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A Dog's Purpose (2017)
This Dog's Life Recap With the Number One Philosophical Question
If you're a person who currently has or ever had a close connection with a canine, "A Dog's Purpose" will serve as a validation of feelings. For those who have ever seriously wanted to know what dogs are thinking, this movie won't have those answers.
"A Dog's Purpose", based on a 2010 novel written by American humorist W. Bruce Cameron, is directed by Lasse Hallström. The movie follows the spirit of a dog throughout several of it's reincarnated dog lives. It shows audiences a take on a male dog's journey from his point-of- view of his multiple lives with different human owners. It seems to be from a human's view of what one may think dogs are thinking. The only physical form this male spirit inhabits is that of a dog. Those various dogs include a German Shepard, Golden Retriever, Saint Bernard.
Although the dog spirit interacts with other animals, the only voice we hear is what this dog is thinking and never what the other animals, such as dogs, cats, and a donkey or "dog horse" are thinking or what messages they are relaying to him.
Though not the first life, the one that stuck with this dog spirit the most was that of the Golden Retriever where he was rescued from a heated car by a mother and her son named Ethan. Ethan (played by Bryce Gheisar, then K.J. Apa, and later Dennis Quaid) was the first human to form a close bond with him and named him Bailey (voiced by actor Josh Gad). A name that stuck with this dog spirit until the very end.
However, just because Bailey is a dog, doesn't mean he doesn't have the most important philosophical question and yearning that all humans have. That is "what is my purpose". He seeks this answer throughout all of his travels in each life. Yet, ending-up unfulfilled which results in another attempt to start all over and do it all again in a different dog bodies (one female) with different human owners.
One of his "best lives" was as a smaller mixed...FULL REVIEW at HollywoodJunket.com
Troy Builds Fences, Denzel Takes Them Down
In the new movie "Fences" based on an August Wilson play with the same name, lead actor and director Denzel Washington explores places with the film unexplored in the play.
The story takes place in 1957 and depicts the daily life of an African-American family consisting of Troy (Denzel Washington), Rose (Viola Davis), Cory (Jovan Adepo) living in the city of Pittsburgh, playwright August Wilson's hometown. The struggles of their everyday life where Troy maintains his job as a garbage man, seeking a promotion, and Rose is the matriarch who's constantly going up for bat for their 16-year-old son Cory who has a promising future as a profootball player. An opportunity Troy is partially cautious of and partially jealous of. He himself sought a career as a pro athlete.
Troy's guilt of using his brother, Gabriel's (Mykelti Williamson) insurance money from an accident for being his caretaker to buy the house for his family along with growing up with an abusive father and coping with the lack of moving forward in his life results in drinking and abusive behavior towards his son.
The majority of the cast reprise their roles in the film from the play which they had acted in on Broadway. Viola Davis who plays Rose, won a Tony for her portrayal.
During the first Los Angeles screening of the movie, the full cast was present to answer questions from Variety editor who moderated the event.
Seven years ago, producer Scott Rudin send Denzel Washington a screenplay. "Wilson wrote a masterpiece. One of the great plays of all time .it's the gift that keeps on giving," Washington described the "Fences" play.
In the film "Fences", "we get to see how Rose feels when Troy leaves. That wasn't in the play" said Washington.
Viola Davis said the two things that Washington said to the actors before filming were, "remember the one" and "trust me." Davis said "he's got a bullshit meter. A lot of actors don't know what to say to you to bring it out." She said of Washington that he's a great leader and you can trust him.
The young actor, Jovan Adepo, who plays Washington's son, Cory said he cried when he learned he got the role in "Fences." He said "it's a role you wait for and it's a blessing."
In the first act, Rose points out to Troy to finish the fence, a project that he has been working on with son Cory. A fence, it's noted to either keep the ones Rose loves in, or a fence to keep others out.
Full review at: HollywoodJunket.com
Though a lot has changed, nothing has changed
A key component to the start of this four episode installment is Rory is 32-years-old. The exact same age that Lorelai Gilmore was when viewers first met her with Rory, who was 16-years-old. Exactly 16 years apart from each other. Even as a young teenager, Rory was always the level-headed intellect of the household. So, it was a little unexpected that we now catch-up with a Rory who has fallen to the plight of many millennials bouncing around from place to place, "like a vagabond" as her grandmother Emily Gilmore described. She said, "having no permanent address, that's not normal." Without a job, and no footing in her journalism career, Rory returns home to Lorelai who was more grounded at her age.
This journey finds Rory jumping from one red-eye flight out of Star Hallow to New York, and London, to the next. Constantly in a state of travel. On the other side, things have remained much the same for some very familiar faces and friends. Miss Patty (though quite a few pounds lighter) is still running her dance school. Kurt is still jumping from job-to-job while living with his mother. In this episode, Kurt thinks he's clever to come-up with his own version of popular ride-sharing business Uber and calling it "Ooo-ber". This only lasts long enough until he is faced with a lawsuit.
The local town street singer/guitarist is still standing on corners crooning-up original tunes, while being threatened by his alleged sister who attempts to do the same. Michel and Jackson are still holding their own at the Lorelai owned Inn, The Dragonfly, minus Sookie who, as Michel stated with much contempt is off on a year plus sabbatical in the woods to help cultivate foods to save the world. Thus, the Inn remains in chef limbo where Lorelai displays the same trait as Emily with housekeepers, cutting chefs loose one after the other.
Taylor is still running the town with much the same abrasiveness as always. His latest passion project is convincing locals to sign a petition to update the city's septic tanks to sewers. Then, there's Luke (Scott Patterson). Luke who is the crabby, yet lovable diner owner of "Luke's Dinner" and boyfriend to Lorelai. Always supportive of both Lorelai, Rory and his own daughter a student at M.I.T. by the way, by doing a wonderful thing like updating the diner's menus to display Rory's New Yorker article on the back.
Then, there are some whom we almost forgotten, like Gypsy, the town's mechanic. Her patience wears thin while reviving Lorelai's Jeep Wrangler yet once again. And Lane's mom. Yes, she still rules things her way with an iron fist. Rory's best friend Lane, who has two kids, is still rocking out with her band as a drummer with her vocalist husband Zack. Fans will also feel the welcoming familiarity of lovable neighbor Babette Dell, played by Sally Struthers.
Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) who is the strongest and fiercest woman around, is now in a state of uncharted territory, vulnerability after the loss of her husband of 50 years, Richard (played by actor Edward Kirk Herrmann who passed away two years ago). Upon a traditional dinner visit with Rory and Lorelai, we see one of the infamous Emily and Lorelai fights after Lorelai pressures Emily to admit she got Richard's portrait measurement wrong, thus resulting in a whole wall sized mural. On a lighter note, Emily seems to be getting along with her newest maid Berta whom she can't understand a word she says, but welcomed her kids (so she thinks) into her vast home.
Then, we time jump to four months earlier to the day of Richard's funeral where the original fuel to the fire was sparked after Lorelai dishonored Richard's memory with two unpleasant experiences she has as a child. An incident that seems to be unforgivable and one Emily is not bound to get over anytime soon. After Lorelai convinces Emily that minimalism is not the answer, and telling her "nothing's going to give you joy right now. Your husband just died," Lorelai suggests therapy sessions which later leads to them undergoing together. Something that could have helped them ages ago. Viewers will see this in the next episode called "Spring."
Please visit: HollywoodJunket.com for full review
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
Almost as Fun as First Neighbors
Two years later, audiences will get to catch-up on married couple Kelly and Mac Radner (played by Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen) along with infant daughter Stella (Elise & Zoey Vargas) now a toddler. After clearing- out an extremely disruptive fraternity house next door in "Neighbors", "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" presents the couple with the same problem, only with all female protagonists who are a college Sorority.
Neighbors 2 opens with the couple now living quietly with an empty house next door (once inhabited by Delta Psi Beta). The Radners are in the process of closing the final sell on their home as the buyers enter a 30-day escrow. That means, the buyers may pull-out of finalizing the sell if they should find something wrong with the house (you can probably already see where this is going).
Neighbors 2′ updates us with characters Teddy who is finding it difficult to move beyond working at Abrecombie & Fitch due to his criminal record gained from harassing the Radners, Scoonie, now a successful inventor, and Pete who has some unexpected news of his own.
The alignment of various unfortunate events that include a sorority rule that prohibits them from partying, three disgruntled pledges who set out to start their own sorority calling it "Kappa Nu" bypassing the anti-sorority party law, and their encounter with Delta Psi's Teddy (Zac Efron) combined with the available house for sell next to the Radners all lead to the upheaval that threatens the successful completion of their escrow.
Feeling down on his luck with a new whirlwind of events in his life, Teddy is compelled to start-up war again with the Radners and lends himself to Kappa Nu as a mentor, until their ungrateful behavior moves him to join the Radners in the war.
There were some very funny moments in Neighbors 2′. However, what was missing was the creative and slew of unexpected pranks that the characters were constantly one-uping each other with in the first one.
The meat of the story in Neighbors 2′ is focused on a battle of not only the neighbors, but also, a battle of the sexes. By the last act, everyone comes to the conclusion of what the bigger picture is and the importance of doing the right thing no matter what the Radner's undesirable consequences may be.
Full Review at: HollywoodJunketdotcom
Death and Celebs in The West - Not A Winning Combo!
Written by: Myles Warden for Hollywood Junket
Disease. Gun Fight. Snake Bite. Bar Fight. These are just some of the ways Seth MacFarlene uses to execute in his newest film A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST.
A Million Ways To Die In The West is a comedy that is directed by, written by, and stars Seth MacFarlene. Or, as every advertisement would like to remind us "THE GUY WHO BROUGHT US TED!" He also gets some help from his "Ted" writing partners Alec Sulkin and Wellessley Wild and some very famous costars, as some equally famous cameos by Ewan McGregor, Gilbert Gottfried, Christopher Lloyd, Dennis Haskins.
Besides the subplot of all the ways to die in the west the movie is about Seth's character Albert, a terrible and courage-less sheep farmer, who loses his girlfriend Louise, played by Amanda Seyfried, by withdrawing from a gun fight and attempts to get her back by making her jealous with his new to town friend Anna (Charlize Theron). Of course he falls in love with this new girl and eventually discovers she's married to the baddest man in the west which leads to trouble.
One thing's for sure Seth knows how to pull in the A-list talent and if you've ever seen Family Guy or Ted you know he loves a good random cameo as well. This movie is no exception with Liam Neeson playing Anna's husband Clinch (the best shooter in the west), Giovanni Ribisi as Albert's virgin best friend Edward, Sarah Silverman as Albert's prostitute girlfriend Ruth, Neil Patrick Harris as Louise's new rich beau Foy, and a slew of surprise cameos. It's definitely an embarrassment of riches of talent for any director so the question is does Seth make the most of his riches or does he die trying? The answer is - kind of. Allow me to explain. There were a ton of extremely hilarious moments such as the musical number with Neil Patrick Harris' character Foy, numerous interactions between Ruth and Edward, and of course each surprise cameo packed a great punch, Christopher Lloyds' Emmett "Doc" Brown from "Back to the Future" movies included. On the other hand there were a ton of scenes that lasted too long or entire acts, which is the case with the final act of the movie. There were also a few deaths that just had zero funny in them.
You can't really drag out the ending to a movie when everyone knows how it will play out and we're just kind of waiting to get there and hoping for laughs along the way. Every scene did serve a purpose but if that purpose doesn't also make you laugh in a comedy then it's null and void. With that said there were simply too many scenes where that was the case.
There were some magical moments where everything clicked. One of the best examples is the annual county fair. Here we get a few hilarious and random deaths and our first interaction between Albert, his ex Louise, his new friend Anna, and Louise's new boyfriend Foy. This scene shows everyone's personality perfectly and also sets up the path for the rest of the film. We also get to hear Neal Patrick Harris say "challenge accepted" and get a very funny cameo from a 90's TV principal.
I will also say the cast did a splendid job and were perfect for the roles they were cast in. Seth even managed to pull off some emotional moments very well. Too bad the acting just couldn't make this as great as TED (assuming you loved TED like I did) and it falls short too often. Not a complete loss but not a movie you'll want to watch twice.
MORE at: HollywoodJunket.com
Zac Efron Brings the Party to Neighbors!
Written by: Myles Warden for Hollywood Junket
NEIGHBORS is an original comedy (which doesn't happen too often these days) written by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O'Brien. The movie stars Seth Rogen as Mac Radner, a recently married man with a newborn, and Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders who is the president of the fraternity that just moved next door.
Mac Radner and his wife Kelly (played by Rose Byrne) have just settled in to their newly acquired home, which that have spent "ALL" of their money on, with their newborn child when Teddy and his frat move next door and turn the neighborhood upside down. If you've just had a little baby girl the last thing you want her doing is growing up next door to a frat house full of partying, horny, and shirtless boys but unfortunately that is the situation Mac and Kelly have been placed in. As if sleep weren't hard enough to come by with a newborn throw in a 24 hour party next door and you can forget about ever sleeping again. After Mac's attempt at peace by befriending the frat fails Mac spends the rest of the movie trying to get the frat to move, kicked out of the neighborhood, or arrested while Teddy tries to make Mac and Kelly's life a living hell.
Mac and Kelly are a textbook case of not yet ready to grow-up and embrace their thirty-something ages. Faced with the major life-shift of raising a baby gives them a rude-awakening and strong contrast of what their lives once were by the reminder of the young college kids that moved next door. After complaining about the noise one night, Teddy (Zach Efron) and the fraternity vice-president Pete (played by Dave Franco - yes, brother of James Franco) decide to try to win them over on their side - as they have with all of the neighbors, by inviting them into the party. The "old people" (Mac and Kelly) gladly accept. However, the very next night, the couple break a promise that they made to Teddy, and this is when an all-out war between the neighbors start. That's where the movie gets very interesting and even cartoonishly funny during some key scenes. You'll know which ones they are.
Honestly I wasn't sure if this premise could hold up for 90 minutes without being extremely repetitive but I'm amazed at how the writers were able to pull it off using some very sound logic. I'm sure veteran director Nicholas Stoller (The Five Year Engagement, Get Him To The Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc) aided in this as well. Every time you would say to yourself "well why don't they just do "this" that's exactly what the couple would try or think and it wouldn't work. For that I take my hat off.
Not to give all credit to the supporting cast, and even though Seth Rogen was the great Seth everyone loves, I must say the best performance belongs to Zac Efron in what is one of his best leading performance yet. I feel the role provided him an opportunity to show us sides of him we haven't seen (except in glimpse in Grown Ups 2) but worked as he'd been doing these type of characters for a decade. You can tell when an actor genuinely enjoys what he's doing and Zac had fun bringing the party to college and to the movie. Hopefully he'll do more comedies in this lane.
Full review and more at: HollywoodJunket.com
The Other Woman (2014)
Keeping Four Women Happy, Impossible!
A Hollywood press movie screening is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get. In this case you are getting a guy's review of a chick flick and that is just the beginning. While waiting for the movie to start guess who sits next to me? None other than Mario Lopez.
I explained to Mario that I was supposed to be seeing this movie with my wife however she was held up on set and it was now up to me to watch this movie and write a review. Mario expressed his sympathy for me, since he too had to watch the same chick flick, well at least I have some company now.
Even before the movie started the drama began (wait isn't this a comedy?) with someone down near the front being thrown out by security! As well as a myriad of strange projection problems apparently the popcorn isn't the only thing theaters can't get right nowadays (thanks AMC).
So what's this movie about anyway? Directed by Nick Cassavetes, THE OTHER WOMAN summed-up in a nutshell - After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he's been cheating on. And when yet another affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on the three-timing SOB. Sounds interesting right? let's get into character shall we!
In present day New York City we meet Mark King played by Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau (is that the king slayer? YES) this character is the kind of guy who drives a $300,000.00 Aston Martin (don't scratch that paint!) and has an eye for the ladies, oh yeah and he is married too.
Carly Whitten played by Cameron Diaz is a successful professional woman spending her days hard at work in her office and her nights hard at work on Mark King. At this point Carly does not know that Mark is married.
When Carly show's up at Marks house one night dressed as a provocative "plumber", guess who answers the door? I'll give you a hint it's not Mark and it's not the "house keeper" either! Yes, it's his wife Kate (Leslie Mann).
Kate feels betrayed by Mark and wants revenge, but wants Carly's help. Not until Kate finds out that Mark has a second girl friend Amber played by Kate Upton, that Carly agrees to help Kate.
So if two girls friend weren't bad enough a third must be the extent of Mark's mistress mischief right? Wrong! it get even weirder, more bizarrely diabolical and then the revenge part actually starts.
THE OTHER WOMAN is like a modern day 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton movie) on overtime. Yes it's true this is most definitely a chick flick with strong over tones of insane farce, Much of the story line straddles the borderline of what some women may have experienced in "the dating world" coupled with outlandish situations that could not possibly occur in real life to anyone.
Full review and MORE reviews at: HollywoodJunket.com
Brick Mansions (2014)
Everything made up of bricks isn't always rock solid!
- Written by: Myles Warden for Hollywood Junket
Everything made up of bricks isn't always rock solid. "Brick Mansions" proves that. The action film starring the late Paul Walker is a remake of the 2004 French film "District 13". In it Paul Walker plays Officer Damien Collier from Detroit. It's a few years into the future and things have got even worse for inner city Detroit. I'm talking from "I got shot" bad to "I got shot and there's no hospitals" bad.
The government has decided to build walls around this area to keep people from going in and out and then to save money also decided to stop funding the basics such as hospitals, police, schools, etc. The poor area now known as Brick Mansions is basically being ran by a major drug dealer named Tremaine Alexander whose played by RZA (of the world famous Wu Tang Clan...More on that later). This guy is basically the wealthy king of a drug infested and broke down castle. His only opponent is a good (yet extremely tough) guy named Lino Dupree (David Belle) who is hell bent on stopping Tremaine and keeping drugs out of his neighborhood. This street smart and talented fighter is played by David Belle who actually starred in the original French film as well.
The good part of this film like most action films is indeed... You guessed it. THE ACTION. You can tell Paul Walker put forth 110% into nailing these brilliant and jaw dropping Parkour and Brazilian jiu jitsu moves. This style of movement and fighting is new to American audiences and Paul Walker was proud to introduce us to it in the best way possible. Having one of the eight founders, creators of the Parkour movement in Belle, helped tremendously and although he was retired from action films before this you could not tell at all. The 40-year-old moved around in this movie like a 20 year old Jackie Chan.
The bad part of this movie was the dialogue. Terrible and cliché dialogue ruined so many scenes for me. The dialogue was so over the top during a very pivotal part of the movie Tremaine, played by RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), emphatically states "Where I'm from cash rules everything around me." You don't have to be a huge Wu-Tang fan to get that reference from one of their most famous songs 'C.R.E.A.M." which stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me. This quote and many others caused the entire audience to groan and chuckle during moments that were meant to be intense.
The movie wasn't all bad though besides the action sequences it actually had a decent story foundation. The characters had great motives and back stories. There were even a couple good plot twists that were woven into the story seamlessly yet somehow it all just didn't add up to a great film. Also, I love a happy ending more than most but something about this ending was almost "too happy." Full review and MORE reviews at: HollywoodJunket.com
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
The Superhero Next Door!
he last time we saw Kick-Ass he struggled to answer the question: "What is a superhero?" He teetered on wanting to be the good guy who does the right thing, but also not cross the line. Big Daddy and Hit Girl, on the other hand, had the masks, the money, and the martial arts. They killed people freely if it meant getting the job done. So, though Kick-Ass was technically the first real-life superhero, most viewers would consider Big Daddy and Hit Girl the real deal. Now, the sequel delves a little deeper and asks, "What does it mean to be a superhero in the real world? Are you a civilian disguised as a hero or a hero disguised as a civilian?"
In the sequel, Mindy or "Hit Girl" played by Chole Grace Moretz and Dave, a.k.a. "Kick-Ass" portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, practically swap places. Rather than Dave trying to get the girl and come into his own during high school, he's out in the streets beating people with his batons. Then, Mindy, who was able to kill multiple men each night without giving a single thought, finds herself being bested by a new kind of evil: the mean girls of high school.
Kick-Ass 2 definitely packs a punch both in humor and in battles. The flick follows a new group of superheroes, including a few of the originals, and their attempt to make the comic-book world a reality. Expect super villains and their evil lairs, homemade gadgets, a city in distress, and poignant family moments, a la Peter Parker and Uncle Ben.
But despite following these traditional patterns, these vigilantes turned superheroes have to discover that, unlike comic books, real world crime fighting comes with real world consequences. This time, it isn't just evil drug lords getting maimed and killed, but some of the good guys as well, giving the movie a slightly darker tone.
While some sequels fail to live up to the original installment, Kick-Ass 2 holds it's own and is really quite enjoyable giving it's viewers a little bit of everything: some laugh out loud comedy, emotional dialogue, self-discovery, puppy love, and of course, some kick ass fighting scenes.
* Be sure to stay for a scene after the closing credits are done! Kick-Ass 2 opens in theaters on Friday, August 16, 2013.
Movie review by: Shyla Watson / HollywoodJunket.com
The Smurfs 2 (2013)
Smurfnapping in Paris!
Those adorable Smurfs are back on the big-screen in the sequel to the 2011 blockbuster hit. They are as appealing today as they were when first introduced on television in 1981. Their contagious, cheerful energy draws you in and the optimism they possess throughout permeates the screen while trying to conquer the evil, Grinch-like Gargamel.
Gargamel still has an appeal that viewers love to hate. His somewhat likable bad guy continues to be the central character. In "the Smurfs 2, directed by Raja Gosnell who also directed "The Smurfs", and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is now a famous sorcerer living in Paris. His shows are always sold out and he has everything one always wanting more. He creates a couple of characters from a lump of clay (like Smurfette) called The Naughties Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), hoping to harness the magical Smurf essence so he can rule the world. He runs into a problem as his Naughties do not possess what he needs. Gargamel finds out that Smurfette (Katy Perry) is the only one who knows the secret of the essence, so, he sets out to have her kidnapped.
In Smurf Village, Smurfette has the feeling of not quite fitting in with the rest of the Smurfs because she was created by Gargamel. Papa Smurf made her a true blue Smurf. Katy Perry said, "In a way, it' like she's becoming a teenager, asking all the same kind of questions we all go through when we come of age. She's really trying to figure out if she's a real Smurf." Gargamel kidnaps her on the eve of her birthday. With Smurfette missing, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters, in his final performance) along with a few other Smurfs, decides to take matters into his own hands. Smurfette forms a bond with the Naughties who are like her brother and sister. When Papa Smurf attempts to rescue her, it's a question if she wants to be or not. There is more here than meets the eye as a secret is revealed which could affect the entire Smurf community.
This was a pleasant, funny, sweet, sometimes serious movie. I really enjoyed it. The Smurfs are adorable, the Naughties are cute, but the real surprise is Gargamel. Hank Azaria's work as the evil sorcerer was quite funny and very convincing. He brought forth a different kind of energy and it worked. Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, and Brendan Gleeson go through the motions but do not stand out.
The movie works because it doesn't connect only with children, but for adults as well. If you're looking for a fun summer movie, and are tired of Minions, go see The Smurfs 2 with the family.
"The Smurfs 2" opens in theaters July 31, 2013
- Written by: Michael Eisenberg / HollywoodJunket.com