BRAD’S STATUS Review & Analysis

Although Ben Stiller may be best known for his comedies, his recent movies have reflected themes more contemplative in nature.  Brad’s Status is no exception to this trend.  Stiller plays Brad, a dad embarking on a cross-country trip with his college-bound son.

However, the college visits and their ultimate results have little to do with the actual story.  Instead, Brad’s Status explores what constitutes success and if a bank account is the most accurate barometer.  Brad runs a nonprofit while his closest college friends seem wrapped in the trappings of wealth and fame.

Brad’s Status also stars Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson and Shazi Raja.

For more about the themes of Brad’s Status and what clothing style is the most predominant, take a look below:

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

All film photos are courtesy of Amazon Studios.

BRIGSBY BEAR *Interview, Review & Analysis*

Brigsby Bear is a comedic ode to nostalgia, friendship and acceptance.  When James (Kyle Mooney, Saturday Night Live) discovers he was raised by kidnappers and is returned to his biological family, he strives to take control of his life again.  Harnessing the only thing he knows, a Brigsby Bear television show which his kidnappers created just for him, he decides to write and shoot the final chapter in his beloved bear’s story.

Rather than turn James into a joke, everyone around him embraces the project and takes it on as their own.  In the process, each of them discover elements that had been missing from their own lives, like the police detective (Greg Kinnear) who always wanted to act.

Brigsby Bear also stars Mark Hamill, Claire Danes, Matt Walsh, Andy Samberg, and Michaela Watkins.  It was co-written by Kevin Costello and directed by Dave McCary, Mooney’s childhood friends.

Brigsby Bear and the friends behind it had some bumps–or learning experiences–as they worked to complete their first feature film together.  For more about Brigsby Bear, including an interview with Mooney and McCary about the movie and their process, take a look below:

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS Review & Analysis

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS seeks to answer the question: “What do pets do when we’re not home?” It features a talented voice cast including Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper and Kevin Hart. The animation is not as technologically advanced as Pixar’s FINDING DORY, but it offers up plenty of laughs.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, the latest animated offering from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (MINIONS, DESPICABLE ME, THE LORAX) purports to answer the question “What do pets do when we’re not at home?”  Bookended at the beginning and end of the movie are the (very funny) answers to that question: a bird turns on the television and a fan and pretends to fly in the great outdoors, a cat named Chloe (voiced by Lake Bell) fits herself into the smallest containers possible, including a box and a fishbowl.  The movie shines the most when we get to see the very believable behaviors of a menagerie of animals in New York City.

When a small terrier named Max (voiced by comedian Louis CK) gets a brother in the form of rescue dog Duke (voiced by Eric Stonestreet of MODERN FAMILY fame), the pair find themselves fighting to the point that they escape from their dog-walker and wind up on an adventure in the city.  Their adventure includes a run-in with animal control, a gang of cats, and a motley crew of animals who hate humans, led by a deceptively cute rabbit (voiced by comedian Kevin Hart).

The middle portion of the movie offers a very different film from what’s presented at the beginning.  It turns into a violent comedy reminiscent of the Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird and Tasmanian Devil cartoons.  Thought there’s a theme about learning to get along and supporting your friends, it’s truly a platform for the set up-prank-repeat that recurs.

Other voice actors include Albert Brooks, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper and Jenny Slate, who steals the show as a Pomeranian named Gidget who manages to dispel small, fluffy dog stereotypes as well as those for helpless women.  My favorite character, though, didn’t have any lines at all.

Find out which character I loved the most as well as other ways that THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS was reminiscent of “old school” cartoons and eagle eye details to watch for in my full review below…

 

–>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

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