Monday, July 27, 2015

A Good First Attempt

Trainwreck is the story of a girl, who is following her father's footsteps, by leading a promiscuous lifestyle filled with drugs and alcohol. When she meets a likable sports doctor, who is really into her, she tries to overcome her commitment issues but her insecurities get the best of her. Will she be able to leave behind her old ways and commit to one guy? You'll have to watch and find out.

Directed by Judd Apatow and written by Amy Schumer, who also plays the leading female character, the plot of the film was interesting. It was nice to see gender roles being reversed especially in the end. Also, seeing her soft side, whereby she loves and cares for her ill father, even though he was not a good father figure, was touching. However, the movie was not as great as I had expected given the rave reviews I read. In my opinion, the film didn't flow very well or perhaps the editing was flawed because a lot of times it seemed random scenes popped up without a natural progression from the previous scene. The movie definitely started as a non-stereotypical rom-com but it became a bit cliche towards the end. 

Overall, the film, which was heavily influenced by Schumer's personal life experiences, was fun to watch. Bill Hader (from SNL fame) was surprisingly charming as the leading man in a romantic comedy. The wrestler John Cena and basketball legend, Lebron James, were entertaining and extremely funny. I hope they continue to act in films.

Schumer has been gaining a lot of popularity recently due to her comedy sketches on her comedy central show, Inside Amy Schumer. For her first film, as an actress and a writer, it was definitely a good attempt. I would like to see her continue to break gender stereotypes in more movies. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Must-Watch!

I know Salman Khan has a loyal fan base; however, sometimes, his movies can be larger than life with too many over-the-top fight sequences. As such, it was really nice to see him in a non-traditional, subtle role in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, which he portrayed very wellDirected by Kabir Khan and written by V. Vijayendra Prasad, the film portrays the story of a young, mute Pakistani girl, who gets separated from her mother and ends up in India. She runs into Bajrangi, a very honest and somewhat naive man, played by Salman Khan, who takes her home in order to help her get reunited with her family. After many failed attempts, he decides to embark on a journey to Pakistan to take her home himself.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the reporter, who accompanies and helps Bajrangi in his mission and Kareena Kapoor, who plays his love interest, gave really good supporting performances. However, Harshaali Malhotra, who plays the Pakistani girl, definitely stole the show! She was so adorably cute!

The movie was touching and heart-warming with the backdrop of the well-known rivalry between the two nations of India and Pakistan. I hope Salman Khan continues to play such subtle roles and such films continue to be made with the hope that they will help cause unity between the two nations.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How Important Is The Plot?

I didn’t think it was possible for a movie to be worse than Magic Mike. Apparently it is. How and why Magic Mike XXL scored a 65% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond me! 

Did the makers think that making the film more racially diverse and adding a few big name actors and celebrity personalities including Jada Smith, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Strahan and Donald Grover aka Childish Gambino would be sufficient? I don’t think so! The movie still needs to have a strong plot, whereas, this one hardly had a story. It was even more horrible than the original! 

Even the few sexy dances, mostly involving Channing Tatum (yes, he is indeed an amazing dancer!) and the few funny moments involving Joe Manganiello, could not save it from the disaster that this flick was. And let’s face it, Kevin Nash, cannot dance! All the additional so-called plot lines that were added for the sequel just seemed unnecessary and did not add any value to the bare-bones version of a story. What was even more frustrating that the film kind of ended abruptly! 

If Director Gregory Jacobs wanted to make a dance movie without caring much about the plot, maybe he should have learned something from the Step Up and Step Up 2: The Streets movies. Now those were good dance movies!! Those were the movies that made me fall in love with Tatum himself and Robert Hoffman. 

Though I am embarrassed to admit that I have seen both the installments in the Magic Mike franchise, I couldn’t help but share my thoughts given I left the theater feeling annoyed. Save your $$ as this movie is pure garbage in my opinion!

However, guest film blogger, Aliah Wright, doesn’t quite agree with me. Here’s what she had to say. Read at your own risk as her review contains some spoilers!

What can I say about Magic Mike XXL? I loved it!

Three years have passed since Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) retired from the oh-so glorious world of taking off his clothes so others could see him flex his pecs (and count the ripples in his six pack -- all while showing off his stellar dance moves. In Magic Mike XXL, we pick up where Mike has left off, now living on his own (dumped by his girlfriend – sorry spoiler alert!) and longing just a tad for the life he left behind.

How do we know?

Just after the film opens see him welding stuff (sparks flying suggestively from a strategically placed welding gun held between his you know what) while dancing all over his woodworking/furniture shop (who knows, really what kind of shop he now owns, who cares) to Ginuwine’s “Pony” as he did here in the original.

Tatum, who reportedly once worked as a stripper in real life before hitting it big, can really dance.


I mean like, really, really well.

And when he finds out his old crew is headed to a stripper convention (!!!) in Myrtle Beach, the lonely and nostalgic Mike throws caution to the wind and says, “Why not?” And crashes the road trip.

I cannot tell a lie. You don’t go to see a movie about hot male strippers for the dialogue.

Or the acting.

Or the plot. (Plot? What plot?) I saw it in a theater in the middle of conservative nowhere Virginia packed with women who whooped and hollered at the screen.

You go for the same reason we all went - to see them strip – and dance - and strip. (All without having to make it rain real dollar bills).

Director Gregory Jacobs acquits himself well with direction and it’s a pretty, slickly shot film. It should be. Steven Soderbergh (who directed the first one as well as the Ocean Eleven franchise and the Oscar-winning Traffic) returns as its cinematographer. The elaborate and well-coordinated dance sequences are fantastic.

And boy can these guys dance well! I mean, like, amazingly well (yeah, I said it again). The music is incredible. The dialogue – well, to be honest, I didn’t really pay attention to that.

Channing Tatum, however, looks pretty frickin’ amazing without a shirt.

Or pants.

And my jaw dropped at least four times during this movie – when the music was playing and I was paying attention to what went on screen – rather than Googling crap on my new iPhone.

Which I did. A lot. 

But the stripping parts had me riveted!

If you’re expecting a plot – go see Terminator. If you’re expecting action, go catch that new Jurassic film.

If you’re expecting to see Joe Manganiello (of HBO’s True Blood fame) act goofy and dance around half naked – while making a thinly veiled reference to vampire films (which was funny) GO SEE THIS FILM!

I am. Again. And I’m buying it on DVD, too!

Aliah D. Wright is the former entertainment editor for Gannett News Service at USA Today. She is presently a business writer and best-selling author of “A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites”. This is her debut review for It’s All In The Movies!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Better Than The Original!

I had really enjoyed watching Ted and therefore, I was excited to see Ted 2 but also a bit nervous because most sequels tend to disappoint. However, sometimes we, as viewers, get lucky and the sequel is better than the original. That was the case with Ted 2! 

Directed by Seth MacFarlane, the storyline revolves around a guy, John Bennett, played by Mark Wahlberg and his talking teddy bear, Ted, voiced by MacFarlane himself. It may seem like a silly idea but the script is so well-written that it almost makes MacFarlane, who co-wrote the screenplay, seem like a genius! The sequel takes us into the next chapter of these two thunder buddies (for those who have not seen the first movie, during a thunderstorm, Bennett as a boy wished for his bear to come to life so he could have a friend). The main plot revolves around Ted, who has to fight for his civil rights to be legally declared a person vs. property with the help of a young lawyer played by Amanda Seyfried and civil-rights attorney played by Morgan Freeman, so he can adopt a baby with his wife. With the recent federal law passed whereby same-sex marriage is now legal, I thought the plot was relevant and even more interesting than that of the original movie. 

Wahlberg and MacFarlane indeed have great comedic timing and chemistry, which made the movie hilarious and fun to watch. As such, along with other audience members, I laughed throughout the film and we all even clapped at the end! Seyfried and Freeman (I could seriously hear him talk all day long!) as the supporting cast gave really good performances as well. The music composed by Walter Murphy is like icing on the cake! Furthermore, what's so great about this sequel is that you don't have to see the first one to enjoy it. Have I convinced you yet that Ted 2 is a must watch? Then what are you waiting for? Go watch it now!