Friday, January 30, 2015

Movie Review: Black or White

Black or White is basically Kevin Costner vs. Octavia Spencer - and ever since The Help, I'd go see a movie where Spencer reads the phone book, to be honest (I love her acting). This film touches upon many issues that are very relevant today, and it was interesting to see how it played out.

Elliot Anderson (Costner) has just lost his wife, and now is the only person raising his 7-year-old granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell). Her father, Reggie (Andre Holland), is a drug addict who hasn't been in the picture for a while now, and Elliot's 17-year-old daughter died in childbirth. Eloise DOES have a grandmother, however (Spencer), and many cousins, all of whom live in a part of L.A. very different from Elliot's. "Grandma We-We," as her other grandmother, Rowena, calls herself, would like to raise Eloise as her own - she's already doing that for a few of her nieces and nephews; but Elliot won't have it. Soon, they both find themselves embroiled in a family court case, led by Rowena's lawyer brother, Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie), and although Rowena and Elliot both want what's best for Eloise, they both have very strong opinions, as well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

6 Movies Review + Giveaway: Robin Williams double feature + 4-in-1 Suspense Collection, ends 2/8

*Disclosure: I received these movies for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

On January 6, Mill Creek Entertainment released many movies via multipack, and I received the chance to review a few of them. I chose the Robin Williams double feature, as he was one of my favorite actors, and also the 4-in-1 Suspense Collection.

The Robin Williams double feature includes Jakob the Liar - one of the saddest movies you'll ever see, and also a great performance by Williams - and Moscow on the Hudson, from 1984, which I am looking forward to viewing at some point.

The 4-in-1 Suspense Collection includes Panic Room, Flatliners, Perfect Stranger, and Freedomland. I'm looking forward to watching Perfect Stranger and Freedomland, as I don't think I've seen those yet, and both Panic Room and Flatliners are very good.

Mill Creek also released the following, on January 6th, and the collections - at $11.23 each on sale - are a great deal. That's about $2.80 per movie, for the 4-in-1 DVDs!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Godzilla Returns ... Again?

Guest post by: Maria Ramos

Godzilla 1954 movie poster
He is the granddaddy of all movie monsters and the preeminent terror of Tokyo. He is Godzilla, the incredible fire-breathing titan of destruction, who caused audiences to rush from theatres in a frenzy of fear. Reactions to Gojira, the 1954 Toho Studios film that launched the franchise, tapped into national fears surrounding the then-recent use of atomic bombs on Japanese citizens. Since the 1950’s, several versions - 29 in all - of the monster flick were made by various international production studios. Recent news from Toho however, states that the original producers are ready to revamp Godzilla as he was in his initial incarnation - a sea monster bordering on godliness, defending the interests of the Earth.

In Japan, the original Godzilla picture is known as a science fiction kaiju film, a genre which roughly translates to mean "strange creature." In this case, the monster's attack is directly inspired by the American atomic bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. When Godzilla attacks Tokyo, his nuclear-fire breath rains radioactive terror over all who are unfortunate enough to be in his path. The film was a sensational hit, and gave audiences a pop cultural reference point for their wartime grief.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

DVD Review: Best Men (1997)

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Best Men (1997) is now a MGM Limited Edition DVD, and I was excited to review the movie because Drew Barrymore is one of my favorite actresses. It turned out she wasn't actually in the movie much - it focuses more on her groom and his best men (hence, the title), who get involved in a bank robbery, even though they definitely weren't planning on it.

Official synopsis:
Hope’s (Drew Barrymore) big mistake on her wedding day was sending the groomsmen to collect her jailbird fiancĂ© Jesse (Luke Wilson) from prison. For on the way from the penitentiary, the best man, Billy (Sean Patrick Flanery), decides he needs a little cash infusion from the town bank…so he holds it up! But it’s not long before all of the groomsmen are held up – when the cops surround the place! And since neither hell nor high water will stop Hope from having her day…she rushes into join her fugitive wedding party, at the risk of spending her honeymoon – not to mention the rest of her life – behind bars!

This was definitely a blast from the past - I was 10 when this movie came out, and it's rated R, so I had not seen it at the time. Dean Cain, who is very hot here whom I used to love on his Superman show, plays one of the best men, as does Andy Dick and Dean Patrick Flannery. Luke Wilson is the groom-to-be, who never actually makes it to the church altar, because it turns out one of his best men is Hamlet, the infamous bank robber who decides to get in a quick robbery before going to his best friend's wedding! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Kernel Season's Popcorn Party Pack Giveaway, ends 2/1

Kernel Season's makes a variety of popcorn seasonings, and I have a party pack giveaway for one of my lucky readers to win! This would make a great addition to your popcorn on a family movie night or perhaps a night home with friends or a significant other.

Here's a bit about the company:
  • It's local! It was founded in 1999 by then-University of Michigan student Brian Taylor, who was looking for a tasty addition to his popcorn. He mixed what is now the original Kernel Season's recipe in his college dorm room.
  • In the 2000s, Brian began teaming up with flavor experts to create a line of seasonings.
  • In 2005, Kernel Season's began selling its products overseas.
  • Today: the company is the leader in the popcorn seasoning category! It sells 12 different seasonings, ranging from your standards (white cheddar, popcorn salt, kettle corn) to the unusual (milk chocolate caramel, bacon cheddar, buffalo wing). 

Movie Review: Mortdecai

We officially have our first awful movie of 2015 ... and it's only January. I had high hopes for Mortdecai, because of its cast: Johnny Depp (in a weirdo role, as usual), Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, and more; however, the first twenty minutes or so of the film are boring, and the film continues to offer only light laughs - if any - throughout the rest of its runtime.

Mortdecai (Depp) is rich (or at least was, at one time or another) but he and his wife (Paltrow) are looking at bankruptcy, as they owe about $8M in back taxes. A detective (Ewan McGregor) who is familiar with Mortdecai's stolen art background comes to him for help in finding a priceless painting that was stolen, and offers a finders fee. Mortdecai, who lives in England, flies all over the world to find the painting, from LA to Russia and back, and learns a few surprising things about the painting in the process.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Movie Review: The Wedding Ringer

The Wedding Ringer is one of those perplexing comedies where about half of the movie is quite hilarious, but the other half isn't really that funny. It's Kevin Hart who makes the movie here, not Josh Gad, and some of the dialogue ended up being flat, but Hart still makes it work.

Doug Harris (Gad) has a problem: he's marrying the girl of his dreams, Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), but has no groomsmen, whereas she has about six or seven bridesmaids. Even worse than that, he has no best man. Doug hears about a "wedding ringer," aka a best man for hire, and finally meets up with him: Jimmy Callahan (Hart), a man whose Best Man services can be bought, for a price. Doug explains that he'll need groomsmen too, and Jimmy sets out to perform the first "Golden Tux": all "rented" groomsmen plus him as the best man. New identities are forged, and Doug goes about introducing his Best Man, "Bic Mitchum," to his fiancee and her family, with sometimes unintentional side effects.