Tuesday, November 29, 2016


High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother.

Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, and Woody Harrelson

Directed and written by: Kelly Fremon Craig

  For some it seems like high-school is so easy. The star quarterback gets all the girls’ attention, and boys’ eyes are always on the prom queen. For some it’s the complete opposite. They’re almost invisible with nothing to do but their schoolwork. In the end, as easy or hard high-school is, every teen faces their own struggles at some point, and that’s what “The Edge of Seventeen” reminds audiences.

 Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is the main struggling teen in this story. Actually, her difficulties might have started at an earlier age, as the audience gets a funny scene of her staging a revolt about getting out the car. Not long after another funny moment or two, things get serious as she loses her father. As she gets older, the only person she feels is truly on her side is her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). Like it happens to many best friends, a boy comes in-between them. In this case, that boy is Nadine’s brother, Darian (Blake Jenner).

 They do a good of making the audience really feel for what she’s going through. From the audience’s point of view, they can also see how she’s not doing her self any favors, including sending a boy she likes an embarrassing text. However, it’s not all bad for her whether she realizes it, or not. While she has her eyes on a boy way beyond her reach, Mr. Right, is sitting right next to her. There are several humorous moments between the two reminding some how awkward young love can be.

 Nadine also has some hilarious moments with her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson). He kind of becomes her safety blanket, as she goes to him for advice, and sometimes just to get away from her classmates. What makes this student-teacher relationship different is how Mr. Bruner treats her in such a calm manner. He almost acts like he doesn’t care, but everyone knows he does. She feels free to speak her mind, and he says as little as possible.

 As previously hinted, while the story is about Nadine, the beauty of the story is fitting in how each of the teens featured have struggles of their own. In Nadine’s eyes her brother is the perfect one, but he struggles with having to be the man of the house after their father’s death. Krista doesn’t want to her hurt Nadine, but can’t help her new found feelings for Darian, and the new attention she gets. Even their mother proves that adults have struggles too!

This coming of age story is really a rollercoaster of emotions. They do an excellent job of getting the audience to feel for Nadine at first, and later for some of the other characters as well. There are several serious moments that probably hit home with many people. They manage to mix in the right amount of humor with Nadine’s interactions with Mr. Bruner, and her true love interest Erwin. The cast from top to bottom nails their roles. With that, I give “The Edge of Seventeen” 3 stars!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016


 A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rachel McAdams

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Written by: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill

  Admittedly, the story of Dr. Strange isn’t as familiar to me as some of the other Marvel characters, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, these Marvel movies have been pretty good, so I had to give it a chance. “Doctor Strange” does have some strange moments, but there’s nothing strange about this ending up being another Marvel hit.

 Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Dr. Strange, doesn’t seem like the superhero type, but he actually did a pretty good job. Benedict nails the attitude of Dr. Strange both before and after he becomes the hero. Being a huge fan of the show “Hannibal,” it was a pleasure watching Mads Mikkelsen play the villain Kaecilius. It would have been nice to see a little more of how he became the villain than just hearing about it. 

 Speaking of character stories, it’s good seeing the struggle of Dr. Strange after his accident, and how he ends up meeting The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). However, his training goes on a little too long. It’s a good introduction into his soon to come abilities and the dimension world, but it goes on a little too long. Again, it would have been nice to see more of Kaecilius’ story fill some of that time.

Now to the star of the movie…the special effects. Dr. Strange goes head to head with Kaecilius in our every day world literally turned upside down. Rooms are spinning, they run on the side buildings, and use anything not bolted down against each other. It certainly will keep the audience glued to the screen. The best scene is when they are battling each other, and the destruction that just happened is going in reverse against them.

Like “Ant-Man,” “Doctor Strange” makes a nice new addition to the Marvel Universe. It starts with good casting all around. There’s a good mix of the serious background story, and some good humor. The fighting might not be as fast and furious as some of the other Marvel movies, but there’s nothing like this head spinning experience. With that said, I give it 3.5 stars!


*As usual stay to the end for after credit scenes!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

Starring: Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Margot Robbie

Directed and written by: David Ayer

  There’s a lot going on in the “Suicide Squad,” particularly in the beginning. First they have to introduce the audience to the group of bad guys that will eventually make up this squad. The audience gets to see them locked up, and how they got there. Some characters like Deadshot (Will Smith) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) get a decent introduction to their backstories. Batman (Ben Affleck) makes appearances in both of their intros, and with Harley comes a look at the Joker (Jared Leto). While it’s nice that they didn’t do extended looks for all the characters, some aren’t introduced sufficiently and are almost afterthoughts.

In the mist of the introductions, the plot for this movie is setting up. Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) makes her case to government officials that this group of villains can actually be usefully. She assigns a loyal soldier, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to be in charge of the keeping the squad in line. Part of her plan backfires, which creates an enemy that almost destroys them all. The problem here is that there’s an imbalance between the introductions, and the story set up. It’s like here are some bad guys, here’s a developing problem, now watch them magically fix it.

Speaking of magic, the true villain in this story is a witch named Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). She’s creepy looking, and very powerful especially after bringing in a close partner in crime. They create an army of weird looking creatures. Too bad they end up serving as nothing more than target practice for the squad. It’s really disappointing that they don’t do more than just prolong the squad from getting to Enchantress.

To no surprise the best action does come from this showdown with Enchantress. Through most of the movie, it’s clear that Deadshot, and Harley dominant this group. However, the Enchantress’ partner is almost unstoppable until one unexpected member of the squad steps up in a big way. The entire time the question has been whether or not the rest of the squad can put their differences aside, and make the most of their individual talents to take the witch down?

Overall, there are too many moving parts in the “Suicide Squad.” They have to get through intros while building the story at the same time. They have to create a new villain while tying in Batman, and the Joker. It almost seems like they should have gone the Avengers route, and introduced some of these characters before this movie, especially with all the Harley and Joker moments. It really needed to be a little more organized, some better action besides tearing up creatures, and even a good catch line or two would have been nice. Can’t complain about the music though so I give it 2 stars!


**Yes there is an extra scene midway through the credits

Sunday, August 7, 2016


 When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell

Directed and written by: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

  “Bad Moms” is a comedy that might fly under the radar, but it’s definitely worth watching. Amy (Mila Kunis) is trying her hardest to be the best mom to her young daughter and son, even putting up with the crazy women who run her kids school PTA. She does everything for them while holding down a part time job, and gets little help from her husband. When things go wrong in her marriage, things start to go down hill, and the true ‘bad mom’ in her comes out.

 Amy quickly finds out that she isn’t the only struggling mom, as she befriends Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell). What’s great about Carla is how she’s portrayed similarly to the typical single guy who hits on any woman who crosses his path. She’s loud, speaks her mind to everyone, bullies people, and yes hits on everyone! Kiki is shy, slow at times, and is overly obedient to her husband. The funniest parts of the movie are when the three of them are together. One of best moments is when they get drunk, and decide to go grocery shopping.

 There’s another threesome in this movie who act like they are the complete opposite, but aren’t deep inside. Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate, Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Vicky (Annie Mumolo) rule the school with Gwendolyn serving as the President of the PTA. She strikes fear in all of the other moms, and even the school staff. She pushes Amy too far resulting in the two squaring off for the presidency. Lets just say it’s a lot of fun watching Amy try to win over the other moms house party style.

If your a mom, then it might be pretty easy to relate to “Bad Moms.” However, you don’t have to be a mom to like this movie. All of the women are hilarious in their own ways, and provide several memorable scenes. It’s always great to see women in ways you never imagine them to be like. Yes, there are a few emotional moments, but nothing that gets in the way of the humor. This is certainly a 3 star comedy in my book!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016


 The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past.

Starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, and Alicia Vikander

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Written by: Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse

  In a summer movie season where sequels have struggled, “Jason Bourne” looks for the return of Matt Damon to revive the franchise. Jeremy Renner wasn’t bad in “The Bourne Legecy,” but this franchise really belongs to Matt. The movie starts off with Jason having no real purpose other than to torture himself over his past. Things quickly change when Nicky Parsons comes to find him, and gives him a piece of information about his past that he can’t ignore.

 This leads to an absolutely chaotic scene in the middle of a huge protest in Greece. Protesters are fighting with police all over the place, while Nicky and Jason have been spotted, and are trying to be taken down. There’s fighting, fires, and a crazy motorcycle chase that has a shocking conclusion. This chase reminds the audience why they love this franchise.

 However this love connection is short lived. From here there’s a lack of action, as Jason searches for clues about his past. At the same time, the CIA, with the help of a new agent, Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander), are trying to figure out how to stop Jason. They are also trying cover up another mess that CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) has gotten them in. Everything really amounts to some fast moving scenes filled with very loud, and dramatic music.

 They make up for all the missing action in the middle with another amazing car chase in the final scene. Jason chases after an armored swat truck, as it absolutely destroys everything in its path. Of course this this leads to a predictable showdown between Jason and another asset. However this fight isn’t better than fights he’s had in previous films.

“Jason Bourne” amounts to plenty of loud music and dramatics, but not enough action. It’s good that Matt Damon returns to a role he excels at, but it would’ve been nice to see him in some more fights. A good opening and closing chase scene just isn’t enough for a Bourne movie. The overall story in between is interesting enough, but the will audience expect more. With that, I give this movie 2 stars.