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Movie Review: “The Hunt”, “The Invisible Man”, & “Emma”

In this time of Pandemic, diversions help keep us sane. Now, more than ever, we need the cinema. But we need a new cinema, a safe cinema, a Shelter-at-Home cinema; and so streaming comes of age. Watch my review of “The Hunt” and recommendations of two other new films available for home viewing now: “The Invisible Man” and “Emma”. Will anyone trade some popcorn for this fine half-roll of paper towels? Anyone?

“The Hunt”, “The Invisible Man”, & “Emma” are available on Amazon, Apple, YouTube, and other various On Demand platforms at a starting price of $19.99.

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Movie Review: “The Hunt” is a Bloody Catch

In 2018, the hilarious political comedy “The Oath” showed audiences how harsh extremist on either side (Conservative or Liberal) can be. The film was about a politically divided family, trying to make it through Thanksgiving. Things got rough quick, and at times, it got violent. But in the new action/horror film, “The Hunt”, they take the violence and politics to a whole new level; while still trying to prove the same point, just not as effectively.

“The Hunt” caused a lot of controversy before it was ever released. It was originally slated to open in theaters last fall, but was halted due to the film’s premise and mass shootings during that time.

The film opens with a group text thread among liberal friends. They make a joke about taking out their anger on “deplorables” during an upcoming hunt at the Manor. The next scene shows a rich group of people on a plane with people they have drugged and stowed away. Soon 12 of them are all spread out, unconscious, and in a field with gags in their mouths. Once they are all awake, they see a big box with various weapons for them to have a fair fight. We eventually find out, these chosen conservatives are being hunted like animals by liberal elitists.

Before anyone gets heated or offended, this thriller has no real insight into politics. It is too afraid to pick a side. Instead they make both the Republicans and Democrats equally dumb, with the exception of two women (Hilary Swank and Becky Gilpin).

The film features a talented all-star cast including Swank, Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, and Ike Barinholtz. Though everyone adds to the hilarious humor of the film, it’s Swank and Gilpin who steal the show. Gilpin is quietly comical, while impressing with her kickass survival instincts. But it’s her nail-biting showdown with Swank that will have you cringing and cheering. However, the gore is not for the faint of heart. At times, I couldn’t even watch. There’s a bloody, graphic death at every turn.

While the purpose of the film might be lost, the humor and action is easily found. There is a lot of fun to be had with these idiotic characters (on both sides) and the gruesome, sometimes, shocking deaths they experience. It encompasses the same kind of satire and excitement from last year’s “Ready or Not”. Sadly, the premise is not as unique.

Ultimately, “The Hunt” feels like a funny version of “The Purge” films with a role reversal. It’s an entertaining, fast-paced, mindless thriller that provides plenty of laughs and shrieks.

Rating: 3.5/5

“The Hunt” opens in theaters March 13.

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Movie Review: “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” & “Dolemite is My Name”

In “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” Aurora get engaged to Prince Philip and Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) isn’t happy. And in “Dolemite is My Name” Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) wants to be on the big screen and make a movie, but has no clue how to go about it. Check out my full review of both these films in the video below!

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” in theaters October 18 & “Dolemite is My Name” is available on Netflix October 25.

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Fantastic Fest Reviews: “First Love”, “The Golden Glove”, & “Butt Boy”

Takashi Miike’s “First Love”

First Love

Leo (Masataka Kubota) is a young boxer who lacks almost any kind of emotion, even when he wins a match. But when he discovers he doesn’t have much time left to live; an unexpected chain of events happens that involve drugs, the Yakuza, corrupt cops, and Monica- a female escort who is need of a hero. It’s a hell of night to say the least.

I’ll admit, this was my first Miike film and I was told this one was tame in comparison to his other movies like “Audition” and “13 Assassins”. However, “tame” isn’t the word I would use to describe this movie. It’s an action packed bone crushing, head cutting, blood fest!

Not only was I entertained by the graphic violence, but the screenplay is hilarious. The film is very self-aware of how comical this chaotic situation has gotten. It’s John Wick meets Guy Ritchie in Japan! I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4/5

Faith Akin’s “The Golden Glove”

The Golden Glove

Oh man this movie was gross! I just have to start by saying, it’s been a while since a film made me physically gag, and I’m still not certain if that’s a good or bad thing. I guess I can say “The Golden Glove” is affective.

“The Golden Glove is about Fritz Honka (Jonas Dassler), the serial killer who murdered four elderly prostitutes in Germany during the 1970’s. Fritz isn’t the most appealing man to look at. He lives like a slob, and his murders are gruesome. There are many reasons why this film will have your stomachs churning. Beginning with the opening scene. Let’s just say it sets the tone perfectly for what you’re about to endure for the next two hours.

The film has already received a lot of backlash for being too vile, and unnecessarily disgusting. Though Honka’s actions are vile, how else would you have a film about this psychotic murder portrayed?

“The Golden Glove” will not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an unforgettable one and done for myself. I can’t say I enjoyed watching this film, but I’m pretty sure my reactions throughout the movie were probably what the filmmaker was going for. So in that sense, I can respect this movie.

Rating: 3/5

Tyler Cornack’s “Butt Boy”

Butt Boy

Yes, the title of the film “Butt Boy” insinuates what you’re probably thinking. This film is about a man, Chip (Tyler Cornack), who goes in for his first prostate examine and discovers he likes it more than he expected. Suddenly a little boy has gone missing, and the connection between the two instances will have you dumbfounded.

I hate to say that I was so disappointed in this film. The premise and the beginning had me sucked in, but the second half of the film went straight to shit (pun intended). The acting is mediocre. And though the plot is unique, it’s far too ridiculous to even enjoy.

With the right mind set, “Butt Boy” could appeal to a particular audience. Remind yourself that this is more of a sci-fi comedy, and maybe you’ll gain some entertainment value.

Rating: 2/5

Movie Review: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” Fails its Predecessor

Jurassic World was everything we had been waiting for since the first Jurassic Park was released in 1993. The park was opened and running smoothly. It was also set in some attractive green scenery. Of course, one day everything goes wrong when a wild test subject is let loose and the whole park falls apart! A simple premise with so much entertainment. Now what happened to that kind of writing with this sequel?

Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom starts off okay enough. It’s been three years since the tragic incident and the Jurassic World theme park is no more. But now an impending volcanic eruption on the island will wipe out the existing dinosaurs and render them extinct once again. The question is do we save the dinosaurs and bring them to the states, or do we let them die? For Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the decision is easy. Let the dinosaurs die and save humanity from a potential life-threatening attack. However, previous park staffer, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) still feels a connection to the dinosaurs and jumps at the opportunity to save them when approached by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the one time partner of Jurassic Park mastermind John Hammond. Mr. Lockwood and his caretaker/right-hand man, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), plan to rescue the remaining species from the island and bring them to a sanctuary where they will be allowed to live in peace.

Only problem is they need the skilled velociraptor trainer, Owen (Chris Pratt), to come along this mission and find Blue, the only raptor left of its kind. FYI, the best thing about this movie is the connection between Blue and Owen. Luckily, Claire finds Owen in his new quiet life, building a cabin in the middle of nowhere. How convenient and cliché. After some banter about their previous relationship she convinces him to join the mission and save Blue.

I won’t go into the plot any further than that to avoid spoilers, but eventually we are taken on a chaotic ride.

There are many problems with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; beginning with its characters. With the exception of Pratt, Howard, and the best character, Blue, I could careless about anyone else on screen. In fact, who are all you people? Claire brings along two new faces, feisty “paleo-veterinarian” Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), who knows everything about these creatures but has never actually seen one in person, and tech-geek Franklin (Justice Smith), who constantly screams at any sign of danger. They had no business being in this movie. Because again, who even are you?

The villain is weak and their “evil” motive is just lazy writing. There were other characters too but, honestly, I just don’t care enough about them.

Though the film has intense action-packed sequences that will keep you enthralled till the end, the ridiculous story is unforgiving. Oddly enough, I’d still say it is worth watching the action on the big screen, but don’t go in with high expectations. Grab some popcorn and try not to think too much while watching.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom leaves the door wide open for another sequel, and maybe, the writers will get it right on their third try with what will hopefully be the final chapter.

Rating: 2.5/5

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters June 22.

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Movie Review: “The Mummy” is a Mediocre Summer Blockbuster

Image result for the mummy 2017 poster

Just a heads up, this is NOT a reboot of the “The Mummy”(1999) film starring Brendan Fraser. Universal Pictures has relaunched classic monster movie characters as part of the Dark Universe franchise, beginning with “The Mummy” (2017).

Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, a US soldier in Iraq who in his free time steals priceless antiquities with his reluctant partner in crime, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson).

During one of their “hunts for gold”, the two men and archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) stumble upon the remains of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was entombed for eternity after her treacherous acts of evil five thousand years ago. By uncovering her remains they have also awakened her spirit, allowing Ahmanet to finally finish out her plan to rule the world.

Okay, so the plot is pretty thin and hardly original, but the movie does have it’s entertaining moments thanks to Cruise and Johnson’s comic relief and the constant action-packed sequences.

The film also eases us into another Dark Universe character, Dr. Henry Jekyll, adequately played by Russell Crowe. Though his character was there to study Ahmanet, and be another obstacle for Nick and his quest to escape the supernatural madness, somehow Dr. Jekyll felt forced in this story. However, the possibility for an interesting Dr. Jekyll is there and I’m looking forward to seeing Crowe as the lead in a Jekyll and Hyde origin film.

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“The Mummy” as a whole isn’t much to brag about. The entire cast does a decent job, and the story is very basic. What we currently have here is an average, but fun fantasy adventure that has gotten the ball rolling on what is suppose to compete against Marvel and DC movies. Luckily, “The Mummy” has set the bar real low for the future Dark Universe films.

This film will probably get a lot of negative reaction as it brings nothing fresh beyond some jokes and cool CGI. Yet, I can’t help but see potential in what’s to come. Once the franchise finds its footing and brings this world together in a more natural way, it could be something special? Or maybe I’m just being optimistic, who knows!

In a summer filled with anticipated blockbusters it’s hard to say that “The Mummy” will rise above movies like “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” or “Wonder Woman”. However, if you’ve already seen those two films and you’re looking for a quick thrill to satisfy you in theaters till “Spider-man: Homecoming” comes out, then “The Mummy” is worth a few bucks.

Rating: 3/5

“The Mummy” opens in theaters June 9.

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Movie Review: “The Fate of the Furious” Surprisingly Entertains

Image result for the fate of the furious poster

For many of you, it’s no surprise that the 8th installment of the Fast and Furious franchise is actually a fun watch. However, since I haven’t enjoyed these films since the first one, “Fate of the Furious” was oddly refreshing.

In comparison to “Furious 7”, this sequel has a more focused plot, better humor, and more jaw-dropping special effects.

“The Fate of the Furious” reunites the films’ core crew of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, and later additions Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. And even though Paul Walker is no longer with us, he is still recognized and even honored in this movie.

Without giving too much away, “The Fate of the Furious” continues with the theme of the family. This time with an expansion of family. This is very clear after the first sequence in which Dom (Diesel) beats a random guy in a car race and a street full of kids begin to surround them and cheer him on. In the midst of the praises, Letty (Rodriguez) notices a couple with a baby and then turns to Dom, asking him if he’s thought about having kids. Next, is a scene with Hobbs (Johnson) and his daughter, and so on…We see what the film is trying to relay here.

One day while Dom is walking on his way home, he runs into cyber-terrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) who blackmails him into her latest mission, forcing him to turn on his crew. His team and the entire audience is bewildered by his betrayal, which leads to one ridiculous car crash after another as they hunt down Dom from places like New York to Berlin.

Like every Fast and Furious film there are flaws. As predicted, there are numerous unrealistic car chases. It’s mind-boggling how everyone can just jump out of an insanely fast car with no more than a scratch. And of course, there’s also the painfully cheesy one-liners which have lessened this time around, more so due to the fact that Vin Diesel has been given less dialogue.  Wise choice on the screenwriter’s part since Diesel is the weakest actor of the bunch and shines much more when he’s just looking tough or angry, or basically not speaking at all.

On the other hand, Diesel’s costar’s Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are much better performers and steal the show with their love/hate banter. And as silly as Theron’s hair may look, it doesn’t take away from her role as a truly heartless and conniving villain.

So, yes, as expected there is plenty to laugh and roll your eyes at in this film. But there is also a lot to be in awe of, mainly the incredibly entertaining action sequences and the few twists and turns that go along with it.

“The Fate of the Furious” has its speed bumps, but stays on a fun track.

Rating: 3/5

“The Fate of the Furious” opens in theaters April 14.

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Interview: Evan Ross & Wes Chatham talk “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2”

The wildly successful “Hunger Game” franchise concludes with the much-anticipated finale, “Mockingjay Part Two.” I sat down with stars Evan Ross (son of Diana Ross) and Wes Chatham (The Help) about the climatic finale.

“Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 2” Interview with Evan Ross and Wes Chatham

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Interview: Nicola Peltz & Jack Reynor talk “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

I had some great laughs during my interview with Nicola Peltz  & Jack Reynor for the blockbuster hit, “Transformers Age Of Extinction“. A couple weeks ago we discussed their first impressions of each other, which animated series they would want to see turned into a live action film, and what movie inspired them to become actors.

Aired originally on ICTN’s About Towne.

Click here to watch Interview with Nicola Peltz & Jack Reynor

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Interview: “Divergent” Stars Miles Teller & Jai Courtney talk Heart Throb Status and More!

It’s the most anticipated film of the year.  Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) and Theo James (Underworld: Awakening) is sure to have as much success as The Hunger Games and Twilight trilogies.

The first installment of the saga is set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into five distinct factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Woodley) discovers that she is Divergent, meaning she does not fit into any of the factions; and soon discovers that in order to stay alive she must hide in a faction.  The only problem is she chooses the most physically challenging one, Dauntless meaning “the brave.”  As she struggles and fights through most of the film to prove herself to her new faction, she encounters many obstacles.  This includes the hard-headed, tough leader Eric (Jai Courtney) and a non-stop competitive bully, Peter (Miles Teller).   While training for Dauntless, Tris uncovers a horrifying plot forming in her seemingly perfect society.

The film held a special premiere in Dallas a couple weeks back.  The “bad boys” themselves, Miles Teller and Jai Courtney, walked the red carpet and took pictures with many extremely enthusiastic Divergent fans.  The next morning I got a chance to sit down with the two stars at Dallas’ Ritz Carlton Hotel to discuss the movie, the fans, and their fears.  Now don’t be fooled by the characters they play.  Their kindness and dry sense of humor made for one hilarious interview.

Miles Teller and Jai Courtney: “Divergent” Video Interview

I have to give you guys props for last night on the red carpet.  You handled your fans really well.  I mean right when you (pointing to Miles) walked in, I saw you take a picture with a girl and she just grabbed your face and kissed you on the cheek.

Miles: “Yeah, yeah…”

Jai: “He’s use to that though; that happens all the time.”

Miles: “Yeah that’s, uh, you know, that’s a part of the business when you’re a heart throb (Jai laughs)… No.  This one girl was like can I touch your hair?  And I was like, yeah, sure.  And she was like “oh God!” (Pulls hair and shakes head aggressively)  Alright, so now I know if somebody asks “can I touch your hair?”  I’m going to say “no.”  So, like, you learn as you go.  It’s hard in the moment though.  It’s like; you (points to Jai) kissed a girl last night.  You kissed a girl on the cheek, you told me.”

Jai: “I was kissing girls all over the place.  It’s a free country.”

Miles: “Yeah, it’s a free country (laughs).”

                                                                                                                                             

Clearly your fans are very bold.  What’s the boldest thing so far on this tour that a fan has done to you guys?

Miles: “Well this is our first stop on the tour…”

Jai: “Yeah that was it.  You saw all of it.  But it’s only going to get bolder from here.”

Miles: “…but teenage girls, they can be aggressive.  I see One Direction videos, they’re…I mean no I don’t, (whispers) love them, Harry Style’s is my fav.” (Jai laughs)

                                                                                                                                             

Well you two play some not so nice characters in this movie. But I’d say the biggest “jerk moment” from both of y’all is probably when Eric had Peter beat up Tris.

Jai: “Woah!”

Miles: “Well that’s a little; I mean it’s not really revealed like that.”

Jai: “I mean, it’s part of the training.  I didn’t have Peter beat up Tris.”

Miles: “Yeah.”

I mean you basically set it up.

Miles: “Oh my God, obviously she’s on Tris’ side were not going to win this argument.”

Jai: “You’ve misinterpreted things grossly.”

Miles: “I mean we’re just trying to survive Dauntless; is all we’re trying to do.”

Jai: “It’s a training exercise.  She’s going to face tougher guys than Peter out there in the real world.”

Miles: “Yeah, I mean not tougher, but (Miles takes at a tough man sniff) taller.”

Jai: “Yeah, taller.”

                                                                                                                                     

So obviously that scene wasn’t hard for you guys to shoot at all then?

Jai: Morally?  No (Shakes head).

Miles: “Well I mean Shai, at first; they did it with Shailene’s stunt double.  And they said look three guys grab her.  And they told the stunt double to; you know, kick and do all that.  And she beat the crap out of these three dudes.  So I was nervous to get in there.  But then they said, yo, choke Shailene out.  And I was, like, get in here.  Come to daddy.  So, you know, just a little bit of that.”

                                                                                                                                         

The funny thing is that there are some fans that want Peter and Tris together, even though he’s so horrible to her.

Miles: “I know right?”

And I think that stems from a girl wanting a bad boy still.  Why do you guys think girls want the bad guy, even when they’re so horrible to them?

Miles: “I mean we’re more exciting.  You know, like, nice is very cliché.  You want a nice guy to go to the donut shop.  If you want a bad boy, you better be able to role with the punches.  (Jai laughs) We’re sexy.  We look good in leather.

Jai: “Right?” (Looks to me)

Miles: “You tell me.  What are you into?  Do you like a bad boy?”

I think I like a… well there is an excitement to them, but I prefer a gentleman, and you can be a bad boy as long as you’re a gentleman.

Jai: “You can be a bad boy and a gentleman.”

Miles: “Right, well I think that girls think that they can make a bad guy change.  I think for girls that’s the challenge.  But most of the time, they don’t change.  But I’d love for Peter and Tris to hook up.”

I think I’d like to see that.

Jai: “Yeah I’d watch that.”

Miles: “Yeah, right?”

                                                                                                                                                  

We get to see a lot of the characters greatest fears in this movie, and like Four said, “Everybody is afraid of something.”  So what is something that you guys are afraid of?

Jai: “I’m not much into arachnidan.”

Miles: “What is, is that a spider?

Jai: “Yeah, Not into spiders.”

Miles: “Spiders or snakes, what would freak you out more?  Cause there’s two different movies about them?”

Jai: “See snakes don’t freak me out.  I don’t want to get bitten by one, but like I would hold one.”

Miles: “You would hold one?  You’re cool with that?  What about sharks, great white sharks?”

Jai: “Grew up wrestling them dude.”

You (To Jai) are a bad boy.

Jai: “You know it.” (Miles laughs)

Miles: I don’t like cats, I’m not afraid of them…

Jai: “Cats suck!  I’m with you on that.”

Miles: “…I’m allergic to them.  I feel like a cat is, like, plotting to kill me.”

Jai: “We’re going to lose fans here.”

Miles: “Were going to lose our cat audience here.  That’s fine; we got our dog audience…Oh, losing my youth!  I’m afraid, I mean, I’m not afraid of getting old.”

Jai: “You’re getting old man.”

Miles: “Dude, you’re like 32 years-old man.”

Jai: “We’re the same age brother.”

Miles: “No we’re not!”

Jai: “Yes, we are (Laughs).”

Miles: “There’s no way this (Points to himself) is the same age, man.  Look at you.”

Jai: “He can’t come to grips with that.”

 

To set the record straight, both Miles and Jai are 27 years-old.

 

Divergent hits theaters March 21.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com