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Archives for : Susan Kamyab

Interview: Tyler Perry talks “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween”

Tyler Perry made the rounds, promoting his new movie, “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween”. I sat down with the writer/director/actor to discuss his new film, how to make kids respect their elders, and more!

“Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” hits theaters on October 20.

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Movie Review: “Happy Death Day” Delivers Laughs and Scares

“Groundhog Day” meets “Scream” in this surprisingly funny, mystery thriller.

Sorority girl, Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes up hungover on her birthday in a stranger’s (Isreal Broussard) bed. She discovers she stayed the night with nerdy classmate, Carter, and rudely exits his dorm room. Thus begins her rampage of being a narcissistic mean girl to everyone who crosses her path. As we get a peek into a day in the life of Tree, we learn she ignores her father’s call, she’s sleeping with her married professor, and constantly belittles others. I know, hard to believe someone wants to kill her. As the night draws near, Tree heads to a party and is quickly stabbed to death by someone in a disturbing baby mask–oddly enough, that is the school’s mascot.  She then wakes up, and is forced to keep reliving her birthday with each day ending in her being murdered in some gruesome way. As Tree grows weaker with each consecutive loop, she must unmask her murderer and stop them from finishing her off for good.

Writer Scott Lobell does a great job with this clever script, as he adds a lot of humor and makes the film self-aware to the fact that this is a cheesy horror. The self-awareness allows for the movie to go beyond cliché lines and really have fun with a decently, thought out mystery. At this point I’ve described more of a comedy, but director Christopher Landon achieves a handful of scares that will have audiences jumping in their chairs.

The film’s story is solid, but the key ingredient here is the engaging breakout performance by Jessica Rothe. She nails the strong bitchy exterior that actually allows us to not feel guilty when we laugh at her numerous deaths, yet still gains sympathy towards her hopeful victory. Rachel Matthews, who plays an even more awful sorority sister, might provide the most laugh out moments with her over the top bitchy lines.

Whatever “Happy Death Day” lacks in the horror, it makes up for it in its entertainment. Reminiscent of the “Scream” era, it provides the same kind of “whodunit” feel that keeps you guessing till the very end.

I can’t say that this film should be at the top of your must-see list, but if you are looking for a few scares and fun time during this Halloween season, then “Happy Death Day” is the perfect choice.

Rating: 3.75/5

“Happy Death Day” opens in theaters October 13.

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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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Interview: Kumail Nanjiani talks “The Big Sick”

Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and then girl is put into a medically-induced coma? This isn’t your typical love story, but trust us, it’s a good one! “The Big Sick” is being hailed as the best romantic comedy of the decade. I sat down with co-writer and star, Kumail Nanjiani, to talk about the film.  The film is based on the true story of how Kumail and his wife ended up together.

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“The Big Sick” opens nationwide July 14!

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

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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

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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: Dax Shepard and Michael Pena talk “CHIPS”

I got a chance to sit down with Dax Shepard and Michael Pena for their new film, “CHIPS”.  And trust me when I say, this is the first laugh out loud comedy of the year! The stars discussed the best way to comfort a bro, what their weakness is when it comes to the opposite sex, and more!  Check out the fun interview below!

“CHIPS” hits theaters March 24.

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Interview: Power Rangers Cast Discuss New Film

I sat down with the stars (Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G., Ludi Lin) of the new Power Rangers movie to discuss their characters and what movie or show made them anticipate high school!

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Predicting the Winners: 89th Academy Awards

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Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”
  • Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic”
  • Denzel Washington in “Fences”

Will Win: Casey Affleck
Could Win: Denzel Washington
Want to Win: Casey Affleck

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight”
  • Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”
  • Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Dev Patel in “Lion”
  • Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”

Will Win: Mahershala Ali
Could Win: Dev Patel
Want to Win: Mahershala Ali, Dev Patel, or Michael Shannon

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”
  • Ruth Negga in “Loving”
  • Natalie Portman in “Jackie”
  • Emma Stone in “La La Land”
  • Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Will Win: Emma Stone
Could Win: Natalie Portman
Want to Win: Natalie Portman or Emma Stone

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Viola Davis in “Fences”
  • Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”
  • Nicole Kidman in “Lion”
  • Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”
  • Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”

Will Win: Viola Davis
Could Win: No Contest
Want to Win: Viola Davis

Best animated feature film of the year

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner
  • “Moana” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer
  • “My Life as a Zucchini” Claude Barras and Max Karli
  • “The Red Turtle” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki
  • “Zootopia” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Will Win: Zootopia
Could Win: Moana
Want to Win: Zootopia

Achievement in cinematography

  • “Arrival” Bradford Young
  • “La La Land” Linus Sandgren
  • “Lion” Greig Fraser
  • “Moonlight” James Laxton
  • “Silence” Rodrigo Prieto

Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Arrival
Want to Win: La La Lan

Achievement in costume design

  • “Allied” Joanna Johnston
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Colleen Atwood
  • “Florence Foster Jenkins” Consolata Boyle
  • “Jackie” Madeline Fontaine
  • “La La Land” Mary Zophres

Will Win: Jackie
Could Win: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Want to Win: Jackie

Achievement in directing

  • “Arrival” Denis Villeneuve
  • “Hacksaw Ridge” Mel Gibson
  • “La La Land” Damien Chazelle
  • “Manchester by the Sea” Kenneth Lonergan
  • “Moonlight” Barry Jenkins

Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Moonlight
Want to Win: Manchester by the Sea

Best documentary feature

  • “Fire at Sea” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo
  • “I Am Not Your Negro” Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety and Hébert Peck
  • “Life, Animated” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman
  • “O.J.: Made in America” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow
  • “13th” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

Will Win: OJ: Made in America
Could Win: I Am Not Your Negro
Want to Win: OJ: Made in America

Best documentary short subject

  • “Extremis” Dan Krauss
  • “4.1 Miles” Daphne Matziaraki
  • “Joe’s Violin” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen
  • “Watani: My Homeland” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis
  • “The White Helmets” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Blind Guess: The White Helmets

Achievement in film editing

  • “Arrival”Joe Walker
  • “Hacksaw Ridge” John Gilbert
  • “Hell or High Water” Jake Roberts
  • “La La Land” Tom Cross
  • “Moonlight” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Moonlight
Want to Win: La La Land

Best foreign language film of the year

  • “Land of Mine” Denmark
  • “A Man Called Ove” Sweden
  • “The Salesman” Iran
  • “Tanna” Australia
  • “Toni Erdmann” Germany

Will Win: The Salesman
Could Win: A Man Called Ove
Want to Win: The Salesman

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

  • “A Man Called Ove” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson
  • “Star Trek Beyond” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo
  • “Suicide Squad” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Will Win: Star Trek Beyond
Could Win: A Man Called Ove
Want to Win: Star Trek Beyond

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • “Jackie” Mica Levi
  • “La La Land” Justin Hurwitz
  • “Lion” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
  • “Moonlight” Nicholas Britell
  • “Passengers” Thomas Newman

Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Moonight or Lion
Want to Win: La La Land or Lion

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
    Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls”
    Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
  • “City Of Stars” from “La La Land”
    Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
    Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
  • “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”
    Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Will Win: City of Stars
Could Win: How Far I’ll Go
Want to Win: How Far I’ll Go

Best motion picture of the year

  • “Arrival” Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder and David Linde, Producers
  • “Fences” Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black, Producers
  • “Hacksaw Ridge” Bill Mechanic and David Permut, Producers
  • “Hell or High Water” Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn, Producers
  • “Hidden Figures” Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi, Producers
  • “La La Land” Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt, Producers
  • “Lion” Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder, Producers
  • “Manchester by the Sea” Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh, Producers
  • “Moonlight” Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

Will Win: Moonlight
Could Win: La La Land or Hidden Figures
Want to Win: Manchester by the Sea or Hidden Figures

Achievement in production design

  • “Arrival” Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Paul Hotte
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • “Hail, Caesar!” Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
  • “La La Land” Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
  • “Passengers” Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena

Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Want to Win: La La Land

Best animated short film

  • “Blind Vaysha” Theodore Ushev
  • “Borrowed Time” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” Robert Valley and Cara Speller
  • “Pearl” Patrick Osborne
  • “Piper” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Will Win: Piper
Could Win: Pearl
Want to Win: Pearl

Best live action short film

  • “Ennemis Intérieurs” Sélim Azzazi
  • “La Femme et le TGV” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff
  • “Silent Nights” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson
  • “Sing” Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy
  • “Timecode” Juanjo Giménez

Will Win: Sing
Could Win: Ennemis Interieurs
Want to Win: Sing

Achievement in sound editing

  • “Arrival” Sylvain Bellemare
  • “Deepwater Horizon” Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli
  • “Hacksaw Ridge” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
  • “La La Land” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
  • “Sully” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Will Win: Hacksaw Ridge
Could Win: La La Land
Want to Win: Sully

Achievement in sound mixing

  • “Arrival” Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye
  • “Hacksaw Ridge” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace
  • “La La Land” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
  • “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Will Win: La La Land
Could Win: Hacksaw Ridge
Want to Win: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Achievement in visual effects

  • “Deepwater Horizon” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton
  • “Doctor Strange” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould
  • “The Jungle Book” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

Will Win: The Jungle Book
Could Win: Doctor Strange
Want to Win: The Jungle Book or Doctor Strange

Adapted screenplay

  • “Arrival” Screenplay by Eric Heisserer
  • “Fences” Screenplay by August Wilson
  • “Hidden Figures” Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
  • “Lion” Screenplay by Luke Davies
  • “Moonlight” Screenplay by Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Will Win: Moonlight
Could Win: Hidden Figures
Want to Win: Moonlight

Original screenplay

  • “Hell or High Water” Written by Taylor Sheridan
  • “La La Land” Written by Damien Chazelle
  • “The Lobster” Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
  • “Manchester by the Sea” Written by Kenneth Lonergan
  • “20th Century Women” Written by Mike Mills

Will Win: Manchest by the Sea
Could Win: The Lobster
Want to Win: Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Women or The Lobster (JUST NOT LA LA LAND)

 

We will see how many of my predictions are right…Watch the 89th Academy Awards Sunday, February 26, 2017- on ABC.  Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel!