Movie Review: Adrift (2018)

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Summary: A true story of survival, as a young couple’s chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.
This is going to be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There aren’t many characters in this film. We meet a few people, but we spend most of the movie with Tami and Richard so I’m only going to touch on them.
  • Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham. Tami is a young woman who has traveled for a long time as she does not want to go back home. She arrives in Tahiti in 1983 and meets Richard and they hit it off quickly. The film goes back and forth between the present and the past, so in the present, Tami is on the boat after what a giant hurricane hit them. She is trying to save herself, while at the same time looking out for Richard as he was not on the boat. She finds him, and the present is basically her trying to live and keep Richard alive as well. In the past, we see their relationship blossom. I think Shailene Woodley is a great actress. Everything she does I think she does with passion (even when the writing for the characters become terrible *looking at you Allegiant*). I thought she did a really good job here because you like her, and you want her to survive. She manages to do a lot on her own and you really get to see her desperation but also the struggle when it comes to certain decisions. She is the highlight of the film.
  • Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp. He is a British sailor, he is taken with Tami and he invites her to dinner on his boat. Richard is a likable guy. He courts Tami and then he wants to take her sailing with him. It’s clear he loves her and even while he’s hurt after the hurricane, he supports her and tries to help her in any way he can even though he’s physically hurt. I like Sam Claflin and I think he does a good job in his role. It’s a bit smaller than Tami’s and we get to know her more than him but he does his job.
Location as a character. I think it’s cool when the character must brave the elements and survive against a character that’s so unpredictable as nature. As the ocean is one of the most powerful forces, it was cool to see how they used it as something for Tami to overcome but it was also used as a driving force for a lot of her desires, her fears. I think the ocean was a character that I think most people wouldn’t expect to be one.
Storytelling Element. I don’t particularly always care for the jump back and forth thing, not all movies do that well (*looking at you The 15:17 to Paris*) but I think this movie handles it well because we get to see the relationship between Richard and Tami form in the past so that we can root for them in the future. Their survival becomes important to you because of how it’s handled. I don’t think we see this epic romance or anything but their believable and seem like real people. There is an age gap, but I don’t think that’s a big deal because they don’t make it a big deal. When we’re in the future, you get a sense of the danger and desperation, but they have good moments as well. It works.
Good Twist. There is a twist that I saw coming and I think most people will see coming but it’s done well so it won’t be upsetting when you learn it. I mean, you’ll be upset because it’s a storytelling twist but I like what it does for the characters and the story.
Cons:
Gets Really Slow. I didn’t want to say “boring” or “too long” because I don’t really think that. I just think there are times where the movie slows down, and nothing is really happening. When those moments happen Shailene Woodley keeps you into it, at least she did for me, but the movie itself at those times got a little dull.
Overall, I think Adrift is a fine movie. I don’t think it’s anything special or the like as this is a story we’ve seen before. I saw an article that said it gave off this “YA-esque” feel and I can see that. But I don’t think it’s a negative as some might see it. I think the characters are good and the acting is well done. I like the storytelling element and I think the movie will keep you interesting but not engrossed, if you know what I mean. It gets a little slow in some areas, but the acting is good, and the characters are interesting enough you keep watching. If you like survival movies, or if you want to see something based on a true story with an interesting twist at the end, check this one out.
Rating: 3 out 5 stars.
Have you seen Adrift? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know in the comments below!
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Movie Review: The 15:17 to Paris (2018)

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This is literally about to be the shortest review ever.
Summary: Americans discover a terrorist plot on a Paris-bound train.
Pros:
Adult Actors. To my surprise there was actually a lot of good and funny actors in this movie. Judy Greer, Jenna Fischer, Tony Hale, Thomas Lennon, Jaleel White and a few others that I was like “hey! it’s that person! lol” I was a little shocked to see them and they were all good in their roles no matter how small.
The Direction. Clint Eastwood was the director and you can tell because it’s a very nice-looking movie and the direction, especially during the train incident was very nice.
It’s a Nice Story Idea. It’s a nice idea to want to showcase the three heroes who prevented a tragedy and show their lives and what not, I think if it wasn’t so boring, or if they did something different to really get us to learn about the heroes and even care about them, I think it might have worked out better. I think the biggest problem was allowing the heroes to play themselves because no matter how likable they are as people,  it just didn’t do it for me in a film.
Cons:
Kid Section. The movie jumps back and forth between the present on the train and their past, but mostly in the past. We get a long time with the kids and I think the kid who played young Anthony was the best out of the three but meh. I feel like the beginning was so odd that they should have just started with them being adults and allowed them to become more interesting and fleshed out as adults. I don’t think we needed to know that their parents were upset with public school and put them into a Christian school. At least we didn’t have to see all of that. A line here or there alongside Spencer praying a lot shows us that he grew up religious. Plus, it would have been nice to see a bit more from Anthony and Alek as well. We learn that Anthony has a smart mouth and really nothing from Alek. A lot of missed opportunities I thought.
Acting Skills. I get the fact that the real heroes play themselves in the movie. That’s fine but I can’t let it pass that their acting skills are pretty lack luster. We see Spencer Stone the most and it’s easy to tell he’s a very earnest person but he cannot act. I think Anthony Sadler was probably the most natural out of the three but that’s still not saying much. We also don’t know much about Alek Skarlatos as he wasn’t in the film as much as the other two and he didn’t have much to do. It’s really really cringe. There’s a particular scene between Spencer Stone and Judy Greer (she plays his mother) and he’s pacing because he’s mad, he didn’t get picked for a particular sector of the military and it was just stilted.
Bad Dialogue. It’s soooooo bad. They try to be funny but it’s really not and since the lead actors aren’t very good it doesn’t help the bad dialogue. Sometimes good actors can kind of help bad dialogue…. sometimes. But when both is bad… yeeesh. I didn’t find any of the actual jokes funny but the serious dialogue made me laugh.
Bloated and Unnecessary. I remember hearing about this incident and it’s amazing what those three did, but it definitely did not merit a full feature length movie because there is literally nothing going on. The actual incident takes place in like five minutes. So the rest of the movie is us seeing them as kids and as friends, and then most Spencer going through the different segments of the army. I guess it’s nice to know their backstory but I came for the incident and I was bored for most of the movie.
Overall, the movie isn’t very good to be honest. I mean, it’s pretty harmless and it’s a nice story but in the end, I didn’t leave feeling any interest in it at all. I actually forgot I watched it. I would have been better off reading the articles or watching the documentary. There are some good elements like the adult actors who are well known actors who are good at their jobs and Clint Eastwood’s direction keep the movie from looking amateurish. However, I don’t think the leading actors are very good and a lot of the dialogue is extremely cringeworthy. It’s also bloated and unnecessary because they try to pull a Titanicand Pearl Harbor and show a bunch of other stuff where the actual story happens at the end and it’s about five minutes long. If you like to see a bit more of the military then you’ll probably enjoy that part but the film leaves a lot left wanting. I believe it could have been more interesting if they cut out the history with the kids and started with the guys as adults but ya know, whatever lol.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The 15:17 to Paris? What did you think about it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!
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Movie Review: The Hate U Give (2018)

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Summary: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. 
  • Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter. 16-year-old Starr is stuck between two worlds. The world of her neighborhood, Garden Heights and Williamson, her prep school. She understands what it means to code switch depending on the people she’s around. One night she attends a party with her best friend, and she meets up with Khalil, a boy she knew from her childhood. They reconnect and when the party turns sour, she and Khalil escape and have moments in the car. Unfortunately, she watches as Khalil is murdered before her very eyes by a cop. She is stricken by this and has to continue through her life with something so horrific in her memory, in her bones and she struggles with the pain that she knows what happened. However, she’s afraid to say anything  because she’s worried what that might do to her family. Also, King of the King Lords pretty much threatens her about dry snitching and what not. But Starr must find her voice in order for Khalil to find justice and to find peace for herself. It’s a powerful story to see told by a friend and a witness. I was a little worried about Amandla at first, I think she’s a good actress but I haven’t seen her play a part like this but she pleasantly surprised me. She does make these weird faces lol, which throughout the movie I was like “lol girl stop” but I know she can’t help it because it’s just her face lol. I thought she did very well with all the emotional bits. Definitely a movie to make her mark as more than just a YA adaptation actress.
Supporting Characters.I mean, everyone on this list are people we see quite often in the movie but I had to give Amandla her due above and then hit everyone else after. Everyone does very well in the film.
  • Regina Hall as Lisa Carter.A friend of mine was curious to see how she would do playing a role like this. I understand her concern but I had a little more faith in Regina Hall and I thought for what the role asked of her, she did very well. She was firm when she needed to be and she has some of the best facial expressions, very funny. I also thought she had great chemistry with Russell Hornsby. I do think her role got a little downplayed in the movie compared to the book but from what she was given, I thought she did well and was memorable as the mom. Some of the best moments was the moment at the diner and at the end when they’re all at Carter’s groceries.
  • Russell Hornsby as Maverick Carter. Outside of Starr, he really shines. I think I’ve only seen him in Fences, but I loved him here. He’s not exactly what I thought Big Mav would look like but he really played him the way I would want him to be played. The movie starts out with him telling his kids how to conduct themselves when faced with police and you can tell that he might have just gotten out of prison and he’s trying to make sure his kids understand. He did this face where he could kind of snarl whenever he talked and I liked that because it’s something I would imagine a man whose been through what he’s been through would do. I loved the way he talked to his kids, he may come off a little hard but it’s clear he loves them. He’s always on their side. He was also really funny, especially the prom scene. Again, with the diner scene where everyone did such a great job, but he did really good here as well since it was directly happening to him.
  • KJ Apa as Chris. First things first, when he first showed up, that dark hair was not doing him any favors. I can’t remember if Chris had dark hair in the books or not but KJ Apa was way to pale that it was kind of shocking. It grew on me as the movie progressed. Anyways, I liked Chris a lot. I thought he was cute and sweet and I understood his confusion throughout the movie. It’s hard to be in an interracial relationship when things are going on because it’s hard to know who to trust with your feelings and whether or not they’ll understand. That’s where Chris stood with Starr after the event. He was in the dog house in the beginning because of what he did before the movie, but throughout the movie he was in a state of confusion because he didn’t know what was going on. I think Chris is a good kid, I do wish we got to see a little more of him and that he was included in more things mostly at the end, I think it would have been nice to have that but I also get why he wasn’t there. I like KJ Apa, he’s likable (though not as Archie Andrews lol) and I liked the chemistry he had with Amandla and his introduction is like the best because he’s so cute! KJ just has this All-American-Boy thing about him where he’s just so earnest, he plays that really well.
  • Algee Smith as Khalil Harris. Ahhh Kahlil. I think Algee Smith is so cute. I haven’t seen him in anything else (No I have not seen that New Edition movie though I might watch it now because of him), but he has this light about him. I don’t know if it’s because of who he was playing but as soon as he walked into the room and Starr looked at him, I was like “he’s my favorite” and he’s just so sweet and likable that it sucks that he was murdered. When he and Starr meet up, they catch up and what I love about him is that when the fight breaks out, he didn’t leave her, he made sure she was with him so he could make sure she got home safely. While they were in the car, they reminisced and he thought of what could be and he says this line that made me go “Dang, where’s mine!?” *sighs* He’s super likable and I wish Justice for Khalil. Algee Harris is great, he’s charismatic, and I hope to see more of him. I did fan cast as one of my characters from one of my books lol, I see big things!
  • Lamar Johnson as Seven Carter. Sadly, I don’t think we got to see as much of Seven as I would have liked. However, I really liked him. He’s the product of a night between Maverick and Iesha (King’s wife? Girlfriend?). He clearly spends a lot of time with the Carters as he goes to school with both Starr and Sekani. He is very protective of both of them and he loves the Carters so much that when Iesha and King came to the funeral, he didn’t want to be with them but stay with the Carters. I mean, it makes sense as King definitely doesn’t seem to like him, though we never really got to see an interaction between King and Seven. There is a story line that gets passed to him where in the book it happens to a character they removed from the movie (I talk more about this at the end of this review), which was fine with me. It allowed the moment to be way more personal for everyone involved and I think it flowed seamlessly with the events before and after. It just made more sense that way. I also will keep an eye out for Lamar Johnson though because whenever he was one screen, my eye did go to him.
  • Issa Rae as April Ofrah. What can I say about Issa Rae, hahaha that rhymes. But she doesn’t have a HUGE role but the role she plays is perfect for her. Issa Rae is likable no matter what she does. She plays this woman who stands up for justice and she encourages Starr to find her voice for Khalil. She’s great. Boom.
  • Sabrina Carpenter as Hailey.There are two of Starr’s best friends from Williamson but Hailey gets a little more screen time in that she is the person closest to Starr at Williamson who doesn’t understand. It’s hard when you’re trying to be two people and suddenly your worlds collide and people don’t get it. Hailey doesn’t get it. Sabrina Carpenter is really likable, I mean I still wanted to kind of hit her but her character isn’t supposed to be likable and I just felt like she was really ignorant.
  • Common as Uncle Carlos. So, I think this was perfect casting once I found out about it and I think Uncle Carlos is a good and interesting character. He’s a cop which makes him on both sides of the situation and puts him in an interesting situation. He’s there when Starr calls him and I’ll talk about him more. I think Common is fine in the role, mostly with what they gave him.
  • Anthony Mackie as King. I think Anthony Mackie is a fantastic actor and I’ve seen him play villain roles before. I was a little worried though because physically he doesn’t look like how I would picture King who was described as a big man and Mackie looks younger than Maverick especially with them seemingly growing up together and Big Mav being his right-hand man. We don’t see him a ton but when we do, he’s in the background mean mugging, or threatening people. Anthony Mackie is good in roles like this though so I think he’s great and he’s quite intimidating lol.
  • TJ Wright as Sekani Carter. I don’t have much to say about him but he’s really cute and they did a little something different with him at the end that I didn’t expect. It was actually a great moment and it really worked for what the message of the movie was. This kid was great. Kind of reminded me of the little boy fromBlackish, he really embodied the meaning of his name.
The Family. It’s very important that the Carter family feel like a real family and be strong. There is a lot of history with what happened with Maverick and even the stuff between him and Uncle Carlos. I loved that the movie started out with Maverick talking with a young Seven and Starr about how to conduct themselves in case they’re pulled over by the police. It’s a very important conversation that all black families should have and it set the tone from the beginning. It set the tone of the movie and the tone of the family. Throughout the movie, we see a beautiful love with Lisa and Maverick. A cute sibling relationship between Seven, Starr and Sekani and a great relationship with the parents and their kids. It’s important to note that Lisa is not Seven’s mother but she treated him like her own son. I loved that the movie made sure we saw they were a family.
Relevant Story. No matter what you think of the movie overall, the story is relevant to what is going on today. Khalil was unarmed. Yes, he reached into the car and grabbed his hairbrush but why does no one ever shoot to disarm or shoot a taser? Why is it always shoot to kill? Sure, you’re in fear of your life but both of them were harmless, they didn’t even look like they were trouble other than the fact they’re black. We see Starr struggle throughout the movie with speaking up, we even learned that what happened with her other best friend as a kid, and how she didn’t speak up then. A lot of people go through that, no knowing whether or not they should “snitch” or speak up when they witness something because they’re afraid. Starr deals with grief and then she sees what happens with her family and Khalil’s family and she has to make the choices whether or not to live for Khalil.
Khalil’s Death. Not a spoiler since you know it from the trailer and what not, but it doesn’t lessen the blow when it happens. Starr and Khalil are having a great moment in the car, they talk about THUG LIFE, music and childhood and it’s so cute. Algee and Amandla have great chemistry and it’s so cute to think of the future. Anyway, they drive off and get pulled over and Starr thinks of what she learned as a kid. Khalil is a bit more frustrated because he’s not sure what he did. Watching the scene unfold knowing what it leads up to is very tense and then when he gets shot, it felt like I got shot three times because at this point, you like Khalil. We don’t get to know him that much since it’s basically 30 minutes into the movie but he’s likable and you like him. Starr is hysterical and the cop puts her in handcuffs and she’s trying to comfort him… it’s just so much. First scene of the tears and I still can’t forget it. I couldn’t forget it in the book either.
All the Feels. I think I cried like five times in the movie. I don’t expect everyone to cry while watching it but if you don’t feel anything, or don’t care about anything you see then, one, you’re made of stone and two why are you even watching this movie? lol being that this kind of thing happens in real life, it’s hard to not picture the people you know and love in these positions. When all of the death was happening a couple of years ago, it seemed like it happened every day, I had a moment where I just hugged my youngest brother because he’s tall, he’s black and I couldn’t bear the idea of losing him like that. So, I get it. It doesn’t happen constantly, there’s a lot of laughs in the movie too, but it’s very realistic.
Would you Shoot? Starr and Uncle Carlos have a moment in his kitchen after the family gets shot at in their house. She’s talking to him about it and he tells her what it’s like to be  a cop on the force and it’s intense. I totally get it. It was a great scene and you can tell that he really wanted her to understand just what all of that meant, but at the same time, you can tell from her that she expected something different from her uncle being a black man on the police force. What he was saying is probably true for most cops, I don’t know, I’m not a cop, but he’s right, it is the world we live in and it sucks. Great moment from both Amandla and Common.
Get out the car! There’s an entire scene that happens from this diner all the way to the Carter’s house. Big Mav and King have a moment and the police show up and well you can guess what happened. So, everyone has high emotions because of what happened and Starr says something that triggers Maverick and he makes all of the kids stand out on the lawn and recite a part from the Black Panther’s Seven Point program. He then tells them what their names mean and it was such a powerful scene. It quickly became a favorite in the movie.
Starr and Hailey. There’s a scene particularly towards the end where Starr and Hailey get into it. I won’t spoil it but Hailey basically makes a comment about the hairbrush and Starr snatches the one that’s in Hailey’s book bag pocket and makes a point. It was a great scene. In the book they have a physical fight but I actually think I liked this better just because it makes an important point. Amandla did great in that scene.
Cons:
Uncle Carlos. He’s not a bad character nor is Common a bad actor (he’s inconsistent but he’s fine), I just think they didn’t end his character on a good note. He’s supposed to represent the other half. He’s a cop which could make it hard for Starr to completely want to give up on all cops because of her uncle. They had a great relationship in the book and I think in the movie it was kind of implied that he was a large part of her life while Maverick was in jail, but I don’t think they played it up enough. I mean he was really important and he should have been way more in the movie. While I liked the conversation, they in his kitchen, it showed what cops might go through when out in the field, I don’t think they ever gave him the chance to really show that he was on Starr’s side. I think that was an issue because he needed to be and should have been. I don’t want to compare to the book too much but in the book, he gets into a fight and put on paid leave… that should have happened because it shows both Starr and the audience that he was still on her side. Common was perfect casting for him, but they really missed the mark on what to do with his character. Plus, he and Maverick have beef… it would be well founded but they don’t give it time to marinate before it’s finished. Meh.
Seven and King. In the movie we learn that Seven is the product of Iesha and Maverick having a night together. Something happens towards the end of the movie with Seven and it kind of came out of nowhere. Outside of King making a comment to Kenya and Starr about Seven’s name (though you can’t really talk King…) they never have a moment to really show that King doesn’t like Seven or anything of that nature. I think there should have been a moment or a few where King may look at him funny, or they have an argument, or something that would have made the part at the end make sense and not just some extra drama.
Overall, I loved The Hate U Give.For one, I think it’s a great adaptation of a fantastic book and I was thrilled that it for the most part kept the essence of the book. As a film, I think it was handled really well. All of the characters serve their purpose and I think audiences can identify with Starr with what she went through. I can’t imagine everyone going through what she went through but Amandla Stenberg does a great job playing the part. There are times where her facial expressions look really funny but she manages to push through the funny faces and really deliver a performance I think is her best. She had me by the heart strings. I loved the family dynamic and that they felt like a real family and how they reacted to each other like a family would. The story is extremely relevant in the situation and I think it’ll hit close to him for a lot of people. There are a lot of GREAT scenes as well that I think are extremely memorable. On the flip side, I think Uncle Carlos received the short end of the deal in that his character should have been used more and been more of a lifeline for Starr in that he was a cop but someone she looked up too. I also think the relationship between Seven and King should have been used more because it comes to a head at the end and it’s random. BUT I loved the movie and I think it’s a must see!
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
P.S. There’s a couple of spoilers down here.
Khalil’s hairbrush: In the book when Starr and Khalil get pulled over, he is told to get out of the car. In the book, he opens the door to check on Starr and then gets shot, he doesn’t even get the chance to ask Starr if she’s okay, or at least to finish the question. In the movie, I was worried because the trailers showed that he actually reached for his hairbrush when it was actually in the side of his door that the officer thought was a hairbrush. Khalil never reached into the car, he never pulled anything out the car. I was worried that would change the situation and the narrative. Either way, Khalil should not have been killed but I think with it obviously being a hairbrush, it actually takes away the element of confusion because the cop clearly saw the brush. I don’t know, it’s kind of…hard but either way I wanted to mention it.
DeVante:So, I mentioned in the book review that I thought the DeVante storyline I could take or leave. I liked it but it could have been cut out and I wouldn’t have missed it. I knew they would probably cut it out of the movie and they did. I totally get why too. All the stuff that happened to him was outlier and was there so Maverick could have a way to save someone since he couldn’t save Khalil but I think he had enough to do with his family. In the book, DeVante gets beat up by King. Seven (who is driving) takes Starr and Chris with him to go and get him. In the movie, Chris is driving and it’s Seven who gets beat up. I like that because it keeps the story personal. Sure, Chris doesn’t have the chance to get close to DeVante like in the book, but for the movie sake he didn’t need to. I liked that it was Seven because it was more personal for Starr and for Iesha who uses that moment to save her children. That’s way more powerful I think than her trying to save DeVante. That’s just me though.

Movie Review: Show Dogs (2018)

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Summary: Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening.
Pros:
Voice Acting. I didn’t care about any of the characters but I think the voice actors had a great time in this movie. Ludacris plays Max, Jordan Sparks plays Daisy, RuPaul (who I instantly recognized and even said “Now sashay away! lol), Gabriel Iglesias as SprinklesShaquille O’Neal as KarmaStanley Tucci as Philippe and Alan Cumming as Dante. It was clear they all had a good time and the voice acting was just fine.
Animation. It’s a talking dog movie, there are a lot of those and while the animation for it wasn’t always good, there were times when it looked legit.
One Joke.I don’t even remember what it was and I’ve been sitting here trying to remember which part made me laugh out loud but maybe it wasn’t that funny since I don’t remember what it was. I have to give the movie props though since it was the only thing, I found funny. If I ever watch it again maybe I’ll find out the joke.
Cons:
The Characters. I didn’t care about anyone nor did I really like anyone. I mean, they’re all pretty harmless but they’re just cutouts of cliché people. The hardened cop (Max), the clumsy cop (Frank) and they don’t get along and of course have to get it together by the end and the love interests on both ends. Of course, all of the side characters that we normally see, like Phillipe who reminded me of Michael Caine’s character in Miss Congeniality.
Not Funny. It’s not funny. I think I chuckled maybe once or twice and only actually laughed once. Otherwise, all the other jokes didn’t land. Obviously, it’s a talking dog movie so a lot of the humor revolves around dog stuff, drinking out of toilets, garbage, that kind of stuff which isn’t very funny. Maybe if you’re a kid it’s funny but otherwise it’s not.
Animal Animation. Mostly all of it looks pretty bad, it’s not so much the mouth moving parts but the other stuff. Max does a “and scene” and he did the hand movements too and wow, looked so bad. Also, the little panda in the movie, while cute also looked terrible when it was doing facial expressions. Also, the pigeons… ugh.
Overall, Show Dogs is definitely for kids or at least kids who like talking animals because I’m sure they would enjoy it way more. I don’t think it was funny at all. The voice acting for the animals is good, the actors are all having a good time, some of the animation in the animals was handled really well and there was one joke that I actually laughed out loud on that I don’t remember. However, the animal animation when it comes to physical movements that are things dogs don’t do looked super weird and of course it’s not funny and the characters are meh. But if your child needs something to watch while you clean up or cook dinner then pop this one in. It’s really harmless.
Rating: 1 out 5 stars.
Have you seen Show Dogs? If you have, let me know your thoughts down below and if not, don’t worry about it hahaha.
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Movie Review: A Star Is Born (2018)

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Summary: A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We meet a few people along the way in the film, but I’ll stick to the two main people, though I want to give Anthony Ramos a shout out because I always get excited when I see people from Hamilton in other things.
  • Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine. He is an established singer-songwriter, not sure how long he’s been in the business but it’s clear he’s been doing it a long time to the point where he’s jaded and of course an alcoholic. He stumbles into the first bar he sees one night (well his driver dropped him off) and he gets to see Ally perform a song in French and he is immediately taken. He becomes a mentor for her and later the love interest. Jackson has a lot of issues, daddy issues, self-issues and all the other issues but he does care about Ally and really does try to do right by her, especially at the beginning. I give him credit for that. I don’t think he’s unlikable, but I can see why someone might not like him, I just thought he was sad and kind of a tragic figure. Bradley Cooper did a really good job with him. He surprises me when he’s playing a serious role, I don’t know why lol, but anyway, he did well with keeping Jackson right at the corner of “I like him, he’s sad” or “Wow, this guy is a dick” which works for his character. Great expression in his eyes. *sighs* His eyes. Beautiful. I really thought he shone in the second half.
  • Lady Gaga as Ally. She is a waitress who sings in a Drag Queen nightclub. She is a singer-songwriter who is pretty much amazing at what she does. Ally performs a song in French “La Vie en Rose” I think and pretty much has Jackson by his heartstrings when she lays on the bar counter and looks at him (I never realized how big and green her eyes are… eyes are kind of a big thing in the movie as Bradley Cooper as the director, kept a lot of the shots close in on the actor’s faces so we get to see their eyes quite a bit in the film). She loves to sing and write songs but is a bit discouraged after she was told she had a beautiful voice but her nose was too big, so when Jackson believes people would want to hear her, needed to hear her, she’s against it at first but once she gets out there, it becomes something she craves plus she’s great at it. Ally is sweet, and she understands how to handle Jackson, but she does get a little lost in the industry later. I thought Lady Gaga was good, this is the first time I’ve seen her act and I thought she was the highlight of the film, the star and I liked that Bradley Cooper gave her top billing. All the emotional stuff she handled well, and I was impressed.
The Music. The highlight of the movie is the music, how it’s used and the connection that people have through the music. First, the singing is fantastic, Lady Gaga can SING. We knew this, but this movie really allows her to showcase her singing chops and whenever she did sing, especially in the beginning of the movie, I got chills. Honest. Bradley Cooper also surprisingly can sing as well. I guess his character sings country or something along those lines which I thought he did well and when they sang together, obviously she overpowered him, but he held his own. As for the songs themselves, the only one I really remember is the “Shallow” one because it’s catchy and I feel like it’ll be nominated for “Best Original Song” which is cool but I think they used those songs as ways to connect moments in the movie, or connect characters, it wasn’t just characters singing songs (until ya know, the generic pop songs later). Definitely the highlight.
The First Half. I prefer the first half. It’s much stronger and better paced than the second half. I really wondered for a while if it was because the first half was lighter than the second and I decided that’s not the reason, I just think the story flowed better in the first half, the characters were more interesting and the story had the chance to go in an original direction but didn’t so first half is definitely stronger. Plus, all of the stuff with his brother, they had a great moment (No idea what they said half the time lol, but it was an emotional moment).
Chemistry. Like I said previously, I think the first half is stronger than the second half. I thought that Gaga and Cooper had amazing chemistry. The first moment he saw her singing in that Drag Club and she looked over at him, it was like “whoa” and I was on board for what I was sure going to be an interesting relationship and indeedy it was. I really liked how they seemed to understand each other on a different level. They have a conversation outside of a mini-mart and he’s telling her a bit of his story and she just makes up a song verse for him. Throughout the movie, we see a lot of moments between them, I mean crazy stuff ensues, but she knows how to handle him and it’s very clear they love each other. While the second half dragged on for me, I thought the two of them really held it together as a couple going through something interesting.
Cons:
Predictable/Cliché. I called this movie from the beginning. I’ve never seen any of the other incarnations of the movie so I’m solely going off this and, the movie and story is very predictable and cliché. Jackson Maine is the established singer-songwriter who has a sad past, and who struggles with vices such as drugs and alcohol, he has a heart of gold but can’t seem to get out of his own way. Yep. He discovers a hopeful artist who wants to be a singer but thinks she can’t because of her appearance, he believes in her, she sings with him and then she becomes a star because a industry person is interested and she loses her sound blah blah blah, I called all of that and I was a bit upset when I was right. I may not have seen the other movies, but I have seen this movie so many times that I was hoping for a bit of originality and it seemed to start off that way in the first half but then it fell into the usual in the second half.
Second Half. Dragged on way too long. I started getting antsy. That hardly ever happens to me, long movies don’t bother me at all but the second was much weaker and I felt like I was watching a movie unfold that I’d already seen before. I got a bit irritated with that and I didn’t think the characters were as interesting as they were before, almost like the development we were getting in the beginning didn’t come full circle. I think the biggest thing is that Bradley Cooper does well in the second half, almost like the first half was dedicated to Gaga’s character and the second half for Cooper, which worked out I guess lol.
Overall, I liked A Star Is Born, I don’t think I liked it as much as other people do but I think it’s a really good movie. This is Lady Gaga’s movie as she does such a great job, especially with the singing and the emotional bits. Bradley Cooper also does really well, and I thought his direction was handled well and that he really tried to focus on the characters and their emotions (sometimes that’s annoying because you can’t really see what’s going on around the character, but it worked most times). The music is the highlight outside of Lady Gaga and I loved how they all fit the scenes they were in, or how it was used to describe a character at that moment. There was great chemistry and the first half of the movie was really good, I was totally invested. My biggest problem is the fact that the second half was weaker than the first half and it was totally predictable. It annoyed me, and I also thought it was too long because I started getting antsy as the film felt like it dragged on. Oh yeah, I totally needed subtitles in some pockets of the film. But, I liked it and I’m sure it’ll receive a lot of Oscar nominations.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen A Star Is Born? What are your thoughts?
Which movie featuring a singer turned actress/actor is your favorite??
Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more Movie Reviews!

Movie Review: To All The Boys I Loved Before (2018)

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Summary: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.
You can check out my review of the book here! This is a short review!
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We do meet a lot of characters in the movie, some of them we see quite a bit throughout but I’m just going to talk about two of them.
  • Lana Condor as Lara Jean. She is our protagonist. She has this thing whenever she falls for a boy and wants to move on. She writes love letters to them, addresses them but doesn’t send them, she puts them into her hat box and hides them in her closet. It’s her way of moving on from them. LJ is probably the quirky one of her sisters. Margot is calm and collected, Kitty and outgoing and loud and then LJ is just… not those things lol. She tries to be like Margot and Kitty in different ways but that’s just not her thing which works for her. She’s funny, awkward and a bit clumsy at the best of times. I really liked Lana Condor in the movie, she was cute, and I think really played the character how she was written in the book because Lara Jean is also very dreamy and whimsical, and I thought she managed to do very well. Also, she had great chemistry with Noah Centineo.
  • Noah Centineo as Peter. He is a lacrosse player and probably the popular guy in school. Everyone seems to like him, and he seems cool with everyone. When he gets the letter from Lara Jean, he tells her “I’m flattered but it’s not going to happen” lol which was still awkward and what not, but he rolls with the moment. When they make their deal, he holds up his end of the bargain but at the same time, he always tried to make sure LJ was comfortable which I liked about him. He was witty and charismatic and when you start notice that he might like LJ, it’s clear it confuses him to some extent. I still quite liked him in the movie, maybe not as much as I liked him in the book, but I still really liked him. I’ve never seen Noah Centineo in anything (I don’t watch The Fosters) but I thought he was fine, he had a natural swagger that I thought Peter had and he was cool, and handsome which all helped the character. He also had great chemistry with Lana Condor.
Supporting Characters. 
  • There are a lot of supporting characters in the movie like Janel Parrish as Margot who was fine in the role of being the calm, collected and maternal big sister. Anna Cathcart as Kitty who is Lara Jean’s younger sister and she was cute and precocious. Madeleine Arthur as Christine who Genevieve’s cousin and Lara Jean’s best friend and she’s is not that present in the movie but whenever she needed to be there for LJ she was, which I guess was her point. Emilija Baranac as Gen who served her role as Peter’s ex and a bully pretty much to Lara Jean throughout the film. Super unlikable lol.
  • Israel Broussard as Josh who is Margot’s ex-boyfriend and one of the boys who received a letter from LJ. He’s cool with the family, he was close with both Margot and LJ, in different ways, and when Margot breaks up with him before leaving for school, he seems a little lost in what to do with their family, but LJ tries to convince him it’s okay. However, when he gets the letter, he just wants to talk to her, but he avoids him. Now, he’s not in the movie as much as he is in the book. I think they hit on some of his bigger plot points, but he doesn’t show up as often which I think helps keep him from being unlikable which I found he could be in the book. They also didn’t do the love triangle thing either, which also helped. But Israel Broussard was good in the role of Josh, the boy next door.
The Romance/Chemistry. It’s very important that Lara Jean and Peter have chemistry and they did. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo were cute together, they had great chemistry even when they were just faking it for their classmates and their family. When they started to get comfortable around each other it just seemed so natural. It was natural in the beginning when they weren’t really friends with each other, they had a natural chemistry, but it grew even more as the movie progressed.
Cute Teen Movie. It’s a super cute movie. I really had a good time watching it because it’s lighthearted, the characters are all likable and it’s harmless. In the end, you could say you learned something about being brave and bold, and looking at people on the inside more so than the outside and all of that, which is true sure, but it’s also just a cute teen movie.
Cons:
The Letters Being Sent. I don’t like how we knew from the beginning that Kitty sent the letters (spoiler alert? lol) because it would have been cool for both the audience and Lara Jean to not know. Kitty had her reasons for it which in a way was kind of sweet, but it was also kind of mean and I just wanted that surprise for the audience to still come later the same way it did for Lara Jean. We didn’t have to see that.
Not Spontaneous Enough/Not Enough Love. I don’t want to compare the movie and the book, but I thought they should have allowed Peter and Lara Jean to do more things together. It just didn’t seem like a legit natural progression to get to the point at the end. I mean, you believe they start to like each other at some point but it didn’t seem like it was real because they didn’t do enough together, at least to me. Peter did a lot of spontaneous stuff in the book which helped LJ get attached to him, like showing up at her house and meeting her father, or when they went to the estate sale. I just wish they did more things together that didn’t really involve them showing off for other people because sure, that helps because of their deal but hanging out outside of all of that would really allow for them to really connect way more than I thought they did in the movie.
Overall, I really liked the movie, I thought it was super cute. I liked all the characters and the actors. I didn’t think anyone didn’t fit their character, nor did I think anyone over did or under did it. They all played their characters the way they were written, except maybe Kitty who was way more of a brat in the books than the movie. I really though Lana Condor and Noah Centineo had great chemistry with each other and managed to play off each other, even when their characters had to be awkward or not “attracted” to the other early in the movie. It’s a cute teen movie where you might learn something because the main characters do to an extent, but even if you don’t, it’s just a good entertainment watch. I only had two negatives which were I didn’t think they allowed them to do enough for me to really believe them in the end, I just wanted to see them hang out more outside of doing it to make Gen jealous. Otherwise, I really liked the movie.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? I swear it’s a mouthful saying and a handful typing it lol. What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below!

Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (2018)

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Summary: Count Dracula and company participate in a cruise for sea-loving monsters, unaware that their boat is being commandeered by the monster-hating Van Helsing family.
This will be a short review.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So, we get the same characters we know and love from the other two films in this one. I’m not going to talk about Drac’s friends because while they’re in it, they’re not as important to the story as they have been in the past. Just know that they’re all present and they’re all still entertaining.
  • Adam Sandler as Count Dracula. He is a 540-year-old lord of the vampires and the founder of Hotel Transylvania. He’s been running his hotel for years and now he’s feeling a bit lonely after seeing his daughter and most of his friends find their true love. He doesn’t believe it’s possible again because monsters can only “zing” once. However, he meets Ericka and it’s a ZING at first sight. I like Drac, he’s funny, loving and protective of his family and you want him to succeed because he’s just that likable. Adam Sandler is a hit or miss for me, but I love him in these movies, he does such a great job as Drac and I think, especially with his movies of late, these are some of his best work.
  • Andy Samberg as Jonathan Loughran. A human who is Mavis’ husband and Dennis’ father. I think his role was reduced a lot in this movie, but he’s still sweet and funny. He’s really a happy-go-lucky guy and he’s always ride or die. Andy Samberg clearly has a lot of fun with this character and he’s funny and I don’t really find him all that funny.
  • Selena Gomez as Mavis. Dracula’s daughter and pretty much the main woman in Drac’s life. Mavis is headstrong and protective her family. She notices her father is lonely, especially since he runs the hotel, she sees that he takes care of everyone but now it’s time for him to have a vacation and be taken care of, so she plans the vacation. She is determined for her family to have a good time. I like Mavis, she’s like her father but I also love it when she gets angry or when she’s sure she’s right about something because she will do whatever it takes. Like when she follows her father after he follows Erika somewhere, she wasn’t playing any games. Selena Gomez does a great job voicing Mavis, she’s earnest, youthful but when she must be stern, she does it well.
  • Kathryn Hahn as Ericka Van Helsing. The captain and cruise director of the cruise ship Legacy. She is secretly continuing her great-grandfather’s wishes in eliminating monsters and is Dracula’s love interest. When we first meet her, she is so interesting and can see why Drac is immediately drawn to her, but we know her secret and it’s hilarious watching her
  • Jim Gaffigan as Abraham Van Helsing. Ericka’s great-grandfather who is a legendary monster hunter and Dracula’s archenemy.
Humorous/Entertaining. I laughed quite a bit during the movie. I think a lot of it had to do with the guy who was sitting next to us because he was having a great time. BUT, there’s a scene where they’re traveling to see the underwater volcano and the fish guide tells the full name of the location and that was hilarious that my friend and I cackled for like 5 minutes. Also, the entire side story with Dennis and Winnie and their dog was cute. Or the fact that Wayne and his wife got to be puppy free for a time and it’s something they never experienced. This movie has a lot of little hilarious nuggets in it that I was shocked at how much I genuinely laughed.
Warmhearted message. At the core, the movie talks about loving past the differences, which in a way is kind of what the first one talked about since Drac had to get over his hatred for humans to allow Mavis to be with Johnny. In this one, it’s almost reversed since Mavis does not fully trust Ericka. It’s cute and I think the movie handles the message in a clear and entertaining way.
Cons:
Predictable. I mean, did anyone really expect any twists and turns? We know from the jump that Ericka is a Van Helsing, but the “twist” comes when she falls in love with Drac, but I think everyone knew that.
Overall, I thought Hotel Transylvania 3 was cute and fun and it was an experience that I think many families would enjoy. It is the third in a trilogy (or maybe a series) so I do think it’s the weakest of the bunch, but I think it’s a solid sequel. If you are looking for entertaining animated characters, and cute animation with entertaining humor and a warmhearted message, then this movie is for you. I don’t have many cons because it’s a harmless movie. It’s predictable but that’s to be expected for a movie like this. Everyone can be entertained while watching.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below and answer my BIG QUESTION.
Big Question: Which Hotel Transylvania movie is your favorite??