Day 189: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

forgetting sarah marshallFor today’s film, I have been wanting to check out Forgetting Sarah Marshall for the fact that everyone I know talks about it and it’s a Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin) film. Jason Segel (Freaks & Geeks) plays Peter Bretter, a wannabe musician who is a composer for a TV show that his girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) stars in. He feels as if he is on top of the world because everything seems to be going right for him. That is until Sarah pays him a visit to tell him that she is breaking up with him. To try and get away, he travels to Hawaii to help him heal, but then he discovers that Sarah has been cheating on him with rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand). Now, he’ll have to try and deal with that, but a special someone may make it easier for him.. The film also stars Mila Kunis (Ted) as Rachel, Paul Rudd (I Love You, Man) as Chuck, Jonah Hill (Knocked Up) as Matthew The Waiter, Bill Hader (Superbad) as Brian Bretter, Maria Thayer (Hitch) as Wyoma, Jack McBrayer (Wreck-It Ralph) as Darald, Taylor Wily (Hawaii Five-O) as Kemo, and Kalani Robb (Blue Crush) as Helpful Hawaiian Waiter.

Forgetting-Sarah-MarhsallI have to say that at first the film started a little slow for me, but it eventually picked the pace up and it became a really good film. It just started off as a Jason Segel winefest before it actually got really good with Mila Kunis who looked beautiful as usual. I am very surprised being a Judd Apatow and Jason Segel fan that I never saw this film. Like a lot of films, this one seemed to slip through the cracks. Another highlight of the film for me was seeing Russell Brand play what seemed to be a very natural role for himself. That of an very sexual English rock star which may not have been a stretch, but do what you know. The film primarily takes place in Hawaii which was pretty cool cause they mixed in a little of the Hawaiian culture into the film especially with the dances, the cinematography, and so much more. The film mixes in the right amount of drama to go with the romance and comedy, but there is a couple of scenes I thought were awkward. If you’e not prepared for it, it will shock the hell out of you when you see Jason Segel’s junk on a couple of occasions. You get a full shot of it and there is nothing you can do about it, but either look or turn away. This was a really good film, but definitely not my favorite Apatow film from his catalog, but enjoyable to watch like I said. That is why I am going to give the film a grade somewhere in the A-/B+ range. One of my favorite scenes in the film is represented in the picture used for this paragraph, check it out for yourself.

Day 169: I Origins (2014)

i-origins_soundtrackBefore I woke up this morning, I had never heard of the film I watched and reviewed for today, but there was one factor that made me want to watch. I am a huge fan of Michael Pitt and I have been wondering what he has been up to since he had left the show Boardwalk Empire, but I got my answer in I Origin. Pitt plays molecular biologist Dr. Ian Gray whose main line of interest is the human eye. One thing is for sure when it comes to Ian and that is he does not believe in God and is always out to prove that there is more proof in science than in religion. All of that is about to be put to the test when he makes a startling discovery that may prove that there may be something greater than science. The film also stars Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) as Kenny, Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) as Sofi,  Brit Marling (Sound Of My Voice) as Karen, Archie Panjabi (Bend It Like Beckham) as Priya Varma, Venida Evans (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Margaret Dairy, William Mapother (Mission: Impossible II) as Darryl Mackenzie, and the film was written and directed by Mike Cahill (Another Earth). 

960The film is interesting to say the least and it hits many different genres in one from it starting off as a romance movie that dabs in science to a tragedy movie back to a romance film and back to a science film. The thing that he discovers toward the last half of the film really makes you question whether science is correct or if the religious people had it right all along. What if you could tell if someone was resurrected through the patterns in the eye? Think about that for a second, what if the things you like, don’t like, and the reason you act the way you do is because you were someone else in a past life. Through an eye scan, he discovers that there is someone out there in the world that is a match to his dead wife and I mean an exact match. Wouldn’t you be curious enough to want to see if they reacted to certain things that your past love, brother, or even friend would have. That is the thing I loved about the film was this sense of what if and it didn’t hurt that Astrid Berges-Frisbey was really hot. It’s an honest film that will make you think a little bit, but it can be predictable at times. That was the only bad thing about the film was that you could see certain things happening when they did. Other than that I loved the acting from Pitt and Marling, etc. It was also cool to see them in Delhi, India cause the cinematography was cool. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade. It’s airing on HBO and I’m pretty sure it’s available on HBOGO.

Day 152: Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987)

some kind of wonderfulFor today’s film, I had been meaning to watch a John Hughes film that I had not yet seen. To be honest, I procrastinated , but I wanted to close out May with a bang and so I chose to watch Some Kind Of Wonderful. All Keith Nelson (Eric Stoltz), the very artsy, not popular teenager, wants is a date with the very beautiful, but very taken Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson). One day after Amanda’s rich snobby boyfriend Hardy (Craig Sheffer) gets caught schmoozing with another girl, Keith gets his opportunity despite not having the blessing of his tomboy best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson). You see what he doesn’t realize is that Watts begins to have feelings for Keith, but he’ll just have to find out the hard way. The film also stars John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop) as Cliff Nelson, Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze) as Duncan, Molly Hagan (Election) as Shayne, Maddie Corman (Swingers) as Laura Nelson, Candace Cameron (Full House) as Cindy Nelson, Scott Coffey (Lost Highway) as Ray,  Lee Garlington (One Hour Photo) as Gym Instructor, Chynna Phillips (Striptease) as Mia, and the film was directed by Howard Deutch (Pretty In Pink).

somekind_hedI just want to say that I wish my life was a John Hughes movie because life would be so much easier if that were the case. Little fun fact for all of you out there, Zoey Deutch who has starred in the films we covered (Everybody Wants Some! and Dirty Grandpa) is the daughter of director Howard Deutch and star Lea Thompson. So if I had to take a wild guess then I’m pretty sure this is where they met and got into a relationship. Anyways back to the film at hand. This has to be one of the most well written John Hughes films besides The Breakfast Club because the film is much more than a Romcom (Romance Comedy) in my opinion. Not only does the film look at love or the idea of the unpopular kid getting the out of his league girl, this also looks at social classes and social statuses due to money. Keith, Watts, and Amanda all come from the harsher side of town, but the difference is that by being with Hardy, she had elevated her status socially. The idea that she began to be cut off from that social status because she agreed to go on a date with Keith said a lot and the fact that he wants to continue with the date to prove a point says a lot. Of course not only is the story great, but there is great music attached to this film especially one track from Billy Idol that I love (Catch My Fall) which plays in the film. The acting was amazing, the choreography was great, and what else could you ask for from a John Hughes written film. That is why I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 145: The Battle Of Shaker Heights (2003)

the battle of shaker heightsFor today’s film, I wanted to watch something that featured Shia LaBeouf (Disturbia) who I am a huge fan of. I love his dedication to his art and I like his films. I was scrolling through the Showtime Anytime app when I saw that The Battle Of Shaker Heights was about to expire so I chose it for today’s film. Kelly Ernswiler (LaBeouf) is an War reenactor who is having some trouble in his life. He views his life as a constant battlefield whether it’s dealing with his recovering addict father, a bully at school, or trying to win the love of someone who is obviously way over his league. That is what Kelly deals with until he meet a fellow friend named Bart (Elden Henson) on the battlefield who ends up helping him with most of his troubles except for one major one which involves his sister (Amy Smart). The film also stars Billy Kay (Halloween: Resurrection) as Lance, Kathleen Quinlan (The Hills Have Eyes) as Eve, Shiri Appleby (Swimfan) as Sarah, William Sadler (Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight) as Abe, Ray Wise (Jeepers Creepers 2) as Harrison, Anson Mount (Urban Legends: Final Cut) as Miner Weber, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Tombstone) as Mathilda, and the film was directed by Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin.

battleI didn’t realize until I chose to watch the film that was a Project Greenlight film which was a series started by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The film’s script was the big winner for season two of the series and Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin were the lucky winning directors. If you ask me, the series was more interesting of a reality show than any other because it’s cool to see the process involved in making films like this one. The role that Shia had in this film was a very typical role for him back in his early days play the quick witted rebellious teenager (just like in Disturbia) who doesn’t really see the big picture. It’s a great film for teenagers because it’s exactly the way teenagers think and feel like they know everything. Amy Smart has always been one of my favorite actresses since I first saw her in Varsity Blues. She does an amazing job playing the object of Shia LaBeouf’s desire. The film isn’t that long and I think that’s perfect because anymore and it probably would have dragged. The film cuts all the fat out and makes it the perfect length giving you the right amount of comedy and drama one can take. When they pour the drama on you, they really pour it on as it seems things just get worse for our main character which kept me glued in. Is it the best Shia LaBeouf movie out there? Well after seeing some of his other films like Fury or even The Nymphomaniac films, then I would say no. On a teen scale, then it’s a maybe. I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.

Day 141: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon_00132307The film I chose for today was one that for some odd and strange reason, I had avoided watching back when it was released. What motivated me to finally watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is tat the fact that Netflix released the sequel to the film this year and so I chose the original for today’s film. Chow Yun Fat (The Killer) stars as Li Mu Bai, a storied master and warrior in China who is trying to give up the lifestyle by relinquishing his famous and most storied sword The Green Destiny. After the sword is stolen, he is sent on a mission with another warrior in Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) to try and track down the notorious fugitive that they believe stole the sword. What they don’t bargain for is a young adolescent teenager who is the nobleman’s daughter that is highly skilled standing in there way because she is at a crossroads in her life. The film also stars Ziyi Zhang (Rush Hour 2) as Jen Yu, Chen Chang (The Assassin) as Lo “Dark Cloud”, Pei-Pei Cheng (They Wait) as Jade Fox, Sihung Lung (The Wedding Banquet) as Sir Te, Xian Gao (The Legend) as Bo, and the film was directed by Ang Lee (Life Of Pi).

maxresdefaultI can certainly tell you that I am definitely happy that I checked out this film because it was definitely different than you average martial arts films. I say that because the martial arts was really only a part of the film and not the main focus. At least that’s how I feel in my opinion because it was more of a love story. Of course, the martial arts was a big part of the film, but it was much more poetic. Ziyi Zhang’s character is at a crossroads because she wants to follow her family’s wishes of getting married to who they arranged to her, but she is in love with someone else. It’s also kind of a coming of age story for her because she feels tat with the sword, she has great power, but she soon earns from Li Mu Bai that it’s much more than that and that she wasn’t really worthy of the sword. Of course the action scenes in the film are phenomenal and excellent to watch with all of the sword fighting, martial arts action. The flying through the air bits can be a little much to watch at times because it’s pure fantasy, but at the same time it was cool to see on the screen. It does add to the imagination and the beauty of their art by seeing that. The other great part about the film is the cinematography and the shots of the scenery are just beautiful to watch. The film is in Chinese, but never fear because there is subtitles. It’s available to watch on Encore Play and Encore. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because I really enjoyed the film.

Day 115: The Flamingo Kid (1984)

220px-FlamingokidposterThere are actors from the 1980’s that I have always thought were iconic and Matt Dillon (The Outsiders) is certainly one of them. So, when I saw that a movie of his was on sale at a grocery store for 3 bucks, I jumped at the chance to watch it. So, today’s film is the 1984 film The Flamingo Kid which stars Dillon as Jeffrey Willis. Jefferey is your everyday average 18 year old who just graduated from high school. He is certainly uncertain as to what the future may hold for him despite his parents expectations. That summer, Jeffrey gets a job a very exclusive beach club called The El Flamingo and he begins to think he knows what he wants when he listens tot he club’s prestigious gin player Mr. Brody (Richard Crenna). Brody fills his head with dreams of fortune, but Jeffrey will have to figure it out for himself on this coming of age story. The film also stars Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman) as Arthur Willis, Jessica Walter (Archer) as Mrs. Brody, Janet Jones (The Beastmaster) as Carla, Brian McNamara (Caddyshack II) as Steve, Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit) as Hawk, Leon (Above The Rim) as Fortune, Bronson Pinchot (Risky Business) as Alfred, and the film was directed by Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman).

fkWe call it a coming of age story because the character goes in not knowing a lot and through some event, he grows and comes out smarter than before. Jefferey Willis has a coming of age story through his relationship with Carla and his experience with Mr. Brody. Her thinks Mr. Brody is the king sh**, but soon learns through an event that he’s just as much a phony as anyone. He comes out at the end knowing what’s right and what’s wrong and what he should do with the rest of his life hence the coming of age story. One thing that we can certainly say about Matt Dillon is that he puts on an incredible performance in the film as he normally did back in those days. The truth is that a lot of the actors in the film did an amazing job including the great Hector Elizondo who plays the hard working father with a dream that feels threatened by the flashy Mr. Brody. I loved how the film was set in the 1950’ss I believe with the cars, the clothing, and the music. The 50’s is definitely one of my favorite eras of history in America. The set designers and wardrobe people along with hair and makeup deserve some definite kudos from me for the good job they did on this film. Overall, this is just a great film from beginning to end and it’s definitely one you should check out if you are a fan of Garry Marshall. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade. Plus, How many of us out there can relate to Matt Dillon’s character when we were 18 years old? I bet it’s quite a lot!

Day 114: The Giver (2014)

maxresdefault (4)I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get to read a lot of books with everything I have going on, but that is when I thank God when a book gets turned into a film. That is the case with today’s film The Giver which is based off of the book of the same name and released in 2014. Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a world that seems a little too perfect where there is no war, no pain, no suffering, and everything is pre-destined for you. That is right, when you turn a certain age, a job is selected for you. That all seems grand for everyone until Jonas is chosen to be the receiver of memories and to be taught by the giver (Jeff Bridges). The Giver opens up Jonas’s mind to things he had never seen in his life or imagined were possible and so Jonas wants to change the world he lives in, but he’ll face opposition from the elders. The film also stars Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) as Chief Elder, Alexander Skarsgård (Generation Kill) as Father, Katie Holmes (Batman Begins) as Mother, Odeya Rush (Goosebumps) as Fiona, Cameron Monaghan (Click) as Asher, Taylor Swift as Rosemary, and the film was directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt). 

the-giver-lois-lowry-interviewThe concept of the film should seem rather familiar to a lot of you book worms out there especially if you are a fan of the Maze Runner or Divergent series. A dystopian society that hides the ugliness of what happened in the past world. A life that is pre-determined for you right from birth, that should sound familiar to Divergent fans. These types of things happen all the time as it’s just in movies or music, but books do it too. An idea comes out that was really captivating and years later people expand on it and create their own universes. It also shouldn’t be a surprise that they released this film to try and capitalize on the popularity of those films too, but I am glad this is a one and done (or at least I think it is). Now I am not saying that I didn’t enjoy the film because I actually was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. I thought everything about it was actually very good and I am talking from the set, the acting, and the score were all amazing. The cinematography was well done and the different sets were terrific. I also liked the insert of the memories which included real life events as well as other things. The soundtrack is what stood out to me the most because it matched the typical mood and emotion of the film. I love how the film is mostly in black and white until Jonas starts to see color while others cannot. I thought that was very cool and it added emphasis to the change he was going through. If you were a fan of the book or you enjoy films like this, then check it out. For a final grade, it was hard to decide, but I am putting it on the B+/A- line.

Day 108: She’s Having A Baby (1988)

6999 copyI was looking for something to watch today and I saw that Epix Drive In was having an 80’s takeover weekend. So out of all the movies they were showing today and tonight, She’s Having A Baby is the only one I hadn’t seen. The film stars Kevin Bacon (Footloose) and Elizabeth McGovern (Kick-Ass) as newlyweds Jake and Kristy Briggs. You see everyone in the world thinks that Jake and Kristy have no idea what they are getting into when the two got married and to be honest I don’t believe that they fully knew. Even though they might be unprepared for what lies ahead of them, they will do their best to tackle whatever it is including the decision to have a baby. The film also stars Alec Baldwin (The Hunt For Red October) as Davis, James Ray (The Edge Of Night) as Mr. Briggs, Holland Taylor (Two And The Half Men) as Mrs. Briggs, William Windom (To Kill A Mockingbird) as Mr. Bainbridge, Paul Gleason (The Breakfast Club) as Howard, Dennis Dugan (Problem Child) as Bill, Edie McClurg (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) as Lynn, John Ashton (Beverly Hills Cop) as Ken, Larry Hankin (Home Alone) as Hank, and the film was written, directed, and produced by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club). 

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At first I had a hard time trying to figure out the plot of the film in accordance to what I should write as a synopsis above. The plot is as plain as day if you truly think about it because it’s all about whether we make the right choices or not. There are temptations in the world that makes us question the choices we made especially when it has to do with marriage. That is what both Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern’s characters face in the film as they get adjusted to each other and the life that follows. You can definitely tell when you are watching the film that it’s a John Hughes film because it has his name written all over it from the writing and the shots. Plus there is always this lesson that our main character learns in every film and Kevin has that lesson as well. Alec Baldwin lookss so young in this film, it’s crazy to see what he looks like now compared to then, but he was masterful in the film. If I were you guys I would stick around for the end credits as you gets some special appearances from actors like John Candy, Kirstie Alley, Ted Danson, Woody Harrelson, Dyan Cannon, Matthew Broderick, Dan Aykroyd, and so many more. If you are a fan of Kevin Bacon or even Kevin Bacon 80’s films, then give this one a look cause you never know you may enjoy this film. That is why I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.

Day 92: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

122215-big-fat-greek-wedding-2-poster.jpg.resize.400There are movies in the world that I always said that I would never bother checking out, but I have gone against my word a couple of times. One of those times was Magic Mike XXL and now My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the other film and that is also today’s film. The film fast forwards 17 years later as Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian’s (John Corbett) daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris) is at that age when she wants to leave the house and city for college. Toula is having a hard time with this as she also has to balance a problem at her parents house. Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) think they’ve been married, but it turns out the priest never signed their marriage certificate. So, Maria wants to have a real wedding and the family has to plan it. The film also stars Joey Fatone (Family Feud) as Angelo, Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog) as Aunt Voula, Gia Carides (Year One) as Nikki, Alex Wolff (The Sitter) as Bennett, Louis Mandylor (The Quest) as Nick, Bess Meisler (Daddy Day Care) as Mana Yiayia, John Stamos (Full House) as George, Mark Margolis (The Wrestler) as Panos, and the film was directed by Kirk Jones (Walking Ned Devine).

3c08f990f7258600cd7b4a0c5b692fdeAs far as the movie goes, I actually enjoyed watching this film for what it is. It follows that motto of no matter how dysfunctional or weird that your family might be, they are exactly what you call them which is family. The movie is fun to watch especially if you come from a European/Mediterranean family like I did which helps you connect with the family. When the family is whole and together on screen is where the real laughs happen in the film and there is plenty of it. Andrea Martin deserves a lot of credit for stealing some scenes in the film and being hilarious. The only thing that bugs me is that I never saw the first film so I have nothing to really base any judgement off of. I can’t tell you whether it’s better than the first which took the world by storm back in 2002. All I can really say is that the film was fun to watch and the acting is definitely where it’s at in this film. Kudos to the studio for getting all of the original cast members back for the film and even adding some cool cameos like Rob Riggle. One of the things I liked about the film was the soundtrack with a Greek cover of Billy Idol’s White Wedding (by George Kostoglou).  I thought it was cool.  The film isn’t the greatest film in the world, but it does it’s job which is to entertain you. I’ll have to check out the first film now that I have seen this one. I am going to give this one an B for a final grade.

Day 87: All The Right Moves (1983)

all the right movesSince the beginning of this bog, I don’t think I covered a film that starred Tom Cruise (Top Gun) who was one of my favorite actors from the 80’s. For today’s film, I chose All The Right Moves which stars Cruise as Stefen Djordjevic, a kid from Ampipe, a steel town in Pennsylvania. You see in Ampipe, there are only two options it seems for most of their residents, you either work in the dying steel mills or you go to college. All Stefen ever dreams of is to have the chance to get out of Ampipe and so he uses football as the means to an end. The only problem is that Stefen’s attitude and his high school coach Nickerson (Craig T. Nelson) stands in the way of his escape. The film also stars Lea Thompson (Back To The Future) as Lisa, Charles Cioffi (Shaft) as Pop, Gary Graham (Alien Nation) as Greg, Paul Carafotes (Fight Club) as Salvucci, Christopher Penn (Best Of The Best) as Brian, Sandy Faison (Guiding Light) as Suzie, Leon (Cool Runnings) as Shadow, Jonas Chaka (Biker Boyz) as Mouse, Keith Diamond (Dr. Giggles) as Fox, James A. Baffico (Dawn Of The Dead) as Bosco, and the film was directed by Michael Chapman (The Clan Of The Cave Bear).

all the right moves 2This was your average early 80’s teen flick that happened to star a future megastar and one of the finest women of the 80’s. While the scene between Thompson and Cruise isn’t very long, it surely is a really good one. Tom Cruise was well he is Tom Cruise so he puts on the performance you would expect from him and have seen in all of the movies he has been in. Lea Thompson is great as the first under appreciated girlfriend who has to make a tough decision later on in the film even though it could be the end. The football parts of the film are pretty good, but the real story of this film is the town itself. There was a time in this nation when certain production heavy cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit were in big trouble because production was moving elsewhere and you see that touched upon in this film. People are getting laid off and one character whose in high school even resorts to armed robbery because he feels he has no other option. So, while the film is essentially about the struggle of two characters who are looking to get out of this town, there is a bigger picture around it. I didn’t understand the title of the film because clearly Cruise’s character makes all the wrong moves, but it all works out for him in the end because even Coach wakes up. I liked the movie and so I am going to give it an B+ for a final grade.