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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Trainwreck

Trainwreck
Amy Schumer plays Amy Townsend who as a girl was taught by her father that “monogamy is bad”.  As an adult, Amy is a heavy partier who sleeps around.  She does have one steady guy, Steven, played by John Cena, but she sees other men as well.  
Amy works for S’nuff, a men’s magazine.  She is assigned by her boss to write a story on sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader).  Amy knows nothing about sports which quickly becomes apparent to Aaron.  Aaron invites her out and they end up sleeping together.  When Amy tries to leave, Aaron convinces her to spend the night.  The next day, much to Amy’s surprise, Aaron calls her. 
A romance soon blossoms but Amy and Aaron are from different worlds.  Aaron’s world is very professional and includes famous athletes like Tony Romo, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Lebron James.  Amy on the other hand is brash and bold and carefree.
This movie was written by Amy Schumer and really displays her talents in the comedy world.  She is a wonderful comedienne and a pretty solid actress.  Her and Bill Hader (from Saturday Night Live) were both outstanding and were convincing as a couple.  Then there is Lebron James.  He’s not known for his acting, but he pulled it off quite well.  Lebron had more than a bit part, and has a future in the acting world.  In one scene, Lebron holds an intervention for Aaron that includes Chris Evert, Marv Albert, and Matthew Broderick.   Lebron was great. 

Judd Apatow directed this movie and did a fantastic job with all of the talent that he had to work with.  Even John Cena was good and you see a lot more of John than you would expect to – enjoy ladies.  This movie is rated R and it definitely needs to be so don’t bring your small children.  I gave this movie 3 ½ out of 4 stars.  

Ant-Man

Ant-Man
Ant-Man is another movie based on a character from Marvel Comics.  Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is an entomologist who discovered a way to transform a person into a tiny ant with superhuman (ant-like) strength.  Hank fears that his discovery is dangerous and keeps it secret.  Hank’s protégé, Corey (Darren Cross) and Hank’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), attempt to replicate the technology to Hank’s dismay. 
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a petty criminal whom Hank has been watching.  After Scott is released from prison, Hank recruits him to become Ant-Man and convinces Hope to help.  Hope teaches Scott to use the power to the full degree. 
At the same time, Corey is creating Yellowjackets and invites Hank for a demonstration.  Hank is aware of the situation and brings along Scott to defeat the Yellowjackets and destroy all that Corey has created.  And so this version of Marvel’s superheroes must save the day.
Ant-Man is not as well-known of a character in the Marvel universe but for those of us who love anything to do with Marvel, we know him.  Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas were excellent in their parts.  Paul Rudd added some comedy to the role that only heightened the success of the movie.  The special effects were outstanding.  At one point Ant-Man was up against toy trains which was quite fun to watch.  The directing by Peyton Reed was well done as well. 

This is one movie where you should stay past the credits as there are more scenes that you will enjoy.  I gave this movie 3 ½ out of 4 stars.  

Pixels

Pixels
In 1982 a time capsule is launched into space carrying several popular items from the era.  In Pixels, some of those items return to earth in order to attack it.  The attackers are the characters from arcade games that include Pac Man, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders. 
Kevin James plays the President of the United States, Will Cooper.  After the attacks, it’s decided that the only way to be rid of the characters is to beat them at their own game.  World champions of the games are called in to help. 
Adam Sandler plays Sam Brenner, a software installer who is also a Pac Man champion and one of the President’s best friends.  He is brought in as well as Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) another game enthusiast who Sam and Will had met as children, and Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage) a Donkey Kong expert. 
As a teenager in the 80’s myself, I played all of these games.  So I thought the concept of this movie was pretty good.  If you are too young to understand Pac Man and Donkey Kong, the idea may be stupid to you.  

Adam Sandler and Kevin James are always great together and did not disappoint.  This movie also did not receive good reviews but I disagree.  If you want to appreciate Pixels, you really do have to leave your mind at the door and just enjoy.    I just let the spirit of the movie entertain me and I gave this movie 3 out of 4 stars.  

Paper Towns

Paper Towns
Paper Towns is based off of the book by John Green.  It is the story of a teen aged boy named Quentin (Nat Wolff) who is a senior in high school.  Q, as Quentin is known as, has been in love with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman, since she moved across the street when he was a child.  Margo (Cara Delevingne) is adventurous where Quentin is cautious.  As children they were great friends but as they grow older, they drift apart. 
One night after Q has gone to sleep, Margo comes through his window asking for his help.  Margo, who is very popular in school, has discovered that her boyfriend is cheating on her with one of her friends.   She enlists Q’s help to plot her revenge.  After their espionage, they go to one of Margo’s favorite hangouts and Margo discusses “Paper Towns”, towns on a map that don’t really exist.  Q is encouraged by the evening and looks forward to spending more time with her.  However, Margo disappears the next day.
Q and his friends Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith), Radar’s girlfriend Angela (Jaz Sinclair), and Margo’s friend Lacey (Halston Sage) go on a road trip looking for the “paper town” where Q believes Margo is waiting.  Q thinks that Margo has left him clues so that he will search for and find her. 
The stars of this movie were very talented and I expect to see more from them.  Paper Towns reminded me some of the Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, and 16 Candles which were all directed by the late John Hughes.  It wasn’t quite as good but had some similarities.  I loved how the friends grew up throughout the movie just as they did in Hughes’ movies. 

This movie has not received great reviews but I took my teen age daughter and she loved it as much as I did.  I gave it 3 ½ out of 4 stars.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015




Inside Out

This much anticipated animated film will appeal to all ages.  It’s the story of Riley,

a young girl born into a happy life in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As is the case with

most girls, Riley experiences many emotions including Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger,

and Disgust.  This movie focuses on those emotions making them into living

entities inside one’s head.  Riley’s prevalent emotion is Joy.

Riley’s father’s job takes them from Minneapolis to live in San Francisco.  Riley

soon misses her friends, her beloved sport hockey, and everything about her old

home.  On Riley’s first day at school, Sadness gets Riley to cry.  Joy attempts to

save this experience from becoming a core memory before it reaches the central

hub, but things only get worse as other core memories are knocked around.

Riley’s personality islands begin to falter and Joy, Sadness, and the core memories

are sucked out of headquarters.

This leaves Fear, Disgust, and Anger to run the show for Riley.  In the meantime,

Joy and Sadness traipse through Riley’s mind trying desperately to return to

headquarters and restore some happiness for Riley.

The main characters in this movie are voiced by Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill

Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, and Kaitlyn Dias. The animation in this movie

was fantastic as was the story line.  Everything about this movie was really, really

good.  This is truly a family movie.  Children will love this movie as will the adults.

I gave this wonderful movie 4 out of 4 stars.



Poltergeist
This movie is a remake of the 1982 successful Poltergeist film but this one was in 3D.  The storyline is basically the same as before.  Eric Bowen was recently laid off when he and his family move into a new home that had just become available and in their price range. 
Eric (Sam Rockwell), his wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt), oldest daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), son Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements) realize something isn’t right when on the first night they hear noises in the walls.  During the commotion one night, Griffin awakens and goes downstairs to find Madison talking to the TV.  He unplugs it and things go haywire in the house with lights, radio and other devices getting turned on and off.  Madison then calmly states the famous words from the past movie “They are here”.
One night while Eric and Amy are out, Kendra’s phone begins making noises, and Griffin is attacked by one of the clown dolls that were found in the house.  He escapes to Madison’s room to find her crouched in a corner.  Griffin goes to find Kendra as Madison is lured into the closet and into another dimension. 
The original Poltergeist was quite good and the acting was as well.  The second movie was not up to par and 3D didn’t help.  The special effects were not very good nor was the acting.  This was one movie that shouldn’t have been remade.   If you liked the original, do not watch this one because it isn’t worth your time.  Go rent the first edition instead.  It’s in blue ray and still is fantastic.   I gave this movie 1 out of 4 stars. 





Dope

This movie takes place in Inglewood, California in an area known as “The

Bottoms” and is filled with drugs and gangs.  Malcom (Shameik Moore) is a high

school senior who has dreams of attending Harvard.  He and friends Jib (Tony

Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) are all very bright and love old school hip

hop.  Consequently they are often bullied.

One day on the way home, Malcom runs into Dom who is one of the

neighborhood drug dealers.  Dom convinces him to visit one of the neighboring

buildings to ask Nakia (Zoe Kravitz) to come to Dom’s birthday party.   She agrees

to go if Malcom will go as well.

While at the party, rival gang members arrive and soon shots are being fired.

Dom stuffs his drugs in Malcom’s back pack and tells Malcom to run.  The next

day as Malcom walks into school the drug dog at the door is alerted to the

backpack.  Malcom is allowed to continue because no one would suspect him of

having drugs.

The rival gang realizes that Malcom has the drugs and begin hunting down

Malcom and his friends.  This movie provides a good picture of what life can be

and often is like in neighborhoods like Malcom’s.

The three young actors in this movie were quite good.  I think the looks of the

movie were right on.  You realize the real fear that kids must have growing up in

neighborhoods like this.  I thought this movie was fantastic even though the first

run of it was short-lived.  Hopefully it will last longer on the re-release.  I gave this


  • movie 3 ½ out of 4 stars.