Movie Review: Teen Spirit (2018)

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Summary: Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Elle Fanning. She plays Violet Valensky, a shy teenager who lives on Isle of Wight, in a small village. She wants to be a singer and things begin to happen to push her towards that dream. I’ve always liked Elle Fanning and she goes a really nice job with Violet. It’s like a Cinderella story so she’s unhappy with her life in how she’s stuck in the same old routine. She doesn’t often complain about it but in the way,  Elle plays it and the way it’s filmed, it’s easy to tell that.
Other Characters. We meet a few other characters in the film, such as Violet’s mom who is a trip most of the movie and Agnieszka Grochowska was great to watch. Zlatko Buric as Vlad was great as her mentor. He was a former opera singer and they end up becoming friends. You’re not quite sure about him but he comes through when he needs to.
Use of Music. There are a lot of popular contemporary pop songs in this movie but a lot of them are either sung by Violet during the moments she sings in the film or they’ve instrumental. If they were just the regular songs, this would probably be in the cons because I really dislike the extreme use of pop songs in the film when there isn’t much of a reason for it to be there. But I quite liked how they were used in this film.
Relationship between Violet and Vlad. This is the relationship we see shown throughout the film and it starts out a little weird but it ends up growing on you as the movie goes on. Vlad is a washed-up opera singer and he mentors Violet, after she talks him into pretending to be her guardian so she could enter the competition without her mom knowing (her mom is strict). He is very protective of her as well, he’s a drunk so he never seems to quite commit to what he’s saying but you know that he cares. It also shows that she cares too even though they have this kind of sardonic banter. It’s kind of nice and they both play it nicely.
Cons:
The Style/Tone. The style and tone of this movie confuses me because the story and the tone wants to war against each other. The film has this very dark and somber look and then story reflects that at times but then it turns into this “Pop star competition” for the story and I was just like “I don’t quite know if I like this”. It just comes off like “trying hard to make this rising singer’s story super sad”.
Extremely Cliché. Anytime there is a movie that deals with a character wanting to be a singer or anything like that, there are always going to be beats that it’s going to hit. This film hits a lot of them. Her mom being super hard on her for stupid things, the washout/drunk mentor, the shy lead, the evil record producer. I mean, I could get going lol and I was like “okay, this is going to turn out this way” and most of the time I was right. It’s hard not to predict these kinds of films because there are so many of them and this one doesn’t do anything new for me to be surprised by.
Weak Ending. So, we get this pretty awesome performance by Violet in her competition and then she goes out, hugs her mentor who is super excited for her doing so well. Then she walks away, we see a shot of her mentor getting off a train and then it cuts to Violet on a bus or something then it ends. My friend and I were like “wait what…” I don’t particularly like abrupt endings, especially when the rest of the movie had such a chill tone. Not to mention, you get more stuff in the credits and I’m like “man really?” I mean obviously I watch the credits because I like to and Marvel has groomed me lol, but still.
Overall, I think the movie good but it’s not anything to write to your mom about. Elle Fanning is the best thing about it to be honest. There’s other good stuff but she is a highlight. I really like her. She has a really nice singing voice so anytime she had to perform, I was into it. I think her best performance is her last one but the “Dancing” song was also a really good performance. “Lights” was okay, but I don’t think anyone sounds good singing that song lol. The use of the music throughout the film was also nice, normally, the inclusion of contemporary pop songs can drive me up a wall, but they were either sung or instrumental which helped. The relationship built between Violet and Vlad is really nice and while it starts off rocky and continues to be rocky in ways, it’s sweet because they clearly care for each other. Now, I think the style/tone is weird in this movie. It doesn’t quite match what the movie is about and I couldn’t help but think constantly in the movie that it shouldn’t be as “dark” film wise or as serious in tone when it doesn’t particularly need to be that. It’s sooo cliché and I’m not even going to go into that again. Then of course the ending is weak. Overall, the movie is fine. If you like music, then of course check it out.
Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Teen Spirit? Have you even heard of it? If you have seen it, what are your thoughts?
Let me know your thoughts below!
Thanks for reading and keep your eyes open for more movie reviews!
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Movie Review: Hobbs and Shaw (2019)

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Summary: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. These characters are straight forward, I mean, there’s a little character development as Hobbs and Shaw are forced to work together and they’re very different, with different methods and outlooks but at their core, they’re the same person. Hobbs is the hammer and Shaw is the scalpel. What movie is that reference from?
  • Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. Luke is a DSS agent who is assigned by the CIA to work with Deckard in order to stop a dangerous serum. Luke is completely against this idea because he and Deckard don’t get along, because Shaw is a bad guy! Or has been in the past! Dwayne Johnson is likable! I mean, how could anyone dislike him. To be honest, Luke is just the big, muscled guy with a heart of gold, who will do whatever he can to achieve his objectives, that isn’t going to always win him favor because he is very noticeable. There’s not a ton going on, I mean, we meet his daughter and get more into his backstory which is fine but at times, it felt out of place and I think it had to have been Dwayne’s idea to include all that stuff at the end. If so, cool lol but still kind of random. I guess we had to get a bit of Hobb’s way of doing things since we had a lot of Shaw’s ways… lol. Gosh, I keep getting sidetracked lol, but Dwayne Johnson is great as always lol.
  • Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw. He is a mercenary who worked with the British Special Forces and MI6. He is so smooth and suave and the opposite of Luke Hobbs. He was a villain in previous films, so he and Hobbs are still at odds from that even though they did kind of work together. So, the very beginning, we see that his character has his way of doing things and he often makes fun of Hobbs because of how different and obvious he is, it’s a running joke about how big Hobbs is lol. Statham is just cool. I’ve always thought he was cool whenever I see him in a movie, even when he’s playing a bad guy (Cellular anyone lol). He’s very funny and how he incorporates his humor and his stunts works great for him. Plus, he has great chemistry with Dwayne Johnson.
  • Idris Elba as Brixton Lore. He is a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist working for Eteon and former MI6 field agent who has a history with Deckard. They’ve upped the ante with this villain in that he really is like a supervillain in how he can move and the things he does. I mean, the way he operates his motorcycle will wow you. His entrance was great, his last scene in the film was great and he really kicked butt. He’s taller than Statham but nearly as big as Johnson but he is so imposing that you worry for both Hobbs and Shaw. He has his own issues with Shaw and a lot of that spurs him on, but he has his objective, and nothing stands in his way. Not even 16-wheeler trucks. Idris Elba is commanding and charming, even when he’s evil. Plus, I love when he uses his own accent, man, if he came to my door trying to sell something, I’ll probably buy it as soon as he says “hello”.
  • Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw. We meet her early on and then she becomes more important as the film goes on. She’s competent and I really liked her. She is very similar to Deckard in ways but with a little mix of Hobbs due to her honor. She’s a nice middle ground between the two. I’ve seen her in a few things, minor roles in action films and I really liked her. I wasn’t sure if I would when we first met her even if her introduction was also cool, but she grows on you and I like her interactions with her brother and with Hobbs. I keep saying people are likable but it’s true.
Wildly Entertaining. Listen, even if you don’t care about the story in these films (which I mean who really does) just know it’s so entertaining. My friend and I saw it in Dolby which was AHMAZING (I think I’m spoiled now) and you will enjoy it so much if you don’t think about it so much. The fight scenes, the entire sequence during the climax fight with the cars and the airplane. Not to mention, the fight in the rain. I love these movies because they’re so much fun and I love it. I was so into it and plus Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham work so well together and watching them go at it and work together it a great time.
Great Action Sequences. There are a lot of action sequences in this film and let me just say they’re all good. One of my favorites is the car chase scene with Idris Elba on his motorcycle, I boldly say that that scene alone is better than at least three of the Fast and the Furious films (Fate of the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious and Fast and the Furious). I mean there are SO MANY great actions set pieces. SO MANY! The last 45 minutes alone is just so great. The fight scene in the rain is great and the stuff with the plane and the cars! I mean ARGH! It was so fun!
Awesome Villain. Idris Elba is a great actor and he’s a great villain and while his motives were kind of meh, he was a great foil to both Hobbs and Shaw, and he was a formidable opponent. He had some extra special stuff going on which made him even better to face off against these two people which was cool. I mean, motives shmotives lol. Idris Elba is so charming, and he uses his own accent in this which makes it even better. My friend even said she didn’t even listen to a word he said during a villain’s monologue because he’s so beautiful. I mean I get it lol. His arguments were interesting, I can’t imagine anyone really falling for it, I guess some would, but I liked that he really believed in his cause and that he lived it.
Pretty funny. I mean obviously, not all the jokes will land for everyone which is okay, but there are a lot of jokes that do land. Johnson and Statham have great chemistry and good comedic timing. Not to mention, their delivery of certain lines works out because sometimes the lines are just ridiculous, so the actual line and then the delivery makes it funny. The airplane sequence, the one where they’re just riding a plane lol, is cute and there’s a comedian in the film, who has some funny interactions with Hobbs and Shaw. Also, there’s another comedic actor in the film, who I believe is also uncredited and they’re a delight each time they’re on screen.
Cons:
Too Long. This movie is 135 minutes, which is about 2 hours and 25 minutes and I think it could have been 25 minutes shorter. I thought that it should have ended before the big climax at the end. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was awesome, but at one point, I was like “Okay, it should be over now”, it felt like they wanted to drag it out longer and I don’t think it really had to do that.
Who Comes for the Story? The story is fine I guess but it’s not what you come to these movies for. The Fast and the Furious has always had its charm and while this is a completely new franchise (spinoff), it has the same issue of the story not being that interesting. You go for the characters and for what crazy tricks they’ll do next. The whole thing with whatever serum this is, I mean who cares? I was into it because of the characters and their antics not because I cared about what the villain was after or what the good guys were trying to do. There’s technology and stuff and this evil group of people who are run by some mysterious being… bruh, I don’t even care lol.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER BROTHER!? This is more of a personal thing, but WHAT ABOUT OWEN! I mean, we met Owen before we even met Deckard, he comes into the picture because of what happened to Owen and he’s hardly even mentioned in the film. It’s like he doesn’t even exist. We see a random person in a flashback, but he’s never mentioned and throughout the entire movie, I was like “WHAT ABOUT OWEN!” The mother, Deckard and Hattie don’t even MENTION HIM. CONTINUITY PEOPLE!
Overall, this movie is pure fun. If you go into this movie thinking you’re going to get some well put together narrative with complex acting… this is not that film lol. The acting is good, the actors are clearly having fun in their roles. All the main characters we encounter are likable and the actors do such a great job in their roles, they’re having fun but they’re taking it seriously. The action is SO GOOD and if you can see this film in Dolby, do yourself a favor and see it in that format. It’s very entertaining. I mean I had such a great time. Also, Idris Elba is good as the villain. I mean really good. Now, even with all that goodness, there are some negatives, like my personal issues with the continuity, I need to know what’s going on with the other brother and why they only mentioned him like once. But also, the story is just stupid, and I did not care about any of that because who does. Lastly, it’s too long because the entire sequence on the island, while super cool and one of my favorite action set pieces, it just feels random. But if you don’t put too much logic into the film and you like The Fast and the Furious franchise, then this movie will scratch that itch… and this one is at least number 3 or 4 in my ranking of the F&F movies.
Rating: 3 out 5 stars. 
Have you seen The Fast and the Furious PresentsHobbs & Shaw? Are you interested? Which is your favorite Fast and Furious film?
Let me know your thoughts below!
Thanks for reading and keep your eyes open for more movie reviews!
Oh! By there way, there are three end credit scenes. One kind of early on, then one in the middle (I think) and then one at the very end.

Movie Review: Fast Color (2018)

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Summary: A woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home.
This is a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ruth. I’ve always liked her and I think she’s a very good actress and she’s generally always likable in whatever role she plays. I least I think so. Her character gets to go through a lot of emotional turmoil and she’s SO GOOD AT IT. You really feel for her but you’re not quite sure why you feel for her. Ruth’s powers aren’t really explained or even talked about early on, we just see her having seizures and causing things to happen. It’s really cool but it’s like wait what?? As the film goes on, we see her try to fall back into an easy rhythm and it’s nice. I think the last 20 minutes though were her best moments! She is the highlight of the film.
  • Lorraine Toussaint as Bo. She is Ruth’s mother and the guardian of Lila and she’s been doing her thing with Lila and they’ve managed for 8 years. When Ruth comes home, she’s a bit wary because of whatever issues they had when Ruth left. However, she’s willing to help Ruth, she is her daughter after all, but she wants to protect Lila at all costs. We learn little things about Bo as the film goes on and she really gets to shine towards the end. Lorraine Toussaint first of all, has a great voice, such texture! I could listen to her read a book! But she is really great here and I really like the protectiveness and strength she has throughout the film. The ending with her was super great.
  • Saniyya Sidney as Lila. She’s really cute and I really liked her. I’ve seen her in Fences and something else I think, but I think she’s good. She’s super sassy when she needs to be but she also comes off very mature. I think she’s about 8 or 9 in the film but she feels older and maybe it’s because of the world she grew up in, I don’t know but she does a really good job. Her character is likable, she’s not annoying and I thought she had really good chemistry with both Gugu and Lorraine. I’m interested in seeing a sequel with her and Gugu mixing it up in a new location.
The Powers. We haven’t quite seen powers like this before. I don’t want to give away what they can do but they all seem to have the same abilities, maybe some are stronger than others, perhaps that’s only when they get older, but still. I think how its handled is really cool, the effects are simple but effective. Not to mention, the inclusion of the color aspect of what they seen when they use their powers… once we see them as a viewer, it’s really beautiful.
Interesting Story. I think there is a lot of interest here and I actually wish this was a television series or something to have more explored. Maybe they’ll do a sequel because it ended like there could be one and I think there is ton of potential for a sequel. Anyway, you have Ruth who is on the run from these mysterious men, it’s always people who want to dissect the things they don’t understand but then you have her reconnecting with her mom and daughter who also have abilities. It’s really something we’ve seen before but we’ve never seen a family of black women with special abilities and having to deal with the struggles of that along with other human issues such as abandonment, addiction and what not. Plus, the whole idea of it hasn’t rained for 8 years and water is on short supply and the world seems to be a bit broken is always interesting if handled correctly.
Slow Burn. This is very much a slow burn kind of film. Honestly you have no idea what’s going on when the movie is happening. I mean, you get little nuggets as it goes on and you can put the story together on your own and I like that most times. Especially if it feels like it’s going to lead to something in the end. I thought it was nice to see how the issues between the women unfold.
Beautiful Score. Rob Simonsen does the score in this film and I think it’s subtle but beautiful. I think it’s at its best in the last 20 minutes, because it’s so soft but triumphant that I just can’t. It’s a really nice musical score. I checked his credits and he’s done some really good film scores for some good movies in the past.
Cons:
Doesn’t Quite Tackle the Issues. There’s a lot of issues that come up in this film and I don’t quite think the film tackles all of them to the point where it feels resolved. It doesn’t feel resolved in a way that allows us to think they accomplished anything between them. They have really nice moments but it doesn’t feel like the issues created were fixed. I don’t know if that makes sense but if you watch this, you’ll know what I mean.
Uneven Storytelling. I think this movie unfortunately suffers from “okay storytelling”, I think I get the style of the film but I’m not sure if it works the way they wanted it to. There’s a lot of going to places in the beginning, silence, talking to strangers and then we’re moving again. Then we get stuck at the mom’s house, which is cool, and we get some random scenes in there with this sheriff and the guys who are following Ruth. I mean, in the greater scheme of the story I get it, but it feels out of place and not as interesting as what’s going on with Ruth, Bo and Lila. Let’s get back to that!
Overall, I really liked Fast Color. I think the acting is really good from all three of our lead actresses, particularly with Gugu Mbatha-Raw leading the charge, she’s really strong. I think the powers are handled really well in what we see of them and how they’re used. It’s really unique from the normal superpowers we see in film and TV these days. I would really like to see more of them. There is a really interesting story in here and it’s a slow burn which works mostly for this film. Plus, the music is really good! I do think the story suffers from uneven storytelling and that the film doesn’t quite tackle and resolve all the issues it presents. Listen, if you want to see a movie about black women and how they make it through their situations, and they happen to have abilities that are a big part of who they are, especially as this isn’t a story we’ve seen before, you should watch this. I think it’s highly worth it. It’s not very long being 100 minutes and it’s really beautiful. It has it issues but I think the pros outweigh the cons with also attributes to the amount of potential I see here. Plus, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is really good!
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars. 
I really feel like this film should have been a television series or a mini-series or something because there’s so much potential story here and while I really liked the film, it’s just not enough and not as clear and I would have liked it to be.
Have you seen Fast Color? Have you heard about it? If not, check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
If you could have superpowers, what would you choose to have? For me, it’s always telekinesis because there’s SO MUCH to be done with that lol.

Movie Review: Monsters and Men (2019)

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Summary: The aftermath of a police officer killing of a black man, told through the eyes of the bystander who filmed the act, an African-American police officer and a high-school baseball phenom inspired to take a stand.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We meet a few characters in this film but we follow three leads so I’m mostly going to talk about them.
  • John David Washington as Dennis Williams. He is a police officer who at the start of the film, gets pulled over by one of his own. It sets the precedent for the film and you can expect for it to be like this for the rest of it and it is. When we get to his section, we see that he cares about his community because he plays basketball with some of the teenage boys but he’s also at odds with his personal beliefs and his duty as a cop. I get it and I liked that we get to see that side because it’s hard to consider the cop, especially a black cop’s role and mindset when it comes to police brutality against people of color, especially black men. It’s clear to see that it affects him in ways, but he can’t help but to think with his cop mind… that probably sounds weird, but you know what I mean. I haven’t seen JD Washington in anything yet (yes, I have not seen BlackKKlansman yet) but I know that I like him. He’s very dynamic to watch and his role in this is very subtle and I honestly wish we got to see more of him.
  • Anthony Ramos as Manny Ortega. I love him. Once I found he was in this, I knew I had to watch it and bump it up on my list. He’s from Hamilton in case you don’t know lol and he’s on Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It and he was in A Star Is Born lol. But Manny is a young man who at the start of his part, is filling out an application for a job. He has a girlfriend… wife? (played by his real life wife Jasmine Cephas-Jones, who was also in Hamilton) and a daughter and he makes choices with the hopes of doing better for his family, but he does still hang out with his friends and do certain things that could get him into trouble, like buying “illegal” cigarettes and playing dice. He ends up filming the murder of Darius Larsen by the cops and he’s now faced with the choice of sharing what he witnessed once the stories circulate that Darius attacked the cop. I found it interesting that he had this choice, especially once he has a one-sided conversation with a pair of cops. This story line is probably the most interesting in the film. I liked seeing Anthony at the forefront in a dramatic role. I think he does very well, it honestly doesn’t even feel like he’s playing a role but more of an extension of himself which I think is impressive most of the time.
  • Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Zyrick. We see him first in Manny’s part, he gets referred to as “Jeter” due to his baseball playing. We see him again with Dennis while they play basketball, but then he gets his own part and this part must have been inspired by the short film “Stop” on the DVD. He’s a teenager who is working to get into college or whatever due to his baseball skills. He’s very good and he and his dad have a plan. He finds himself stopped by a pair of cops and randomly searched one evening and now his days have been messed up and now he’s wondering what he can do to help in the movement and protest. This part is very realistic because I’m sure a lot of young people started to wonder just what they can do to help take a stand against this issue, especially in the last two years with the rise police brutality seemed to take. I get that. This is the first film I’ve seen with him and I think he’s pretty good. His character is also subtle and in ways emotional, so he gets a lot of silent moments.
Powerful Story. I get what they were trying to do in this film. It starts out with Dennis Williams (Washington) driving along, listening to music and then he gets pulled over and pretty much his day is ruined. If you’ve been pulled over by a cop after you were doing your thing, jamming to music or whatever, I’m sure you can relate. But this moment sets the tone for the rest of the film. We then get to Manny (Ramos) and he’s doing his thing and then he witnesses the murder by cops of a friend. We also get a glimpse of Zyric (Harrison Jr.) through him and then we get a bit more of Dennis’s story and then we get Zyric’s story. I get how this was done and ideally, it would have been a strong choice, but I’ll get into this a bit more later. So, we see how each of these men deal with the whole issue of police brutality and how some officers take advantage of their power and how it affects each of their lives. That’s interesting stuff.
Interesting Storytelling. This goes hand in hand with the part before this. I get the idea of what they were doing with exploring three different sides of the same issue that happened with the death of Darius Larson. You get the side of the black policeman, the side of the young man who filmed it and then a young man who was a bit removed from the situation but affected by it afterwards. I totally get the reason and for the most part, it’s a smart choice.
Cons:
Storytelling Choices. Okay, so I had to mention this here as well because while I get how the broke up the storytelling and exploring each person’s storyline, it feels more like a series of short films more than it feels like a coherent film. This is also evident once you watch the short film “STOP” on the DVD. It’s broken up into three parts and they have their connections, but they also feel disjointed which is the big problem I found. Plus, it leaves a very unsatisfying ending. Perhaps this would have fared better if it was a mini-series because it feels very episodic.
The Ending. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS ENDING! Literally, my friend and I looked at each other like WTF?? I get it! I mean, I really do, it’s not that I don’t get what the movie wanted to do but that doesn’t mean I have to like every choice it makes. I know what the implications of the ending means but it’s so abrupt that I was not expecting it to end, it seemed like there was so much more to be done. I did not like that at all.
Needed 20 More Minutes. This movie needed about 20 extra minutes and it’s only 95 minutes long! I mean what! That’s a mini-series! lol This could be fit into a good 7-episode mini-series on HBO or Netflix or something. I feel like it could have used the extra story to just give us a bit more with each character we’ve followed because once we move on from their part, we hardly ever see them again. Besides, I really think they should have done chapter titles or something to let us know we’re switching gears to a new perspective, similar to what Moonlight did which is a fantastic film.
Overall, Monsters and Men is a good movie with a very powerful story it wants to tackle, and I think it does do a good job in tackling different sides of similar and connected stories. The acting is very good from our three leads and the supporting characters as well. I get what they’re trying to do with how they story, and it works overall but I do think their choice of storytelling also prevents each story from getting the resolution it should get. Not to mention, the most interesting of the three just seems to be forgotten and I’m like “umm, well what happened with that character?” and it just moves on and it’s like… at least throw a line in there or something. I also did not like how abrupt the ending was. But considering how this movie is based on reality it’s worth the watch because it has a lot of strength and power behind it.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Monsters and Men? What did you think about it?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!

Movie Review: Hotel Mumbai (2018)

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Summary: The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Dev Patel as Arjun. First, I had no idea Dev Patel was British, I watched an interview with him about this movie and I was like wait a minute! lol but anyways, I really like Dev Patel and if he’s in the movie, I’m definitely interested in watching it. I think he’s a great actor. Arjun is a new father; his daughter is probably two at the most and he has a wife. He came to work and fought to stay because he needed the shift. He’s clearly a very attentive staff member and determined to do well because he still came to work even though he lost his work shoes AND he walked around in shoes clearly too little for him because he wanted and needed to be there.  It’s also because of him that a lot of people survived. He is a good person and he did his hardest to protect these people. One of my favorite scenes is when he talks to this British lady who told another staff member, she was afraid of him because of his beard and his turban. Such a great scene. Dev Patel is soo good at making you feel the gravity of what the character is feeling, particularly in his eyes. Gosh he’s so good.
  • Armie Hammer as David. Not quite sure who he was but I think he’s rich? But we get a lot of exposition about him and Zahra from the staff. He’s American and got her pregnant and he’s clearly a loving father and husband. David does what he can to keep his wife calm and then make his way back to the room for his son. I like Armie Hammer and he’s fine in the part.
  • Nazanin Boniadi as Zahra. She is a rich lady? who married an American guy after being pregnant with his child and it’s some kind of scandal, I don’t know, but she and her husband end up at the hotel restaurant and she spends a lot of the film apart from her husband and child. She’s very brave for what she endures and I thought Boniadi was great in her fear and one of her best scenes was towards the end when she was praying… that was really good.
  • Anupam Kher as chef Hemant Oberoi. He really gets to shine as the film goes on. He’s one of the pillars of calm throughout the film. He wants to save as many guests as possible because in this hotel “Guests is God” and their lives are important as well. Chef really put his life on the line to save these people and I know, it’s a crisis but give the man a break, he’s doing his best here. Mr. Kher was very gentle when he needed to be and I loved his moment with Arjun towards the end.
  • Jason Isaacs as Vasili. He is a Russian something who I guess is there for a naked party with some women. He comes off as a pig when we first meet him but he ends up being very kind to Zahra and is really helpful in a lot of ways. I was expecting him to be one of those characters you hate throughout the crisis because they’re jerks but he really surprised me. Jason Isaacs, great actor.
Stressful and Tension-filled This movie is super stressful. It is based on a true story which heightens the stress and tension because you know these people are based on real survivors/victims and what they had to go through. Plus, any time people are murdering people in droves, it’s hard to watch and you get stressed out because you wonder whose gonna live out the characters we’ve seen. Not to mention, there’s a baby involved and just ugh. I found my heart beating quickly a few times.
Cons:
Detached from Characters. We meet a few characters in the film, and it’s clear who we’re supposed to care about. Particularly Arjun, Zahra, David (their kid and Nanny), Vasili and maybe the Chef. We follow these characters the most. We of course get introduced to these two tourists who we follow for a little bit and some other people we see a couple of times but to be honest, outside of Arjun I wasn’t that invested in anyone else. Zahra and David, I was invested in because of their baby and I didn’t want to see the baby found and killed because it’s just too much. But we know nothing about these people to really care for them other than to see them survive because it’s human decency  and natural goodness that makes you want to see people make it out of a terrible situation. But if someone died, I was like, oh yeah, okay, I saw that coming. The movie feels so long but we probably got to know the attackers more than most of the victims outside of Arjun.
Stupid People. I hate to say it like this since this is based on a true story but some people are really stupid when it comes to situations like this. This one man who kept wanting to run out of the restaurant even after you HEARD THE FRIGGIN SHOOTING OUTSIDE THE DOOR! DUDE, I know it’s flight no fight right now but you’re trying to stay alive and if they’re in the lobby which is like a few feet, calm down. Or the Nanny who left the doors open after that one lady ran inside? I wouldn’t have opened the door in the first place because I’m suspicious of everything but you couldn’t even close the door? Then that one tourist chick… I mean girl. Then that one guy who called the news reporter… like I get it, it’s a state of panic but don’t call the news where they’ll probably say where you are. I mean… that kind of stuff, I don’t know if it was true or for drama sake in the film but still upsetting.
Overall, Hotel Mumbai is a very good film. I didn’t realize it was based on a true story but I think the tragedy is handled really well and it doesn’t feel like things were added for dramatic effect, ya know like Titanicand Pearl Harbor(even though I adore Titanic lol). It just feels like an organic story that may be unfortunately more plot driven than character driven but we do get to see some great acting from all of the actors, particularly Dev Patel and I think the actors who played the terrorists did a really good job as well. This film is very stressful and full of tension, I found myself on the edge of my seat and pulled into the story quite quickly, especially since I knew what was going to happen once it was set up from the beginning. Even though all of the acting is great, I don’t think you’ll find yourself really caring about any of the characters because we don’t get to know who they are outside of Arjun. You want people to survive because it’s terrible but as a film, it’s like okay… I don’t know that person, or hey that’s one of the main people… what’s their name again? Also, people are super stupid in times of crisis. I need more level headed people. But in the end, Hotel Mumbai is a great watch, especially if you are a fan of Dev Patel and are interested in seeing what happened in real life from a filmmaker’s stand point.
Rating: 4.49 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Hotel Mumbai? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for more movie reviews!

Movie Review: Booksmart (2019)

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Summary: On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. 
  • Beanie Feldstein as Molly Davidson. Molly is super smart, she’s Valedictorian and very narrow focused on her future, getting into Yale and of course any other important plans she has. However, when she finds out that other people who had fun in high school but also got into schools she freaks out and now has made it her personal mission to go to a party and have fun. To prove that she could do both. She’s very determined and bossy but she’s still very likable even though she could easily be unlikable. That might be because Beanie Feldstein finds that healthy balance for Molly. A lot of her journey is learning and understanding the type of person she is and how she views other people.
  • Kaitlyn Dever as Amy Antsler. Amy is also super smart and probably the nicer of the two. She seems to be on the quieter side and a lot of her journey is coming to terms with herself and taking chances but also standing up for herself, especially against her friend. This is a journey that a lot of people have to go through because it’s hard. I think Amy is a bit more relatable in that way then Molly is and you root for her because of that. Kaitlyn Dever is really good and she reminded me of a friend from high school.
Supporting Characters. There quite a lot of people we come into contact with on a regular basis. I’m definitely not going through all of them but I think it’s great to even give a sentence.
  • Jessica Williams as Miss Fine. I haven’t really listened to her podcast but I know who she is and I do enjoy what I have seen and heard from her. It’s nice to see her in some major films. She’s basically a cool teacher in this film and comes to the girls rescue when they need it. She is super cool lol with some questionable outfits in her car.
  • Lisa Kudrow as Charmaine Antsler. I mean it’s Phoebe! lol she has some great lines and I think laughed each time she was on screen.
  • Will Forte as Doug Antsler. He had great chemistry with Lisa Kudrow and I wonder how often they bounced off each other and just made stuff up. I feel like it was a lot.
  • Jason Sudeikis as Jordan Brown. He is the principal of the school and I don’t always find him funny but I like his awkwardness in this. It works for him.
  • Billie Lourd as Gigi. She is a trip and I love her. I discovered her in Scream Queens, and I get excited every time I see her because her character is soo odd. She is weird and hilarious. She keeps popping up in places and she just doesn’t care and does her own thing. I thought she was going to be a mean girl but thankfully she’s just quirky.
  • Skyler Gisondo as Jared. I really like Skyler and I get excited every time I see him because he’s awkward but so likable. I haven’t seen him in anything I haven’t liked him in. Jared is a rich kid who doesn’t seem to have any friends. He flounces his wealth but he doesn’t do it in an obnoxious way, it’s just super awkward. It’s clear from the moment he interacts with Molly that he has a crush on her and he’s always willing to be a hero but ya know… awkwardly lol.
Pretty Funny. I’ll talk about this a little more later but this movie is pretty funny. I think all the characters we come into contact with have a ton of great and hilarious lines and moments. However, I think most of the humor comes from situations and moments and characters reactions more so than the dialogue. Molly’s reaction to finding out characters  got into good schools as well as partied was hilarious and I totally get that hahaha. Also the Lyft scene with the radio… that was so awkward and gold. I think everyone in my theater died laughing. Billie Lourd and Noah Galvin I think got the most laughs from my theater. I swear, it’s always the background characters.
Best Friend Chemistry. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever had really great chemistry. I believed they were friends since they were kids. They had similar personalities but also very different. Molly (Feldstein) was more of the go-getter between the two of them, she also was the more pushy one. Amy (Dever)  is the more reserved one and less willing to do things than Molly but she was always willing after a little coaxing. That is how friends can be. I also think what they go through in terms of the friendship is realistic in how friendships go.
Coming of Age Story. I’ve always loved coming of age stories because they’re always so interesting and can be very different. In ways, they can end up similar because of the nature but teenagers can come of age in many ways and through many trials and tribulations. Molly and Amy have similar journeys in the film but they also branch out to have their own stories.
Direction Choices. Good job Olivia Wilde. The movie isn’t set in the 80s but it has a very 80s feel to it. It even looks like an 80s movie and I think that’s a good choice since everyone is obsessed with the 80s nowadays. I also quite liked how whenever both Amy and Molly were on screen, we saw them both because they were each other’s equals even if it didn’t always feel that way for Amy. One of my favorite moments was when Amy was in the pool and we just saw her swimming through, the music was great, her expressions were great and it just felt like a moment of growth for her even though it led to a moment of heartbreak. For her debut, I think Olivia Wilde did really well.
Cons:
Slow Buildup. It takes a moment for the movie to gain it’s momentum. I get it, I mean the fun stuff happens once school ends and you know it’s building towards a night of shenanigans but it spends too much time in some conversations at the school that we don’t particularly need to spend so much time on. Like the conversation in the bathroom with Molly listening to, it’s good because it leads up to her freak out but that conversation was just.so.long I was like “let’s get going now.”
Not All Jokes Land. Humor is subjective so it’s always hard to criticize humor because just because I think a joke is funny doesn’t mean that others will and vice versa. There were people in my theater who cracked up at almost everything but I didn’t laugh at all the jokes. I mean, I got them but they weren’t funny. Sometimes the jokes were there with the intension of being funny instead of just being funny the way the other jokes were. Organic jokes are way better. Don’t try to force the laughter, just let it happen.
Stupid Argument. I don’t think the argument itself was stupid BUT I think why it happened was stupid. It could have been avoided if Amy was straightforward with Molly. I get the whole “Malala” thing and it was a cool thing they did but it’s not the same as when Molly used ibecause YOU COULD HAVE JUST TOLD HER. I hate when movies make friends argue, probably an overdue argument, but make them argue in the worst of times. Like, if they’re going to argue then make it legit, don’t make it because one of them has an issue and won’t tell the other what the problem is… I mean I hate that and it’s lazy. Think of a better way.
Overall, I really liked Booksmart. If you like coming of age movies, then this is right up your alley. Movies like this never quite go out of style because you can get something out of it each time. The two standouts are definitely Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever and their friendship. The film rides on these two being likable, relatable to each other and the audience and I think the casting was really on point for this. The directional choices were really good, and it’s very funny, especially when it’s just letting characters be and they’re not riding on hilarious dialogue but on the actors just having fun and of course the situations they find themselves. With that said, it’s not always funny to me. I found some of the jokes felt forced or like they were trying to pull a laugh and I was like meh. The movie takes a moment to gain it’s momentum but when it gets going, it keeps going. Lastly, the argument between Amy and Molly towards the end, while the dialogue is necessary, I felt like the buildup to it could have been handled differently because I hate arguments over misunderstandings, especially when it could be fixed by just speaking up. Gosh! But this was a great movie and I recommend it for everyone, especially girls and especially those kids who focused so hard on school and never gave themselves the chance to have fun.
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Booksmart? If so, what did you think about it?
What is your favorite coming of age film? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and be sure to keep an eye out for more movie reviews!

 

Movie Review: Toy Story 4 (2019)

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Summary: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. As always there are a ton of characters in these movies. We have our classic Toy Story characters we know and love and all of the voice actors have returned, outside of Don Rickles (R.I.P.) and of course some new characters and returning new characters from Toy Story 3.
  • Tom Hanks as Woody. Woody is back! He’s the same Woody he always is, loyal, hardworking, resilient and a leader. In this, it’s been two years since Andy gave Bonnie his toys and Woody is used to being the leader, he’s used to running the bedroom and all the toys listening to him and deferring to him. He doesn’t have that now as Bonnie Hunt’s “Dolly” is the leader of Bonnie’s room. In this, we get to see how kids grow up and how they lose interest in certain toys and gain interest, or more interest in other toys. Woody doesn’t get as much playtime as he got with Andy or even with Bonnie in the beginning. He’s not quite sure how to deal with not having the same importance he’s used to having so when Bonnie makes “Forky” he takes it upon himself to make sure Forky is always around for Bonnie when she needs/wants him and this becomes his job. Without spoiling what Woody has go through in this one, he’s still the same Woody just with a lot of learned lessons and experiences under his belt. Tom Hanks is Woody and he will always have that kind but frantic energy as this character always. Also, the emotional moments he goes through, I felt all of that. If this is truly the last Toy Story, I’ll miss Tom Hanks as Woody.
  • Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear. Buzz doesn’t quite have the same large role in this as he’s had in other films, but Buzz is Woody’s best friend and always his ride or die. Buzz takes over in Woody’s absence but he also learns how to listen to his “inner voice” when it comes to making tough choices. I’ve always liked Buzz, he’s always that confident, cool uncle who always tries his hardest and may not always get it right but he’s always ready to try and learn it again. Tim Allen is of course Buzz Lightyear. His silly moments, even his emotional moments hit really well.
  • Annie Potts as Bo Peep. So, in Toy Story 3, I think, Bo Peep was gone. We had no idea what happened to her but we’ve found her! She was given away when Molly was still a kid and then ended up in an Antique Shop since she’s like china or porcelain or something. But she’s in this little town with a playground, and where RVs can park and hang out for a bit. There’s also a carnival which is just kids galore to play with the toys. Bo pretty much has become a “lost toy” but she has taken to this lifestyle so well. She’s pretty badass. Her sheep too, WHO HAVE NAMES y’all lol. But she’s reunited with her boo, Woody and it’s been so long but she has his back in his task to save Forky. I’ve always liked Bo Peep but I really liked her here because she was so active and running things, that I was like yaasss. She definitely has an upgrade in her animation but that’s cool. Annie Potts has a great voice, it’s like a classic actress voice but it fits this character.
  • Tony Hale as Forky. He is a new toy that Bonnie makes in kindergarten. He’s a spork with arts and craft things stuck to him. Since he’s made from trash, he just thinks he’s trash and keeps trying to find his way into the trash. He’s kind of useless for a while but he ends up being endearing because he’s like a baby new to this world and learning how to operate in it and how important his role is in this little girl’s life. Tony Hale is funny and awkward and pulls off the innocent role well.
  • Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby. She is a baby doll who lives in the antique shop. She’s like the leader of the store, she even has Vincent (who is basically the Slappy Goosebumps doll lol) wheel her around in a baby carriage. I recognized her voice but I couldn’t put a name to the voice. But she comes off super sweet and nice. She has her goals and will stop at nothing to achieve your goals, but it’s up to you to decide if she’s a villain or not. I quite enjoyed her though.
Supporting Characters. We have a lot of supporting characters in this movie too, a lot of old ones and a lot of new ones. I’m not going to go through each of them other than the ones we spend a good amount of time on.
  • Keegan-Michael Key as Ducky/Jordan Peele as Bunny. They’re attached to each other. They’re hanging as prizes in one of those kiosks for games at the carnival. They meet Buzz first because they think he’s trying to steal all the kids from them lol. But they’re funny and I wonder how much they allowed Key and Peele to just talk and say things because half the stuff they said was ridiculous. Those characters are also just comic relief but they have their usefulness lol. As always, it’s clear that Key and Peele had fun voicing these characters.
  • Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom. I almost didn’t recognize his voice but it’s totally him. Duke is a stunts toy who apparently failed at being a stunt toy lol. He gets sad every now and then about it but he’s Canada’s greatest! Keanu Reeves is also having a good time in this role. Not quite sure but it seemed like Duke and Bo might have had some kind of thing at one point lol.
  • Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples. She’s Bo’s friend, a tiny little pocket toy who is just all over the place. She’s cute and she’s funny and Ally Maki fits that lol.
  • Andy’s Toys:We get a nice return of all of our favorites with Joan Cusack as Jessie, Wallace Shawn as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, Estelle Harris as Mrs. Potato Head, Blake Clark as Slinky Dog(who has always been my favorite!) and of course Bonnie’s toys: Bonnie Hunt as Dolly, Kristen Schaal as Trixie and others.
Character Driven. All of the Toy Story movies are pretty much character driven which is always great because this really allows you to relate to the characters and care about them. Of course, a lot of us grew up with these characters so it’s also nostalgia but these characters are so lovable, so recognizable and this movie is no different in how they’re handled. They drive the story forward. Things happen because of mistakes made by characters, or things are achieved because of the choices of characters. Ugh, it’s just so good. This screenplay is handled with such care that while Toy Story 4 wasn’t a needed addition, it’s compelling and just as good as its predecessors.
Emotional. So, I was teary throughout a majority of the movie but I believe I cried maybe  twice overall. The ending especially. I wasn’t expecting it to hit me like that. There are a lot of good emotional nuggets in this film that I think a lot of people can identify with and be moved by. Woody’s journey alone in this movie, which is probably the most important journey, is handled so well that I just can’t imagine how it could have gone any other way. The lessons that are learned by Woody, Bo Peep, Forky and even Gabby Gabby are just so good and such human lessons. *sighs* It’s so good.
Stunning animation. OF course, Disney/Pixar does it again with another stunning film. The animation is definitely upgraded compared to the first three movies. Even Kid Andy, when we see him, looks really different. Ya know, upgraded technology lol. Bo Peep I believe is like china, or porcelain or something and I think her animation has also changed just a tad (She actually looks like Anna and Elsa to me). She actually looks a lot younger in 2019 than she did in 1995. It’s really fascinating to see how much animation has changed over the years. They’re still the same characters we know, no one looks drastically different but you can tell it’s 2019 in how the film looks.
Heartwarming Human Story. Now, I’ll kind of talk about this a little later, BUT overall, I think the story in this movie, while not as deep as the previous films, holds up just as well. The idea that life moves forward but you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, or how to move forward with life and those around you, that’s hard. I understand that. I’m sure many people understand that. I think the fact that Woody has that issue, is pretty human. It makes it relatable and I’m sure many people will sit in the theater and go “hmm…. why is this my life??” lol. Plus, everything Bo Peep says has some precedent as well. As does Gabby Gabby. There are a ton of little nuggets in this movie that you might just told your entire life and won’t even realize it until the end lol.
The villain. I hesitate to call this character a villain because while they do villainous things, you understand why and nothing they do is actually as horrible as they could be. But they’re also extremely fascinating in their wants/motives and you may actually sympathize with them.
Cons:
Forky At First.I actually found him annoying in the beginning. He ended up growing on me but in the beginning,  I was like “ugh, this character, he wants to be trash so let him be trash!” Also, I need to know how the magic of Toy Story works because he’s a spork that a child turned into a toy… yet it came to life. Soooo, how does this work? The other toys I get because they’re actually toys but the spork, I need to understand. It won’t change the magic for me, I just want to know how it works.
Needed?Probably not. No one really asked for Toy Story 4. No one really asked for a Toy Story 3 but this one more than 3 is the most unnecessary. I’m not saying that we should just throw it in the trash but Toy Story 3 ended the series on such a high and emotional note, especially with most of growing up with these movies, when the third one came out Andy was going to college and I was in college and it really hit home for me. It was perfect and this movie just feels like an extra one. The problems the characters go through in this one don’t feel as existential as the others have. At times, it’s like “Okay, this feels like a tack on story line.” The messages are important but we also kind of have gotten parts of this story in previous films. Woody feeling useless, it was the same in Toy Story 1. Woody having a midlife crisis, same as Toy Story 2. We’ve seen it before. The package is the same, the contents are the same, it’s just the wrapping paper that’s different.
Overall, Toy Story 4is a great addition to the Toy Story franchise. The characters are back and just as good as they’ve always been with some new adventures. All of the characters are just as loveable as always and the voice acting is fantastic as always. It’s clear there has been some upgrades in animation over the years and it’s stunning, absolutely stunning. It’s very much a character driven film with heartwarming, human lessons to learn. I think the way the movie handles the story and the impact it has on the characters is so organic that it doesn’t feel like something that was put together just to be put together. Now, while I think they handled it well, I don’t quite see the need for the film. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and I wouldn’t take it away now that I have it, but it feels like an extra addition as Toy Story 3 ended on such a great note. I also found Forky to be quite annoying for a large chunk of the film. He might end up growing on you as he did me but he may not. But the movie is definitely worth the watch because Toy Story is always going to be timeless.
Rating: 4.69 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Toy Story 4? What are your thoughts? Would you like to see a Toy Story 5? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments down below!
Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for future movie reviews!