‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Review

Directors: Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg

Writer: Jeff Nathanson

Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Golshifteh Farahani, David Wenham, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, and Paul McCartney

Synopsis: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the Trident of Poseidon.

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

*Reviewer Note 2: There is a post-credit scene.*

 

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has been an interesting one for me. I really enjoyed the first film, the second film was okay for what it was and the third film felt like it was an hour too long – I don’t even acknowledge the last film. So, when Dead Men Tell No Tales was announced I was a little hesitant about watching it. But, then they released the first teaser and I loved it. It gave me some faith for the new film. Now after watching it, I was kind of right. Dead Men Tell No Tales isn’t a return to form, but it does make some of the right steps to bring it back.

The film starts off with a young Henry Turner, the son of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who goes out every night to find his father and tell him he’s going to find a way to break his father’s curse. The only way to do that is to find the Trident of Poseidon, which is said to give the bearer total control of the seas. We skip forward in time and find out someone else besides Henry (Brenton Thwaites) is trying to find the Trident in Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), an accused witch – who’s really an astronomer. However, their search for the Trident gets them mixed up with the undead Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) who has been broken free of his confinement and Captain Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), who is once again a pirate trotting the seas with his new crew collecting treasure. Of course, all of them have one person in common: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

Dead Men Tell No Tales feels like the first film. There’s a blooming romance between Henry and Carina, although it doesn’t help that Thwaites isn’t a great lead actor. Also, the film makes sure that Johnny Depp isn’t the main character – sure he’s the big name of the film and Jack Sparrow has become a pop culture figure, but Jack wasn’t the real lead in the Pirates films, it was who he was following – another reason why Stranger Tides didn’t work. Speaking of Depp’s Jack Sparrow, he’s essentially become a parody of what the character was from the first film which is a shame because his character doesn’t really add anything to the franchise anymore and comes off as a bit annoying. Although, the name of Captain Jack Sparrow is essentially what it’s become in the movie – a revered pirate is nothing more than a drunk, selfish lowlife that is a shell of his former self.

The rest of the cast is fine with Javier Bardem playing a fine villain, who is dead because of Jack before he became the infamous pirate we saw in Curse of the Black Pearl. Geoffrey Rush is always having fun playing Barbosa, but he gets to add some of his more dramatic chops and is also involved in a shoehorned in storyline that could have been more effective if it was touched on earlier than it was. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley do appear in glorified cameos that don’t really add anything to the story, other than Bloom’s scene with a young Henry.

All in all, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is much better than the last film as it follows other characters that aren’t just Jack Sparrow. The film does lack some awesome sword fights and ship battles that made the first two films so great, but Dead Men Tell No Tales is a promising return to form if Disney decides to do more.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

3 out of 5

‘Baywatch’ Review

Director: Seth Gordon

Writers: Damian Shannon and Mark Swift

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera, Jon Bass, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hannibal Buress, Rob Huebel, Amin Joseph, Jack Kesy, Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff

Synopsis:  Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

When you think of Baywatch, what do you think of? 90s cheese? Slow-Mo? Good looking people in tight bathing suits? Yeah, all that sounds right. So when it was announced that a movie was being made, everyone acted like “how dare they” acting like Baywatch was this sacred brand that shouldn’t be touched. With the vein of 21 Jumps Street and some cheese factor, Baywatch is here and it’s a mixed bag of humor and cheese to make you want to run in slow-mo all over again. Well, maybe.

Baywatch follows Mitch Buchanan (Johnson), the hero and popular face of Emerald Bay, who along with Stephanie Holen (Ilfenesh Hadera) and CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach) are looking for new recruits to watch over The Bay. The eager recruits are Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), nerdy but heart full of gold Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass) and the disgraced Olympic swimmer Matt Brody (Zach Efron), who is there for not only a publicity stunt but to spend his probation out. Brining in the new recruits isn’t the only thing Mitch has to worry out, when drugs and bodies start piling up around the beach, Mitch gets the feeling that new powerful businesswoman Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) is behind it all. What follows is Mitch leading his team to get to the bottom of it, while butting heads with local cop Sgt. Ellerbee (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).

Now look, you’re going to watch a Baywatch movie, so don’t go in pretending you were going to get fine and artsy cinema. It’s cheesy as hell, but it knows exactly what it is and doesn’t try to act like a movie that it isn’t. Hell, Zac Efron’s Brody makes a joke that the villain’s plot and the crew’s attempt to stop it sounds like a TV show. Furthermore, let’s face it, it’s a Baywatch movie, plot isn’t something we’re striving to see.

The cast is pretty serviceable here. Johnson is the charismatic leader that spits out insult after insult to Efron’s Brody, and is bound by duty to protect the beach at all costs – even though it’s not really his job. Efron’s Brody is the conceited, good looking new guy that learns being a lifeguard is more than keeping people from drowning, Jon Bass is a pretty great highlight playing bumbling nice guy Ronnie, who has a thing for CJ, played by Kelly Rohrach, who isn’t too bad and is involved in one of the romance subplots between her and Ronnie. Alexandra Daddario’s Summer gets to play along with Johnson and Efron’s hijinks, but is still underdeveloped as a character, which also goes for Ilfenesh Hadera’s Stephanie, who feels like she’s second-in-command within the crew, but disappears at times and really doesn’t do anything.

Priyanka Chopra plays the villain Victoria Leeds, who surprisingly holds her own – especially considering I’ve never seen her in anything. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Sgt. Ellerbee is also great in his local cop role who’s always reminding team Bayatch that they are just lifeguards and not a police force. Hannibal Buress and Rob Huebel pop in as a tech guy whose friends with Ronnie and the head of the Baywatch unit, respectably. Of course, there are cameos by Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff.

All in all, Baywatch has its really strong moments, but it all really depends on if the humor grabs you. Some of the jokes don’t work, and some really overstay their welcome. A lot of Baywatch is also a little underdeveloped, which almost isn’t that much an insult, since again, it’s a Baywatch movie – but it’s still not okay.

Baywatch

3.5 out of 5

‘Lowriders’ Review

Director: Ricardo de Montreuil

Writers: Cheo Hodari Coker and Elgin James

Cast: Gabriel Chavarria, Demian Bichir, Theo Rossi, Tony Revolori, Melissa Benoist, Yvette Monreal, Montse Hernandez, Noel G., Cress Williams and Eva Longoria

Synopsis: A young street artist in East Los Angeles is caught between his father’s obsession with lowrider car culture, his ex-felon brother and his need for self-expression.

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Lowrider culture may not be as huge as it was back in the day, but in some circles and cities – like East Los Angeles – it still is alive and strong. However, even with the name Lowriders in the title, the film isn’t just about the cars, it’s about this specific family we follow that we can probably connect to in our own way. Lowriders may not have gotten a nationwide release or have been promoted that much, but it’s one of those smaller movies that you should try to watch if you can.

Lowriders mainly follows Danny (Gabriel Chavarria), the youngest son of Miguel Alvarez (Demian Bichir), who would rather put his graffiti art all over the city than follow his father’s passion of lowriders. This fractures the relationship between the two, and things only get worse when the older brother, Francisco (Theo Rossi) or ‘Ghost’ arrives – who has an even worse relationship with Miguel – after getting out of prison. Ghost convinces Danny to come work with him at his rival shop to his father before a big lowrider competition, building the wedge bigger between the Alvarez men. Meanwhile, Danny starts a relationship with a photographer named Lorelai (Melissa Benoist), and Miguel deals with his new wife, Gloria (Eva Longoria), who wants him to make up with his sons.

I didn’t have any real expectations for Lowriders to be honest. I thought it would be one of those small films that would be forgotten about or would be okay to watch at the time – boy was I wrong. The film isn’t perfect; some details could have been fleshed out more or resolved better like the relationship between Danny and Lorelai, which does dive into social commentary that stalls the film and take you out of it. Then there’s Theo Rossi’s Ghost, there are times that he goes a bit too over-the-top, but there’s also a moment that Ghost orchestrates that takes the film to arguably a tipping point, but thankfully the rest of the film saves it from being that.

The cast itself does their finest to get everything across. Gabriel Chavarria’s Danny struggles with choosing sides, but never forgetting his art. He’s stuck between two worlds and one that isn’t easily accepted by his father. It’s a nice play on the family drama that is cemented by Demian Bichir playing the quiet, tough and hardheaded father who can’t talk to his sons, but still wants them to respect their heritage. Melissa Benoist doesn’t add too much to the film, other than adding to Danny’s story of figuring out who he really is and which side he should embrace. Tony Revolori and Yvette Monreal play Danny’s friends Chuy and Claudia that don’t get enough screen time as they should. Finally, Eva Longoria’s Gloria also doesn’t get enough screen time, but her scenes with Bichir are great and some of the more dramatic scenes come when they are together.

All in all, Lowriders is a much better film than anticipated. While the film could have punched up some aspects of the film, the family drama and coming-of-age story blend together nicely with lowrider culture and someone trying to find a balance of keeping their heritage and being themselves.

Lowriders

4 out of 5

‘Alien: Covenant’ Review

Director: Ridley Scott

Writers: John Logan and Dante Harper

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz, and Guy Pearce

Synopsis: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

I’m going to start off the review with this, I didn’t mind Prometheus. Was it a perfect film? No, it wasn’t, and even I can see the faults the film had. But the amount of bashing and hate the film received when the film was released was a bit too much. One of the problems that I do wholeheartedly believe was wrong with Prometheus wasn’t in the movie itself, it was the audience. I get it, it’s hard not to get really excited over a film. I do it, and I’m sure you do it too. But I remember the hype level for Prometheus and it was ridiculously over that I shut myself out from reading anything about the film before it came out. And I get it, I do, Alien has a special place in many people’s hearts – as it should – but people got themselves way to hyped up that they were disappointed with Prometheus because it wasn’t what they thought or wanted it to be.

So this brings us to Alien: Covenant. Not only is the film a sequel to Prometheus it’s also more of a step closer to reaching the point we saw in Alien. Not only is the film a continuation of what we saw before, but they go back to the early roots – a sci-fi horror film with the famous Xenomorph we have all learned to fear and love.

Covenant follows the colony ship called The Covenant, which is filled with couples, that is on the way to a new planet to start a new life. The only person awake and not in cryosleep is the android Walter (Michael Fassbender) who, like his predecessor David (also played by Fassbender), watches over the ship. However, an accident occurs that causes Walter to wake the crew members which results in some of them dying, including the captain. While the crew makes repairs they receive a mysterious transmission from a nearby undiscovered planet that is also perfect for them to inhabit. This leaves newly appointed, and untested, captain Oram (Billy Crudup) with a tough decision: go to the unknown planet that sent the transmission or continue the original course – of course, there wouldn’t be a movie if he chose the latter. The decision isn’t met with much agreement from the ship’s second-in-command, and chief terraformer Daniels (Katherine Waterston).

As we see in the trailers, a group heads to the planet seeing it as a perfect replacement, but soon they discover the origin of their transmission – the ship from Prometheus. As they try to explore more, two of the crew members get sick and as they try to head back they get stopped by the new creations Neomorphs, which of course, come bursting out of the sick crew members. The remaining members get saved by a mysterious figure who tells them to follow him. Skipping ahead, they discover that it’s David who is the only surviving member of the Prometheus. The crew later find out that the planet isn’t really all that safe.

Alien: Covenant is hard for me to judge. Almost like Prometheus, this movie is good until it isn’t. Ridley Scott knows how to direct sci-fi films, and the visuals here are pretty damn great, along with the combination of the landscapes that are beautiful, but the problem comes to some of the characters. While Prometheus didn’t focus on all the characters, you at least knew what all of them did. Covenant missteps on that a bit, as it only focuses on the bigger characters, making every other character just a prop for the Neomorphs and the Xenomorph to kill.

Fassbender is great once again as the androids David and Walter, and kudos to Fassbender for making the two vastly different in every way. Katherine Waterston joins the Alien franchise of female leading ladies, but her character only gets the time to shine when David or Walter aren’t around. Billy Crudup’s Captain Oram is a mixed bag and doesn’t really get earn his place until one of the bigger moments of the film – and I’ll be interested in seeing how people take and accept that scene. Danny McBride would be the next, and potentially final, big character in the film as one of the Covenant’s pilots named Tennessee. Surprisingly to some maybe, McBride does crack jokes in the film, but is one of the more grounded and down-to-earth characters in the film.

The rest of the cast is pretty much cannon fodder, Demian Bichir plays Lope, one of the head military leaders, who is actually in relationship with Hallet (Nathaniel Dean), but it never pays out as it should. Camen Ejogo plays Oram’s wife and biologist, who believes in Oram that he can lead the crew in a good direction, Amy Seimetz plays Faris, Tennessee’s wife, and the other pilot of the ship that is probably the best of the supporting characters, but she doesn’t get enough screen time.

Covenant does have the feeling of an Alien film, with the suspense, but it’s not as revved up as it should have been. Even the action scenes aren’t all that great and they end pretty quickly, which is a shame considering the previous Alien battles. When it focuses on the themes bought up in Prometheus, it extends them and while I won’t go into them in details – due to spoilers – it all comes down to David.

All in all, Alien Covenant is a frustrating movie. It’s a good movie until it isn’t, and when it becomes a bad movie it’s hard to get out of it. However, the big thing that does make me angry and disappointed, is some of the things bought up in Prometheus are not fleshed out or are completely erased which makes Covenant in some ways another rehash of ideas. I would still recommend Covenant to people, but keep your expectations low.

Alien Covenant

3 out of 5

May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

5th

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Sci-Fi Action – Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

The Guardians (Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite character from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. The returning cast includes Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Nathan Fillion (playing a different character), Sean Gunn, and Glenn Close. The film’s new cast includes Kurt Russell (Quinn’s father, Ego), Sylvester Stallone, Chris Sullivan, Pom Klementieff, and Tommy Flanagan.

 

 

12th

Limited Release: The Wall

Directed by Doug Liman, an American sharpshooter is trapped in a standoff with an Iraqi sniper. The film was suppose to come out in March, but got pushed back to May, but either way it looks great. The Wall looks like a tension-filled drama I can’t wait to see. The film stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Laith Nakli and John Cena.

 

 

Lowriders (Drama – Universal Pictures/BH Tilt/High Top Releasing/Imagine Entertainment)

A young street artist in East Los Angeles is caught between his father’s obsession with lowrider car culture, his ex-felon brother and his need for self-expression. The film stars Theo Rossi, Tony Revolori, Eva Longoria, Melissa Benoist, and Demian Bichir.

 

 

Snatched (Comedy – 20th Century Fox/Cherin Entertainment/Feigo Entertainment)

After being dumped by her boyfriend, Emily (Amy Schumer) decides to take a spontaneous trip with her mother (Goldie Hawn) to Ecuador, where they find themselves kidnapped, escaping and having to go on the run. The film stars Christopher Meloni, Oscar Jaenada, Ike Barinholtz, Tom Bateman, and Wanda Sykes.

 

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Fantasy Adventure – Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Wilgram Productions/Safehouse Pictures/Weed Road Pictures)

Directed by Guy Ritchie, the film takes the very Ritchie tone to bringing a new take to the classical character Arthur played by Charlie Hunnam. The film sees Arthur, a street-smart brawler who finds himself drawn into a battle when he takes possession of the sword Excalibur. The film stars Jude Law, Annabelle Wallis, Katie McGrath, Djimon Hounsou, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Hermione Corfield, Aidan Gillen and Eric Bana.

 

 

19th

Diary of Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (Family Comedy – 20th Century Fox/Color Force)

Continuing the series based off the books by Jeff Kinney, Greg (Jason Drucker) convinces his family to take a road trip to attend his great grandmother’s 90th birthday as a cover for what he really wants: to attend a nearby gamer convention. Unsurprisingly, things do not go according to plan and the Heffley family antics ensue. The film also stars Charlie Wright, Tom Everett Scott, Owen Asztalos, Carlos Guerrero, and Alicia Silverstone.

 

 

Everything, Everything (Romance Drama – MGM, Alloy Entertainment, Itaca Films)

Based on the novel by Nicola Yoon, a teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Ana de la Reguera, Taylor Hickson, and Anika Noni Rose.

 

 

Alien: Covenant (Sci-Fi Thriller – 20th Century Fox/Scott Free Productions/TSG Entertainment/Brandywine Productions)

The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape. The film looks like it’s finally an Alien prequel, and bloody. Very, very bloody. The cast includes Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo, Demian Bichir, Danny McBride, Callie Hernandez, Noomi Rapace, James Franco, and Guy Pearce.

 

 

25th

Baywatch (Action Comedy – Paramount Pictures/Seven Bucks Productions/The Montecito Picture Company/Cold Spring Pictures/Contrafilm)

Two unlikely prospective lifeguards vie for jobs alongside the buff bodies who patrol a beach in California. Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Ilfenesh Hadera, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach, Priyanka Chopra, Hannibal Buress, Pamela Anderson, and David Hasselhoff.

 

 

26th

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Action Adventure – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films/Moving Picture Company)

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) searches for the trident of Poseidon when an old enemy from his past comes to haunt him. The film also stars the returning Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Martin Klebba, Stephen Graham, David Wenham, and Paul McCartney.

 

 

What are you looking forward to?

May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

4th

Limited Release: A Bigger Splash

The vacation of famous rock star (Tilda Swinton) and a filmmaker (Matthias Schoenaerts) is disrupted by the expected visit of an old friend (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson). This creates a whirlwind of jealousy, passion and a dangerous situation for everyone. The film got some buzz on the film festival circuit and with a cast like this, I can imagine why.

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6th

Captain America: Civil War (Action Thriller – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Marvel Studios)

One of the biggest, and arguably best, comic book storylines that Marvel has ever done is hitting the big screen. Civil War sees The Avengers in a rift after an international incident – that may or may not have been caused by Steve Rogers/Captain America’s old friend Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldiers (Sebastian Stan) – causing the world enlist a law that hinders the actions of “enhanced” people. The law splits the Avengers, one side led by Steve and the other by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). The film looks damn great and I can’t wait to see how they bring the story to the big screen. Captain America: Civil War also stars Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Frank Grillo, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Emily VanCamp, Daniel Bruhl, and William Hurt

captain_america_civil_war_ver15

 

13th

Limited Release: Kill Zone 2 (Action)

This one is really more for me. A sequel, and separate story, for the great SPL – or Killzone as it was renamed in America – film, Kill Zone 2 follows an undercover cop Kit, played by Wu Jing, going into prison to catch the mastermind of a crime syndicate (Louis Koo). But when things go wrong in the prison and a riot breaks out, Kit must work with a guard Chai (Tony Jaa), who has his own reasons for being in the prison, to survive and get what they want.

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Limited Release: The Lobster (Romance Dramedy)

Colin Farrell stars in a near dystopian future where single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. The film has already received a mix reaction, mostly positive, in the festival circuit, so now it can find a new audience. Also starring are Rachel Weisz, Ben Whishaw, John C. Reilly, Michael Smiley and Lea Seydoux.

lobster

 

Limited Release: High-Rise (Sci-Fi Action Drama)

Based on the novel by J.G. Ballard, Tom Hiddleston stars as the manager of a tower block where the residents’ life starts to run out of control. The movie has an impressive cast of Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, Sienna Guillory and James Purefoy.

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The Darkness (Horror – Universal Pictures/Blumhouse Productions/Chapter One Films)

A family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation with a supernatural presence in tow. The film stars Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz, Lucy Fry, Matt Walsh, Jennifer Morrison, Parker Mack, Ming-Na Wen, and Paul Reiser. The movie looks pretty damn creepy and could have some great horror moments.

darkness

 

Money Monster (Drama Thriller – Sony Pictures/TriStar Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/Smokehouse Pictures/Allegiance Theater)

Kyle (Jack O’Connell) loses all of his family’s money on a bad tip from Lee Gates (George Clooney), a TV personality whose insider tips have made him the money guru of Wall Street. Kyle then holds Lee and his entire show hostage on air threatening to kill Lee is he does not get the stock up 24 and half points before the bell. During the hostage situation sheds light on a possible scandal involving the company in question. The film will undoubtedly, and does already really, have economic ties. Money Monster also stars Julia Roberts, Dominic West, and Giancarlo Esposito.

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20th

The Nice Guys (Crime Thriller – Warner Bros./Silver Pictures/Waypoint Entertainment)

Directed by Shane Black – and supposed spiritual sequel to Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – The Nice Gusy follows a private eye (Ryan Gosling) and a “fixer” (Russell Crowe) who are hired by a government officer (Kim Basinger) to track down her daughter who is being tracked down by the mob, who are moving in to L.A in the 1970s. The film looks damn hilarious and I can’t wait to watch this. The film also stars Matt Bomer, Rachele Brooke Smith, Margaret Qualley, Ty Simpkins, and Keith David.

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The Angry Birds Movie (Animation – Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/LStar Capital/Rovio Entertainment)

Based on the popular mobile app game, The Angry Birds movie follows the angry birds from the game as they are invaded by pigs. The voice cast includes Jason Sudeikis, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Josh Gad, Maya Rudolph, Jillian Bell, Keegan-Michal Key, Kate McKinnon and Peter Dinklage

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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Comedy – Universal Pictures/Good Universe/Point Grey Pictures)

Following the events of the first film, married couple Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) finds themselves once again living next to a partying college home, this time it’s a sorority, and Mac and Kelly enlist Teddy (Zac Efron) to help them fight them off. The film also stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Selena Gomez, Kiersey Clemons, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Carla Gallo, and Lisa Kudrow.

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27th

Alice Through the Looking Glass (Fantasy Adventure – Walt Disney Pictures/Roth Films/Tim Burton Productions/Team Todd)

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns back to Wonderland, but this time finds it run by Lord of Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), and has turned the time forward turning Wonderland into a lifeless old world. With the help of new friends, Alice must also uncover an evil plot to put the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter) back on the throne, and save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). I didn’t watch the first film as it didn’t really interest me too much, but it looks like the film will take some of the same palette as the first film despite Tim Burton only having a producer credit. The cast, both voice and live-action, also include Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Anne Hathaway, Rhys Ifans, Stephen Fry, Timothy Spall, and  Andrew Scott.

alice_through_the_looking_glass_ver8

 

X-Men: Apocalypse (Action Adventure – 20th Century Fox/Marvel Entertainment/TSG Entertainment/Bad Hat Harry Productions/Donners’ Company/Kinberg Genre)

X-Men: Apocalypse will finally bring one of the biggest X-Men villains in history in Apocalypse (played by Oscar Isaac) to the big screen. Director Bryan Singer promises a jam-packed action film that asks a lot of questions and an end to the new trilogy. The film also has some detachers due to Apocalypse’s look, but I for one can’t wait to watch it. Apocalypse will star James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Olivia Munn, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Josh Helman, Lucas Till, Alexandra Shipp, Lana Condor, Ben Hardy, Rochelle Okoye, Monique Ganderton, and Rose Byrne.

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What are you looking forward to?

‘San Andreas’ Review

san_andreas_ver2

Dir: Brad Peyton

Writer(s): Carlton Cuse (Story by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore)

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Art Parkinson Kylie Minogue, Colton Haynes, Will Yun Lee and Paul Giamatti

Synopsis: In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

 

There is something about disaster movies that we all love. Maybe because disaster movies are almost, and arguably, the ultimate form of escapism we have in movies today. Add in one of the biggest names in Hollywood in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and you are bound to have a damn fine entertaining movie. San Andreas is that movie, of course not without its faults and its unfortunate timing, after the earthquake in Nepal. Thankfully, the studio and crew made sure the movie’s promotional material have links to places where you can help with any natural disaster.

 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Ray Gaines, a L.A.F.D Search and Rescue pilot who has a great reputation of saves. Even though he’s great at his job, he is currently on the brink of divorce with his Emma (Gugino) after an accident that caused them to break away from each other. Ray however is also ready to go on a trip with his daughter, Blake (Daddario) before a massive earthquake hits and has to go on duty. Blake then heads to San Francisco with her Emma’s new boyfriend Daniel Riddick (Gruffudd), a big time architect. There she meets Ben (Johnstone-Burt) and his little brother Ollie (Parkinson) when another earthquake hits the city. Meanwhile, a Cal Tech seismologist Lawrence (Giamatti), and his team find out what is causing the earthquakes – and even when they can possibly hit – and tries to warn everyone on what is coming.

 

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San Andreas is arguably the most summer popcorn movie you can have. It’s one of those movies where you can just sit down, watch, and not have a care in the world. Does it stand against other big disasters films like The Day After Tomorrow, Volcano, or 2012? Not entirely, but it does have some great moments that will make you invest in the characters and what’s going on. Finally, will it make you an earthquake expert survivor in case the San Andreas Fault actually happens to go off? Sort of.

 

Surprisingly, the best parts of the movie are not the full on destruction of California. In fact the best parts of the movie are the cast members, all lead by Johnson. Johnson doesn’t have to rely on his action chops so much, but more on his dramatic chops which he handles perfectly here. Johnson isn’t a large than life character – of course he is actually larger than life – he is just an ordinary guy. Next to Johnson, Daddario is the next best thing as his resourceful daughter that plays both the role of an strong female character helping Ben and Ollie through the city to get to higher ground so her father can come them, and a bit of a damsel-in-distress with having to really be saved by her father.

 

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Hugo Johnstone-Burt and Art Parkinson brotherly duo work just fine as they have to trek through the city with Daddario’s Blake. Unfortunately there is a forced romance between Ben and Blake, which doesn’t necessarily hurt the movie and it’s in our faces, but it is there. Carla Gugino has her moments to shine, and Ioan Gruffudd’s role could have easily been played by someone else and it wouldn’t have matter that much.

 

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The biggest underused character and actor is Paul Giamatti’s Lawrence. He is basically there to tell us, the audience, what exactly is going on. It doesn’t mean he’s not great in the role, he does the best he can with what he is given. I think what makes it a bit underwhelming is that he has no contact or shares any scenes with Johnson or the rest of the cast. The only connection to Johnson’s character – if you want to call it that – is the reporter, played by Archie Panjabi, who we see in the beginning of the movie with Ray and his team when they rescue a girl from an accident. She also happens to be there with Lawrence and his team as they try to find out what is happening. At the same time however, all of Giamatti’s scenes with his team slow the movie down a bit as they explain how plate tectonics work and what could possibly happen. Only reason I bring it up is because the science in the movie isn’t all that real, just a bit.

 

The science isn’t the only thing wrong with the movie. Some of the CGI during the mayhem has some cool looking moments, but other times it looks a bit cheesy and too cartoony. It doesn’t take you out of the movie completely, but knowing that they actually can’t destroy a city to get what they want, it’s bearable. But, what I believe is a missed opportunity or just a mistake on writer Carlton Cuse’s part, is not having Ray’s team throughout the movie. The team members are played by Colton Haynes, Todd Williams and Matt Gerald. With the expectation of Williams, they only have one scene together. The scene even makes it seem like they are going to be together and go save Blake together, but we never see or hear about them again. It’s a bit of shame, but this leads to the other part of the movie that, apparently, has made a lot of people question Ray’s character. He leaves his duty to go save his family.

 

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Yes, people are questioning Ray’s character because once everything starts to go to hell, he decides to stop where he was going to help others and just help his family. I get why people would be upset about that and see why, but I guess they forgot the part of the movie where he does actually save others people’s lives from getting crushed to death near the end of the movie. Again, I can see that, and to be honest I didn’t even notice that until I read people were pointing it out. Is it “selfish?” I guess, but if you were in the same position, wouldn’t you do probably the same thing?

 

All in all, San Andreas has some great moments in the disaster movie sense and if that doesn’t do it for you (why are you really watching the movie?) it’s bearable to watch because of Johnson and Daddario’s performances. It really is one of those movies you can just sit back and enjoy what’s going on. It isn’t with its faults (pun intended), but it is enjoyable.

 

San Andreas

3 out of 5

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