Saturday, July 25, 2015


I've been wanting to see this movie for a number of reasons. First, ever since I was little I've been a huge fan of boxing as well as sports dramas. Second, I found out that this was written/produced by Kurt Sutter who was the writer/creator of one of my favorite shows- Sons of Anarchy. Now that I've finally seen it, what do I think? Well despite a disappointing beginning, Southpaw blew me away it was so good.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope, a boxer at the top of his career. Suddenly, and I'm not spoiling anything here because they show it in the trailer, his wife Maureen (Rachel McAdams) is killed and, due to his behavior in the aftermath, he loses custody of his daughter Leila (Oona Laurence). Hitting rock bottom, he begins working for/training with former boxer Tick Willis (Forrest Whitaker) in order to build himself back up and get his daughter back.

The movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who directed last years The Equalizer which I actually liked. He does a pretty good job here, but I have some mixed feelings. The first 30 minutes or so moved really slowly and it was edited poorly. It's hard to describe unless you actually see it. I was about to write this movie off but then, and this is probably horrible of me to say, once Billy's wife dies things really get going. I liked his pretty spot on portrayal of boxing culture as well as all the family drama.

Maybe I'm biased, but I think a lot of credit goes to Kurt Sutter's writing. He's created a story that at times is emotionally powerful. I'll admit it's your typical cliched sports/drama movie that's very predictable. But that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.

This is very much a movie that's all about the performances. Jake Gyllenhaal... wow!! All the positive things you've heard about him in this are absolutely true. It's scary the way he was able to transform and fully immerse himself in the character. The only thing was I couldn't understand a damn word he was saying half the time. I had an easier time understanding Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. Anyway, you really believe him as a boxer.   Especially in the final fight scene which is bad ass and felt so real that it had me on the edge of my seat.

What I loved just as much if not more than that final fight scene was the scenes between Jake and his onscreen daughter. They were very convincing and it just broke my heart seeing them. I teared up quite a bit. Oona Laurence is a great young actress and I hope to see her in more movies.

Southpaw wasn't nearly on the same level as say Warrior was for me, but I'm still glad I saw it. If you can get past the first 30 minutes, I think you will too. I promise it's worth the effort.

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, July 19, 2015


I must admit I've never been a big Judd Apatow fan. The only movie of his that I kind of like is Knocked Up. But when I saw the trailer for his latest movie Trainwreck I thought it looked funny and could actually be good. And you know what? For the most part it was.

Trainwreck stars Amy Schumer as Amy, who, starting at a young age, has had it drilled in her head by her father Gordon (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn't realistic. She's always taken that to heart. But that could all change when she falls for sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), the subject of an article she's writing.

One of my favorite things about the movie was the chemistry between Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. They're both really funny actors and I thought they worked well together. I'd love to see them do another movie in the future.

There are a lot of cameos here, most of them are great while a few will make you go, what the hell? My favorite, and this really isn't a spoiler because he's in the trailer, is Lebron James. I wouldn't really call it a cameo though since he had a bit more screentime than that. He plays himself, just slightly fictionalized, and is good friends with Bill Hader's character. His scenes got some of the biggest laughs out of me.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack as well. Each song they used fit perfectly with each scene.

As far as romantic comedies go, you've seen this all before. It doesn't really add anything new. Does this make it a bad movie? Far from it. With these types of movies if I can get a couple of really good laughs, as was the case here, then I consider it a success.

My one big issue was I felt the movie dragged on a bit too long in the last act. The movie is a little over two hours long and by the time it got to the end I thought, This really should've been over about ten minutes ago. 

Trainwreck was one of the better romantic comedies I've seen in a long time. It's a lot of fun and offers a pretty honest look at relationships. It's definitely worth seeing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Terminator Genisys (IMAX 3D)

I've always been a huge fan of the Terminator franchise, with the exception of that god awful third movie. Yes, I even liked Terminator Salvation. But when I heard they were going to make a fifth movie I thought, is this really necessary? So I went into this with very low expectations and came out surprised. While it wasn't nearly on the same level as the first two movies, it was still pretty good!

Terminator Genisys starts out much like the first movie. Resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) from a Terminator trying to kill her thus preventing John from ever being born. But due to something major that happens, when Kyle gets there, nothing is what he expected it to be.

Director Alan Taylor (whose previous work includes Thor: The Dark World and a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones) does an amazing job being very respectful of the first two movies while at the same time making it it's own thing. He really paid attention to details and was able to recreate the classic opening scenes from the first movie, just with a slightly different twist.

The visual effects were very nicely done. I was especially impressed with the way they were able to recreate the 1984 Terminator/Arnold. To prepare for this movie, I went back and watched the original on Netflix and honestly I couldn't tell the difference. That's how good it was.

It was no nice to see Arnold back! This time around he plays a Terminator who is reprogrammed to go back and rescue a young Sarah Connor (I think she's around 9 at the time) as well as protect and raise her. Sarah even lovingly refers to him as Pops. Arnold's scenes with Emilia, whose take on Sarah Connor I loved and she even looks like a young Linda Hamilton, were very sweet and even funny at times.

While I said this movie was pretty good, it's far from perfect. For one thing, good lord Jai Courtney can't act! His performance as Kyle Reese was so robotic most of the time. Would it kill him to show just a little emotion? I've heard from many people, and I agree with them, that he would've been better off playing a Terminator. However, he is really nice to look at so that's a plus. And he did have decent enough chemistry with Emilia.

Also, as bad ass as the action scenes were, some of them went on too long or just weren't necessary all together.

If you're planning on seeing this in theaters don't bother seeing it in 3D. It's not even noticeable most of the time.

Terminator Genisys obviously isn't the best movie in the franchise. but it's a hell of a lot better than the third movie or even Salvation. They really tried to do something different and I can't wait to see where they go from here.

My Rating: 8/10

Magic Mike XXL

Once again, my ovaries have exploded! It's funny, my review for the first Magic Mike still holds the record for the most hits one of my reviews has gotten. I wonder if this one can top it since Magic Mike XXL was even better than the first.

The movie takes place three years after the events of the first. Mike (Channing Tatum) is back along with Dick (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) for one last ride at a male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach.

A big thank you to Gregory Jacobs for listening to us and including way more stripping scenes than the first. Although if I had my way it would be two hours of nothing but stripping. There's still a story there and a decent one at that, but that's not what you came to see. This isn't going to be winning any Oscars and they know that. I given them credit for not taking themselves too seriously and trying to be something it's not.

I really enjoyed the performances. The actors all looked like they had such a fun time filming this. Channing Tatum... wow!! Some of the moves he pulled off I didn't think were physically possible. After him, my favorite would be Joe Manganiello. There's a scene of him in a convenience store that when you get a glimpse of it in the trailer it looks stupid. But once you see it in the movie and how it plays out it's actually hysterical.

Matt Bomer was also really good. I had no idea he could sing so well! I hope he does more of that in the future.

Speaking of music, I thought the soundtrack was perfect and fun and fit well with the amazingly choreographed dance/stripping routines.

My only complaint, and it's very minor, would be there were a few moments during some of the non stripping scenes that seemed to really drag. It's like, get back to the stripping dammit!

Magic Mike was crazy and fun. A perfect way to start off the 4th of July weekend. Definitely go see it if you get a chance.

My Rating: 9/10