Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Club puts the sex back into sexagenarian

Movie Title:  
    Book Club

Grade:  B-

Rating: PG-13, 104 minutes

In a Nutshell:  I guess you could say that this movie puts the sex back into the word “sexagenarian", although the majority of the leading ladies are in their 70's and 80's.

Sex is the main focus of this movie which, honestly, disappointed me because this talented cast could have done so much more.  There are so many interesting topics that could have been explored to develop the characters better.

The stellar cast includes four Oscar winners and two nominees: Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, and Richard Dreyfus.    

Designed for an older viewing crowd, the audience I sat with laughed non-stop, while I mostly rolled my eyes.


Tips for parents: 
  • Some profanity, crude language, and 1 F-bomb.  As Candice Bergan’s character says in the movie, “Must you always be so crass?”  Exactly.
  • TONS of wine.  Someone is drinking wine or some other kind of alcohol in almost every single scene.
  • Lots of sex out of wedlock and LOTS of talk about sex, often with metaphors. Just so you know, the four women in the BOOK CLUB read all of the books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, which is what triggers the focus.  Sharon says, "I'm not sure this qualifies as a book."  Exactly.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Reaching millions of people doesn’t come close to reaching just one you love.” – Arthur (Don Johnson)
  • “I know I’m getting older, but I’m still learning and one of the things I’ve learned is that I deserve to be happy.” – Diane (Diane Keaton)
  •  Friendship
  • Self-esteem
  • Love and connection
  • The power of books!

Things I liked:
  • I thought Candice Bergan’s character was the most enjoyable and realistic.  As a federal judge, I thought it was cute that she named her cat after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  She's 72 in real life.  By the way, have you heard her famous hit TV show Murphy Brown: Season 1 is coming back to TV?  I used to love that show and am excited to see what they do with its revival.
  • The food at the ladies’ Book Club gatherings always looked so good.
  • Jane Fonda is 80 and looks amazing.  Have you seen her recent TV show Grace And Frankie Season 1 ?  She's really great in it and looks stunning.
  • You should read Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.”  It’s great and referred to in the movie.  What do YOU think it means?
  • Keep watching the rolling credits at the end for a few more scenes.
  • Craig T. Nelson and Mary Steenburgen also played a married couple in the movie The Proposal.  She is only 65, the youngest in the group.  He's 74.
  • This was Bill Holderman’s directorial debut.  Hopefully, he’ll bring more older actors and actresses to the Big Screen.  As evidenced by the large audiences I saw for this film on opening day, there is definitely a market there.  Jane Fonda revealed that studio bosses wanted younger stars to play the characters in this movie. Ageism is alive and well in Hollywood.

Things I didn’t like:
  • As much as I adore Diane Keaton, and I do, she pretty much plays the same character in all of her movies, including her clothing style with scarves, hats, and pant suits.  She even wore an Annie Hall hat in the pool scene.  It’s like she’s just playing herself in movies.  In fact, her character’s name in this movie is Diane.   Ha ha
  • There is such a huge age difference between Ed Begley Jr.'s character and Mircea Monroe's character that it was ridiculous.  I know this is a comedy, but it was just silly.
  • This is a true rom-com Chick Flick where all of the men fall all over themselves to please the women (except one). 
  • Sometimes it’s annoying when everyone in a movie has unlimited time and money to do whatever they want.
  • The second half of the movie really dropped for me. 
  • Andy Garcia played Diane Keaton’s nephew in The Godfather, so I thought their ages were unmatched in this film.  In this movie, she says she was born in  1951.  In real life, she was actually born in 1946 and is 72 years old.  Andy Garcia is 62.
  • The movie franchise of Fifty Shades of Grey is so pornographic and I’ve never understood how those movies could ever make it to mainstream box offices.  Don Johnson, who is one of the leading men in this movie, is the real-life father of Dakota who stars in those sadistic sex movies.  Gosh, isn’t he proud?
  • Blatant brand merchandising always annoys me.  This movie had tons, including Zillow, Bumble, Buca de Beppo, Brooks Brothers, Mercedes, and more.
  • Diane Keaton’s character never says “goodbye” when she talks on the telephone.  Do you know people in real life who do that?  So annoying.
  • I wanted to see more of Richard Dreyfuss and Wallace Shawn.  They're both so awesome.

Funny lines:
  • “The last time she went on a date, she got pregnant.” – Sharon (Candice Bergen)
“I don’t think that’s going to happen this time.” - Vivian (Jane Fonda)
*  "They say that memory is the second thing to go." - Arthur (Don Johnson)
    "What's the first?" - Vivian
    "I don't remember." - Arthur

Interesting lines:
  • Cupid is blind.” – Sharon
  • The choice should be ours.” – Vivian  


Deadpool 2 is over-the-top with surprising depth

Movie Title:       Deadpool 2

Grade:   B+

Rating: R, 119 minutes

In a Nutshell:   Marvel is on a roll.  The X-Force team assembles under the guidance of the most disrespectful, irreverent superhero ever, Deadpool, played expertly by Ryan Reynolds.

As Ryan Reynolds says in the movie, “The Academy’s watching.”  The sequel is definitely it better than the first?  Umm....probably not.  Did it make me laugh?  Definitely.  


Tips for parents: 
  • Deadpool says in the beginning, “Believe it or not, Deadpool 2 is a family movie.”  Nope.  Not true.  This is a true rated R movie.  If you set filters on VidAngel to delete profanity, violence and gore, this would be a 20 minute movie. 
  • Crude language and TONS of F-bombs.  I hate it when kids swear especially, which Julian Dennison does as Russell.
  • Scoutmaster pervert joke.  Ouch.  I have 4 sons.
  • Lots of severed limbs and brutal, gory deaths.
  • Lesbians
  • You see a bottomless little kid’s junk full Winnie the Pooh style and a man’s naked rear end.
  • Super high body count, destruction, violence, crude gestures.
  • Guns.
  • Some fun music, but other songs with very crude lyrics.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “We all need that sense of belonging.  We all need a genuine sense of home.” – Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)
  • “Kids – they give us a chance to be better than we are…better than we use to be.” – Vanessa (the beautiful Morena Baccarin)  
  • Family
  • Sacrifice for others
  • “Pain teaches us who we are.” – Blind Al (Leslie Uggams)
  • “No child is hopeless.” - Blind Al

Things I liked:
  • The trailer was hilarious. I loved the crack about Superman’s mustache in the trailer, referring to when DC had to use CGI to remove Henry Cavill's mustache in the movie Justice League.   
  • I got a kick out of the opening credits.  Most of the time, we just ignore them, but read them this time!
  • This is the year of Josh Brolin as the evil villain.  He voices a fantastic Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
  • Great action sequences.  As Deadpool says, “Big CGI fight coming up.”  Yep, LOTS of them.
  • Tons of fun jokes and visual gags, all lightning fast.  You’ll have to see the movie again in order to catch everything.
  • We learn a lot more about Wade Wilson, making his character development more deep and grounded.
  • You’re going to get a kick out of some new twists.
  • Keep watching after the credits for a couple more fun scenes, but there’s nothing at the very, very end of the music.
  • The Logan music box in the very beginning scene got the audience I sat with to immediately start laughing.  There is a running gag about Logan during the entire movie.  So funny.  For example, both films played the same music during the death scenes.  Ha ha
  • Tony Robbins.  Love that guy.
  • Wade and his girlfriend watch the movie Yentl  I always loved that movie and the music.  Deadpool points out that the song, “Papa, can you hear me?” is the same tune as Frozen’s “Do you want to build a snowman?” I never noticed that!
  • X-Men – trainee!  Ha ha
  • I like Dub Step too.  Ha ha
  • Several Canadian jokes.  A lot of locations in Vancouver were actually used in the movie. 
  • At the end of the movie, it says that 15,000 jobs were created to make the movie.  The stunt work was amazing.  Sadly a stunt woman, Joi Harris, died while filming one of the stunts on a motorcycle. Production stopped for two days.
  • Tons of fun Easter eggs.  For example, Deadpool refers to Cable, played by Josh Brolin, as "One Eyed Willy", which was a character in the 1985 movie The Goonies which starred Josh Brolin.
  • Tons of movie, song, and pop culture references.  One of the movie posters shows Deadpool in a Flashdance pose on a chair with bullets raining down on him.  He definitely takes a beating in this film.

Things I didn’t like:
  • This is the first Marvel film to NOT give Stan Lee a cameo performance!  Drats!  I always look forward to those little moments.  Instead, you can see him in a quick picture montage.  Definitely not as good.
  • Sometimes trailers are deceiving.  In an earlier trailer for DEADPOOL 2, Deadpool says, "Pump the hate brakes, Thanos," referencing Josh Brolin's role as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but in the actual movie, he's talking to two lesbians and he says, "Pump the hate brakes, Fox and Friends."
  • I don't read the comic books, but Domino's character and alliances are much different there than in this movie, as well as her color and eye circle.  It certainly didn't bother me, but some fans might be annoyed.  Zazie Beetz did a fantastic job.
  • SPOILER:  Have you seen The Terminator?  Yeah, that's this plot.

Funny lines:
  • “Forgive me for being late.  I was busy gathering all the gluten in the world so it can not NOT hurt us.” – Deadpool
  • “That is why the man bun is just the Millennial mullet.” – Deadpool
  • “So dark.  Are you sure you’re not from the DC Universe?” – Deadpool
  • “Mission accomplished?” – Dopinder (Karan Soni)
“Well, in a George W. sort of way.” – Deadpool
  • “Every family film starts with a vicious murder…Bambi. Lion King. Saw 7.” – Deadpool
  • “It’s time to get back on LinkedIn.” – Weasel (T.J. Miller)
  • Vanisher….ha ha  IMDB shows his face listed as Brad Pitt!  The studio actually wanted Brad Pitt to play Cable, but he had to decline that role due to scheduling conflicts.
  • “Never underestimate a man with a mustache.” – Deadpool
  • “I have no idea what’s happening.” –  Blind Al
“It’s probably best.” - Deadpool

Interesting lines:
  • “Family was always an F word for me.” - Deadpool
  • “You are not your father.” – Vanessa
  • “I fight for what’s right.” – Deadpool


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Traffick puts the spotlight on human trafficking in the USA

Movie Title:  Traffik

Grade:  C-

Rating: R, 1 hour 36 minutes

In a Nutshell:   

I was in the Las Vegas airport recently and saw a sign on the bathroom door stall that gave an emergency phone number for women who were trapped in human trafficking.  

The number is 1-8888-3737-888.   That’s a fantastic idea and easy number to remember, but I wonder how many girls who get kidnapped happen to have a cell phone on them.  Right?

At the end of the movie, it says, “It is estimated there are 1.9 million women being trafficked in the United States.  Worldwide, 21 million victims of human trafficking generate illegal profits each year of 150 billion dollars.”  For more information about this despicable crime, go to or

I applaud writer/director Deon Taylor for trying to create a movie that puts the spotlight on an important issue, but the film itself has some serious flaws.  One of my biggest gripes about this movie is that it attempts to criticize human traffickers who exploit women, yet the movie itself spends a LOT of time sexualizing Paula Patton.


Tips for parents: 
  • Profanity and lots of F-bombs.
  • Pre-marital relations
  • Lots of cleavage and skimpy clothes.  You see a woman’s naked backside.  The rest of the time, she has a hard time keeping her shirt strap on.
  • Crude gestures
  • Violence with blood splatters
  • Parents, talk to your daughters about how to be safe and avoid being a victim.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Think smart
Things I liked:
  • It was suspenseful a few times, although there were some fake jumps and scares that annoyed me.
  • Paula Patton didn’t use a stunt double.
  • I think this was the first time I have ever seen Missi Pyle in a dramatic role.  Good for her.  Did you know she’s also a great singer?  She always wanted to be in a rock band, which she did for a number of years.
  • Roselyn Sanchez is so beautiful.   You’ve seen her in  Act of Valor and  Rush Hour 2.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The movie tries to be a romantic thriller with meat, but it doesn’t quite get there.
  • Dumb slow-motion bad guy scene.
  • Laz Alonso’s character is so over-the-top and ridiculous that the audience laughed almost every time he opened his mouth.
  • Some of the acting and crying is really bad.  Lots of useless whimpering.
  • This is one of those movies where people make dumb choices.
  • I didn’t feel any chemistry between Paula Patton and Omar Epps.
  • For some reason, this movie isn't even listed on Rotten Tomatoes, but it's getting mixed reviews on IMDB.

Interesting lines:
  • “This is the real world.  Everything is trafficked.” –  Deputy Sally Marnes (Missi Pyle)



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Overboard remake adds some new elements to the 1987 original

Movie Title:     Overboard

Grade:   B

Rating: PG-13, 110 minutes

In a Nutshell:   It has been many years since I saw the original Gary Marshall movie  Overboard starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, but I remember thinking it was a charming Rom-com.  

The good news is that there is some charm to this remake, but the bad news is that it's not a great movie.

There is a funny running gag about Mexican soap operas.  Now that I think of it, the movie kind of feels like a goofy 1980’s Mexican soap opera.

Tips for parents: 
  • Eugenio Derbez pulls part of his shorts down to reveal a tattoo on his butt cheek.
  • There is a LOT of Spanish spoken, so there are a LOT of subtitles.  If you speak Spanish, you’ll hear some profanity.
  • The plot of the movie is that the protagonist and her children lie to a rich man to take advantage of his amnesia, as well as get a little revenge. Not exactly the kind of example we want to set for our kids.
  • Girls in bikinis.
  • Some profanity in English and Spanish.
  • Alcohol.
  • There is some discussion about what the word “pervert” means, so your young kids are probably going to ask you about it.
  • You see an unmarried couple in bed together.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Follow your dream
  • Motherhood
  • Poetic justice
  • “Life’s short and you don’t want to live with regrets.” -  (Anna Faris)


Things I liked:
  • Eugenio Derbez is always delightful.  I first saw him in How To Be A Latin Lover.  He’s super popular in Mexico.  I can see why.
  • Anna Faris is probably best known for her roles in the Scary Movie franchise.  Unlike her ex-husband Chris Pratt, she tends to choose movie scripts that end up bombing at the box office.  She’s extremely likable and capable, although her plastic surgery is a bit distracting.  I’m not talking about her breast implants, but it looks like she had something done to her lips. I keep staring at her face to see if I could figure out what she had done.
  • Fans of The Last Man on Earth: Season 1 will get a kick out of seeing Mel Rodriguez.
  • Keep watching when the rolling credits run at the end of the movie.
  • My twin sister teaches nursing students, so I thought it was cute that Anna Faris' character listened to nursing audio books in the car to help her prepare for her big test.  Every summer, my sister takes nursing students to various Third World countries to offer free health clinics.  The program is run through International Service Learning.  I got to go with her one year as a Spanish translator when she went to Colombia.  It was awesome and I highly recommend it to anyone in the health industry who is up for a meaningful adventure abroad! 
  • There is a cute Jaws reference when you see the name tag “Brody” on a guy during a conversation about sharks.   Ha ha
  • In a movie filled with wacky gags and slapstick humor, I thought it was insightful to include a short, yet deep scene where some men talked about how they felt like they were just a paycheck to their wives. 
  • The youngest daughter, played by Payton Lepinski, is so adorable.  I’d like to see her in more films.
  • It’s always good to see Eva Longoria.
  • Director and writer Rob Greenberg was trying to bring something fresh to the remake by switching the gender roles and adding a Latino element to the story.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The chemistry between Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris             isn’t very convincing.  Of course, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell were an actual couple when they filmed the original Overboard, so their chemistry was undeniable.  
  • Eugenio wears a lot of Seattle Seahawks t-shirts in the movie, but the location is supposedly somewhere along the Oregon coast.  I was just in Seattle last weekend, by the way.  It was my very first time there and I was so impressed!  My husband and I enjoyed perfect weather with blue skies and had so much fun going on tours, seeing the sites, and discovering cool restaurants.   I highly recommend the “Underground Tour”, “Free Walking Tours”, and Amazon headquarters tour!  What a cool city.

Interesting lines:
  • “I don’t have time for fun.” – Kate (Anna Faris)
“Then you’re not doing it right.” – Theresa (Eva Longoria)
  • “Land of the free, not land of the free lunch.” –  Bobby (Mel Rodriguez)
  • “Mos of us only know the world we’re born into.”  - Colin (John Hannah) 
  • “Act like a man!” – Godfather


Breaking In is timed perfectly for Mother's Day

Movie Title:     Breaking In

Grade:  C-

Rating: PG-13, 
     88 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Just in time for Mother’s Day, Gabrielle Union does a good job showing us what any mama bear will do to protect her cubs.  

Unfortunately, the action-thriller movie is predictable and even toned down to earn the PG-13 rating.

Tips for parents: 
  • While I was glad there weren’t a lot of F-bombs (there is 1), it was a bit odd to hear one of the bad guys use the word “friggin.” The intensity of peril at that point becomes laughable.  There is some other profanity.
  • You see two people get run over by a car.
  • The teenage daughter’s boyfriend makes her a playlist full of sex songs, but the mom brushes it off like it’s nothing worth talking about.  Parents, please talk to your kids about the consequences of sex as a teen.
  • Teach your kids how to pick a lock.  Just sayin…
  • Attempted rape, although you don’t see anything.  I would have gone full psycho revenge on that bad guy for that one act alone.
  • Violence and deaths.


Uplifting theme: 
  • Family
  • Motherhood
  • Tenacity

Things I liked:
  • Gabrielle Union is the capable protagonist, as well as one of the producers of the movie.
  • It’s refreshing that most of the decisions made were smart, rather than the usual dumb choices characters tend to make in this genre.
  • Richard Cabral’s character is crazy bad, giving us the only real sense of urgency and peril that we want to see.
  • Ajiona Alexus has such beautiful eyes.

Things I didn’t like:
  • While I enjoyed the other action thrillers that writer Ryan Engle created, like Non-Stop and The Commuter (I'm a Liam Neeson fan), this film doesn’t bring anything new to the genre.
  • The talented director of V for Vendetta, James McTeigue, doesn’t give us a clever, deep movie that we know he’s capable of; that movie was a masterpiece.
  • Billy Burke’s character comes off looking bored during the entire movie.
  • The characters were not really developed.  You never learn much about any of them.  One character shows up towards the end of the movie and you’re like, “Wait!  What?  Where did He come from? I thought…."
  • A lot of the scenes are in a dark house or at night, so this movie might be hard to watch on a TV or computer monitor when it QUICKLY goes to the cheap DVD bin at Wal-Mart or online streaming.
  • Lots of scampering around the house scenes.
  • You’d think that if the dad built all of those security measures into the house that he would have hidden some guns somewhere.  Just sayin…
  • "Payback" in the movie poster isn't quite the right word for what happens in the movie.  The mom gets mad and just wants to protect her kids, but she doesn't get crazy or seek revenge, like the movie poster promises.

Interesting lines:
  • “Fear I can manage.  Desperation is a whole other thing.” – Eddie (Billy Burrke)
  • “Moms don’t run (away).” – Eddie
  • “You’re an impressive woman.” – Eddie
“No, I’m not.  I’m a mom.” – Shaun Russell (Gabrielle Union)

A better movie in the same genre is:




Thursday, May 10, 2018

Isle of Dogs displays style and detail in a stop-motion treat for dog lovers

Movie Title: 
      Isle of Dogs

Grade:   A-

Rating: PG-13, 101 minutes

In a Nutshell:  I went to Japan with my family last summer for the first time.  It was so amazing that I know it won’t be the last time.  I absolutely loved it. 

The ground crew at the airport in Tokyo actually bowed in unison to all of the passengers on our airplane right before we took off.  I mean, how could you not love a country that does that?

My kids went crazy for Japan too.  It’s an incredible country with so much to offer, so I really got a kick out of this movie’s story and Japanese-influenced style.  

This stop-motion film is fresh, different, and extremely entertaining.  Some might even call it a work of art.


Tips for parents: 
  • Your kids are probably going to want to adopt a dog after seeing this movie.
  • This is only the 3rd stop-motion in the USA that is rated PG-13.  While this is an animation, the movie is really geared more toward adults.  That's not to say there is a lot of profanity or suggestive material; there isn't.  The humor is just more sophisticated and subtle.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Loyalty
  • Friendship
  • Pet ownership

Things I liked:
  • The talented voice cast includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Live Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Greta Gerwig, and Koyu Rankin. Most of those actors are either Oscar winners or nominees.  Pretty impressive.
  • Director Wes Anderson showcases his talent for detail.  Sooo much detail.  I love detail.
  • The introductory back story was hilarious.
  • The locations were so full of depth.  Each trash zone area was unique and named according to what happened there. For example, "Spots’ Landing,”  “Drone Beach” and “The Crash Site.”
  • Clever humor.

Facts that showcase the craft in this movie:
  • Many of the newspapers seen in the film include real articles that have been translated into Japanese.
  • All of the shots from the dog’s perspective don’t have red or green in them since dogs can’t see those colors.
  • Spoken in English, “Isle of Dogs” sounds like “I love dogs.” 

Things I didn’t like:
  • A lot of Japanese is spoken with no subtitles, so you have to assume dialogue based on context. There is also a lot of written Japanese.  I wish I could have read it.
  •  Some of the cleverness turns into smugness.

Funny lines:
  • “Da## it.  I’ve got a crush on you.” – Foreign exchange student Walker