Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cars 3 has heart and impressive animation

Movie Title:  Cars 3 (Theatrical)

Grade:  B+

Rating:   G, 109 minutes

In a Nutshell:  This family-friendly flick is the third installment in the Cars franchise.  By the way, the Cars ride at California Adventures next to Disneyland in California is really great.  You’ll need to race over there first thing in the morning to get a Fast Pass. They have done a really good job creating a Cars area too. 

Uplifting theme: 
  • “You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.” – Mater (Larry the Cable Guy)                 
  • “Don’t feel failure.  Be afraid of not having the chance!” – Sally (Bonnie Hunt)
  • “Try something new.” – Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson)
  • “You can use anything negative as fuel to push through to the positive.” – Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo)
  • “The truth is always quicker.” – old car (What’s his name?)
  • Believe in yourself.

Things I liked:
  • The animation is extremely impressive.
  • The training sequences were pretty cute.
  • A lot of really beautiful landscapes and environments.
  • It earns its Pixar magic in the Third Act.  Very sweet.
  • Parents and grandparents might be able to relate to the feeling of aging and being  past their prime, like Lightning McQueen feels.  There is a positive lesson here for all of us old farts.
  • It’s great to hear John Ratzenburger’s voice again. Other familiar, favorite voice talents include Cheech Marin, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt, Kerry Washington, Nathan Fillion, Bob Costas, and of course, Owen Wilson.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The story is very similar to the first movie in that an old driver (Doc Hudson) has-been tries to make a comeback.
  • How many kids (which is the target audience) are going to be able to relate to a midlife crisis?
  • There is a LOT of time spent racing.  That might lose the interest of some little girls.
  • Despite being a racing moving, it's a little slow-moving.  Ironic, eh?
  • There isn't as much humor as the first movie.

  • Paul Newman was the original voice of Doc Hudson.  They used some of the unused audio clips from the first movie to add his voice to this film after his death.  By the way, did you know Paul Newman was a race car driver for many years?
  • Mack drives through Arlo’s family farm, which was shown in Pixar’s movie The Good Dinosaur.
  • One of the new racers whose number is 31 is sponsored by Triple Dent Gum, which was the gum commercial that annoyed Anger in the movie Inside Out.
  • The only other Pixar film to have a 3rd movie installment is Toy Story.
  • All three Cars movies came out around the same time as Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
  • Look closely and you’ll see a Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story during the demolition scene.

Funny lines:
  • “Life’s a beach and then you drive.” – Lighning McQueen
Tips for parents: 
  • This is very safe for children of all ages.  There is no profanity or anything inappropriate. 
  • There are some car crashes.

Want to catch up on the first two movies in this franchise? 
Cars 2


Friday, June 23, 2017

Transformers 5 chooses special effects over substance

Grade:  C

Rating:  PG-13

In a Nutshell:  Michael Bay says this is his last Transformers movie.  Even fans hope that's true. This Transformers blockbuster franchise seems to have fizzled, disappointing movie-goers with a weak story and paper-thin characters.  

Having spent 260 million dollars on the film, Director Michael Bay seems to have chosen special effects over substance. If you have kids who love the auto-bot franchise, they'll still be entertained.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Without sacrifice, there can be no victory.” –  – Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins)
  • “Funny what you can do when what depends on you is all you have.” – Izabella (Isabela Moner)
  • “We all want to believe we can be heroes in our own lives.” – Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock)
  • “Magic does exist.” – Sir Edmund Burton

Things I liked:
  • Anthony Hopkins is always great.  I loved his beautiful British home in the film. There's also a lovely British cathedral that gets painfully destroyed by Transformers destruction.
  • You get to visit Stonehenge...sort of. He wanted to set off an explosion at the real site, but was denied, so he had to create a set that looks like the real thing. Seeing it was on my Bucket List and I finally visited the site a couple of years ago. Very cool!

  • I appreciated some of the slow-motion scenes.  One of my complaints from the previous films in the Transformers franchise was that the action sequences were so fast and jumbled that it was difficult to actually see what was happening.
  • I thought “Canopy” was a cool Transformers that I would liked to have seen longer.
  • I love Stanley Tucci in anything. I almost didn't recognize him as Merlin.
  • TONS of action sequences and you get to see a lot of your past favorite transformers, as well as some interesting new ones.
  • Mark Wahlberg works pretty doggone hard in this flick.
  • Laura Haddock is the newest beauty to save the world, but with a higher IQ than her gorgeous predecessors.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The very first scene features England in the Dark Ages when some knights were fighting.  The CGI fire looks totally fake and so I worried that the whole film would have terrible special effects.  It definitely got better.  By the way, King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) looks like Josh Groban.
  • The legendary Merlin the Magician is a drunkard, intended for comic relief, but the jokes fall flat. 
  • I definitely appreciate humor in movies, but most of it doesn’t land in this one.  The jokes fly pretty fast, but land with a thud.
  • If you’re hoping to see Optimist Prime, you’ll be disappointed with his little screen time.
  • I’m sure Michael Bay thought that a new twist to spruce up this installment of the franchise would be to throw a bunch of foul-mouthed kids in it.  Nope. They were all super annoying.
  • Like the other Transformers movies, it’s often difficult to understand what everyone says because of their garbled voices or due to all of the background noise.
  • It drove me nuts that Izabella had carefully placed strands of hair down her face in every scene. I just wanted to comb it back sometimes. It seemed super manipulative.
  • Girl power! every other movie lately.
  • The aspect ratios kept switching around, which was super distracting.
  • The movie contradicts itself constantly.  For example, we're supposed to believe the world is in chaos, yet Vivian has time to play polo in an idyllic British field before teaching children in a museum.
  • Product placement that features Mark Walhberg drinking a Bud Light, just like in the last Transformers' installment.
  • Some of the edits are too fast and choppy.
  • The little leprechaun robot is a C3PO rip-off.  Even one of the transformers points it out.

Funny lines:
  • “You get back in your hole and think about what you did.” – Cade Yeager
  • “Love that guy.  Goosebumps every time.” – Transformer with a Cockney accent  (What's his name?)
  • “So, is this a kidnapping situation or her first transformer experience?” – Cade
  • “A mojito needs ice.  Ice!  We are not animals!” – Agent Simmons (John Turturro) 
Tips for parents: 
  • Lots and LOTS of destruction and fighting.
  • There is a lot of profanity…in fact, a surprising amount of it.  What makes it even worse is that it comes out of the mouths of children and even Sir Anthony Hopkins, both equally disappointing.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Movie Title: 
The Mummy (2017)

Grade:  B-

Rating:  PG-13, 120 minutes

In a Nutshell: Universal Studio’s Dark Universe presents a sexy, new mummy that hopes to kick-start a new universe of monster movies. It drops a lot of hints of what’s to come.

The film's tagline, "Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters," is a quote from the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein...soon to be remade by Universal Studios.

Critics are picking this origin movie apart, but it's fine for a summer popcorn flick that'll entertain you plenty in air conditioning.   

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Death is the doorway to new life.  We live today.  We shall live again. In many forms shall we return.” Egyptian prayer of resurrection
  • “The past cannot remain buried forever.” – Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe)
  • “Where’s your sense of adventure?” – Nick Morton (Tom Cruise)
  • Good vs. evil. 

Things I liked:
  • Tom Cruise is incredibly dedicated and hard-working in this film.  He takes a serious beating in almost every scene and just keeps going and going like the Energizer Bunny.  He said in an interview with Regal movie theater about the film, “The sets are magnificent.  They’re beautiful.  They’re haunting” and then later, “It’s a helluva lot of fun.” 
  • Sophia Boutella is really great as a seductive female mummy.  We’ll see her again soon in Atomic Blonde: The Coldest City.
  • Russell Crowe’s character was a surprise to me, but a pleasant one.  We’re sure to see more of him in this role. No spoiler!  I want you to be surprised too!
  • It’s better in 3D.
  • I liked the little details, such as Ahmanet’s blue, cracked fingernails.
  • Some of the set pieces are pretty cool and the special effects are impressive.
  • Lots of fun jumps and scares.
  • I liked Annabelle Wallis a lot.  Unfortunately, she played a damsel in distress in almost every scene, but she was still pretty to watch.
  •  There is a welcome sense of humor.
  • The zero gravity scene in the airplane was really good.  Apparently, it took 64 takes and most of the crew got nauseous, except for Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis.
  • The next time you're at Universal Studios, be sure to watch their hilarious and informative "Horror Make-up Show."

Things I didn’t like:
  • There are a lot of exposition scenes.  They're necessary, although a bit annoying.
  • Jake Johnson was a mildly entertaining sidekick, although sometimes an odd addition.  Tom Cruise was funnier than the designated comic relief.
·   The film feels like action sequence, explanation scene, action sequence, explanation scene, etc.
  • No end-of-credits scenes.  Drats.  Marvel rocks at those.
  • Camel spiders.  EEEEK!
  • Tom Cruise plays a protagonist who isn’t really a stellar hero.  He’s a flawed man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time .  His set of moral standards is questionable.  For example, Jenny yells, “You stole from me!” and his justification that he is still a good person is, “But I didn’t lie!”
  •  Did you ever see the first trailer?  Tom Cruise lets out this extremely unpleasant, high-pitched scream that seems to have been replaced in the film, thank goodness. 

Funny lines:
  • “We are not looters.  We are liberators of precious antiquities.” – Nick Morton (Tom Cruise)
  • “I’m sorry.  We’re just never going to happen.  It’s not me.  It’s you.” – Nick Morton
  • “Wow!  That was intense.” – Chris Vail (Jake Johnson)

Interesting lines:
  • This is not a tomb.  It’s a prison.” – Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis)
  • “There are worse fates than death.” – Ahmanet
  • “Evil never rests.” – Dr. Henry Jekyll
  • “Sometimes it does take a monster to fight a monster.” –Dr. Henry Jekyll

Tips for parents: 
  • This probably should have been a Rated R movie.  There is a lot of sexual innuendo, but more than that.  There are some kinky moments and bare naked moments of Tom Cruise (covering his middle parts), and a naked side shot of Sophia Boutella. 
  • There are a ton of bloody, gory, fighting, destructive scenes.
  • There is talk of an affair.
  • Some profanity.
  • Lots of dead bodies, scary mummies, and high body count.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wonder Woman is wonderful

Movie Title:  Wonder Woman

Grade:  A-

Rating: PG-13, 141 minutes

In a Nutshell: I used to watch Wonder Woman on TV back when I was a little girl.  I loved it.  I thought she was beautiful, kind, and strong.  As a little girl, it made me feel like I could do almost anything. Yep, this superhero movie is about female empowerment, but it has a lot more than that.

I don’t know why it has taken this long to bring Wonder Woman to the Big Screen.  Maybe we were waiting for the perfect Gal Gadot.

This fun action flick has just the right amount of humor and Justice League magic.  Warner Brothers gives us an extremely entertaining summer popcorn blockbuster that gives Marvel a run for its money.  It’s part of a set up for Justice League and a planned trilogy for Wonder Woman.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “If you see something wrong happening in the word, you can either do nothing or you can do something." - Steve Trevor (Chris Pine)
  • “What one does, when faced with the truth, is more difficult than you would think.” – Diana/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)
  • “It is our sacred duty to defend the world.” –  Diana/Wonder Woman
  • "Everyone is fighting their own battles, Diana, just as you're fighting yours." - Sameer
  • “A promise is unbreakable.” - Diana
  • "Only love can truly save the world." - Diana
  • Love vs. hate, peace vs. war, humanity

Things I liked:
  • Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are both gorgeous and awesome.  As Chris Pine’s character explains, “I am above average.”  Gal Gadot has the perfect accent to sound exotic.  As Sameer says about her, “OMG, that is a work of art.”  Eye candy for everyone.
  • Great female stunt work.
  • Some cool and fun slow-motion, as well as sped-up action sequences.
  • Female director Patty Jenkins was going to film Wonder Woman back in 2005, but she became pregnant and the project was put on hold.  She said she was thrilled to be able to pick up the project again, because it was the movie she had been wanting to make her whole life.  She’s the first woman to direct a superhero film with a female protagonist.  We haven’t seen a female superhero since Electra in 2005.  It’s about time, right?
  • Most of the CGI is very good, although it becomes a bit heavy towards the end.  Gal Gadot was actually 5 months pregnant during some of the filming, so they put green screen on her belly so they could remove the baby bump during post-production.
  • I love it when the directors and producers put themselves in small cameo performances in their own films.  In this case, producer Zack Snyder shows up as a World War I soldier.
  • Did you know this movie has been banned in Lebanon?  Gal Gadot is Israeli and even served in the military.
  • Ah, romance.  I love that both Diana and Steve learn from each other and make one another better.
  • I wish I had one of those truth lassos.
  • It was cool to see the symbolism of light and color illustrated in man's world and that of Themyscera.
  • The soundtrack was noticeably good.

Things I didn’t like:
  • There are a couple of long, explanatory scenes to help you understand what’s going on.
  • I wish Lynda Carter, the first TV Wonder Woman, could have made a cameo performance.  Apparently, she sings in cabarets and couldn’t fit it into her schedule.  She definitely should have made the time for her fans.
  • The villain was pretty weak.

Interesting lines:
  • “You let this little thing tell you what to do?” – Diana/Wonder Woman talking about Chris Pine’s watch.
  • “You know that if you choose to leave, you may never return.” – Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen)
“Who would I be if I stayed?” – Diana
  • “What kind of weapon kills innocents?” – Diana
“In this war, every kind.” – Steve Trevor
* "I believe in love." - Diana

Funny lines:
  • “How could a woman ever possibly fight in this?” – Diana
“Fight?  We use our principles.  Although, I’m not opposed to using fisty cuffs, should the need arise.” – Etta (Lucy Davis)
  • “Please put down the sword.” – Steve
“It doesn’t go with the outfit.” – Etta
  • “Welcome to jolly ‘ole London!” – Steve
“It’s hideous!” – Diana
“Yeah, it’s not for everyone.” – Steve
  • “You’re a man.” – Diana
“Yeah. I mean, don’t I look like one?” – Steve
  • “Stand back!  Or maybe not.” – Steve
  • “I’m both frightened and aroused.” – Sameer  (Said Taghmaoui)
  • “You should be very proud!” – Diana after she tastes a vendor’s ice cream.  I feel that way about great ice cream too.
  • “May we get what we want.  May we get what we need. But may we never get what we deserve.”  - men's toast at campfire

Tips for parents: 

  • I love that the heroine is good.  She's someone I wouldn't mind my daughters emulating...if I had daughters.  I guess she's someone I wouldn't mind my sons marrying.  :)
  • You see a LOT of Chris Pine…bare naked after a bath while he covers his junk with his hands.
  • A man and woman close the door and a sexual romp is implied.
  • Lots of violence, destruction, and explosions.
  • At 141 minutes, it’s a long movie that a lot of little ones won’t be able to sit through.
  • In the comics, the war is WWII, but the director chose to highlight WWI in the movie.  Parents might need to explain the differences between those two wars.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Everything Everything makes tween girls swoon and giggle

Movie Title:  Everything, Everything

Grade:  C-

Rating:  PG-13, 1 hour 36 minutes

In a Nutshell:  This chick flick coming-of-age story reminds us to live our lives, instead of just observe them.   

Based on the popular teen romance Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, tweens and girls will swoon; parents probably won’t.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Words spoken in the air tend to go unheeded.  Words put to paper do not.” – Nurse Janet (Marion Eisman)
  • “Love is worth everything.  Everything.”

Things I liked:
  • Amanda Stenberg is compelling to watch as Maddy.  She's just lovely.
  • Nick Robinson is the newest heartthrob who all of the squealing girls in the audience loved.
  • It was nice seeing Ana de la Reguera again.  I haven’t really seen her since Nacho Libre.
  • You learn about Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) in a short cartoon explanation in the beginning of thefilm and learn that most kids don’t make it past 2 years old. 
  • I liked Maddy’s cool, hanging chair in her favorite room.
  • Beautiful blue ocean and perfect sandy beach.
  • You see a short clip of Cher in Moonstruck, which she won an Academy Award for.
  • I think it’s great that Maddy writes book reviews!
  • She mentions the book The Little Prince, which is one I would highly recommend!
  • I’ve heard the movie is a very accurate adaptation to the book.
  • Race and color aren’t mentioned, which is refreshing.  The biracial romance is simply two people falling in love.
  • Twist.  I love twists. 

Things I didn’t like:
  • Maddy's and Olly's bedroom windows sure are close to each other.  I'd hate to be that close to my next door neighbor.  Well, unless I'm in love with him, eh?
  • Maddy disobeys her mom.  Nice message, right? 
  • If Maddy never leaves the house, why would she need a big wardrobe?  Why would she own a party dress? 
  • Maddy's yellow bathing suit was really immodest.  I hear that in the book, it's pink.  If this movie is for teen girls, let's teach them to wear modest bathing suits and not throw themselves at guys, OK?
  • It’s ridiculous how Maddy would know how to swim if she had never been in water any deeper than a bath tub in her entire life.
  • It's super cliched and predictable.

Funny lines:
  • “He wears black all of the time, but he’s not as cynical as he looks.” – Maddy
  • “Just try not to breathe.” - Olly

Interesting lines:
  • “You’re not missing out on anything.” – Dr. Whittier (Anika Noni Rose)
“Nah, just everything.” – Maddy
  • “I own 100 white t-shirts.  It’s my standard uniform.” – Maddy
  • “At least I have the internet.” – Maddy
  • “Love can’t kill me, Mom.” – Maddy
  • “Why would anyone set themselves up for a broken heart?” - Maddy
  • “I feel like an astronaut, stranded in space.” – Maddy
  • “When I talk to him, I feel like I’m outside.” – Maddy
  • “He thinks I’m funny, smart, and beautiful…in that order.” – Maddy
“As he should.”  - Dr. Whittier
  • “I can’t think when I’m around you.” – Maddy
“Thinking is overrated.” – Ollie
  • “Credit cards are surprisingly easy to get.” – Maddy   True.  I hate how people think they can just get a card and then buy things with no intention of ever paying off the credit card.

 Dumb lines teenage girls laughed at in the theater:
  • “My mom made a bundt.  It’s not very good.” – Olly
  • “Is it always like that?” – Maddy
  • “It’s never like that.” – Olly

Tips for parents: 
  • Your kids may not know the word “morose.”  Tell them it means “gloomy, sullen, ill-humored.
  • No profanity.
  • The book and movie basically glorify romance above everything else.  As a mom, I'm not humored by Maddy's disobedience.  Her behavior is reckless and disrespectful.  For that matter, so is Olly.  If he really loved her, he would have kept her safe and not put her at risk.  Of course, the mom made mistakes too.
  • Suggestion of pre-marital relations.
  • There is a brief confrontation outside between Olly and his abusive father. 



Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Be A Latin Lover is offensive, and I'm not even Latina

Movie Title:  How To Be A Latin Lover

Grade:  C

Rating:  PG-13, 115 minutes

In a Nutshell: Welcome to the multi-cultural talent of Eugenio Derbez.  He’s one of the most successful actor/comedians in Mexico.  You may have seen him in a various Adam Sandler projects before, but you’re about to see more of him…a LOT of him in this movie (he takes his close off often), but in upcoming movies too.

Nah, I wasn't seduced.  It was too filthy to be fun.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “It’s never too late to do what’s right.” – Cindy (Kristen Bell)
  • Family, true love, friendship
  • There are things more important than money.
  • "You get what you work for, not what you wish for." - Sara

Things I liked:
  • Raphael Alejandro is a jackpot discovery in this film.  He’s absolutely adorable and has a bright future in Hollywood if he wants one.  Those dimples!
  • The lovely Salma Hayek plays Maximo’s sister and a struggling single mother. 
  • You get to hear Kristen Bell sing.  She was wonderful in Frozen (2013).
  • Small parts go to familiar faces you know and like, all named Rob: Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, Rob Riggle, Rob Huebel. 
  • Usually Rob Lowe plays the handsome, rich guy, right?  It was nice to see him be a pizza driver and broke for a change.
  • Maximo wakes up on the flat air mattress.  I hate those things!  That’s happened to me before.
  • When Sara (Salma Hayek) gets depressed, she turns a sad song into an energetic salsa.  Great idea!
  • Cute balloons at Arden (Mckenna Grace) ’s birthday party!
  • Raquel Welch has aged, but is still a timeless beauty.
  • There’s an authentic, although clich├ęd Latin vibe in the movie.  Salma Hayek and Eugenio Derbez speak Spanish a lot, so there are a lot of subtitles.

Things I didn’t like:
  • If I were Latina, I’d probably be doubly offended.
  • A LOT of crude gestures and lines.
  • Do you know anyone who has actually earned money by having their car wrapped?  I called a few companies once and it was a real bait-and-switch.  Drats.
  • Maximo gives such terrible advice to Hugo.  He’s a terrible role model in oh so many ways.
  • There’s an odd moment with Weird Al Yankovic.

Funny lines:
  • “I didn’t know we could do that!” – Hugo after he watches his uncle pour cereal from the box directly into his mouth.
“We can’t!” – Sara
  • “She doesn’t even know I exist.” – Hugo
“Why do you say that?” – Maximo
“Because she’s a girl…and she’s beautiful.” – Hugo
  • “I was named after my grandfather’s dog.” – Quincy (Rob Corddry)
“The legacy lives on.” – Maximo
  • “She’s been through too much emotionally…and surgically to put up with this.” – Quincy
  • “You guys are getting real creative with these gummy bears.  Most people just eat them.” – Cindy
  • “What is a virgin?” – Hugo
“It’s an airline.” –Maximo
“Pull my finger……false alarm.” – Maximo
  • “You sound like Dora the Explorer” – Maximo to Rob Lowe when he tries to speak with a Spanish accent
  • “I don’t need a Rolex, bro!” – Nick (Rob Huebel) as he points to his FitBit.

Interesting lines:
  • “Cokes have no nutritional value.” – Hugo   True.
  • “Do I have something on my face?” – Arden
“You have my full attention.” – Hugo

Tips for parents: 
  • The title reveals that this is really not a family-friendly movie.  The protagonist is a gigolo, so that should tell you something.
  • Lots of profanity and F-bombs.
  • TONS of crude, raunchy humor.
  • This should be an R-rated movie.
  • There is a lot of smacking people on the head.  I hate that.
  • Tons of crotch shots and butt grabs.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Baywatch fills the beach with garbage

Movie Title:  Baywatch

Grade:  D for don't waste your time and money on this raunchy garbage

Rating:  R, 116 minutes 

In a Nutshell: 

Based on the popular 1990's TV show and timed perfectly for the beginning of summer and beach season, this vulgar film is terrible.

Uplifting theme: 
  •  Saving lives 

Things I liked:
  • The opening sequence when the Rock saves someone in the water at the beach is hilarious.  He’s so unbelievably buff.  Someone asks him, “Are you Batman?”  He replies, “Sure.  Just bigger and browner.”  Later, someone else says, “I heard he invented Google.”  He’s pretty amazing and I was really hoping this action comedy would be good.  So disappointing.
  • Subtitles for surfer lingo.  Hilarious.  I lived in San Diego for 6 years, but never quite learned the language.
  • David Hasselhoff returns to inspire the new leaders.  Notice the picture of him on the wall in the office.  Ha ha
  • Alexandra Daddario's eyes are gorgeous.  So are Zac Efron’s.  Man, is he cut and tan in this movie.
  • “Little Mitch” in the aquarium was pretty funny.
  • Fun little surprise at the end for true Baywatch fans.
  • Hilarious seeing Dwayne Johnson working at Sprint.
  • Keep watching during the rolling credits at the end of the movie for some bloopers with the actors.
  • The advice about being aware of “Sand Grifters” is a good one.  There are always plenty of scumbag thieves at the beach, just waiting for you to not pay attention.  Someone stole my brand, new beach towel while my husband and I swam in the water on our honeymoon. Stinkers.
  • One of my sons was a lifeguard one summer…

Things I didn’t like:
  • The first 15 minutes of the movie are about a guy who gets his “junk” stuck somewhere.  What, are the writers of this movie 12?  C’mon.
  • It’s surprising that a Chinese film company (Shanghai Media Group and Huahua Pictures) would have anything to do with this filthy movie.  Their country rejects such profanity and vulgarity.
  • The fire on the boat scene looked SUPER fake.  A LOT of the scenes look fake. 
  • The movie definitely doesn't take itself seriously.  In fact, it would have been funny if it were just one big spoof on the source material.  It lost me the minute it took a swim in the gutter and became super trashy.
  • After watching this movie, you're going to look in the mirror and never want to eat again.  The cast is in incredible shape.

Funny lines:
  • “Everything you guys are saying sounds like an entertaining, but far-fetched TV show.” – Matt Brody (Zac Efron)
  • “Why does she always look like she’s running in slow-mo?” – Summer (Alexandra Daddario)
“She’s the reason I believe in God.” – Ronnie (Jon Bass)

  • “Jason Bourne ain’t got nothing on me.” – Matt Brody
  • “Shoes?  You’re wearing workerman shoes? How far have you fallen?” – Hasslehoff
  • “You people?  You people?!” – Matt Brody
“You don’t get to say that.  You’re just tan.” – Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson)
  • “You’re like the Stephen Hawking of swimming, minus the paralysis part.” – Captain Thorpe (Rob Huebel)
  • “He’s reckless and insubordinate.” – Mitch Buchannon
“Which is why we can afford him.” – Captain Thorpe
  • “Hey, High School Musical!” – Mitch calls Zac Efron's character.        ha ha

Interesting lines:
  • “Every man has his price.” – Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra)
  • “Leon doesn’t talk.  He’s a man of action and there’s a purity in that.” – Dave (Hannibal Buress) 
Tips for parents:
  • This is a trashy movie.  There is a constant stream of crude, inappropriate jokes.  If you try to filter out the bad parts, this will be a 15 minute movie.
  • You see tons of scantily clad and even a guy’s “package” completely naked.
  • TONS of profanity and F-bombs, even in the soundtrack. 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales fatigues fans

Grade:  B

Rating:   PG-13, 135 minutes

In a Nutshell:  I guess this is what you call "Franchise Fatigue."  Audiences are getting a little tired and so is this series.  Disney might see a surge in the 50 year old theme park favorite, but overall, fans are wistfully remembering back to the old days when Jack Sparrow was fresh and new.  Don't get me wrong though...if you're in the mood for some pirate shenanigans, you'll be entertained.

It's better than the last couple of installments.  Will there be a #6? Probably.  What am I saying?  Of course there will be!  This is the 12th highest grossing franchise film of all time.

Uplifting theme: 
  • “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there.” – Carina Smyth
  • Friendship, loyalty, family 

Things I liked:
  • Great special effects.  Pretty amazing visuals above and below the water.
  • While totally over-the-top, Javier Bardem plays a sufficiently scary villain named Captain Salazar. Did you know he was married to the beautiful Penelope Cruz, who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ?
  • Brenton Thwaites is just the eye candy young female fans want.  SPOILER:  I love that Orlando Bloom makes a couple of appearances.
  • SPOILER: Great ending!  The audience cheered when they saw Keira Knightley.  At first, she said she wasn't interested in being in the movie, but audiences will all be grateful that she changed her mind.
  •  Horologist.  Ha ha
  •  CGI Jack Sparrow when he was young.  Interesting.  At first I thought they found a young actor who looked like Johnny Depp, but then I could see when the lips didn't quite match the words and could tell it was CGI.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow's father was played by a Rolling Stone (Keith Richards) and now, his uncle is played by a Beatle (Paul McCartney)!  He's seen singing "Maggie Mae", which is an old drinking song of the sea from Liverpool.
  • "A skeleton walks into a bar, orders a mop and a beer...." is the same joke told by Al Pacino to Johnny Depp's character in Donnie Brasco

Things I didn’t like:
  • It’s so loud that a lot of the lines get swallowed up in other sound effects and so you can’t always hear what people are saying.
  • Kaya Scodelario just a good job as Carina Smith.  Her dress was so low cut and she was always out of breath that I got tired of seeing her heaving chest in almost every scene she was in.
  •  Slapstick comedy and goofy lines get wearisome.
  • As much as I love Johnny Depp, his character didn't bring anything new to this movie and was far less interesting than the others.  He supplies some humor, but that's about it.  He's not clever and witty, like in the first movie; he's just a drunk buffoon. 
  • A lot of jokes are recycled over and over.
  • There's no sense of urgency.  The pacing kind of lags and I started actually getting sleepy.  It feels long, even though it has the shortest running time of all the Pirates flicks.
  • They filmed some of the boat scenes in the first movie on the actual ocean, but a lot of the similar scenes in this movie look like they're on a set with a green screen.  Disappointing.

Funny lines:
  • “We’ll honeymoon in the barn.” – ugly lady who Jack Sparrow is forced to marry 

Interesting lines:
  • “Dead men tell no tales.” – Captain Salivar
  • “Who am I to you?” – Carina
“A treasure.” – Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush)

Tips for parents: 
  • Lots of fighting, violence, and high body count.  Umm...pirates.   Duh.
  • Decapitated heads in a basket.
  • Lots of destruction.
  • Some inappropriate sexual innuendos.



Thursday, May 25, 2017

Alien Covenant answers a lot of questions

Movie Title:  
Alien: Covenant

Grade:  B

Rating:  R, 120 minutes

In a Nutshell:  This is a sequel to the movie Prometheus, and a prequel to the original blockbuster movie Alien.  

Directed by the brilliant Ridley Scott, this new addition to the Alien franchise will leave fans entertained and satisfied.   

It’s not just a fun Sci-Fi thriller, but has a lot of very deep and symbolic insights.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Love vs. duty
  • Creation, humanity
  • “The only question that matters: where do we come from?” –  Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce)   Why wasn’t he credited in the film?
  • “I think if we are kind, it will be a kind world.” - David

Things I liked:
  • The spaceship is called the “Covenant.”  Look for other symbolism associated with the word covenant and its deeper meaning.
  • The first thing you see is Michael Fassbender’s artificial blue, dreamy eye.  He does a fantastic job as two characters.  It’s helpful that he speaks in a British accent when he is David and an American accent when he’s Walter, so that you can tell who is who.  The androids’ names (David & Walter) are a tribute to producers David Giler and Walter Hill.  SPOILER:  He fights and even kisses himself.  Ha ha  Michael Fassbender was able to take time off of filming in Australia in order to attend the premiere for X-Men: Apocalypse.
  • Beautiful images.  There is a lot of CGI, but an impressive amount of shots are taken in camera.
  • David plays Das Rheingold: Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla on the piano, which is a perfect choice to illustrate the theme of creation.
  • I thought the “energy sails” were super cool looking on the space ship.
  • Katherine Waterston does a great job as Daniels.  Her short hair is perfect in this role, but I wish she had longer hair in her role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • You get to see a lot of aliens/xenomorphs.
  • SPOILER: If you’re hoping for the classic scene of an Alien coming out of someone’s chest, you won’t be disappointed.  Added bonus: one comes out of someone’s back side.
  • The aliens aren’t the only monsters in the movie.
  • Some questions that were left dangling in the movie Prometheus, get answered in this movie.
  • Creepy ending.
  • Look for Easter eggs from the previous films.  For example, there is a small toy bird in this and the original Alien   Some of the lines are the same, like “I got you, you son of a B…”  The music that David plays on the flute is the same score that’s played in Prometheus.
  • I love little details.  For example, the date of the mission, shown at the beginning of the film, is December 5, which is the birthday of Walt Disney.  One of the android’s names is Walter.
  • The movie was originally going to be called “Paradise Lost”, referring to John Milton’s poem where Lucifer claims it is “better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
  • The movie poster has an almost old, religious gargoyle feel to it, which is appropriate considering the religious themes of covenant and creation throughout the entire movie.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Some choppy editing.
  • There are many times when you wonder, “What the heck is going on?” because there is some bouncing back and forth in time.
  • The tone shifts and seems inconsistent.
  • If you haven’t seen Alien or Prometheus, you might be a bit confused at times.
  • Why would such an important mission send so many young girls who scream and fall apart so easily?  Oh yeah, they’re good-looking.
  • There are a lot of non-nonsensical choices made by characters that make you cringe.

Funny lines:
  • “I don’t kid about John Denver.” – Tennessee (Danny McBride)

Interesting lines:
  • “What do you believe in, David?” – Oram (Billy Crudup)
“Creation.” – David
  • “If you created me, who created you?” – David
  • “I will serve you.  You are human; I am not.  You will die; I will not.” – David
  • “Seven bells and all is well.” – Mother (computer)

Tips for parents: 
  • This is definitely a rated R reason for all of the appropriate reasons: nudity, violence, horror.
  • Most of the aliens are really scary looking.
  • There are two people in a shower naked.  You see the woman’s bare chest.
  • Katherine Waterston doesn’t wear a bra.
  • Lots of profanity and F-bombs.
  • You see a burned body up close and lots of other dead bodies in various stages of decomposition.
  • Bloody, violent, gory deaths.