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Archives for : Family

Interview: Jeannette Walls talks “The Glass Castle”

I sat down with writer and journalist Jeannette Walls, author of “The Glass Castle.”  We discussed the new film based on her memoir, the proper way to raise a family and much more!  Check out the interview below.

“The Glass Castle” opens in theaters on August 11.

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Movie Review: “Despicable Me 3” Entertains but Lacks Depth

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In the first “Despicable Me”, Gru (Steve Carell) discovered the meaning of fatherhood and how rewarding it was to care for three little girls who loved him back. In “Despicable Me 2”, Gru discovered love with his romantic interest, Lucy (Kristen Wiig). In “Despicable Me 3” Gru discovers a twin brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell), whom he never knew he had. And somewhere in all these films he takes down an evil villain more diabolical than him.

The franchise sticks with an adequate formula that entertains enough. But unfortunately with each passing sequel, the films seem to be loosing the heart of the story. “Despicable Me 3” begins with the introduction of a new villain, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who is a washed up 80’s child star that wants revenge on world that turned on him. After failing to take down Bratt during one of his heists, Gru and his now wife, Lucy, are fired from their jobs at the Anti-Villain League. In the midst, of trying to figure his next step, a strange man visits Gru to tell him about a twin brother he never knew he had who needs his help.

Once Gru, Lucy, and the girls arrive at Dru’s very rich mansion, they discover he is not exactly what they expected. For starters, he has a full head of blonde hair, he has an obsession with pigs, and he’s a clumsy, sweet guy who’s desperate to become a villain like his brother once was. While Gru attempts to reconnect to his old “bad guy” days, Lucy is busy trying to have some mother/daughter bonding time with the girls.

Though the twin brother story-line does offer longer legs for the film’s franchise, you have to wonder if it is worth the stretch marks the movies are beginning to show. The family relationships are excellent factors to “Despicable Me”, but it might be wise for the films to put a little more care and thought into their antagonists. At this point they are meaningless obstacles to whatever Gru is hoping to achieve.

Oh and you’re probably wondering about the minions. Yes, there is plenty of minions in this movie. I found there was a little too much of them. But if you love them as much as little kids do, you’re all set. The minions have their own mini adventure side story that you will either find adorable or an absolute waste of time.

“Despicable Me 3” is an overall enjoyable kids film. We’re given a handful of laughs and a decent amount of tender moments. However, for a film that had such a strong start, I had hoped this movie would leave me wanting more instead of worrying about what’s to come.

RATING: 3.5/5

“Despicable Me 3” opens in theaters June 30.

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Interview: Jovan Adepo talks “Fences”

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Jovan Adepo portrays Corey in Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama, “Fences.” I got a chance to talk with Adepo about the new film. We discussed how much someone’s career can affect their personal life, daily movie references and more!

“Fences” opens in theaters December 24.

Click Here to Watch Jovan Adepo Interview

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Interview: Ice Cube & Lamorne Morris talk “Barbershop: The Next Cut”

I got a chance to speak with Ice Cube and Lamorne Morris about the next installment in the Barbershop franchise, “Barbershop: The Next Cut”.  We discussed biggest hometown firsts, how to protect kids from violence, and life changes from the past 10 to 12 years.

“Barbershop: The Next Cut” opens in theaters April 15.

Click Here to Watch “Barbershop: The Next Cut” Interview with Ice Cube & Lamorne Morris

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Movie Review: “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” Entertains but Fails to Charm

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Fourteen years ago “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was the word-of-mouth hit that surprised everyone with its slow success.  Such a simple plot, with lovable characters.  The simplicity is why the film was so great.  Writer and star, Nia Vardalos who play Toula, took the time to not only write a thought-out plot, but also give proper character development to both the lead and supporting cast.  Which is why we cared so much about each and every person in the movie.

Now, the Portokalos has returned and expanded.  Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) have a 17 year-old daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), whose just about had it with her smothering Greek family.  As she begins to apply for college she must decide between a school near by or out of state, adding worry to her already troubled parents.  But this is not the only story-line.  You see in this sequel we are given multiple plots that are somewhat interesting.

While trying to find out if Alexander the Great is one of his ancestors, Gus (Michael Constantine), discovers that his marriage license was not signed by the priest, meaning him and Maria (Lainie Kazan) were never officially married.  This is where the wedding part comes in.  Maria demands a “real” proposal and “real” wedding…que the cliche montage of the quirky wedding preparations.  All the while, Toula is so busy trying to fix her parent’s marriage, that she is neglecting her own.

Yes, there is a lot going on in this film.  Luckily, its not so much that you can’t follow the story.  It’s just hard to care about so many different plots.  It would have been nicer, if “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” followed its predecessor’s formula and stuck to one central focus.

I do admire the film for at least attempting an original story instead of recycling from the previous film.  And even though the movie wasn’t anything special, it was still enjoyable.  Luckily, we had the pleasure of knowing all these characters in a better setting, so regardless of the subpar premise, I was still happy to see their current situations.

Ultimately, the greatest factor of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was the merging of two different cultures and how though it can involve a lot of hilarious obstacles, there is a genuine and heart-warming quality about seeing two different people accepting each other and their families.  “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” just didn’t have that kind of heart to it.

That being said “My Big fat Greek Wedding 2” is still worth a watch.  Fans will get enough laughs out of the jokes and be happy to see the entire cast reunited again.

Rating: 3/5

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” opens in theaters March 25.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” Official Trailer HD

Interview: Byron Howard & Rich Moore talk “Zootopia”

 

I sat down with directors Byron Howard & Rich Moore to discuss their incredible new animated film, “Zootopia”. We talked about not giving up on your dream job, the stereotypes directors fight against and which message from a film impacted them the most as a kid!

“Zootopia” opens in theaters March 4.

“Zootopia” Interview with Directors Byron Howard & Rich Moore

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Movie Review: “The Visit” is a Welcoming Comeback for M. Night Shyamalan

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M. Knight Shyamalan was once known for his great films such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs.  Unfortunately, his more recent projects have subjected us to some underwhelming, pieces of crap like The Happening and After Earth.  Well folks, I’m pleased to say that Shyamalan’s newest film, The Visit, succeeds as a highly entertaining horror-comedy!

Kathryn Hahn plays a single mother of two who has not spoken to her parents since she left home at the age of 19, and ran off with an older man.  Now, her parents have reached out to her through the internet and ask that her children come to visit their Nana (Deanna Dunagan) and Pop Pop (Peter McRobbie), whom they’ve never met.

Per the kids’ wishes, the mom sends them to their grandparents’ isolated, Pennsylvania farmhouse in the woods for a week while she goes on a cruise with her new boyfriend.  The eldest child, Becca (Olivia DeJonge), is an aspiring filmmaker.  She takes this opportunity to document her entire trip, and hopefully uncover exactly what happened the day her mother walked out on her parents and maybe even mend their relationship.  Alongside her, as a second camera operator is her younger, germ phobic, rapping brother, Tyler (Olivia DeJonge).

The trip starts all well and good, Nana makes plenty of tasty treats and Pop Pop enjoys listening to Tyler’s ridiculously, hilarious raps.  Seems as though it will be a great week for the kids; that is until they discover why bed time is at 9:30pm.  Nana goes from a harmless, nocturnal sleepwalker to a straight up psychotic, creepy, crawler within each passing night!  And what exactly is Pop Pop doing when he disappears inside his mysterious shed?

As things are turning eerie fast, the kids are desperate to have their mother come get them before anymore craziness unfolds.

Shyamalan has not only redeemed himself as a filmmaker, but he has also brought originality to the found-footage genre.  His combination of humor and terror will have audiences uncomfortably laughing while still on the edge of their seats as they nervously anticipate what’s to come.

The acting is good overall, especially when it comes to the two kids, who could have ruined the whole film if they were wrongly cast.  Oxenbould was given some cheesy lines and potentially bad jokes, but his delivery and timing is so on point that you can’t help but enjoy every second he’s on screen.  But the real stand out here is Nana.  Dunagan gives an incredible performance as the disturbing grandmother who seesaws from sweet and nurturing to plain insanity.

The Visit provides comedy, horror, family, and best of all, a startling amount of effed up sh**.  Literally!

Rating: 4/5

The Visit opens in theaters on September 11.

Movie Review: “And So It Goes” is a Generic Feel-Good Family Film

Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton team up for the first time in a comedy that will warm your heart, but most likely escape your mind once you leave the theater.

Oren Little ( Douglas ) is a successful, self-centered realtor living in a somewhat secluded, peaceful home.  But, his life is quickly turned upside down when his estranged adult son shows up out of the blue and drops a bomb on him.  He is about go to jail for nine-months and needs his dad to look after his almost 10 year-old daughter, Sarah (Sterling Jerins).   At first Oren is adamant that he won’t be looking after the granddaughter he never knew existed.   Luckily, Leah (Diane Keaton), the kind, self-less next door neighbor steps in assuring Oren’s son that she will be in good hands.  And so, begins a story you can probably already predict.

Love is not just felt for young Sarah; it is also spreading its way to an unlikely couple.  Leah and Oren share a sweet romance, but not an exciting one.  Michael Douglas definitely still has “it.”  Charm, wit, class, he exudes all of it when he is on screen.   Diane Keaton on the other hand offers some shrilling and quite annoying cries throughout the film.  The cries aren’t as bad as they were in Something’s Gotta Give, but my gosh.  Whoever thought the constant whiney sobs of woman are hilarious is seriously mistaken.  Keaton plays a very likeable character and caring one at that, but somehow her moments of comedy failed to produce any real laughs.  Douglas and Keaton have great chemistry as friends, but as lovers their relationship felt forced.

Though the romantic aspect of And So It Goes was weak, the family story-line was surprisingly enjoyable.  Seeing Oren with his granddaughter or even his limited moments with his son can’t help but make you smile.

And So It Goes hardly stands out among the films currently in theaters, and I can’t even say it should be in your top choices to see this summer.  However, if you are in the mood for a light, uplifting, and simple comedy, then I do recommend you sit back and enjoy this endearing story.

Rating: 2.5/5

And So It Goes hits theaters July 25.

And So It Goes Official Trailer HD

Movie Review: “Neighbors” is One of the Most Hilarious Comedies of the Year

It is Rogen verses Efron.  And in this battle, we, the audience are the winners.

After his let down performance in That Awkward Moment, I was a bit wary when walking into this film.  I wasn’t sure if Efron could compete with Rogen in the “real” battle at hand.  Which star can generate more laughs?  And would Zac Efron offer more to the story than just his chiseled abs and deep blue eyes?  Well folks, I’m here to tell you that Zac Efron not only proves himself as a genuine comedic actor, he is also able to hold his own against Seth Rogen.  At times, he is even funnier than the Knocked Up star himself.

The more I think about this movie, the more I appreciate the whole premise.  Such a simple idea/nightmare has made for a truly fantastic laugh out loud comedy.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly Radner (Rose Byrne) have just moved into the perfect home with their beautiful new born baby.  Kelly is a stay at home mom who gets to spend all day with baby Stella.  Mac works a 9-5 desk job that he tries to endure with a little bit of help from “Mary Jane.”  Their days are starting to feel routine, and they are unable to go out because of the baby.  It’s beginning to feel stagnant for the new parents.  But all that changes when we hear the sound of the boisterous fraternity that has moved in next door.  In hopes of keeping this a quiet neighborhood for their little girl, the couple head to the frat’s first rowdy party.  What was supposed to be a quick noise complaint visit turned into a refreshing night out for Mac and Kelly.  And after having what will probably be remembered as the best debate over “who is Batman,” Teddy and Mac form a bond and an understanding of trust is made.  Unfortunately that trust is broken within 24 hours, and leads to an epic war between the two houses.

It is hard to even pick a side because both leaders of the house are written as such likeable characters.  On one hand, you have a new father trying to prove to his wife and himself that he can handle being the responsible one, while still being cool.  Then you have the devoted frat president who spends way too much time partying, and caring about the mark he leaves behind in his brotherhood rather than thinking about the real world that is ahead of him.

Neighbors is not just carried by their two stars.  This film has a strong supporting comedic cast filled with even better cameos.  Rose Byrne is the perfect mix of wit and wholesome beauty.  Dave Franco plays Teddy’s Vice President, Pete, and shares great chemistry with his fraternity brother.  Young Franco is easily following in the footsteps of his talented, successful older brother; and I look forward to seeing him in many more projects, hopefully in leading roles.   A shout out also goes to The Mindy Project’s co-writer and cast member, Ike Barinholtz.  Like on his sitcom, Barinholtz’s role as Rogen’s best friend may not be huge, but produces enough chuckles to make him memorable.

What is most satisfying about Neighbors is how it is more than just a hilarious slapstick comedy.  There is heart and a sense of authenticity.  A lot of us are afraid to grow up. It can feel as though we will be missing out on “the party,” when in reality, your life and how you choose to live it can be the most legendary party that never ends.

Rating: 4/5

Neighbors hits theaters May 9.

Neighbors Official Trailer HD

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

Theatre Review: “Beauty & the Beast” is a Terrifically Enchanting Musical

Rating: 4.5/5

It’s as true as it can be.  Disney fans will be in bliss as they watch one of the most beloved classics come alive on stage. Beauty & the Beast performed as a Broadway musical may seem like a tough feat with the surely difficult theatrics that the play would need to pull off.  Fortunately, AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House put on a magical show that the whole family will enjoy.

Beauty & the Beast is one of the most beautiful tales of how the beauty within prevails over any outer appearance.  When Belle (Hilary Maiberger) sacrifices her own freedom in exchange for her fathers, she is forced to stay in an enchanted castle that is run by an angry and bitter Beast (Darick Pead).  To ease her distress, Belle is comforted by the other unusual members of the house who happen to be a candle stick, a clock, and tea pot.   Little does she know that the fate of everyone around her, including the Beast, hinge on whether or not she can fall in love with someone who looks like a monster.

Following the original Disney animated feature, this musical still contains the same script and music, but has added a few originals songs that go along with the familiar score.  The new songs blended in perfectly with the story, but they were no match for the classic soundtrack we all love to sing.  When “Gaston” is performed by the tavern patrons and the well-played arrogant Gaston (Tim Rogan), you might think “it doesn’t get any better than this.”  The musical number is humorous, creatively choreographed, and thoroughly entertaining.  But you have spoken too soon, because you have yet to witness the luminous, breath taking, work of art that is “Be Our Guest.”   The song begins with the voice of Hassan Nazari-Robati, who gives a stand out performance as the hilarious talking candle stick, Lumiere.  Hassan, along with the eloquent Kristin Stewart (not Twilight) who plays Mrs. Potts, lead the rest of the enchanted objects in a colorful dance that is enhanced by the vibrant set design (Stanley A. Meyer) and well produced lighting (Natasha Katz).  I am delighted to know that I will surely dream about dancing plates and silverware tonight.

They could not have cast a more perfect Belle.  Hilary Maiberger is no stranger to playing a Disney princess.  Having played Cinderella and Jasmine in previous musicals, she handled the role of Belle with such ease, and not once did she over act her character.  Her vocals are incredible, best out of the entire cast.  When she sings, goose bumps appear, as well as a smile on your face.  Her leading man played by Darick Pead did a fantastic job as the intimidating, yet sometimes juvenile Beast.

Beauty & the Beast the musical throws in some extra comedic moments that will only add to your laughter, and music that you will want to add to your play list.  I could go on and on about this lively performance, but I’d rather you allow yourself to be a guest and take pleasure in this remarkable “tale as old as time.”