Film Review: “I Feel Pretty”

I FEEL PRETTY
Starring:  Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams and Lauren Hutton
Directed by:  Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hrs 50 mins
STX Entertainment

 

Do you ever look in the mirror and wonder?  Why is my nose this way?  Why is my chin that way?  Do other people think I’m pretty?  Or handsome?  They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which Amy Schumer learns with a vengeance, in “I Feel Pretty.”

Renee Bennett (Schumer) is a fun girl.  But she’s insecure.  She’s a little more “curvy” than some women and, while attractive, doesn’t see herself as pretty.  Some of this self-doubt comes from the fact that she works in the online department of one of the world’s largest makeup companies, whose spokesperson/owner (Williams) is the cover girl.  Renee spends her free time with her friends Vivian (Aidy Bryant) and Jane (Busy Phillips) and, while the three aren’t setting any records with attracting men, they enjoy being together.  One night, while watching the movie “Big,” Renee jokingly wishes she were beautiful.  The next day, at a SPIN class, she falls and hits her head.  When she comes to, she looks in a mirror and smiles.  She IS beautiful.

Though I’m still trying to figure out the message (Beauty is on the inside?  Be careful of what you wish for?  Be happy with who you are?) the film is trying to send, I found “I Feel Pretty” to be a funny film with a little bit of heart.  Now that she’s “pretty,” Renee has the courage to apply for a job as receptionist of her company, a job she’s noticed is normally filled by amazingly beautiful women.  Instead of being the woman who feels she’s five pounds too heavy, she sees herself as one of the beautiful people, giving herself the self-confidence she needs to not only get the job but flirt with the handsome brother of her boss.  But soon she is self-absorbed with the idea of her beauty, abandoning her friends and climbing the social ladder.  She doesn’t realize that it’s not her perceived looks that are getting her places, it’s her confidence in herself, and this is what impresses.

The film is well cast, with Schumer striking all the right notes.  This is not the raunchy Amy Schumer you may be familiar with.  This version is a little tamer, but still fun loving.  A scene where she impulsively enters a bikini contest, hiking her shorts and t-shirt up to expose her stomach, undulating to the music, is a moment of pure freedom.  Williams, with a Jennifer Tilly-esque voice, is also well cast as a woman whose beauty doesn’t allow others to see how intelligent she is.  Rory Scovel is Ethan, a man Renee meets “cute” at a coffee shop who falls in love with Renee the way she is, not the way she sees herself.  And, my God, how is it that 74 year old Lauren Hutton is as beautiful today as she was when I was a teenager??

 

Directors/screenwriters Kohn and Silverstein, who previously gave us “Never Been Kissed” and “He’s Just Not That Into You,” do a fine job keeping the story moving in their feature directorial debut.  I appreciate the fact that, even when she looks into a mirror, Schumer sees what we see – Amy Schumer – and not some high cheekboned model.  Both Renee, and Schumer, are just fine the way they are.

Film Review “Aardvark”

Directed by: Brian Shoaf
Starring: Zachary Quinto and Jenny Slate, Jon Hamm, Sheila Vand
Production company: Great Point Media
Rated PG-13

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

“Aardvark” is not a film that I would normally watch. I was draw to the film simply from it’s cast including Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek”) and Jenny Slate (SNL, “Obvious Child”). The acting in the film is really superb. I really only know Jenny Slate from her voice work including the new “Muppet Babies”, “The LEGO Batman Movie” and “The Secret Live Of Pets”, so this was a very different film for her. It is a straight blown drama. The whole cast was fantastic and I really dug the film for the first half and then it took a nice dive in the second act and closed out disappointing for me.

Here is the film’s official premise: “Aardvark” follows Josh Norman, a troubled man who has lived in the shadow of his brother Craig for so long he starts seeing that shadow everywhere. After experiencing a series of hallucinations involving Craig – an actor, and the star of a popular TV drama – Josh places himself in the care of Emily, a young therapist. Emily is forced to wade deeper and deeper into Josh’s imaginary world, and along the way forms her own obsession with his famous brother. While Emily and Craig explore a potentially disastrous attraction, Josh begins a relationship with a young woman, Hannah, who might be his soul mate – if only he could be sure she exists.

During the film there are these really interesting hallucination sequences that Quinto’s character experiences. I found myself mesmerized to see what was going to happen next. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who really want to see this but I appreciate where the film went. It was hopefully but I didn’t like the ending and I wanted more fleshed out with Quinto’s character. This is a little art house film that will play very well in those markets I am sure. It has the trendy cast and that art festival feeling to it. I didn’t hate it but I don’t see myself watching it ever again.

Film Review “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare”

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Violett Beane, Hayden Szeto. Landon Liboiron
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 100 minutes

Our Score: 1 out of 5 stars

Blumhouse Productions has been busting out some really solid horror films recently including last year’s “Get Out” and “Split”. “Truth or Dare” is not one of them. I was just telling my wife that I feel like horror is taking the turn again like it did back in 1996 when “Scream” came out and horror became popular mainstream again. I feel like that is happening with the enormous success of films like “IT” and “A Quiet Place”. “Truth or Dare” is bland, boring and not scary at all.

The film stars Lucy Hale from “Pretty Little Liars” and Tyler Posey from “Teen Wolf’. The premise is exactly what you would expect from the film’s title. It features a group of idiotic kids that decide to place “a harmless game” of Truth or Dare only to find out that it is much more deadly! Insert evil laugh here!! Wahhhhaaaa. The friends quickly realize that they can’t tell a lie or refuse the dare as they find themselves deeper in the game than expected. Bored? I am.

As I am writing this I am starting to think that I may be getting too old for these teen slashers. For teens and young adults, this might be your jam because it carries the cheapest scares and packs a “pretty” young cast of kids from various TV shows. Listen, I don’t blame Blumhouse for releasing this movie. It is a smart strategic move. It cost $3.5 million dollars and will easily make 3x that in North American box office alone. Go see “A Quiet Place” instead, it is a movie that requires you to be quiet, patient and wait for a real scare.

Film Review: “Chappaquiddick”

Starring:  Jason Clarke, Ed Helms and Jim Gaffigan
Directed by:  John Curran
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hrs 46 mins
Apex Entertainment

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Before I begin I’m going to share something.  I was born in 1960 and the Kennedy family were royalty in our house.  One of the few times I can remember my father crying was the day JFK was assassinated and I can remember my mother doing the same thing in 1968 when Bobby was killed.  My first presidential election was 1980 and I worked tirelessly for Ted Kennedy’s campaign.  So I kind of go into anything related to the Kennedy legend with a very wary eye.  I’m so glad that “Chappaquiddick” did not disappoint.

July 18, 1969.  While the world waits as Apollo 11 heads towards the moon, the mood is festive on Chappaquiddick Island, a spur of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.  It’s a reunion of sorts for the Boiler Room Girls, a dedicated group of young women that campaigned long and hard for Robert Kennedy in 1968.  Joining the women are several members of RFK’s campaign staff, including his younger brother, Ted (Clarke).  As the film’s opening montage tells us, the Kennedy boys, from oldest brother Joe – a Navy pilot who died in World War II, John – our 35th President and Bobby, who died before he could accomplish the great deeds he set out to do, had all died young, leaving Ted to carry the family mantle.  It is something he is reluctant to do, but he is also contemplating running for President in 1972.

Also at the party is pretty Mary Joe Kopechne (Kate Mara), one of Bobby’s strongest supporters.  She and Ted talk for a while and then the two leave the party, get into Ted’s car, and drive away.  Hours later, Ted will return alone and on foot.  He will tell those who greet him “I’m not going to be President.”

A solid film that keeps you guessing on the facts, “Chappaquiddick” is an unbiased attempt to tell the story everyone thinks they know.  The story is helped along by solid direction and a cast that embodies more than imitates the characters.  Clarke does a fine job as Kennedy, nailing the mannerisms and accent perfectly.  As Kennedy cousin (and family fixer) Joseph Gargan (from the Fitzgerald side of the family) Ed Helms gives a fine dramatic performance.  Also so nice to see Jim Gaffigan, who was so great in “Chuck,” continue his journey to dramatic actor as family friend Paul Markham.  And Bruce Dern, in a role that’s almost wordless, is still stern and tough as family patriarch Joseph Kennedy.

The Dike Bridge

As an added bonus, if you’re a fan of the film “Jaws” – and if you’ve ever read my stuff you know it’s my favorite film – you’ll get to see a lot of Edgartown exactly as it appears in the film.  Even the real life area doctor, Robert Nevin, who played the town doctor in the film, rates a mention.

Finally, and this is just a mention, but I’ve been to Chappaquiddick and I’ve driven over the Dike Bridge.  Sober.  In broad daylight.  It’s still pretty narrow if you ask me.  If you don’t believe me, give it a look yourself.  And while you’re there, stop and pay your respects at the grave of Pipit, the dog from “Jaws.”

Pipits Grave. I wasn’t kidding.

Film Interview: Director Susan Walter talks about her debut feature, “All I Wish”

 

After almost three decades working behind the scenes on other people’s films, Susan Walter has finally gotten to sit in the big chair.  As writer and director of the new film “All I Wish,” she called the shots and achieved a dream.

 

While promoting the film, which is now in theatres and also available on Video on Demand, she took time out to talk with me about finally being in charge.

 

Mike Smith:  Please tell me that Tony Goldwyn isn’t really that bad of a singer. (NOTE:  In the film, Goldwyn tries his hand at karaoke, much to the chagrin of anyone in earshot.)

 

Susan Walter:  (laughs) Tony Goldwyn is a brilliant singer!  The first time I talked to him about that scene, he said to me “you know I can sing, right?”  He wanted everyone to know that he could sing.

 

MS:  Where did you get the idea for the film?

 

SW:  I’m a huge fan of “When Harry Met Sally.”  It’s one of my favorite films of any genre’.  And what I love about it is that it takes these two characters and looks at how the spend time together over a long period of time.  So I thought what would happen if I showed characters that not only got to know each other but got to know themselves over a long period of time.  And I picked each period beginning on a birthday because your birthday is a time when you look at your life.  The stakes are super high on your birthday.

 

MS:  Most people, when they think of romantic comedy, don’t readily think of Sharon Stone, who is more known for tougher roles.  What made you cast her?

 

SW:  Sharon cast herself.  (laughs)  Literally.  She got the script originally when it was written for her character to be in her 20s, and I wanted somebody tough and vibrant to play the mother.  I sent her the script and offered her the mother and she called me and said, “I’m not playing the mother…I’m playing the lead!”  And I got chills all over my body because I knew that she was right.  She felt really connected to the character and she really spoke passionately about why she had to do it.  So that’s the version of the movie that got made.

 

MS:  Which also became a bonus because you got to work with Ellen Burstyn.

 

SW:  We were so lucky that Ellen responded so well to the script.  Sharon was so passionate about having her and when we sent it to her she responded right away.  Though Ellen’s character appears tough as nails in the film she also has a vulnerability that you can feel.  You can feel the love that she has for her daughter and it was something beautiful for me to watch.

 

MS:  You’ve spent decades working behind the scenes until you finally got the opportunity to direct a feature.  Was the experience everything you thought it would be?

 

SW:  I have to tell you, I was totally nervous into the lead-up of the movie.  I was worried.  Could I do the job?  Did I have the energy?  It takes an incredible amount of stamina to direct a feature film.  You’re on your feet all day and you need every corner of your brain to do the job.  I got so much incredible support from my cast, especially Sharon.  They made it effortless.  It was like being weightless.  I entrusted them with their characters.  I was just there as a sounding board if they had a question about a line or a moment.  The experience of directing was almost effortless.

 

MS:  You’ve worked with several name directors in the past, including the late Garry Marshall.  Did you learn anything from them that you used on your set?

 

SW:  The one thing I learned from Garry in regards to actors is to just let them play.  Make them feel safe and let them play.  And when they had an idea, it was always “yes.”  He may not have agreed with it, but he would always say, “let’s try it.”  That was the way he worked and I think some of it rubbed off on me.  I said “yes” a lot to my actors.  We played a lot.  And I think you can feel how free they felt when you watched the film.

 

MS:  What are you working on next?

 

SW:  I wrote a movie with a friend of mine who is an actress and an extremely hilarious human being.  It’s an “R” rated ensemble comedy that we’re putting together now.  Hopefully we can start it soon.  I hope it doesn’t take another fourteen years.

Actor Jimmy Bellinger Talks About His Role In The Film “Blockers”

Jimmy Bellinger is an actor who has appeared in a variety of commercials, films and, television series including “The Middle” and “Parks and Recreation”. In the newly released film “Blockers” starring Leslie Mann and John Cena, Jimmy plays the role of Chad a nerdy yet confident high school student. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Jimmy recently about his character and the film and also about his widely popular Skittles commercial.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us a little bit about the film “Blockers” and your character Chad?

Jimmy Bellinger: “Blockers” is a fun, raunchy sort of coming of age story that follows three parents and their daughters. We first see the girls as young children and then as teenagers getting ready to attend the prom. The girls decide they want to lose their virginity and make a pact to do so. The girl’s dates are not aware that this is set to happen and it turns into this crazy thing when the parents find out and attempt to stop them. My character Chad is sort of a dorky guy but he is very confident. He loves to dance and be a showman. Chad also loves a good fedora!

AL: How did this role come about for you?

JB: It was actually quite a long process. I auditioned a few times over the course of two months before officially getting the offer. Originally I read for a character that’s not in the story anymore. I then went back and read for the role of Chad. I actually did two auditions that day as they brought me back in the afternoon to read with a group of girls auditioning for the Sam role. None of those girls ended up in the film and I didn’t hear anything for a couple weeks until they brought me back to read with a different group of girls. This whole time I was never really sure if I was going to get the role or not because they could have been seeing other people that I didn’t know about. A week or so later I found out I got the part and also that they recast all three girls and the other two guys. I was lucky that I made it and am very happen that things worked out for me the way that they did.

AL: Over that time did the script change in any way?

JB: Yes it did. Originally there was this completely different character in the script and that role had been cut out so there were definitely a lot of changes made from the time I first read the script to what ended up being in the film. Things were added and locations changed but the film is still just as funny as when I first read for it and, that was what interested me in the project from the start.

AL: Were you allowed creative freedom with the character or were you asked to stay to the scripted material?

JB: There was certainly creative freedom. Yes there was a script for the character they wrote but I feel like unless you are playing a real person that existed somewhere in time you bring in pieces of yourself to each role you pay. I feel like most people want you to bring your own traits as an actor to their character. That’s essentially your job. You have ideas and there are scripted pieces so you start there and once you get going you might come up with some other things that help the character and story. The film’s director Kay Cannon is an extremely talented writer so if we weren’t pitching ideas she was coming up with things to try or add. We shot a lot of different versions of each scene so you really didn’t know what will be in the final film until you see it.

AL: The film has a very comedic cast. What was it like on set between takes?

JB: It was fun! Sets are all very similar because the days are long and when you are not shooting you are hanging out with the other cast and crew joking and having a good time. You get to talk with and meet a lot of different people. The cast was great as were the crew and, being that we were shooting a comedy and not a drama or something really serious everyone was just very relaxed and the mood was light.

AL: You also are currently the face of Skittles and appear in the hilarious Skittles-pocks commercial. How did that opportunity come about and, will you be reprising that role in upcoming ads?

JB: That came about much like this film through a regular audition. I went in to read for the part and they paired us up randomly with the girls who were their reading for the other part. I ended up being with the girl who also ended up in the commercial. After the first audition I got a call back and I could tell that they liked me because I read with the first girl again as well as a couple others. When we shot it even though it was such a short spot we tried a bunch of different things. The lines were there but I got to have a lot of fun playing within the confines of them. I had no idea what made it into the commercial until it came out. The ad started on the internet and then they started airing it and then they stopped. That usually happens after some time with commercials but then they decided to renew it and it has been playing non-stop. I am completely fine with it. Some people think it’s funny; some people think its gross or a combination of the two. I think that they are probably all right but I think that’s kind of the appeal of it as it’s weird but quick and easy. It’s just crazy how big it has become and seeing how excited people get amazes me. In terms of reprising the role that really on them however I will happily be paid to wear more skittles on my face. I am fine with that.

AL: Are there any other projects you have been working on that you would like to mention?

JB: There are some things in the works but I can’t really talk too much about those right now however, I did do an episode of the Nickelodeon show “Night Squad”. My episode won’t air until Halloween time but I do want to let people know it will be coming out and when they can look for it.

For more info on Jimmy Bellinger you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @JimmyBellinger

Film Review: “Blockers”

 

BLOCKERS

Starring: Leslie Mann, John Cena and Kathryn Newton

Directed by: Kay Cannon

Rated: R

Running time: 1 hrs 42 mins

Universal

 

Ah, prom night. A night of magic, music and, if you are three very anticipatory young girls, the night you plan on losing your virginity. Unless your parents find out that is.

 

We first meet Julie (Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam(antha) (Gideon Adlon) as they arrive for the first day of kindergarten. Though the girls are nervous, they aren’t as upset as their parents. Julie’s mom, Lisa (Mann) is a single mom who has devoted her life to her child. Kayla’s pop Mitchell (Cena) is a sports-loving guy who isn’t afraid to show emotions. And Sam’s dad Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) is never afraid to take a drink, no matter the time of the day. The girls become best pals and before you know it, they’re now seniors in high school preparing for the prom, graduation and college. And sex.

 

A funny film that doesn’t treat the youngsters like, well….youngsters, “Blockers” is the female version of “Porkys” without Buela Balbricker. The young ladies decision is not made in haste. They each have a reason to “go all the way.” One is love. Another is curiosity. And the third is a litmus test. You see, one of them is a lesbian and is afraid to act on her feelings. I won’t give away anything more but I will say that the people behind “Love, Simon” could have surely taken some pointers in dealing with the way her feelings and sexual curiosities are handled.

 

The fun part here are the parents, especially pro wrestler Cena, who is hilarious as he is large. Mann is also strong as the mother who is afraid to let her child leave and Barinholtz as a father trying to reconnect with a daughter he clearly underestimated.

 

The film is well paced and the supporting cast, especially the three “lucky” boys, keep the film moving as well.  If I had any qualm with the film it was the constant reminders of other Universal films that kept showing up on screen.  From movie posters (“16 Candles,” “Love Actually”) on the wall to just random mentions of, among others, “American Beauty” and the “Fast and the Furious” series, it was a little heavy handed to me.  Still, the film is definitely worth a trip to the local cinema this weekend.

Film Review “Baaghi 2”

          

Baaghi 2 is the sequel to the movie Baaghi with the same male lead Tiger Shroff but the female lead being replaced by Disha Patani for Shraddha Kapoor. It is an action thriller film and it is the remake of the film Kshanam, a Telugu movie. The movie revolves around the soldier Ronnie and fights against drug tycoons and gofers to save the daughter of his former girlfriend.

As the movie is worth a watch, so you can check out PVR movie offers on online ticket bookings and enjoy your tickets at very affordable prices.

Star Cast of Baaghi 2

Tiger Shroff: Handsome Hunk Tiger Shroff is a Hindi film actor but he is also very famous for his dance and stunts. He made his debut in the film Heropanti for which he was nominated for Filmfare best debut Actor-Male and won 5 awards including the IIFA and Big Star Entertainment award. He also appeared in 3 music videos in which he was admired for his dance moves.

Disha Patani- Disha Patani grabbed the hearts of all young boys after she appeared in the film M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. Being the heartthrob of teenagers, she won several awards for her role in the film M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story. She appeared in a music video along with Tiger Shroff.

Prateik Babbar: Prateik Babbar is an actor who has appeared in films like Dum Maro Dum, Ekk Deewana Tha, Aarakshan and more. He is playing the role of an antagonist in the film.

Manoj Bajpayee: Manoj Bajpayee works predominantly in the Hindi film industry but has also appeared in Tamil and Telugu. He is also playing the antagonist role in the film.

The film is directed by Ahmed Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala produced the film under the production title Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment. Ahamed Khan is also a producer, choreographer, writer, and actor.

Critic Review of Baaghi 2

Baaghi 2 received mixed reviews from the audience. While some claim the movie to be one of the best action movies, some feel that the action is slightly slower paced. The first half is completely different from the second half. The movie and Tiger Shroff tops in jumping, kicking, punching, wielding knives, bombs, and guns but falls when it comes to emotion.

The Times of India states that the movie is little long and they could have improved the taut screenplay and editing.  Bollywood Hungama claims that Tiger’s performance is spectacular and extraordinary but the screenplay is not engaging and convincing. The cinematography of the movie is eye-catching and the songs are just okayish.

The Indian Express reviews the movie as a trouble with full-on masala film in search of a plot is clear in the way the film unfolds. Though the film is a remake of the Telugu film, the fillings are all strictly Bollywood: the attempt to create difference gets diluted. The NDTV states that Tiger Shroff roars and Disha Patani is pretty but the movie is like 2.5 hours of stunt sequence.

The story of Baaghi 2

The film starts with two masked men brutally attacking Disha Patani ( Neha) and at the same time, we have the introduction of Tiger Shroff who is an Army officer (Ronnie aka Ranveer Pratap Singh) in Kashmir.  Then the hero is established as brave and fit army officer along with his love for the nation. The story of the film begins when Neha calls Ronnie and explains her attack and also asks him to help her out as her daughter would be kidnapped.

Then comes the flashback of Ronnie and Neha who meet each other in college. This is the part which has cute songs and cliche dialogues and we come to know the backstory of the two leads. Once the action sequence begins, we are taken to another level. The action scenes are the ones which set the mood of the film. Whatever may be the fight, Ronnie always saves the Indian Flag and proves that he is a true patriot. We are then introduced to the two antagonists of the movie, Manoj Bajpayee (Shergill) who plays the DIG and also Prateik Babbar (Sunny), who is a drug addict and Neha’s husband’s brother. Randeep Hooda plays the roles of a humorous cop. The plot starts to reveal around midway of the film where we come to know that Ronnie isn’t dealing with a simple kidnapping. There’s a series of crime that unties, one action sequence after another. Deepak Dobriyal as always stands out with his performance and he plays Ronnie’s assistant.

The film ends with Ronnie solving all the mysteries behind the kidnapping and finally saves Neha’s daughter.

Star Performance in Baaghi 2

Tiger is given more than enough to work with. The action scenes he performs are so real and there are high-voltage stunts galore and shows us how the action was meant to be. The story only highlighted the performance of Tiger Shroff and they did not utilize the Randeep Hooda and Manoj Bajpayee. However, Deepak Dobriyal gave the best performance in the movie as always.

Direction and Music Review of Baaghi 2

Baaghi 2 is loaded with action and drama but the script is badly written and crummy direction by Ahmed Khan makes it a dreary matter. The lack of strong direction from has caused in both the antagonists feint a bit.

The movie has 6 soundtracks. The background score is composed by Julius Packiam and the music is composed by Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Mithoon, Gourov-Roshin, Sandeep Shirodkar and Pranaay Rijay. The album was released on T-series on March 20, 2018. The songs and music are good but they disturb the flow of the film. For a detailed review of music read the link below.

http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movie/baaghi-2-2/songs/music-critic-review/

Box Office Collection of the movie

The box office collection of the film is higher than expected. The movie earned Rs 25.1 crore making it the biggest single day and opening day of 2018 beating Padmaavat. After the first day, the collection slowly went down by 20%. Then gradually the collection decreased. The movie became the 2nd highest Opening Weekend grosser on Box Office to collect 73.10 crores. On an opening day, Baaghi 2 made 2.11 crore in UAE.

Trivia and Rating of the film

Here are some interesting trivia about the film

  • Tiger Shroff went to Hong Kong to train martial arts under Tonny Ching to be perfect for his character Ronnie.
  • Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani made an eccentric entry in a helicopter at the trailer launch of the film in Mumbai.
  • This is the first film for the rumored lovebirds Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani.

The film was rated 2.5/5 stars by The Times of India and 1 out of 5 stars by Hindustan Times. IMDB gave a 3-star rating on 5 and Rotten Tomatoes a 2 star on 5.

How to book tickets

You can go to the theatre and book or you can just book it through pvrcinemas.com. It is always better to book your tickets and get your seats reserved beforehand. The following are the steps to book tickets for Baaghi 2.

  1. Go to pvrcinemas.com
  2. Enter your login details and choose your city.
  3. Then search Baaghi 2.
  4. Then select the number of seats and choose the seats you want.
  5. Then proceed to pay or enter the promo code if you have any.
  6. Then select your mode of payment.
  7. Once the payment is done, you will receive the message with the booking details.

Conclusion

Baaghi 2 amazes you but it is not well-structured.  The story has many loopholes. But the film stuck to its genre. If you are someone who loves action films, then you would not be bored of the film. This film is for action lovers and you can surely kill time watching the movie.

4DX Experience & Film Review “Ready Player One”

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 140 minutes

Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
4DX Experience: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 4 out of 5 stars

“Ready Player One” is easily my most anticipated film of the year. There was a lot riding on this film for me and a lot of anticipation. This is one of the first times that I have read the book before seeing the movie. I never read one of the “Harry Potter” or “The Lord of the Rings” books to date. Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” is one of the best books that I have read (not only once but multiple times). The audio book read by “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star Wil Wheaton is highly recommended. That being said, the movie is MEGA different from the book. I am honestly cool with it because I see how and why most changes were made and I am really happy with the film adaptation. In fact, I would say that is my favorite film that I have seen this year…and I say this because as of writing I have already seen the film twice, once in 2D and once in 3D with 4DX experience, which are two very different ways to experience this film. This is a film that gets better with each follow up viewing and I can’t wait to see it again!

I am just so excited and I can’t hold it in anymore, so let’s just start with how much pop culture is filled in this film. BEWARE, this paragraph ONLY has a few Easter Egg SPOILERS, but then again a few are from the trailers. There are nearly 100 Easter Eggs already that already have been found in this film. Some are super hidden and blink and you miss and some are just in your face awesome like visiting The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining” and getting to relive a few scenes with newly created CG footage. This shit was downright terrifying. “The Shining” is easily my favorite horror film of all time and this really left me saying “WOW!” A few of the brief ones that I literally almost lunged out of my chair were Battletoads, Spawn, the RV from “Spaceballs”, Jason Voorhees, the new live-action Ninja turtles, the ship from “Firefly”, Serenity and reference to “Pilotwings”. I really enjoyed the ability to watch the film and just stare in amazement as to how many amazing cameos their were. I felt the same way about “Wreck-it Ralph” when I first saw it and still to today. I am always looking for something new and I have a feeling I will be doing the same with “Ready Player One”,

Here is the film’s official premise: From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon.   In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place.  The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days.  In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination.  The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir.  When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—called the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.

Ok, so let’s talk about the different ways, I have experienced this film. First I saw it in 2D on a decent size screen. Let’s end this quick, this is NOT the way to see this movie. This needs to be experienced in IMAX or on the biggest screen possible. Second time, I saw this film it was in 4DX, which is the ultimate movie going experience with motion seats, environmental & water effects. I went with a friend who has never been to 4DX and he said that this was the perfect way to experience this film. I enjoyed the 4DX experience for “Ready Player One” but I didn’t love it. I felt like it was absolutely perfect for a few scenes like the race to the first key, which was like being in a long-ass rollercoaster ride. I enjoyed the 4DX experience for “Pacific Rim: Uprising” much more it just felt like it was always moving. With “Ready Player One” it was more every once in a while I remembered I was in a 4DX experience and I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. The 3D definitely added to the experience. When they dived into the Oasis, the 3D depth really kicked in and blew me away.

The cast I have to admit was an odd to me, since I am not that aware of the young stars Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke. I enjoyed their avatar characters and the motion capture used to achieve their performances. I also dug Ben Mendelsohn as the baddie. T.J. Miller appeared as avatar only, no real life character (probably due to harassment issues) but he was useless in the movie. Simon Pegg popped up for a minute here and there but definitely delivered the film’s heart as did Mark Rylance, who just blew it out of the park. I hated that he beat Slyvester Stallone (nominated for “Creed”) for Best Supporting Actor in 2015 for his role in “Bridge of Spies” and then even more after “The BFG” but he was simply amazing as James Halliday! Spielberg was smart for bringing he onto this film. He made me smile every time he spoke.

Let’s get on the topic of the director, Steven Spielberg. I originally thought that this film was not right for him as a director. But after seeing the film twice now, I know it was not ruined and he did a real solid job at trying to deliver the most exciting and satisfying adaption he could for the fans. He even threw in nodes to his own films like “Jurassic Park”. He really captured that nostalgic feeling for me. As we are watching the action unfold in “Ready Player One”, the score switches to cues from “Back to the Future” and you get chills up and down following by the audience screaming “Whoa!!!” That is a great feeling in a movie theater and that is how you know when you have a winner on your hands.

I know I haven’t gone into too much detail about how this is different from the book, cause honestly I really don’t care. The movie is different and I still liked it a lot. I also love the book, which is extremely detailed and dives more deep into the pop culture world. I personally learned so much from the book about tons of film, music and TV references. The film is a slimmed down working of the book. The process finding the keys and the opening of the gates are the biggest change that I recall. I know there are a few other major events that doesn’t carry through in the movie but I appreciate how they molded the world in the book into a fun and exciting popcorn flick!  Like I said, I have a feeling that I am not going to stop at two viewings of this film. It’s very likely I will be seeing this at least once more in the theaters, definitely IMAX 3D and seeking out some more Easter Eggs!

Film Review: “Pacific Rim: Uprising”

 

PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING
Starring:  John Boyega, Scott Eastwood and Charlie Day
Directed by:  Steven S. Deknight
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hrs 51 mins
20th Century Fox

I will admit right here that I never saw the original “Pacific Rim.”  I’ve been told it was pretty good.  I certainly hope so, because this new installment isn’t.

After a quick shot of Idris Elba – I’m told he was the hero in the first film – we learn about how mankind and their giant Jaegers pulled together to defeat the evil, monstrous Kaiju, which in my limited imagination meant that some Transformer rip-offs beat Godzilla and his family.

It is 10 years later and the world isn’t really doing well.  We meet Jake (Boyega) and learn he is the son of Elba’s character.  Jake lives on his wits and the barter system.  Squatting in an abandoned Hollywood mansion, he’s not above trading an Academy Award for a box of cereal.  He’s also not above stealing, mostly technology, and selling his spoils to the highest bidder.  When he is caught stealing parts from damaged Jaegers he is sent back to “the academy,” where he will now train a class of young people to be the next great Jaeger pilots.  Hijinx ensue!

A loud movie with lots of giant shiny things, “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” is a CGI spectacle of crushing metal played against a background of tough kids and one-liners.  Think of it as “Real Steel” without Hugh Jackman.  Which is a shame because the cast seems to be trying their best.  Boyega is bold and cagey here at times.  Hopefully he’ll demonstrate some of this ability in the next “Star Wars” film (sorry, I think Finn is a little too wishy-washy sometimes).  As the tough-as-nails Amara, Cailee Spaeny also shows some emotional depth.  And damn it, Scott Eastwood is one handsome man.  Charlie Day also shows up (apparently he was in the first film) but spends most of his screen time yelling, like he’s channeling Bobcat Goldthwait

If you like big shiny things destroying things, this is the film for you.  If you don’t, go see “Black Panther” again!

Film Review “The Last Casino”

Directed by: Pierre Gill
Starring: Charles Martin Smith, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche, Julian Richings, Albert Chung
Running time: 92 minutes
Distributor: The Movie Network
Original release: June 26, 2004

Film Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When you are binging on gambling related movies recently, I came across a film 2004 Canadian television film called “The Last Casino”, which focuses on card counting. Like the 2008 film “21”, this movie focuses on the ideas from “Bringing Down the House”, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. The film stars Charles Martin Smith, best known for his roles in American Graffiti (1973), Starman (1984) and The Untouchables (1987) and Katharine Isabelle, best knows for her roles as Ginger Fitzgerald in the werewolf horror films Ginger Snaps franchise. Great talent for sure though the film suffers on a TV budget.

Official Premise: A University teacher finds three bright students and decides to teach them how to count cards to make lots of money. As they learn how to play the casinos, things get tricky when the debt owing teacher informs them that their front man wants restitution for loses in about a weeks time. The three students decide to hit all the major casinos in Ontario and Quebec until discovered.

If you are like me and on your phone researching a movie and its details during watching you might want to check out this interview with Semyon Dukach, who was the ring leader of the MIT card counting team which this film is based on. Definitely an interesting read. So I am glad I came across this movie, this is not something that would have been widely available in my area. It’s not perfect but when you are in the mood for some sneaky card counting it will do the trick!

Film Review “21”

Directed by: Robert Luketic
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Liza Lapira, Aaron Yoo, Jacob Pitts
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 123 minutes

Film Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I remember the first time I saw this movie was sitting waiting for a car service to pick up my wife and I to take us to Las Vegas. It wasn’t our first trip by any means, we were regulars back the but that memory has always stayed with me over the last 10 years. Looking back at this film today, I can’t say that it really made its mark on Hollywood but it has become a staple must watch among the fans of gambling movies. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT card counting team as told in “Bringing Down the House”, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend if you dig the genre.

Official Premise: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a brilliant student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, needs some quick cash to pay his tuition bills. He joins a group of students who, under the leadership of unorthodox professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey), use their math skills to win big in Las Vegas. Seduced by a beautiful teammate (Kate Bosworth) and loads of money, Ben learns that the stakes are higher than he ever imagined when he crosses paths with casino enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).

You know that after watching this movie, I went ahead and played a whole mess of blackjack and did pretty well if I remember correctly. But either way, this movie is legit, you can tell that these actors were trained in what they were doing and they made it look really real. I have always felt like Jim Sturgess was very underappreciated. He is an amazing actor.  And who doesn’t love Laurence Fishburne?! This guy has turned himself into a name brand from his TV series “blackish” and “Hannibal” to films like this and “The Matrix”. When it comes to “21”, it may be a gamble but it pays off very well. See it!

 

Film Review: “Love, Simon”

LOVE, SIMON
Starring:  Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner
Directed by:  Greg Berlanti
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hrs 49 mins
20th Century Fox

 

Meet Simon (Robinson).  Like most high school seniors he keeps himself busy, hanging out with his friends, going to parties and getting ready to graduate.  But Simon has a secret.  He’s gay.

A coming of age story with a twist, “Love, Simon” is the story of a young man at the crossroads of his life.  Citing an unusual series of dreams about Daniel Radcliffe in his early teens as the turning point in his sexuality, Simon comes across an online post by a young man who calls himself Blue.  Blue is also gay and longs to come out but does not have the courage.  Simon emails Blue and explains that he, too, is in the same boat.  He signs his note “Jacques,” and the two begin a series of conversations that grow both bolder and emotional as they go on.  However, a fellow student named Martin (Logan Miller) comes across the missives and informs Simon that he knows his secret.  He also blackmails him, trying to arrange a hook-up with one of Simon’s female friends.  If Simon doesn’t help him, he’ll spill the beans.  Sadly the kid is beyond unlikable and soon, after an embarrassing attempt at wooing his intended, he outs Simon to the school.  What a dick!

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this film.  I commend it for being one of the few mainstream films to deal with gay issues in a matter of fact way.  “Love, Simon” is simply a love story about a young man with a crush that happens to be another young man.  But the film also sends up the typical Hollywood stereotypes I didn’t expect.

Part of Simon’s fear stems from the fact that there is already a gay student in his class (Clark Moore).  Sadly, this young man is a sassy, well-groomed confidant of the school’s snobby girls, dishing out fashion advice and one-liners.  Sadly, the typical “gay” character from Central Casting, the same people that brought you Lamar from “Revenge of the Nerds.”  I have several gay friends.  None of them is, if stereotypes are to be believed, “obvious.” It’s a shame this is the only way Hollywood can find to portray an openly gay character.  To me it’s a double shame because the film’s director, Greg Berlanti, is gay and should know better.

Between being outed and then bullied, nobody is held accountable.  The most believable character in the film is Natasha Rothwell, who plays Ms. Albright, the school drama teacher (the school is putting on a production of “Cabaret,” which, though I’ve learned has been put on in high schools, doesn’t strike me as a show to be performed by teenagers).  When two boys bully Simon in the lunchroom, it is Ms. Albright that confronts them and assures them that this action will not be tolerated.  So it’s disheartening to see the two boys a few moments later being excused for their actions by offering Simon a mumbled “sorry.” And Martin, who for some reason is playing the Emcee (badly) in the production of “Cabaret,” continues to be the class clown, again not facing any consequences for his actions.   By the time Simon’s friends, all with petty slights, deserted him I lost all faith in the film or its message.

Which is a shame, because Nick Robinson does a great job trying to balance all of the inner feelings Simon must deal with.  He can only smile and nod when his father, commenting on the latest contestant on “The Bachelor,” says “look at him…you know he’s gay.”  He knows his father means no harm but still just the way he says “gay” is enough to keep Simon in the closet.

I’ve heard this film described as a “John Hughes” – type film.  Barely.  Though Hughes did spend a lot of his time writing about teenagers, their problems and how they dealt with them, his characters were a hell of a lot more believable.

Film Review “A Wrinkle In Time”

Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine.
Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 109 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I have to admit I saw “A Wrinkle in Time” with no previous notion that it was a best selling book series. I had no idea what it was about. I knew it had a stellar cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine…and a story of a strong female lead. That was enough for me. This film marks the first film to cost over $100 million to be directed by a woman of color, neAva DuVernay. Now that is an important milestone, unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee that it will be a good movie though. I rarely find myself saying “Damn, I wish this film was longer” but with “A Wrinkle in Time”. I felt like I wanted more. More backstory, more depth with the characters and the magic that they are controlling in the film. Packs a solid heart and delivers beautiful and sometimes trippy visuals but feels rushed and scattered by the end.

Here is Disney’s official one-liner for those who aren’t familiar with the book “From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.”

It’s weird even though Oprah Winfrey has her constant talk show and is everywhere always, I really never really think of her as an actress. She really didn’t do anything special here but I enjoyed her character. Reese Witherspoon personally is not a favorite actress of mine. She is cute in the film and pretty funny, so that was a nice surprise. Mindy Kaling is someone I honestly, can’t stand watching but they used her very well in this film quoting popular quotes of history and culture primarily as her only dialogue. So she ended up being cute and didn’t annoy me as usual. Chris Pine felt like he was channeling his inner Flynn from “TRON”, which is not a bad thing. This guy just rules in anything he does. Storm Reid is easily the winner here. She stole my heart and I really think she has a long career in Hollywood as she grows up. Same goes for Levi Miller. I saw him in “Better Watch Out” last year and I knew he has promise. His character was also well done and very likable.

This film does pack some really solid visuals, my only issue was that it really felt like a green screen. I felt the exact same way about “Oz, the Great and Powerful”. It was kind of a little too CGI for me. Parents be wary, I probably wouldn’t recommend this film for kids under the age of 10 due to content and a few disturbing scenes. I didn’t expect this film to have a dark side like it does but it is intense and definitely adds in a good way for the adults to enjoy but just be weary of the little ones. This is not all pretty colors and rainbows.

So overall,  this isn’t a terrible move by any means. I can’t say that I am disappointed since I had no expectations. But I can definitely say that I have thought about this movie since seeing it and how important of a message it carries despite the fact that it wasn’t perfect. It features a strong female and how she embraces herself in order to save her father. It is a great story overall, I just wish the film didn’t get lost trying to wow so much with the visuals. I would still say that this is worth seeing in theaters at least to catch the whole trippy ride. Just pace yourself for a slow moving, slightly confusing yet heart filled journey.

Film Review: “Gringo”

GRINGO
Starring:  David Oweloyo, Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton
Directed by:  Nash Edgerton
Rated:  R
Running time:  1 hrs 50 mins
Amazon Studios


It’s hard for me to go into detail about why I did not enjoy “Gringo” as much as I wanted, or even as I feel I should have.  It’s one of those things you can’t really put a finger on…you just know you didn’t like it.  But I’ll try.

Harold (Oweloyo) is a middle-management employee for a pharmaceutical company.  Things appear to be well on the outside, but inside he is dealing with the fact that his wife is spending him into bankruptcy and rumors that his company is about to be sold.  He approaches his bosses, Richard (Edgerton) and Elaine (an icy Theron) who assure him things are fine.  They also inform him that they will be accompanying him on his upcoming trip to Mexico, where recent inventory reports disclose a shortage of product.  After concluding their business the pair leave Harold in Mexico to wrap things up.  But things go incredibly wrong when Harold is kidnapped.  Or is he?

I wanted to like this movie so much.  I love the cast and director Nash Edgerton, who is Joel’s brother, has done some great short films and music videos.  But it looks like everyone was working on different movies and they were all patched together in editing.  It’s not for lack of trying.  After seeing Oweloyo in such dramatic fare as “Selma,” where he played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, or the outstanding HBO production “Nightengale,” it’s a rare treat to see him tackle comedy.  And tackle it well.  He seems to be having fun and it’s infectious.  Heck, this film may be the first time I’ve ever heard him laugh on screen.  Joel Edgerton and Theron are strictly bad bosses out of central casting, but the effort they put into their characters keeps them interesting.  And while he’s a treat to watch, Sharlto Copley seems to wander in from another film.  Add to this group a drug lord with an almost un-healthy love of the Beatles and a very brief, but impressive, film debut from Paris Jackson (Michael’s daughter) and they do hold your interest.

No, the problem, I think, is that director Edgerton just decided to use everything he shot, giving very little thought to when a scene could be cut so that the payoff doesn’t continue to hit you on the head, long after you’ve been satisfied by it.  Perhaps Joel Edgerton, who wrote and directed the much underrated film “The Gift” should have given his brother some much needed advice.