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Man Up

Man Up

Romantic-comedy – a difficult genre to get right and with so many failed attempts over the years I almost dread hearing the words rom-com. However with talents like Simon Pegg and Lake Bell involved will this rom-com be worth the watch?

When Nancy (Lake Bell) gets mistaken by Jack (Simon Pegg) as his blind date, Nancy decides to take a risk and go with it. As the date goes on the two find themselves getting along really well. However as Jack thinks Nancy is someone else can this couple ever properly get together?

It’s a relief to say that does film manages to be both romantic and funny. Hallelujah! Theres been so many films that fail at one or both of these elements that it’s great that Man Up manages to seamlessly achieve the two. The script by Tess Morris has plenty of funny lines and set ups such as thirty something Nancy having to keep up the pretence that she’s a 24-year-old triathlete. Director Ben Palmer has directed movies like The Inbetweeners so he is able to make sure the movie is genuinely hilarious and not too cheesy.

Simon Pegg and Lake Bell work great together and you really root for the characters. Both the Jack and Nancy are believable flawed characters. Nancy is afraid of taking risks and Jack is bitter over his divorce. I also liked how Nancy called Jack out for being a 40-year-old trying to go on a date with a 24-year-old. The supporting cast may be a bit more two-dimensional but they play up to their roles well. Rory Kinnear is cringe-worthingly funny as a former school mate of Nancy who turns up at the wrong time, and Sharon Horgan also provides laughs at Nancy’s sister Elaine.

Whether you fancy watching this with your significant other or with a group of friends, Man-Up is a feel good comedy that will have you laughing the whole way through.

Rating 4/5 – a great movie full of fun jokes, hilarious set pieces and two wonderful leads

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In a World…

Lake Bell has mostly been known for supporting roles in films such as No Strings Attached and What Happens In Vegas. Now she goes from supporting player to quadruple threat with her directorial debut which she also writes, co-produces and stars in.

Carol (Bell) is a vocal coach who wants to break into the world of movie trailer voicovers, however she has to overcome being a female in a predominatly male environment. Being the daughter of a famous voiceover artist (Frank Melamed) doesn’t make things any easier. However when she hears the “In a World…” line made famous by Don LaFontaine is due to be brought back for a movie trailer Carol soon finds herself in the running for the job and a chance to change her life.

I have a confession to make. I love movie trailers.  Its one of my favourite part of the cinema experience. They are so much fun. Sometimes they can even be better than the actual movie. So for me it was fun to see the behind the scenes of these people trying to win the job as voiceover for a movie trailer (The Amazon Games looking like a great paradoy of The Hunger Games), and the backstabbing and game playing that goes on.

Lead character Carol is a mixture of goofiness and charm and she is a character that is easy to roote for and sympathise with. Its nice to see Lake Bell in the main role for once and proves she can work just as well as any a-listers (a parallel to Carol’s story perhaps?) She also gives plenty of good material to her co-stars as well. Her father Sam is brilliantly played by Melamed, the character is so horrible to his daughters at times that he easily becomes dislikeable but there is moments showing his insecurities and fear of failing that shows you a three dimensional human being underneath.

There are many funny moments in this movie such as Carol’s encounter with fellow voiceover artist Gustoff (Ken Marino) in his hidden room at his party.  These are nicely balanced by a touching subplot regarding Carol’s sister Dani (Michaela Watkins)and her husband Moe ( Rob Corddry)going through some marriage difficulties and Carol’s romantic exploits are also nicely played and doesn’t overshadow the main arc of the film which is Carol making her stamp in the natoriously male dominated industry.

This film is perhaps more for film buffs who enjoy a look behind the scenes of the competietive world of voice over tailers, but Carol’s journey should also appeal to the average cinema goer who just fancies watching a good movie.

Rating 3.5/5-Lake Bell proves she’s a force to reckoned with-so watch out!

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Black Rock

Black Rock is a 2012 American horror-thriller film about three women who take a trip to a remote island where they use to go as children. But things go terribly wrong when three men turn up and a nasty accident turns the trip on its head.

As far as Black Rock’s plot goes this isn’t exactly original material and the script doesn’t offer much to subvert the expectations of the audience. It also isn’t as gory as fans of these type of films would normally expect and despite giving the baddies a bit of backstory as Iraqi war veterans they mostly come across as cardboard cutout villains. There is also the same old clichés that come into play-the island is mostly deserted and there’s no cell phone reception, what a shock! Honestly why does anyone ever go camping anymore-haven’t they seen The Blair Witch Project?

However I liked the fact that the women were three-dimensional characters. They didn’t fit typically into the female stereotypes for horror films. The tensions between the women felt believable and it wasn’t obvious who was meant to be the heroine of the film (or the Final Girl if you will). The actresses work well together, with Lake Bell (Lou) impressing the most. As peacemaker Sarah, Kate Bosworth gives one of her better performances. Meanwhile Katie Aselton-who also directs and came up with the story-is also strong as the reluctant Abby.

Its clear the girls aren’t as strong or as tactical as the men who are chasing them, so they have to use their own strengths to try to survive. Their advantages are that they know this island as children and have strong survival instincts, doing what it takes to survive. Aselton does making the chase scenes tense as the girls have to hide all through the forest of the island and have to hope the men don’t know the island as well as they do. It’s just a shame that the negatives outweighs the positives, a few good twists would have made the film much better.

Rating-2.5/5-good performances from the actresses aside this film doesn’t have enough twists or chills to match up to the better horror films of recent years

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