Thursday, May 25, 2017

Movie Review: Baywatch (2017)

Movie Review: Baywatch (2017)

I've never seen the TV show that the movie version of Baywatch is based on, but a few of the original cast members are brought back for cameo roles in the movie. The show initially only ran for one season, and then was canceled by NBC; however, it was later picked up through syndication. Baywatch (2017) isn't the first spin-off of the show, but it is the first movie adaptation of it, and it takes place in Florida rather than California.

Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is the Lieutenant lifeguard of Baywatch, and they're looking to expand their team by three people this year. One slot will definitely be going to former Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron), who is mandated to be there for community service; the other two slots end up going to Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario) and the dedicated but clumsy Ronnie Greenbaum (Jon Bass), who is shocked when he's chosen for the team. However, something's not right currently in the bay - bodies keep washing ashore, as well as the drug flaca, and Mitch is convinced that real estate mogul Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra, Quantico) is somehow involved. The team must keep the bay safe, as well as investigate Leeds and see what her ultimate plan is.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Two Cinetopia Film Festival movie passes (for the ENTIRE festival!) - ends 5/29

GIVEAWAY: Two Cinetopia Film Festival movie passes (for the ENTIRE festival!)
*Disclosure: I will be attending Cinetopia Film Festival as media. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Cinetopia is one of my favorite film festivals to go to, and it takes place every summer in both Ann Arbor and Detroit. Last year, they added some Dearborn screenings too, at the Henry Ford Giant Screen Experience, too.

I'm very excited that one of my lucky readers has the chance to win TWO movie passes - one for you and one for a friend! This will get you in to any movie you'd like to see during the ENTIRE festival. And that's a lot of movies - in 2015, I saw 16 movies over the course of two weekends.

Each of these passes are worth $120, so this giveaway is a $240 value.

You can click here to see my top 10 choices out of this year's vast schedule, too; click here to see the festival's entire film lineup; and click here if you'd like to purchase a ticket. Tickets range for $12 for one movie to $150 for a festival pass. (or $120 for a movie pass, which is the festival pass minus the parties)

Monday, May 22, 2017

UPCOMING: Top 10 picks for the 2017 Cinetopia Film Festival, June 1-11, Ann Arbor & Detroit

*Disclosure: I will be receiving media passes for the festival. All opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

It's that time again! The Cinetopia Film Festival starts on Thursday, June 1st, and this will be my 4th year covering the festival here on my blog. I already have a tentative schedule for myself, and this year I'll be in town for most of the festival, as well (last year I was in out of town during one of the festival weekends) so I'm hoping to maximize the amount of films I get to see.

If you're unfamiliar with the festival, you can read more about it here, and also purchase tickets - prices range from $12 to a single ticket ($9 for Michigan Theater members) to $120 for a festival pass. If you're a student, you can score a festival pass for only $50, too.

>> Click HERE to enter to win TWO movie passes, valid for the entire festival! Ends 5/29/17.

*All images courtesy of

1. The Hero

2017 Cinetopia Film Festival, June 1-11, Ann Arbor & Detroit

MICHIGAN PREMIERE. Western star of yesteryear Lee Hayden (SAM ELLIOTT) likes to reminisce with his drug dealer buddy Jeremy (NICK OFFERMAN) about the good times gone by. But when Lee runs into a roadblock, he gets a fresh chance to reclaim the spotlight with the help of his new lover Charlotte (LAURA PREPON) and an industry award for his work. Director BRETT HALEY (I’ll See You in My Dreams) gives a strong, funny, and touching take on a man in his later years making the best of being in the moment.

This includes some big names - Nick Offerman is funny in most movies he's in, though this sounds more like a drama, and I'm a fan of Laura Prepon from Orange is the New Black.

2017 Cinetopia Film Festival, June 1-11, Ann Arbor & Detroit

When Li (BINGBING FAN, winner of the ASIAN FILM AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS) realizes that her divorce has become a sham, she decides to take on the Chinese bureaucracy. A series of personal battles with community officials provokes a tireless ten-year fight, ultimately taking her one-woman war for justice to Beijing and back. Enlisting the help of her potential new husband and the self-serving authorities who spar with her along the way, Li finds a surprising and poignant outcome. This smart, visually stunning, and insightful slice-of-life look at China won the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL CRITICS’ AWARD.

I've seen a lot of really good international films during previous Cinetopia years, and this sounds like it could be one of those. It's being shown in Mandarin with English subtitles, also.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

GIVEAWAY: 15 movies {action, sci-fi, war favorites} on DVD! {ends 5/29}

Mill Creek Entertainment recently released three collections of DVDs (with 5 movies on each collection) and one of my lucky readers has a chance to win ALL three!

About the collections:
Action Adventures - 5 Western Classics:

GIVEAWAY: 15 movies {action, sci-fi, war favorite
One-Eyed Jacks
(1961) Color Not Rated
Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Slim Pickens

A pair of bandits makes off with the gold from a bank heist but an opportunity arises where one man takes the gold for himself, leaving his partner to take the blame and face imprisonment in Mexican jail. Escaping from prison many years later, the wronged bandit searches for his former partner to exact his revenge upon him. The bandit finds his former partner has become a respected sheriff in California and the man still wishes to eliminate the man he betrayed.

Dan Candy’s Law
(1973) Color Rated PG
Donald Sutherland, Kevin McCarthy, Chief Dan George

Dan Candy (Donald Sutherland) is a Canadian Mountie searching for the Native American who murdered his partner. His relentless pursuit of the killer ends up placing him in extreme peril when the hunter becomes the hunted.

Gone with the West
(1978) Color Rated R
James Caan, Sammy Davis Jr., Stephanie Powers

Enlivened by star turns from James Caan and Sammy Davis, Jr. we follow the tale of a not-so-reputable hero, Jud McGraw and a less-than-innocent Indian maid, known as Little Moon. They have both come to the deserted town of Black Miller to settle old scores. Out of the smoldering cinders of the town love finds a way in this delightful romantic western.

(1970) Color Not Rated
Clint Walker, Barry Sullivan, Kathryn Hays

Dave Harmon (Clint Walker) is a U.S. Marshal is sent to the territory of Yuma to bring justice to an otherwise lawless land. All previous marshals have been run out of the territory, mainly due to the actions of Arch King, a man who only works by his laws. The new marshal is set up for shooting a man and it appears that King and some U.S. soldiers are involved in the plot. Harmon is forced to defend himself and expose the corruption in Yuma.

Colorado Sundown
(1952) B&W Not Rated
Rex Allen, Slim Pickens, Mary Ellen Kay

The heirs to a Colorado ranch look to exploit their timber interests on the ranch at the expense of the cattle ranchers in the area. The heirs are shocked to discover their recently deceased father has also left the ranch to two other relatives. Not wanting to share their newfound wealth or have them discover their plans, the evil siblings decide to eliminate their relatives, just as they had done with an inquisitive forest ranger. What the devious duo didn’t expect to contend with is ranch foreman Rex Allen arriving with his boss, one of the relatives, who uncovers their plans and looks to stop them.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Movie Review: Everything, Everything

Movie Review: Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything is based upon the book of the same name, which I haven't read but would now like to read. It focuses on a girl who has SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency), aka "bubble boy" (or in this case, "bubble girl") disorder, and who hasn't left her house in the past 17 years.

Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg, The Hunger Games) wants to experience the world, but since she has SCID, she can't. She's lucky in that her mother, Pauline (Anika Noni Rose, The Princess and the Frog) is a doctor, so she is well taken care of; the only other people allowed in the house are Rosa (Danube R. Hermosillo), her nurse, and Rosa's teenage daughter, who is about the same age as Maddy but is leaving for college soon. When a new boy, Olly (Nick Robinson, The Kings of Summer) moves in next door, he and Maddy start texting, and eventually Rosa allows him to visit her, once. Maddy eventually wants more, though, and must push her disorder to see how much she can live a full life, despite having SCID.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Girls: The Complete Sixth Season, on Digital HD {2 winners, ends 5/25}

GIVEAWAY: Girls: The Complete Sixth Season, on Digital HD
I've been a big fan of Girls for a while now, and HBO recently aired the series finale. The Digital HD version recently became available on May 15, and it will hit Blu-ray and DVD on July 25.

Two of my lucky readers now have a chance to win Digital HD codes of Girls: The Complete Sixth Season! Enter to win below.

About the season:
It’s the end of an era! Over the course of its first five seasons, Girls, the hit HBO comedy series created by and starring Emmy® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Lena Dunham, and executive produced by Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner, has continued to be one of the most critically acclaimed and buzzed about shows on television. Now fans can finally find out how this instantly-iconic HBO series ends when Girls: The Complete Sixth Season will be available for Digital Download on May 15, 2017 and on Blu-ray and DVD on July 25, 2017. All formats feature exclusive new bonus content, including an extended version of ‘A Goodbye to Girls’ featuring never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage, ‘Inside the Episodes’ featurettes and more.

GIVEAWAY: Girls: The Complete Sixth Season, on Digital HD

In the sixth and final season of
Girls, HBO's hit comedy continues to follow the assorted humiliations and triumphs of a group of 20-something friends in NYC. Season 6 picks up six months after the end of Season 5, with Hannah (Dunham), enjoying new success as a writer while her roommate and bestie Elijah (Andrew Rannells) considers getting serious about his acting career. Marnie (Allison Williams), now in a relationship with Ray (Alex Karpovsky), seeks to maintain her independence post-divorce from Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Now also a couple, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Adam (Adam Driver) decide to embark on a creative project to channel their passions, which could become a source of contention. And Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) finds herself professionally on the right path, though personally she realizes that her friendships may be holding her back. A time for closing chapters and new beginnings, Girls follows our four familiar friends as they attempt to get closer to becoming the women they always envisioned – even as life sometimes gets in the way.

GIVEAWAY: Girls: The Complete Sixth Season, on Digital HD

Girls has continued to inspire critical raves in its sixth season, with The Washington Post hailing the show for achieving “overall excellence” and The New York Times praising it’s “poignant hilarity”. For fans of the show, it was difficult to say goodbye, but now you can relive the hilarious “4 star” (US Weekly) series and complete your collection with the upcoming release of Girls: The Complete Sixth Season.

GIVEAWAY: Girls: The Complete Sixth Season, on Digital HD

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

GIVEAWAY: win the Murder 101 collection on DVD - 2 winners! {ends 5/23}

Mill Creek Entertainment recently released Murder 101 on DVD (two made-for-TV episodes), featuring Dick Van Dyke. Two of my lucky readers now have the chance to win a copy of the DVD!

About the episodes:
GIVEAWAY: win the Murder 101 collection on DVD
Who Knew Solving Crimes Could Be So Much Fun?
After the tremendous success of the hit CBS series Diagnosis Murder, Dick Van Dyke and his son Barry reunite in these popular made-for-TV mysteries.

Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses
Criminology professor Jonathan Maxwell is called upon to help when a prize racehorse is kidnapped. But the case turns deadly when a member of the family that owns the horse dies in a suspicious fire. What the case yields is a family embroiled in jealousy and greed.

Murder 101: The Locked Room Mystery
Samuel is a spiritual healer with a large and influential following. But when he locks himself in a meditation chamber with four students, only to turn up dead with his students still deep in their meditative trance, it s up to Professor Maxwell to figure out the why and how.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Movie Review: Snatched

Movie Review: Snatched

I had high hopes for Snatched, which marked Goldie Hawn's return to the big screen,for the first time since 2002's The Banger Sisters. Unfortunately, although the film started off promising, it slowly became less funny throughout.

Emily (Amy Schumer) is about to embark on a vacation to Ecuador with her musician boyfriend, Michael (Randall Park, Fresh Off the Boat), when he suddenly breaks up with her. Since her vacation is nonrefundable, she needs to find someone else to be her +1 for the trip. After all of her friends decline, she decides to ask her mother, Linda (Hawn), a super cautious woman who nowadays rarely leaves her house. Once they arrive in Ecuador, Emily meets a cute guy, James (Tom Bateman), who eventually ends up being their downfall - he arranges for them to be kidnapped and held at ransom. Emily and Linda must escape and somehow find their way to the American embassy so that they can get back to the United States.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Movie Review - King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Movie Review - King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

I would venture a guess and say that most people are familiar with the story of King Arthur. However, this movie focuses on the backstory, and how Arthur eventually became king, and it was much different (and much more fun!) than I thought it would be.

At the beginning of the film, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana) is the king, but his evil brother, Vortigern (Jude Law), wants to take his place (Lion King vibes, anyone?). To do this, Vortigern has to make a blood sacrifice to the octopus-esque monster that lives underground; once he does this, he is granted extraordinary powers, and is able to kill his brother. His nephew Arthur, then a toddler, is able to escape, though, and we later see a montage of him being raised in the streets, and living in a brothel (eventually becoming the Arthur of 'present-day,' aka Charlie Hunnam).

Inevitably, all of the men in England are asked to try and pull the sword from the stone, since the tide is very low and the sword has recently become visible. This is also a way for Vortigern, now king, to try and find Arthur, since there is a prophecy that says that Arthur will usurp him and become king. Once Arthur pulls the sword from the stone, things escalate from there.