Posts Tagged ‘Channing Tatum’

In a nutshell: Mental, fun and very, very funny.

Popcorn rating: 4/5

There’s something lovely about sharing a laugh with someone – siblings sharing a chuckle over a parent’s well-known habits, children’s bubbling mirth at something wonderfully silly, friends’ raucous, dirty giggling on a night out. 21 Jump Street is the kind of movie best served up in a group, preferably with beer and nachos, because when films comes this funny, you’ll want to share the laughter with friends.

Written by the formerly chubby and always lovable Jonah Hill and writer Michael Bacall, 21 Jump Street takes a rather beloved, albeit worn-out movie premise (adults coping with modern day high school,  and somehow manages to make it fresh and, delightfully, both madcap and tongue- in-cheek all at the same time.

The adults in question are new cops, former school nerd Schmidt (Hill) and former school jock Jenko (Channing Tatum). Assigned to 21 Jump Street, a specialist division, the fresh faced duo are tasked with infiltrating a local high school by posing as students and uncovering the dealers and suppliers of a new, lethal, designer drug.

As I said, not exactly a new idea in movie land, but somehow 21 Jump Street manages to pull it off, giving us a smart and affectionate satire of all those 80s teen movies. Central to its likability is the Hill-Channing partnership which, simply, works. Two actors I would never have thought of together and yet they fit perfectly, with Channing bringing plenty of muscle and an unexpected tenderness to Jenko while Hill is shorter, smarter and enjoying being in the cool gang for once in his (well, Schmidt’s) life.

The chuckles come thick and fast, from slapstick to the odd in-joke for those who remember all those teen movies from before they were “classics”; though at times Hill and Bacall do rely a touch too heavily on foul language to tickle the old funny bone. There’s a fair bit of action shoehorned in too, as well as a nice play on kids’ mentality today (it’s cool to care) and, of course, a little harmless romance. There’s even a very angry police chief or two and, hey, who doesn’t love a shouty police chief?

I’m too young to remember the original 21 Jump Street series on which this is loosely based (cameo alert!), but I’ve heard it was a rather earnest affair. Fortunately this time round, it’s the funny that wins the day, even if there is a little moral at the heart of it all.

Reviewer: CurlyShirley

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In a nutshell: Implausible, forgettable but reasonably entertaining action yarn

Popcorn rating: 3/5

I like a good unintentionally homoerotic, old school action adventure as much as the next girl. In fact, in my humble view, there isn’t enough fit men ripping off their shirts and exchanging meaningful glances on the silver screen nowadays. Luckily, The Eagle has come along to redress the balance with lots of masculine moodiness, hand to hand combat and general silliness all wrapped up in the mystery of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion in Roman-ruled Brittania.

Channing Tatum continues his line of rippling muscles masquerading as men playing Roman centurion Marcus Aquila, a young commander in chilly looking Britain living under the shadow of his father – the man who led the legendary Legion and their gold Eagle emblem into unconquered Caledonia, never to be heard or seen of again.

Honourably discharged from the army and with nothing better to do than emote meaningfully, Marcus decides to regain his daddy’s lost glory by heading across Hadrian’s Wall into Caledonia – aka no man’s land – in pursuit of the Eagle. He takes along for the ride, his young British slave, Esca (Billy Elliot sorry, ahem, Jamie Bell) whose life he saved in a gladiator bout (where else?), thus earning Esca’s apparent lifelong allegiance.

This is when the real adventure begins as the brooding duo begin their quest, along the way bumping into a Ninth survivor (a so-serious it is actually a bit funny turn from Mark Strong) as well as the hard-as-a-rock natives (they’re very scary because they wear mud and live on the coast in mud huts, oh-er). But with Esca back with his people (kind of) and the Roman master now the slave, will Marcus fulfil his mission to return the Eagle to Rome? Do you really care? Well no, probably not, but never mind.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald, The Eagle is best watched with a giant pinch of salt. Yes, its implausible (ridiculously so in parts), yes, Esca’s allegiance is inexplicable (especially after Marcus shows his willingness to off enemy children at the drop of a hat), yes, you are likely to want to scream “Oh, for f*ck’s sake, get over it” at the screen several times and yes, Donald Sutherland (as Marcus’ uncle) does look like he can’t help but chuckle at getting a wad of cash merely for showing up for any old role nowadays.

What The Eagle is, however; is a throwback to the Boys Own adventure’s of yesteryear, a diverting action adventure that won’t win any awards but may, just may, mildly entertain you for 90 minutes or so. The other 24 minutes, to be fair, could have been cut.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley