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Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun | Review

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For years now, Adult Swim have been the kings of absurdist comedy. Producing shows like The Eric Andre Show and Rick and Morty whilst also uploading wacky short films to their YouTube channel like Too Many Cooks, they have undoubtedly been the comedic voice of this generation. But now it seems that Netflix is trying to fight Adult Swim for their crown, as recently they’ve been streaming some brilliant examples of absurdist comedy of their own.

A notable recent example of Netflix’s arsenal of crazy humour is I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson. This completely bizarre show premiered on the streaming site in 2019, sadly to a rather quiet reception. It included sketches about a man in a hotdog costume pretending he didn’t crash his hotdog car into a shop window, a man who’s production of Bugsy Malone went bust so now he has to find a use for all of his fake tommy guns and gangster hats and Oscar Nominated Actor Steven Yeun being slightly ungrateful for a birthday present.

Now Netflix looks across the Pacific Ocean to find it’s new source of mad antic comedy with the Australian sketch group Aunty Donna. If you’re unfamiliar with the group, they started out on YouTube. This is where they make several web series and sketches which are filled to the brim with some of the funniest stuff you’ll see on the site. Since getting popular on YouTube, they’ve made a podcast and have performed live across all of the English speaking world. Now, with the help of Edd (or Egg) Helms, they’ve made a six episode sketch series for Netflix. And it’s probably the best new comedy show of 2020.

Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun has slightly more of a plot than most sketch shows. This is simply in the sense that it follows the same characters in the same house, but that’s about it. Every episode follows a certain theme, whether that be trying to find a new roommate, dating or training for the “‘Lympics”. These themes as you can probably guess are very loose and the episodes can often go very wildly off topic in the most brilliant of fashions.

The show will leave you breathless every episode. It is filled to the brim with fantastic jokes that often take you completely by surprise. None of it makes any sense and that’s why it’s hilarious. In the first episode, it seems like everyone in the world has got a poster of at least one member of the trio featured in the show. Then in another episode there’s a watermelon that lists Christopher Nolan’s filmography.

The main trio of course is the main reason why this show is as brilliant as it is. Broden Kelly, Zachary Ruane and Mark Bonanno are three of the best comedic actors working and are such an absolute joy to watch. Most people have a favourite member of Monty Python (and that person is usually John Cleese or Graham Chapman), but you will be hard pressed to decide which member of this group is your favourite. They all bring a different talent to create a perfect cocktail of a comedy sketch show. This is not to mention the variety of cameos that make their way into the show which are all as funny as the last.

This review is joke light, because giving anything away would ruin the show. Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun demands to be watched blind. If you are already a fan of the group then some characters and sketches may be familiar to you. But if you don’t know the group then after watching this whole programme in a day, you’ll zoom through their YouTube and podcast content too, hoping that some day you’ll be able to watch them live.

Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun is the ultimate cure for lockdowns. It’s pure comedic bliss and never fails to make you pass out with laughter, even on a fourth or fifth viewing. Please, go and support this show and binge it now to make sure it gets its well deserved second series. You will NOT regret it. To quote the show, it’s a “bwilliant (show) 5 stars”. 

Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House Of Fun is available to stream now on Netflix

FILM RATING

Freddie has a degree in Digital Film Production from Ravensbourne University London. He’s obsessive about many things but mostly Batman, Doctor Who and The Incredibles. To find out all of Freddie's film opinions go to his Letterboxd - TheDeightonator

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Adventure

Arthur the King is an Epic Masterpiece

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Arthur the King movie poster (Lionsgate Films)

Here follows the review of Arthur the King, a story of deep connection between people and dogs. Not all heroes wear capes, some have wagging tails and would cross a river (and jungle) for you.

Plot

Desperate for one last chance to win, Michael Light convinces a sponsor to back him and a team of athletes for the Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. As the team gets pushed to the outer limits of endurance, a dog named Arthur comes along for the ride, redefining what victory, loyalty and friendship truly means.

Arthur Foundation

Mikael Lindnord raced through a jungle in Ecuador and after feeding a few meatballs to a stray dog made a friend for life. The dog followed Mikael and his team through the rough terrain. Mikael named the dog Arthur and took him back home with him.

Arthur and Mikael Lindnord (Photo taken by Krister Goransson)

The Arthur Foundation collaborates with various organizations in different countries that work towards animal welfare.

Click on the following links to reach out to Mikael Lindnord.

Movie Review (no spoilers)

The movie is based on the memoir, Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home by Mikael Lindnord, who was the athlete who participated in the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador. It is important to note in the movie they refer to him as Michael Light. Even though the original race took place in Ecuador, the movie changed the location to the Dominican Republic. The original race took place in 2014, while in the movie the race takes place in 2018.

Mark Wahlberg portrays the part of the Mikael and delivers an excellent performance alongside Simu Liu, Nathalie Emmanuel and Ali Suliman. Ukai, a stray dog, was a real champion portraying the role of Arthur. The film takes us through picturesque locations in the Dominican Republic. The suspense was felt at every turn and corner and you are kept glued to the screen with a gripping storyline. The story balances the journey of Mikael and Arthur and eventually joins their path like a jigsaw puzzle.

Mark Wahlberg as Mikael Light (Lionsgate Films)

A fictional backstory is provided of Mikael’s competitive journey as well as the journey that Arthur took to get to Mikael. The movie successfully tells a deep story of connection between dogs and people. If you want to know more about the real story, you can check your local bookstore or Amazon for a copy of Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home

This movie is a 5 out of 5 for me. The connection between Mikael and Arthur is brought to life in this epic masterpiece. Arthur found a home in the heart of Mikael and thanks to Mark Wahlberg and Ukai, this film adaptation of ‘Arthur – The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’ became a memorable movie.

The trailer doesn’t spoil any of the important scenes of the movie. Arthur the King has a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. There is no post-credits scene so no need to wait till the end.

Arthur the King Official Trailer (Lionsgate Films)

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Entertainment

A Must-See Satanic Panic Horror – Late Night With the Devil

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Written and directed by Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes, Late Night With the Devil follows a late night TV host Jack Delroy, fighting the plummeting viewership of his show by welcoming in people from the occult in order to change that, but of course, everything doesn’t go as smooth as planned.

David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy Late Night With the Devil (2023)

David Dastmalchian has appeared in a lot of films however always in smaller roles including The Dark Knight, Prisoners and more recently The Suicide Squad. This film allows Dastmalchian to take on the lead role of Jack Delroy, the host of the late night show at the centre of this film, and he genuinely does a great job. There’s a real range of emotions which his character goes through during the course of this film and he depicts them so well.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, you’re going to really appreciate the use of practical effects in this. There’s plenty of stretchy and gooey gore for all of the horror fanatics that will have you shouting at the screen. 

From left to right: Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss

If you want to hear my full thoughts, check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your opinions in the comments.

Late Night With the Devil will be released in cinemas from 22nd March and on Shudder on 19th April.

FILM RATING
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Reviews

‘I Love You, Guys’ Review | A Poignant Exploration of Celebrity Vulnerability and Human Resilience

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We are living in an era where celebrities are worshipped like deities and sometimes, people forget that he or she is also a normal human being. If we feel happy or sad at certain moments, they do as well and even though a lot of people always surround them, they get vulnerable too. Although a lot of filmmakers forget to show that aspect of their lives, Billie Melissa Rogan takes the bold approach of showing the truth. Her directorial debut, ‘I Love You, Guys,’ is a poignant story about a celebrity fighting her inner self to maintain her celebrity image. The result is a stunning piece of art that resonates long after the end credits roll in.

The short film opens with a profound close-up of the young singing sensation named Sky (Becky Bush). She has made a name for herself by making and singing really exceptional songs. As a result, she is adored by her fans. Even though it feels like Sky has everything she wants, viewers see her submerged in a bathtub as she tries to battle her anxiety. Just then, Sky gets a phone that she’d be performing state-side. Now, that’s where we get to know about her vulnerable state for the first time. Although she says that she is really happy with the above-mentioned news, her face tells a different story. Despite her impending stardom, Sky has not started to feel the massive weight of mounting pressure, a sentiment audiences get to see in her conversations with bandmate Ryan (Pedro Leandro) and girlfriend Taylor (Celi Crossland).

Becky Bush in a still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

As the story moves forward, we get to know that ‘I Love You, Guys’ is about the fragile nature of the human spirit as much as it is about celebrity culture. It not only navigates themes of depression, it also highlights the turbulent emotional journey of Sky. One of the best aspects of the film is how Rogan masterfully brings Cory Varney’s screenplay to life. She managed to capture every minor detail of Sky’s emotions with utmost precision. Despite the fact that it is her first-ever film as a director, we get a sense that we are watching a flick helmed by a seasoned filmmaker.

Another aspect that makes this film such a compelling watch is its cinematography. Jenni Suitiala has done a phenomenal in showing expressions through vibrant colors and Rogan has made full use of the settings to give viewers a visually striking film. Whether it is heated arguments or silent moments of despair, each frame feels authentic and draws audiences into Sky’s personal life.

Apart from Rogan’s direction, Varney’s script is this film’s biggest strength. The writer has undoubtedly done a stunning job of showing the humanity of these characters. There’s a reason why Sky’s struggles feel very personal and it is because we have endured such moments in life. Moments where we doubt ourselves even when we know we are more than capable of doing a particular thing. Not every smiling person is happy. Sometimes he or she is smiling just so that no one finds out about the tough times they are going through.

A still from ‘I Love You, Guys’ (Jumpcut Studios)

Acting-wise, Becky Bush has given a performance that is surely going to open several doors for her. She delivers a magnificent performance by infusing Sky with a beautiful balance of vulnerability and strength. The way she manages to convey an innumerable amount of emotions is spectacular. I believe this is one of the most apt depictions of mental turmoil. Meanwhile, Pedro Leandro and Celi Crossland are just as spectacular. Every interaction between the characters feels genuine and nuanced.

All in all, ‘I Love You, Guys’ is a testament to how resilient a human spirit can be. In just 15 minutes, Rogan, Varney, and Bush take viewers on a journey that’s thought-provoking and talks about a subject that no one talks about. The writing, direction, and performances achieve a lot more than just viewers’ attention. The film offers a compelling examination of the human cost of pursuing fame and success. A poignant story that touches on themes of ambition, relationships, and self-discovery.

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