watching, trying to figure out the story behind the dead and if there’s still a threat.

As the story unfolds, so do the men as they’re stripped, piece-by-piece by the faceless, hidden sniper who pins Sergeant Isaac behind a crumbling wall, to then speak into his earpiece, to burrow like a worm into his mind.

Although, The Wall is about soldiers, this isn’t a movie about war, this is suspense created through stretches of quiet: a patient relentless waiting of a killer who plays with his intended kill like a cat with a mouse.

The soundtrack is the wind whistling through the bricks and the distant clap of metal sheeting and the crackle of voice; of men fighting and hiding behind words.

Director, Doug Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith, The Bourne Identity) has taken a solid script from first-time screenwriter Dwain Worrell and made a low budget film into a simple yet very effective suspense thriller.

Dwain Worrell researched the daily life of soldiers extensively, including PTSD.  Creating a story of strangers murdering each other.  About legendary Iraqi snipers creating a paranoia that comes to life.

The Wall

Adam Taylor wrote an article in, The Washington Post, in January 2015: “There were similar legends of Iraqi insurgent snipers.  Probably the most famous was that of ‘Juba’, a sniper with the Sunni insurgent group Islamic Army in Iraq, whose exploits were touted in several videos released between 2005 and 2007.  Some attributed scores, even hundreds, of kills to the sniper, and accounts from the time suggest he got deep under U. S. troop’s skins.”

The idea of psychological torture reminded me of the original, Saw film (2004), similar in that the characters are trapped and tormented through the words of a faceless enemy.  And dang it, after the film finished and I was walking out of the cinema, I overheard another critic saying they had the same feel as the, Saw Franchise, because that feeling of being trapped is there.  Yet, The Wall is more about the suspense then the gore.  Giving a glimpse into those suffering from PTSD: the tense waiting for the bad to happen, the waiting being the torture.

A seemingly simple film: two characters, one wall set over the course of one day.  Yet, The Wall was a thoroughly absorbing story handled by the sure hand of smart director.

If you like your suspense, this is a well-paced journey with a well-thought ending.  Much better than expected.

Products from Amazon.com