HollywoodJunket

IMDb member since July 2008
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    IMDb Member
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Reviews

Terminator: Dark Fate
(2019)

Judgement Day is Still the Winner!
The opening of "Terminator: Dark Fate," directed by Tim Miller, opens with a scene from 'Judgement Day where Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton) is forewarning about a dark future where no one survives while locked-up in a mental ward.

Fast forward to two years later after Sarah and her son save 3 billion lives after deterring and killing a time traveling robot called the Terminator. A bug in the computer system causes for a tragic loss for Sarah. Next, flash to the current time places the new target in New Mexico. This time, its a future leader that is sought to be terminated. We soon discover that Sarah, even after being a wanted outlaw in 50 states, is still chasing these Terminators sent from a slightly varied future to protect and preserve the human race.

Just in the first two Terminator movies, a protector for the target is sent at almost the same time that a Terminator is sent. This time the protector is a female human, Grace (Mackenzie Davis) who during a battle was made into a sort of hybrid human/robot. Unfortunately, this puts her at a bit of a disadvantage when the inferiority of her body causes for slow-downs in her endurance level. Why would the future leader send such a protector? It's eventually explained in the latter half of the movie. While the new Terminator, called a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) is carefully planted to blend-in with the locals, there's nothing exceptionally notable about this character. While past Terminators had stand-out features, the first being an impressive build, a distinct accent, mannerisms, and a steel inner skeleton in actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The second Terminator, T-1000 (portrayed by Robert Patrick) displayed an evil presence, distinctive edgy features and an enhanced ability to turn into liquid metal. The current Terminator doesn't display any exceptional upgrades. It's more like the features from the first two have been combined to create this new model that is equipped with any one stellar "wow" effect ability.

Past Terminator (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) re-enters the picture, this time as an ally. He seems to switch back-and-forth from bad, to good pretty consistently throughout all three movies. The 'Dark Fate writers want audiences to believe that this robot was able to live out life disguised as a human, even creating a family for himself. And, they don't know he's a robot? Clearly, something must be wrong with them.

A good portion of the movie had slower moments that made the effort to establish human connections. It makes sense that 'Dark Fate would take a part of 'Judgement Day to expand upon. That is when a young John Connor tried to train the Terminator about different human emotions. However, 'Judgement Day had a better balance of action vs. human relations that made it a more enjoyable, well-rounded action film than 'Dark Fate.

Dark Fate's ending keeps in the tradition of the first two Terminator films finale scenes where an ultimate battle occurs in a factory, leading to the same fate of the Terminator as those previous movies.

In the closing scene, it can be assumed that a new "Sarah Connor" will take-over, and the actual Sarah Connor takes her under her wing where some intense training is sure to follow. Hence, creating a new slew of follow-up films.

Hustlers
(2019)

First half good, second half not so good!
They don't gotta dance, they make money move is what ultimately becomes the end goal of the strippers depicted in "Hustlers" movie opening Friday, September 13th in theaters. What the film seems to promise and what it actually delivers are complete polar opposites, that it's hard to keep up.

"Hustlers," written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, is advertised as a light-hearted (as light-hearted as you can get with a story about extortion), rambunctious film hyping-up stars Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B., Keke Palmer and Constance Wu. What audiences really get is a serious drama (a bit of comedy) closely focused on characters Ramona, and Destiny played by Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu respectively, minus Hip Hop artist Cardi B who was a real-life professional stripper, given approximately roughly four minutes of screen time out of the movie's full 109 minutes.

It's a period film which occurs between the years 2003 to 2015 and doesn't miss the mark on re-creating that environment. "Hustlers" starts with happier, care-free times of audacious spending habits flaunting huge amounts of designer clothes equal to a season of of "Sex in the City." That all changes in 2008 when the stock market crashed. The story is nestled in New York city around the uber elite males and the strippers that serviced them. In order to survive financially, Ramona becomes the ringleader of the group of strippers, or "sisters" who set-out nightly to reclaim there glory days of making loads of cash. If the rich no longer come to the strip club, bring the strip club to them. Did these men deserve this? Hmm...according to Ramona, yes they did!

The movie didn't sugar-coat the actions of these women which I couldn't help but feel a bit of a moral conflict in watching what went down and feeling like an accessory. Not a great feeling. Maybe "Hustlers" should have NOT sugar-coated what actions went on with the men in the strip club to the women. What the group of strippers did perhaps might be best explained by Constance Wu's character who rationalized, "hurt people, hurt people."

During my viewing of the "Hustlers" movie, it peeked for me in the first act, featuring what I thought was the best part of the movie with Jennifer Lopez's pole dancing at the strip club. If you missed her in concert, this is an excerpt of what you missed. Followed by a scene of her outside wearing a huge fur coat. Also during the first act was where Cardi B's screen time occurred, as well as "Transparent" actress Trace Lysette, and singer/song-writer Lizzo, whom I would have liked to have seen more from all three of these ladies. Second fun scene included a cameo from R&B artist Usher. The initial setup of the movie with these scenes landed the movie falling short of the expectations resulting in a more serious film in the end.

It's clear that the whole story is a re-telling from journalist Jessica Pressler's (played by Julia Stiles) article in a 2015 issue of the New York Times. What the movie audience sees are scenes depicting what was revealed in Pressler's interviews from Ramona, Destiny, Mercedes (Keke Palmer) and investigators. The usage of sound got very creative to drive home that point, and is much appreciated. FULL REVIEW at hollywoodjunket.com

Creed II
(2018)

Emotional Pull in CREED II
It was three years ago that director Ryan Coogler brought us Creed which in that, brought fans an update of the life of legendary fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, the role that made iconic actor Sylvester Stallone an icon.

In Creed Stallone had taken young boxer Adonis Johnson (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan) under his wing as his trainer and mentor. In Creed 2 audiences will see Adonis strive to reach another level in boxing that was achieved by his deceased father Apollo Creed, and Rocky Balboa. Creed 2 takes us on his journey as Adonis battles personal conflicts to crack into his inner beast and higher self.

Creed 2 brings the characters full circle when Balboa is faced with an old Ukrainian challenger, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) when he pits his son Viktor Drago to avenge his boxing defeat by Balboa over thirty years ago.

We rejoin Adonis in his current life as a successful boxer having six consecutive boxing wins under his belt and recently crowned the Heavyweight Champion of the World. The upmost highest level and honor achievable by a boxer. However, something still isn't right in Adonis' world. He seeks to find it and is certain that the answer rests in accepting the challenge laid upon him by Viktor Drago. Adonis gives boxing fans what they want "the fight the whole world wants to see" even against Balboa's warning due to his own experience when Ivan broke things inside of him that "have never been fixed."

Creed 2 this time directed by Steven Caple Jr. does a great job of keeping the heart and story from the original and seamlessly bringing audiences up-to-date with the same characters in their present day lives. The heart, the soul, and struggles of the characters are exposed making for emotional moments in the movie, as was also in the first. Audiences may catch themselves with a teary-eye here and there throughout the movie.

Actress Tessa Thompson, who plays Adonis' girlfriend Bianca, returns. As well as actress Phylicia Rashad as "Mary Anne Creed" mother of Adonis and widow of Apollo Creed. Not returning, as mentioned earlier, was director Ryan Coogler who directed Creed. Surprising since Stallone mentioned at a Q&A of a past screening of "Creed" that Coogler reminded him of himself.

Boxing fans will apreciate the realistic boxing scenes in Creed 2 along with the behind-the-scenes stuff that we don't get to see and hear. For example Creed 2 takes viewers inside of the ring to hear the dialogue shared between trainers and their boxers.

We can be sure that actor Michael B. Jordan who plays Adonis was roughend-up again in real life during his training for the movie. At the same Q&A Stallone stated that Jordan took some real punches for his role. Stallone recounted that Michael "got so banged-up and knocked-out." These gyms, Stallone stated, are very territorial and it's their turf. "They don't want to look bad. So, they unleash on him (Michael)." While real-life singer Tessa Thompson went to Philly and wrote her own songs to submerse herself in the role. Creed 2 does a great job at honoring Rocky and fans will be able to connect well with it by enjoying the reconnecting of past character Ivan Drago to the modern-day threat Adonis Creed as he seeks his redemption through his son.

Creed 2 places Adonis on the ultimate boxing throne. However, he soon finds out that the real challenge is how to mantain his new found glory, and proving to himself and others that he is worthy. The outcome that happens because of that inner struggle is the driving force in Creed 2.

Bohemian Rhapsody
(2018)

Expectations Met!
A time is revisited from a long, long while ago. It was a time when concert goers harmonized with bands using cigarette lighters and not cell phones. A time when Michael Jackson was climbing the charts, when records were played on turntables, and bands came-up with their own acoustic sounds the good-old natural way. And a time when Bob Geldof rallied together the world's leading artists to save Africa from poverty with a little thing called "Live Aid."

20th Century Fox's "Bohemian Rhapsody" takes place in 1970 London where a young Farrokh Bulsara, who would soon by known to the world as Freddie Mercury was discovering who he was as an artist. This is his story. The story of the making of "Freddie Mercury." The opening scene is a flash foward as it tells it all as Mercury walks down a long hallway adorned in a robe stepping past his many cats as they eat from their dishes. Exit into a transition of Mercury entering a vast stage surrounded by millions of fans as one of many of "Queens" hits plays in the background..."find me somebody to love."

That lyric, "somebody to love" is the core of 'Rhapsody's showing the story of Mercury's anguish throughout his career. The film focuses on the inevitable fate of a larger-than-life vocalist and mega star's loneliness, and constant beating-off of vultures' who are out to get whatever they can out of him for their own benefit. Ultimately, it's Mercury's quest to find true love is the center of this story. It's a love story and rock story all wrapped into one. Mercury's love to perform, which ironically directly limits his abiity to find personal love and fulfillment even after meeting his soul-mate, Mary Austin (perfectly portrayed by Lucy Boynton) who is a constant in Freddie's life throughout the ups and downs.

Fans will get to see what went into the making of some of their favorite popular "Queen" hits. But, more importantly, possibly Queen's most well-known song and title of the movie "Boheminan Raphsody." Movie goers will see the humorous making-of story of what went into creating that six-minute masterpiece and their record label's reaction. By-the-way, Mike Meyer's comes through with a stellar disguised cameo as record producer Ray Foster.

The film also showed how "Queen" (once called "Just Smile") was the first band to involve audience participation which the band expanded upon with songs like "We Will Rock You" and "We are the Champions." These songs were specically created for just that - for fans to be involved with their songs. "Queen" loved their fans and their fans showed it back.

Hollywood Junket caught an early full two-and-a-half hour screening (the film's current length is 2 hr 14 min) that treated "Queen" fans to a full set in the last scene which started with the song "Bohemian Rhapsody", then "We are the Champions", followed by "Radio Gaga." Yes, that's the "Radio Gaga" that living icon Lady Gaga coined her name from.

The film celebrates Mercury's flamboyant persona and fashion. The film shows a Mercury that was always unapologetically Freddie Mercury. "Bohemian Rhapsody" tastefully depicts his sexuality and sexual encounters. Most importantly, it embraces Mercury as an artist and as a person. Also, wonderfully played band members were: Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon.

American actor Rami Malek, who is best known from "Mr. Robot", does a beautiful job at becoming Freddie Mercury. Post production would have helped in the way of giving us those brooding dark Freddie Mercury eyes and an older, aged Mercury in the film's final scene. Other than that, this is a stand-out piece that "Queen" fans should be thrilled with.

I, Tonya
(2017)

Scene Stealers Stole the Movie in this Mockumentary
From the very first opening shots of "I, Tonya", it is clear that this movie is unlike many others. Opening with a sequence of interviews from the main characters delvulging their take on the events to be recounted in this mockumentary style dark comedy, they state, these are "totally true interviews." And, in fact, they are! Most of the inteviews are re-enacted word-for-word from real-life on-camera interviews and transcripts.

Directed by Craig Gillespie, "I, Tonya" is a passion project picked-up by it's star Margot Robbie who produced the film under her production company LuckyChap Entertainment. In a Q&A session with the actress, cast members, and filmmakers of "I, Tonya," Robbie stated that she had started the LuckyChap company to promote more opportunities in films for women.

During the Q&A, Robbie stated, "reading this script was was not only the most original, there were also a number of incredible female leads (characters)." The script broke every rule and had a rebellious nature. Robbie said she didn't know that the story was true at first (Robbie was four-years-old when it happened).

Tonya Harding, who introduced herself in the movie as a matter-of-fact way, "growing-up poor or being a redneck which is what I am." She was, in fact, the first U.S. woman to land a triple axle. But, unfortunately, had a tumultuous relationship with the Olympic judges which is also depicted in this fact-based moive. Because there are only three women in the world who can land a triple-axel, Harding being one, director Gillespie said they used CGI to bring the stunt to screen.

"I, Tonya" is based on the true-life events of Olympian ice-skater Tonya Harding of what drove her to conspire against her lead opponent at the time, Nancy Kerrigan. Set-up in a mockumentary with a splash of real-life like interviews, "I, Tonya" is reminiscent of another film that was released in 1995 (ironically, one year before the real life Harding and Kerrigan incident) "To Die For" which starred Nicole Kidman and Matt Dillon, also based on a true story.

Unique in itself, "I, Tonya" as stated by its director, is a movie that breaks the fourth wall - all the characters are very rebellious. "I wanted the script to mirror that." In that, audiences see the characters addressing things like the script, the cameras and are very aware of the filming of the movie, which is done in a documentary style. Also, as a viewer, it's refreshing when the characters, who are clearly aware that they are playing real-life people, turn to the camera to confirm scenes that they are acting-out by stating "this really happened." Okay! Great! I was wondering that!

Similar to other movies like it, i.e. - "To Die For", "Borat", "Best in Show", "This is Spinal Tap" - "I, Tonya", while a very entertaining film, has it's flaws. One of which is having star Margot Robbie also play her Tonya character as a teenager. Sorry, it just wasn't believeable. Unless it was part of the gag. Also, distracting and unbelieveable was having the same actor play Jeff Gillooly, Harding's boyfriend, as a 17-year-old, who actually looked like an older man she was dating. Again, maybe it was part of the movie's many underlying jokes. Perhaps it's their characters who are reflecting on the events, re-enacting themsleves in their own minds eyes.

Because I feel like I've seen this movie before with a combinatin of the actual events as they transpired and in movies like "To Die For", "I, Tonya" was a bit of a let-down. But, for those who are too young to remember either of these, the movie will be quite an entertaining and original treat. A few things that weren't let-downs were scene-stealing peformances by actors Allison Janney (LaVona, Tonya's mother) and Paul Walter Hauser (Shawn Eckardt, Tonya's bodyguard).

Interesting enough though, is how the movie also addresses the fact that for those who were alive and living in America at the time, will remember the Tonya Harding and Nancy Karrigan incident differently. Most people, as the movie points-out, remembers it going down with Tonya hitting Nancy's knee with a crow bar herself. Not true! Others, will remember the incident happening at the Olympics. Also, not true!

Pitch Perfect 3
(2017)

Big Fan of the First Two! Not So Much of the Third!
If you're a fan of the ventures of the a cappella Barden Bella's from past "Pitch Perfect" movies, I'm sorry to say that you're in for a drawn-out, disappointing ride.

It's been two years since audiences caught up with college born a cappella group the Barden Bellas. In it's thrid and final(?) installment, the Bellas are "approaching their 30's" which is all too evident upon them witnessing their shiny and bright, youthful replacements.

While caught-up in their average and miserable jobs, so it seems, the girls are "reunited" (not really since a good portion of them live together) at a current Bella Bardens performance via Pitch Perfect 2's Hailee Steinfeld. When their so-called reunion heads South, the Bellas realize how much they miss singing together. Thus, former leader Aubrey (Anna Camp) gets the Bellas an opportunity to sing for the troops in the Army in a USO tour.

But, what are the Bellas if there's no singing compeition to challenge them? Upon their arrival they instantly size-up the other entertainers around - "Saddle Up" and "Evermoist" to be exact, by challenging them to a riff-off. "A what" is the groups' response. Soon after they learn of what is the actual competiton, music producer DJ Khaled who is judging the groups over the course of the three performances they'll have to pull-off. Then he'll select one winning group to open for him in a final performance as well as sign onto a record deal.

The Bellas once again prove that even in the most complicated oppositions, which in this case they must compete against real bands with instruments, and a pesky villain played by Ruby Rose, the front woman of "Evermoist" they hold their ground with an old-fashioned type of show.

During their travels, Amy (Rebel Wilson) has her own reunion which is with her Dad, Fergus (portrayed by John Lithgow). This side plotline is a distraction which the film could have done without. The intent of Fergus took the fun and light-hearted comedy into a unwanted direction that is not common with the previous "Pitch Perfect" films. Actor John Lithgow's Australian accent could have used much improvement.

Baywatch
(2017)

If Porky's and Scooby-Doo had a Baby it Would be BAYWATCH Movie
Be one with the ocean and the ocean will reveal secrets that may greatly impact your life. Crazy talk? Or, maybe just the type of talk to spew out of your subconscious after being attacked by a poisonous sea urchin. Just one example of the wacky and campy scenarios laced throughout the new "Baywatch" movie.

In the case of head Baywatch lifeguard, Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson), there's a bit of truth in this as well. Proved to be the ultimate lifeguard which is showcased in the opening scene when Mitch anticipates a tragic situation before it even happens and emerges from beneath the ocean, with arms cradling a male rescue as the words BAYWATCH in block letters erupt through the water behind Mitch. This set the tone for the semi-slapstick, semi-campy "Baywatch" revival of the TV show perfectly.

Set in Miami beach, Scooby-Dooisc crime solving has never been sexier. The amateur detective, but all pro lifeguard is played by the perfectly chiseled Dwayne Johnson who leads the cast of life- guard characters.

Raunchy comedy is back. "Baywatch" is reminiscent of a sexual comedy genre popular in the early 80's with films such as "The Last American Virgin", "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", and "Porky's". The style became popular again in the late 90's with movies such as "American Pie", and "Something About Mary". In fact, if "Porky's" movie and Scooby-Doo cartoon had a baby it would be the new "Baywatch" movie. It's a fun and sexually explicit film (though more for the female audience than for the male audience). One particular scene in "Baywatch" involving a man's junk, is very similar to a famous boys' locker room scene in the "Porky's" movie. Viewers old enough to remember that will know exactly what that is. Everyone else, look it up!

The amateur ways that the lifeguard crew goes about putting their puzzle together of stalking the bad guys is very much like the characters from Scooby-Doo. The caught criminals would have definitely gotten away if it had not been for those "pesky" lifeguards meddling! The "Baywatch" film has a cartoonish feel when things magically pop- up out of nowhere with no explanations (this very well seems more like an editing choice, as we saw in the post credits bloopers). For example, HOW did Mitch and Matt Brody suddenly not only get into their disguises in a scene, but also where did they find them? Beware of flying body parts in an explosive third act!

READ Full BAYWATCH movie review here: http://hllywdjnkt.co/2qetgoO

A Dog's Purpose
(2017)

This Dog's Life Recap With the Number One Philosophical Question
If you're a person who currently has or ever had a close connection with a canine, "A Dog's Purpose" will serve as a validation of feelings. For those who have ever seriously wanted to know what dogs are thinking, this movie won't have those answers.

"A Dog's Purpose", based on a 2010 novel written by American humorist W. Bruce Cameron, is directed by Lasse Hallström. The movie follows the spirit of a dog throughout several of it's reincarnated dog lives. It shows audiences a take on a male dog's journey from his point-of- view of his multiple lives with different human owners. It seems to be from a human's view of what one may think dogs are thinking. The only physical form this male spirit inhabits is that of a dog. Those various dogs include a German Shepard, Golden Retriever, Saint Bernard.

Although the dog spirit interacts with other animals, the only voice we hear is what this dog is thinking and never what the other animals, such as dogs, cats, and a donkey or "dog horse" are thinking or what messages they are relaying to him.

Though not the first life, the one that stuck with this dog spirit the most was that of the Golden Retriever where he was rescued from a heated car by a mother and her son named Ethan. Ethan (played by Bryce Gheisar, then K.J. Apa, and later Dennis Quaid) was the first human to form a close bond with him and named him Bailey (voiced by actor Josh Gad). A name that stuck with this dog spirit until the very end.

However, just because Bailey is a dog, doesn't mean he doesn't have the most important philosophical question and yearning that all humans have. That is "what is my purpose". He seeks this answer throughout all of his travels in each life. Yet, ending-up unfulfilled which results in another attempt to start all over and do it all again in a different dog bodies (one female) with different human owners.

One of his "best lives" was as a smaller mixed...FULL REVIEW at HollywoodJunket.com

Fences
(2016)

Troy Builds Fences, Denzel Takes Them Down
In the new movie "Fences" based on an August Wilson play with the same name, lead actor and director Denzel Washington explores places with the film unexplored in the play.

The story takes place in 1957 and depicts the daily life of an African-American family consisting of Troy (Denzel Washington), Rose (Viola Davis), Cory (Jovan Adepo) living in the city of Pittsburgh, playwright August Wilson's hometown. The struggles of their everyday life where Troy maintains his job as a garbage man, seeking a promotion, and Rose is the matriarch who's constantly going up for bat for their 16-year-old son Cory who has a promising future as a profootball player. An opportunity Troy is partially cautious of and partially jealous of. He himself sought a career as a pro athlete.

Troy's guilt of using his brother, Gabriel's (Mykelti Williamson) insurance money from an accident for being his caretaker to buy the house for his family along with growing up with an abusive father and coping with the lack of moving forward in his life results in drinking and abusive behavior towards his son.

The majority of the cast reprise their roles in the film from the play which they had acted in on Broadway. Viola Davis who plays Rose, won a Tony for her portrayal.

During the first Los Angeles screening of the movie, the full cast was present to answer questions from Variety editor who moderated the event.

Seven years ago, producer Scott Rudin send Denzel Washington a screenplay. "Wilson wrote a masterpiece. One of the great plays of all time….it's the gift that keeps on giving," Washington described the "Fences" play.

In the film "Fences", "we get to see how Rose feels when Troy leaves. That wasn't in the play" said Washington.

Viola Davis said the two things that Washington said to the actors before filming were, "remember the one" and "trust me." Davis said "he's got a bullshit meter. A lot of actors don't know what to say to you to bring it out." She said of Washington that he's a great leader and you can trust him.

The young actor, Jovan Adepo, who plays Washington's son, Cory said he cried when he learned he got the role in "Fences." He said "it's a role you wait for and it's a blessing."

In the first act, Rose points out to Troy to finish the fence, a project that he has been working on with son Cory. A fence, it's noted to either keep the ones Rose loves in, or a fence to keep others out.

Full review at: HollywoodJunket.com

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life
(2016)

Though a lot has changed, nothing has changed
A key component to the start of this four episode installment is Rory is 32-years-old. The exact same age that Lorelai Gilmore was when viewers first met her with Rory, who was 16-years-old. Exactly 16 years apart from each other. Even as a young teenager, Rory was always the level-headed intellect of the household. So, it was a little unexpected that we now catch-up with a Rory who has fallen to the plight of many millennials bouncing around from place to place, "like a vagabond" as her grandmother Emily Gilmore described. She said, "having no permanent address, that's not normal." Without a job, and no footing in her journalism career, Rory returns home to Lorelai who was more grounded at her age.

This journey finds Rory jumping from one red-eye flight out of Star Hallow to New York, and London, to the next. Constantly in a state of travel. On the other side, things have remained much the same for some very familiar faces and friends. Miss Patty (though quite a few pounds lighter) is still running her dance school. Kurt is still jumping from job-to-job while living with his mother. In this episode, Kurt thinks he's clever to come-up with his own version of popular ride-sharing business Uber and calling it "Ooo-ber". This only lasts long enough until he is faced with a lawsuit.

The local town street singer/guitarist is still standing on corners crooning-up original tunes, while being threatened by his alleged sister who attempts to do the same. Michel and Jackson are still holding their own at the Lorelai owned Inn, The Dragonfly, minus Sookie who, as Michel stated with much contempt is off on a year plus sabbatical in the woods to help cultivate foods to save the world. Thus, the Inn remains in chef limbo where Lorelai displays the same trait as Emily with housekeepers, cutting chefs loose one after the other.

Taylor is still running the town with much the same abrasiveness as always. His latest passion project is convincing locals to sign a petition to update the city's septic tanks to sewers. Then, there's Luke (Scott Patterson). Luke who is the crabby, yet lovable diner owner of "Luke's Dinner" and boyfriend to Lorelai. Always supportive of both Lorelai, Rory and his own daughter – a student at M.I.T. by the way, by doing a wonderful thing like updating the diner's menus to display Rory's New Yorker article on the back.

Then, there are some whom we almost forgotten, like Gypsy, the town's mechanic. Her patience wears thin while reviving Lorelai's Jeep Wrangler yet once again. And Lane's mom. Yes, she still rules things her way with an iron fist. Rory's best friend Lane, who has two kids, is still rocking out with her band as a drummer with her vocalist husband Zack. Fans will also feel the welcoming familiarity of lovable neighbor Babette Dell, played by Sally Struthers.

Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) who is the strongest and fiercest woman around, is now in a state of uncharted territory, vulnerability after the loss of her husband of 50 years, Richard (played by actor Edward Kirk Herrmann who passed away two years ago). Upon a traditional dinner visit with Rory and Lorelai, we see one of the infamous Emily and Lorelai fights after Lorelai pressures Emily to admit she got Richard's portrait measurement wrong, thus resulting in a whole wall sized mural. On a lighter note, Emily seems to be getting along with her newest maid Berta whom she can't understand a word she says, but welcomed her kids (so she thinks) into her vast home.

Then, we time jump to four months earlier to the day of Richard's funeral where the original fuel to the fire was sparked after Lorelai dishonored Richard's memory with two unpleasant experiences she has as a child. An incident that seems to be unforgivable and one Emily is not bound to get over anytime soon. After Lorelai convinces Emily that minimalism is not the answer, and telling her "nothing's going to give you joy right now. Your husband just died," Lorelai suggests therapy sessions which later leads to them undergoing together. Something that could have helped them ages ago. Viewers will see this in the next episode called "Spring."

Please visit: HollywoodJunket.com for full review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising
(2016)

Almost as Fun as First Neighbors
Two years later, audiences will get to catch-up on married couple Kelly and Mac Radner (played by Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen) along with infant daughter Stella (Elise & Zoey Vargas) now a toddler. After clearing- out an extremely disruptive fraternity house next door in "Neighbors", "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" presents the couple with the same problem, only with all female protagonists who are a college Sorority.

Neighbors 2 opens with the couple now living quietly with an empty house next door (once inhabited by Delta Psi Beta). The Radners are in the process of closing the final sell on their home as the buyers enter a 30-day escrow. That means, the buyers may pull-out of finalizing the sell if they should find something wrong with the house (you can probably already see where this is going).

Neighbors 2′ updates us with characters Teddy who is finding it difficult to move beyond working at Abrecombie & Fitch due to his criminal record gained from harassing the Radners, Scoonie, now a successful inventor, and Pete who has some unexpected news of his own.

The alignment of various unfortunate events that include a sorority rule that prohibits them from partying, three disgruntled pledges who set out to start their own sorority calling it "Kappa Nu" bypassing the anti-sorority party law, and their encounter with Delta Psi's Teddy (Zac Efron) combined with the available house for sell next to the Radners all lead to the upheaval that threatens the successful completion of their escrow.

Feeling down on his luck with a new whirlwind of events in his life, Teddy is compelled to start-up war again with the Radners and lends himself to Kappa Nu as a mentor, until their ungrateful behavior moves him to join the Radners in the war.

There were some very funny moments in Neighbors 2′. However, what was missing was the creative and slew of unexpected pranks that the characters were constantly one-uping each other with in the first one.

The meat of the story in Neighbors 2′ is focused on a battle of not only the neighbors, but also, a battle of the sexes. By the last act, everyone comes to the conclusion of what the bigger picture is and the importance of doing the right thing no matter what the Radner's undesirable consequences may be.

Full Review at: HollywoodJunketdotcom

A Million Ways to Die in the West
(2014)

Death and Celebs in The West - Not A Winning Combo!
Written by: Myles Warden for Hollywood Junket

Disease. Gun Fight. Snake Bite. Bar Fight. These are just some of the ways Seth MacFarlene uses to execute in his newest film A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST.

A Million Ways To Die In The West is a comedy that is directed by, written by, and stars Seth MacFarlene. Or, as every advertisement would like to remind us "THE GUY WHO BROUGHT US TED!" He also gets some help from his "Ted" writing partners Alec Sulkin and Wellessley Wild and some very famous costars, as some equally famous cameos by Ewan McGregor, Gilbert Gottfried, Christopher Lloyd, Dennis Haskins.

Besides the subplot of all the ways to die in the west the movie is about Seth's character Albert, a terrible and courage-less sheep farmer, who loses his girlfriend Louise, played by Amanda Seyfried, by withdrawing from a gun fight and attempts to get her back by making her jealous with his new to town friend Anna (Charlize Theron). Of course he falls in love with this new girl and eventually discovers she's married to the baddest man in the west which leads to trouble.

One thing's for sure Seth knows how to pull in the A-list talent and if you've ever seen Family Guy or Ted you know he loves a good random cameo as well. This movie is no exception with Liam Neeson playing Anna's husband Clinch (the best shooter in the west), Giovanni Ribisi as Albert's virgin best friend Edward, Sarah Silverman as Albert's prostitute girlfriend Ruth, Neil Patrick Harris as Louise's new rich beau Foy, and a slew of surprise cameos. It's definitely an embarrassment of riches of talent for any director so the question is does Seth make the most of his riches or does he die trying? The answer is - kind of. Allow me to explain. There were a ton of extremely hilarious moments such as the musical number with Neil Patrick Harris' character Foy, numerous interactions between Ruth and Edward, and of course each surprise cameo packed a great punch, Christopher Lloyds' Emmett "Doc" Brown from "Back to the Future" movies included. On the other hand there were a ton of scenes that lasted too long or entire acts, which is the case with the final act of the movie. There were also a few deaths that just had zero funny in them.

You can't really drag out the ending to a movie when everyone knows how it will play out and we're just kind of waiting to get there and hoping for laughs along the way. Every scene did serve a purpose but if that purpose doesn't also make you laugh in a comedy then it's null and void. With that said there were simply too many scenes where that was the case.

There were some magical moments where everything clicked. One of the best examples is the annual county fair. Here we get a few hilarious and random deaths and our first interaction between Albert, his ex Louise, his new friend Anna, and Louise's new boyfriend Foy. This scene shows everyone's personality perfectly and also sets up the path for the rest of the film. We also get to hear Neal Patrick Harris say "challenge accepted" and get a very funny cameo from a 90's TV principal.

I will also say the cast did a splendid job and were perfect for the roles they were cast in. Seth even managed to pull off some emotional moments very well. Too bad the acting just couldn't make this as great as TED (assuming you loved TED like I did) and it falls short too often. Not a complete loss but not a movie you'll want to watch twice.

MORE at: HollywoodJunket.com

Neighbors
(2014)

Zac Efron Brings the Party to Neighbors!
Written by: Myles Warden for Hollywood Junket

NEIGHBORS is an original comedy (which doesn't happen too often these days) written by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O'Brien. The movie stars Seth Rogen as Mac Radner, a recently married man with a newborn, and Zac Efron as Teddy Sanders who is the president of the fraternity that just moved next door.

Mac Radner and his wife Kelly (played by Rose Byrne) have just settled in to their newly acquired home, which that have spent "ALL" of their money on, with their newborn child when Teddy and his frat move next door and turn the neighborhood upside down. If you've just had a little baby girl the last thing you want her doing is growing up next door to a frat house full of partying, horny, and shirtless boys but unfortunately that is the situation Mac and Kelly have been placed in. As if sleep weren't hard enough to come by with a newborn throw in a 24 hour party next door and you can forget about ever sleeping again. After Mac's attempt at peace by befriending the frat fails Mac spends the rest of the movie trying to get the frat to move, kicked out of the neighborhood, or arrested while Teddy tries to make Mac and Kelly's life a living hell.

Mac and Kelly are a textbook case of not yet ready to grow-up and embrace their thirty-something ages.   Faced with the major life-shift of raising a baby gives them a rude-awakening and strong contrast of what their lives once were by the reminder of the young college kids that moved next door.   After complaining about the noise one night, Teddy (Zach Efron) and the fraternity vice-president Pete (played by Dave Franco - yes, brother of James Franco) decide to try to win them over on their side - as they have with all of the neighbors, by inviting them into the party.  The "old people" (Mac and Kelly) gladly accept.   However, the very next night, the couple break a promise that they made to Teddy, and this is when an all-out war between the neighbors start.  That's where the movie gets very interesting and even cartoonishly funny during some key scenes.  You'll know which ones they are.

Honestly I wasn't sure if this premise could hold up for 90 minutes without being extremely repetitive but I'm amazed at how the writers were able to pull it off using some very sound logic. I'm sure veteran director Nicholas Stoller (The Five Year Engagement, Get Him To The Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc) aided in this as well. Every time you would say to yourself "well why don't they just do "this" that's exactly what the couple would try or think and it wouldn't work. For that I take my hat off.

Not to give all credit to the supporting cast, and even though Seth Rogen was the great Seth everyone loves, I must say the best performance belongs to Zac Efron in what is one of his best leading performance yet. I feel the role provided him an opportunity to show us sides of him we haven't seen (except in glimpse in Grown Ups 2) but worked as he'd been doing these type of characters for a decade. You can tell when an actor genuinely enjoys what he's doing and Zac had fun bringing the party to college and to the movie. Hopefully he'll do more comedies in this lane.

Full review and more at: HollywoodJunket.com

The Other Woman
(2014)

Keeping Four Women Happy, Impossible!
A Hollywood press movie screening is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get. In this case you are getting a guy's review of a chick flick and that is just the beginning. While waiting for the movie to start guess who sits next to me? None other than Mario Lopez.

I explained to Mario that I was supposed to be seeing this movie with my wife however she was held up on set and it was now up to me to watch this movie and write a review. Mario expressed his sympathy for me, since he too had to watch the same chick flick, well at least I have some company now.

Even before the movie started the drama began (wait isn't this a comedy?) with someone down near the front being thrown out by security! As well as a myriad of strange projection problems apparently the popcorn isn't the only thing theaters can't get right nowadays (thanks AMC).

So what's this movie about anyway? Directed by Nick Cassavetes, THE OTHER WOMAN summed-up in a nutshell - After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly soon meets the wife he's been cheating on. And when yet another affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on the three-timing SOB. Sounds interesting right? let's get into character shall we!

In present day New York City we meet Mark King played by Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau (is that the king slayer? YES) this character is the kind of guy who drives a $300,000.00 Aston Martin (don't scratch that paint!) and has an eye for the ladies, oh yeah and he is married too.

Carly Whitten played by Cameron Diaz is a successful professional woman spending her days hard at work in her office and her nights hard at work on Mark King. At this point Carly does not know that Mark is married.

When Carly show's up at Marks house one night dressed as a provocative "plumber", guess who answers the door? I'll give you a hint it's not Mark and it's not the "house keeper" either! Yes, it's his wife Kate (Leslie Mann).

Kate feels betrayed by Mark and wants revenge, but wants Carly's help. Not until Kate finds out that Mark has a second girl friend Amber played by Kate Upton, that Carly agrees to help Kate.

So if two girls friend weren't bad enough a third must be the extent of Mark's mistress mischief right? Wrong! it get even weirder, more bizarrely diabolical and then the revenge part actually starts.

THE OTHER WOMAN is like a modern day 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton movie) on overtime. Yes it's true this is most definitely a chick flick with strong over tones of insane farce, Much of the story line straddles the borderline of what some women may have experienced in "the dating world" coupled with outlandish situations that could not possibly occur in real life to anyone.

Full review and MORE reviews at: HollywoodJunket.com

Brick Mansions
(2014)

Everything made up of bricks isn't always rock solid!
  • Written by: Myles Warden for Hollywood Junket


Everything made up of bricks isn't always rock solid. "Brick Mansions" proves that. The action film starring the late Paul Walker is a remake of the 2004 French film "District 13". In it Paul Walker plays Officer Damien Collier from Detroit. It's a few years into the future and things have got even worse for inner city Detroit. I'm talking from "I got shot" bad to "I got shot and there's no hospitals" bad.

The government has decided to build walls around this area to keep people from going in and out and then to save money also decided to stop funding the basics such as hospitals, police, schools, etc. The poor area now known as Brick Mansions is basically being ran by a major drug dealer named Tremaine Alexander whose played by RZA (of the world famous Wu Tang Clan...More on that later). This guy is basically the wealthy king of a drug infested and broke down castle. His only opponent is a good (yet extremely tough) guy named Lino Dupree (David Belle) who is hell bent on stopping Tremaine and keeping drugs out of his neighborhood. This street smart and talented fighter is played by David Belle who actually starred in the original French film as well.

The good part of this film like most action films is indeed... You guessed it. THE ACTION. You can tell Paul Walker put forth 110% into nailing these brilliant and jaw dropping Parkour and Brazilian jiu jitsu moves. This style of movement and fighting is new to American audiences and Paul Walker was proud to introduce us to it in the best way possible. Having one of the eight founders, creators of the Parkour movement in Belle, helped tremendously and although he was retired from action films before this you could not tell at all. The 40-year-old moved around in this movie like a 20 year old Jackie Chan.

The bad part of this movie was the dialogue. Terrible and cliché dialogue ruined so many scenes for me. The dialogue was so over the top during a very pivotal part of the movie Tremaine, played by RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), emphatically states "Where I'm from cash rules everything around me." You don't have to be a huge Wu-Tang fan to get that reference from one of their most famous songs 'C.R.E.A.M." which stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me. This quote and many others caused the entire audience to groan and chuckle during moments that were meant to be intense.

The movie wasn't all bad though besides the action sequences it actually had a decent story foundation. The characters had great motives and back stories. There were even a couple good plot twists that were woven into the story seamlessly yet somehow it all just didn't add up to a great film. Also, I love a happy ending more than most but something about this ending was almost "too happy." Full review and MORE reviews at: HollywoodJunket.com

Kick-Ass 2
(2013)

The Superhero Next Door!
he last time we saw Kick-Ass he struggled to answer the question: "What is a superhero?" He teetered on wanting to be the good guy who does the right thing, but also not cross the line. Big Daddy and Hit Girl, on the other hand, had the masks, the money, and the martial arts. They killed people freely if it meant getting the job done. So, though Kick-Ass was technically the first real-life superhero, most viewers would consider Big Daddy and Hit Girl the real deal. Now, the sequel delves a little deeper and asks, "What does it mean to be a superhero in the real world? Are you a civilian disguised as a hero or a hero disguised as a civilian?"

In the sequel, Mindy or "Hit Girl" played by Chole Grace Moretz and Dave, a.k.a. "Kick-Ass" portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, practically swap places. Rather than Dave trying to get the girl and come into his own during high school, he's out in the streets beating people with his batons. Then, Mindy, who was able to kill multiple men each night without giving a single thought, finds herself being bested by a new kind of evil: the mean girls of high school.

Kick-Ass 2 definitely packs a punch – both in humor and in battles. The flick follows a new group of superheroes, including a few of the originals, and their attempt to make the comic-book world a reality. Expect super villains and their evil lairs, homemade gadgets, a city in distress, and poignant family moments, a la Peter Parker and Uncle Ben.

But despite following these traditional patterns, these vigilantes turned superheroes have to discover that, unlike comic books, real world crime fighting comes with real world consequences. This time, it isn't just evil drug lords getting maimed and killed, but some of the good guys as well, giving the movie a slightly darker tone.

While some sequels fail to live up to the original installment, Kick-Ass 2 holds it's own and is really quite enjoyable giving it's viewers a little bit of everything: some laugh out loud comedy, emotional dialogue, self-discovery, puppy love, and of course, some kick ass fighting scenes.

* Be sure to stay for a scene after the closing credits are done! Kick-Ass 2 opens in theaters on Friday, August 16, 2013.

Movie review by: Shyla Watson / HollywoodJunket.com

The Smurfs 2
(2013)

Smurfnapping in Paris!
Those adorable Smurfs are back on the big-screen in the sequel to the 2011 blockbuster hit. They are as appealing today as they were when first introduced on television in 1981. Their contagious, cheerful energy draws you in and the optimism they possess throughout permeates the screen while trying to conquer the evil, Grinch-like Gargamel.

Gargamel still has an appeal that viewers love to hate. His somewhat likable bad guy continues to be the central character. In "the Smurfs 2, directed by Raja Gosnell who also directed "The Smurfs", and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" Gargamel (Hank Azaria) is now a famous sorcerer living in Paris. His shows are always sold out and he has everything one always wanting more. He creates a couple of characters from a lump of clay (like Smurfette) called The Naughties Vexy (voiced by Christina Ricci) and Hackus (J.B. Smoove), hoping to harness the magical Smurf essence so he can rule the world. He runs into a problem as his Naughties do not possess what he needs. Gargamel finds out that Smurfette (Katy Perry) is the only one who knows the secret of the essence, so, he sets out to have her kidnapped.

In Smurf Village, Smurfette has the feeling of not quite fitting in with the rest of the Smurfs because she was created by Gargamel. Papa Smurf made her a true blue Smurf. Katy Perry said, "In a way, it' like she's becoming a teenager, asking all the same kind of questions we all go through when we come of age. She's really trying to figure out if she's a real Smurf." Gargamel kidnaps her on the eve of her birthday. With Smurfette missing, Papa Smurf (Jonathan Winters, in his final performance) along with a few other Smurfs, decides to take matters into his own hands. Smurfette forms a bond with the Naughties who are like her brother and sister. When Papa Smurf attempts to rescue her, it's a question if she wants to be or not. There is more here than meets the eye as a secret is revealed which could affect the entire Smurf community.

This was a pleasant, funny, sweet, sometimes serious movie. I really enjoyed it. The Smurfs are adorable, the Naughties are cute, but the real surprise is Gargamel. Hank Azaria's work as the evil sorcerer was quite funny and very convincing. He brought forth a different kind of energy and it worked. Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, and Brendan Gleeson go through the motions but do not stand out.

The movie works because it doesn't connect only with children, but for adults as well. If you're looking for a fun summer movie, and are tired of Minions, go see The Smurfs 2 with the family.

"The Smurfs 2" opens in theaters July 31, 2013

  • Written by: Michael Eisenberg / HollywoodJunket.com

Arthur Newman
(2012)

More Missing Than His Identity!
"Arthur Newman" opens with a scene of the main character, Wallace Avery, played by Academy Award winning actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech) talking to an employment worker at the "Florida Department of Labor" as she asks him if he has been looking for work after his last dead-end job. As the audience is gradually introduced to Wallace's hum-drum life, it is quickly evident why he decides to shake things up.

Longing for more excitement and giving-up on his efforts to become closer to his son and ex-wife, Wallace sets out for a private adventure to a pro golf course where he was promised a shot at a better life. Carefully planning the steps, Wallace disappears after a camping trip on the beach. His long-time girlfriend, Mina Crawley (Anne Heche) and son are the two who end-up missing Wallace the most and comfort each other with memories and nights of sharing his home together.

"Arthur Newman" opens with a scene of the main character, Wallace Avery, played by Academy Award winning actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech) talking to an employment worker at the "Florida Department of Labor" as she asks him if he has been looking for work after his last dead-end job. As the audience is gradually introduced to Wallace's hum-drum life, it is quickly evident why he decides to shake things up.

Longing for more excitement and giving-up on his efforts to become closer to his son and ex-wife, Wallace sets out for a private adventure to a pro golf course where he was promised a shot at a better life. Carefully planning the steps, Wallace disappears after a camping trip on the beach. His long-time girlfriend, Mina Crawley (Anne Heche) and son are the two who end-up missing Wallace the most and comfort each other with memories and nights of sharing his home together.

Wallace begins a $10,000 new identity "Arhur J. Newman", a name he made-up when asked by a golf pro many years ago, with $20,00 in pocket cash. Early-on along the way, Wallace encounters a spit-fire of a woman who calls herself Mike (Golden Globe winner, Emily Blunt). They find that they have more in common than it originally appears and become steadfast lovers and friends who play a game of taking-on random couples' identities throughout their travels. Running away from pasts which they did not want to face, they conclude their journeys once it becomes evident that the right path was the one they were on all along before they met.

"Arthur Newman" is a story about two victims who are also survivors of life's challenges who decide to run away and start anew as two different people. Emily Blunt and Colin Firth are brilliant. The storyline, not so much. The plot line of "Arthur Newman" a is as sketchy as the lead characters' identities.

  • HollywoodJunket.com

Pain & Gain
(2013)

There's Dark Comedy in Those Muscles!
"I believe in fitness" are the words muscle head Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) says in the opening scene of "Pain and Gain" that shows his back story of how he one day decided to make his life better. "Pain and Gain" is a movie based on the true story of Lugo and his pals – a steroid using gym goer, and a pumped-up convict, who commit extortion and murder in their efforts to pursue the American dream.

The incidents happen in Miami, Florida. A place Lugo describes as "God's waiting room" due to the vast amounts of Senior Citizen residents. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are all rights that the crew of Lugo, Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) attempt to take away from their tagged victim, millionaire Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) after Lugo is inspired by motivational speaker Johnny Wu (Ken Jeong). "Don't be a don'ter! Do be a doer!" Johnny Wu exclaimed. Lugo responds "I'm a doer! I'm a doer! I'm a doer!" Thus, goes on to kidnap Victor to have him sign away all of his assets and money to him. An effort which takes an agonizing (but comical) thirty days.

Taking place from October 1994 to June 1995, "Pain and Gain" depicts each of the characters who become involved in the kidnapping of Victor back stories as told by themselves in narration. Lugo recites in his own telling of the story with narration throughout the film in sort of a "Goodfellas" type of way – bouncing from different times in the past, he introduces the re-telling of it with "unfortunately, this is a true story." Lugo explains how he left the gym where he was a personal trainer at, and went to a barely functioning one called "Sun Gym" which catered to senior citizens. His promises to gym owner John Merse (Rob Corddry) to triple the gym's memberships in three months is enough for Merse to overlook his criminal past and hire him on the spot.

Lugo truly believes in his own philosophy that ultimately gets him into trouble – "If you're willing to do the work, you can have anything." "Pain and Gain" fully tells the stories in good time (2 hours, 10 minutes) of what seems to be a story of absurdness and chaos that seems too unreal to be true. Which is perfect when Paul Doyle is doing his best to erase a spoiler to a crime they commit in a very unconventional way, a pop-up reminds the audience "This is still a true story." Loose story-lines are wrapped-up at the end with courtesy notes of where these real people are now along with their photos.

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21 & Over
(2013)

OMG moments had audiences rolling!
Twas the night before his big medical school interview, when young Jeff Chang (Justin Chon) was surprised by his two best friends from high school, Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin), who both have made special trips just to celebrates Jeff's 21st birthday. Sounds nice right? But this is no ordinary story of friendship, writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore made sure Jeff Chang would end up with a "HANGOVER" of epic proportions worthy of it's own movie.

Dr. Chang (François Chau) Jeff's dad is also in town visiting Jeff to make sure everything goes smoothly for the interview he has arranged for his son. Despite Dr. Chang's final warning to Jeff that he must not be late and definitely not to embarrass him, Miller and Casey manage to convince Jeff to go out for just one drink.

One drink turns in to two, then three and more, and relate-able situations take a turn for the ridiculous, but that is where the comedy really sets-in. Before long Jeff ends up passing out leaving Miller and Casey with the task of getting Jeff safely home. The problem for Miller and Casey besides being drunk themselves is that they are lost too and can't even remember Jeff's address. Miller and Casey decide they need to find someone who can tell them where Jeff lives so they can get him home. With the clock ticking away leaving only hours until Jeff's interview, Miller and Casey must now carry Jeff to what ends up being all over campus.

Miller and Casey's late night adventure makes them enemies of some Latina sorority sisters (you won't believe what they did to these poor girls). That's not all, the male cheer leading squad is also looking to settle the score with Miller, Casey and Jeff (who is still unconscious). While this may seem like a lot to deal with, Miller and Casey are also discovering some disturbing secrets about Jeff along the way as people mention Jeff's strange behavior in ways that really start to worry his best friends. None more worrisome than Miller and Casey finding a loaded gun in Jeff's pocket.

In the face of extremely funny difficulties, Miller and Casey never give up their quest to get Jeff home. Even after being captured, tortured and held hostage themselves Miller and Casey still will do anything for Jeff and all just in time for an unexpected but not really surprising ending.

The laughs keep coming in this movie with plenty of "OMG" and "No they didn't" moments that left the audience rolling in the isles. 21 AND OVER is a must see for HANGOVER movie fans.

  • Hollywood JUNKET

Safe Haven
(2013)

A Love That Stands The Test of Time!
As human nature would have it, it's not a rare thing to fall in and out of love a number of times in one person's lifetime. But, then, there are those even more rare cases of finding the one true love that may occur only once in a person's life and lasting even longer than a lifetime. Relativity Media's "Safe Haven", directed by Lasse Hallstrom is a story about one of those such rare cases.

Based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, the story opens with a young woman, who simply goes by "Katie", played by Julianne Hough, as she is seen fiercely escaping danger. It's not yet revealed what the circumstances are. She resurfaces in the small, ocean side tourist town of Southport in North Carolina, which is also where the film was shot.

Her small town surroundings and the people within it embrace Katie a lot sooner than she is ready to reciprocate. One such resident being Alex (Josh Duhamel) who is a father of two and a widower of four years loosing his wife to cancer. A very guarded Katie is constantly reminded of her runaway status from, as more of her back-story is revealed, her husband who is a Boston police detective (David Lyons) in charge of locating escaped criminals.

With a small window of opportunity to get to know Alex and his family more, Katie decides to enter their lives as his kids start to grow more fond of her. However, when her husband's detective skills lead him directly to her, a series of events results in a new awakening for Katie and Alex's family alike where new beginnings are a welcome.

The last fifteen minutes of "Safe Haven" includes a real tear-jerker and a surprise ending is revealed. I challenge anyone to have a dry eye after that. Josh Duhamel as "Alex" and Julianne Hough as "Katie" were a perfect fit and carried the storyline perfectly.

Also very impressive performances came from child actors Noah Lomaz as "Josh", Alex's son, and Mimi Kirland as "Lexie", Alex's daughter...Full Review at HollywoodJunket.com -Hollywood Junket

The Last Stand
(2013)

Just A Good Old Boy Fighting Bandits!
A small town is involuntarily and abruptly awakened to the biggest fugitive chase by the FBI in Lionsgate's "The Last Stand" directed by Jee-Woon Kim and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville.

Colorful characters surrounding law-enforcement riding the tails of illegal cargo (a fellow FBI agent and the fugitive himself) inside of a super-charged sports car could very well be an updated spin on the classic 1977 film "Smokey and the Bandit" which starred Burt Reynolds and Sally Field.

Fans expecting to see a good Schwarzenegger action film like the old days will not be disappointed in "The Last Stand". It's one-of-a kind mind-blowing stunts, mostly involving cars, and quirky towns people along with cheesy dialogue delivered with great comedic timing is all wrapped-up into an enjoyable adventure ride.

Arnold plays Sheriff Ray Owens of Sommerton, Arizona - a small town out in the middle of no where. As a former narcotics L.A.P.D officer he had too much of a bad deal which ended in a lot of bloodshed. As a result, he sought out a much more quiet career in law enforcement in Sommerton. As the town's sheriff, his most demanding responsibilities is jailing drunks. His deputies Jerry (Zach Gilford) and Mike (Luis Guzman) pass their down-time with target practice on hanging raw meat. One deputy's need for more adventures leads to his request for Owens help in getting hired at the L.A.P.D. after the highlight of his work there is rescuing a cat from a tree. As they say, be careful what you wish for because their sleepy little town soon turns into a hot spot for danger literally over night.

The town's worst nightmare starts when a failed milk delivery arises suspicion from the town's local waitress, Christie. After sending his deputies Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford) and Sarah Torrance (Jamie Alexander) off to investigate, Owens soon discovers that there's something fishy going on with the last homicide in Sommerton and has a gut feeling it's connected with an earlier sighting of questionable diner patrons and an escaped convict, Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) who's said to be headed their way. But, not just any convict, the most threatening convict of all - a third generation of a drug cartel family and as FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) puts it, not since Escabar has a convict been as threatening.

"The Last Stand" is filled with smart action and impressive car stunt scenes. Some of the things that the featured car- a custom, converted corvette stolen from the L.A. Auto Show by Cortez and his minions is capable of- racing at speeds higher than a helicopter and apparently lacking the need for gas. The fact is that this villain is one that has truly lead a charmed life and doing the actual dirty work is not in his agenda. He passes off all of the heavy-lifting to pre-selected criminals who help him make his escapes in his ultimate goal to pass back over the border into Mexico.

Arnold Schwarznegger proves to still have his action movie game in him by not letting fans down by delivering his traditional, signature macho, humorous style trademarked to his characters. One memorable scene of the film is when Arnold's character goes into the local diner to warn the workers and customers to go home because they are in harms way. One of the senior citizen customers says he just ordered one of the most fattest breakfast's and does he look like he's afraid of death. The other older patron agreed - as they both sipped on their beers. In a follow-up scene at the same diner, after breaking through a glass door, the customers and workers ask Arnold how he is doing as he's in the middle of battle with Cortez's crew. He pulls himself up off of the floor and responds, "old".

WARNING: For those of you with weak stomachs I must advise there are some graphic scenes.

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Flight
(2012)

Turbulence On the Ground!
It's a frequent flyer's worst nightmare – trapped inside a plane in mid air that suddenly plummets towards the earth at an uncontrollable speed which is exactly what happens in new Paramount Pictures movie "Flight" directed by Robert Zemeckis, starring Denzel Washington, John Goodman, and Don Cheadle.

Washington plays a self-indulgent character named Whip Whitaker that has an addiction to alcohol who happens to be a commercial pilot. During a flight, Whitaker gets his crew and passenger on the plane through a bad weather storm consisting of extreme turbulence. Once pulling the plane successfully through it, Whitaker gloats to his passengers while sneaking a couple of mini-vodkas with orange juice before going back into the cockpit with a fairly new pilot. It seems to be smooth sailing from there on out, until the plane starts to lose pressure and starts to plunge to a rapid descend. Going on pure "instinct" Whitaker would later say in a hearing, he flipped the plane upside down in order to bide some time for a smoother than ordinary landing into an open field which ironically was the grounds of a church with members praying as the plane fell down.

Upon the plane's safe landing which took lives of three plane crew members and four passengers, it is quickly discovered that no other pilots tested in the same conditions could land the plane safely. His new found heroism is spiked with a personal addiction that he isn't aware that he has.

After missing various signs along the way that he needs help, Whitaker reaches his personal rock bottom moment inside of a hotel room the night before his hearing to convince his innocence of any negligence to the panel. His moment of clarity comes in an unexpected place and a very well played, suspenseful scene at the end of the film.

Denzel Washington is truly dedicated to his character Whip Whitaker. So much so that you forget you are watching Denzel Washington play this part. He really becomes Whip in the film. Other strong performances included John Goodman ("the mobile 7-11″), Keilly Reilly who plays Whitaker's love interest, Don Cheadle who portrays the lawyer that is brought-in by the airline union for his trail, and Charlie Anderson who plays Whitaker's union rep.

"Flight" is an incredibly strong character piece with real human stories and emotion. Whip is the dark horse that you shouldn't be rooting for, but you are. When he finally takes responsibility for his actions knowing what the consequences are, it's this raw realism that makes the movie that much more intriguing and powerful while giving every viewer something that they can relate to. It's these moments in each individuals' life that defines their character. For Whip, he ends up gaining more respect for it.

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Hotel Transylvania
(2012)

A Traditional Father/Daughter Story, Only Their Vampires!
Every father of a daughter has wished at some point in his life to keep his little girl well protected from the world and the wrong guys in a remote castle in the middle of nowhere for 118 years. "Hotel Transylvania" is an animated feature about a father, who happens to be Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler, who does exactly that to his daughter Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez.

The story begins in the year 1895 where Dracula is unexpectedly forced to be a single father and raise his baby girl Mavis after a tragedy takes his wife's life. He builds a huge castle for Mavis and turns it into a hotel for monsters. His intentions is to make it a refuge for monsters (insects included) where no humans are allowed. Flash forward to the current year, it is the eve of Mavis 118th birthday. It seems to be the equivalent to a human teenager's 18th birthday. Mavis quickly reminds Dracula that his promise to her on her 118th birthday is that she would get to finally explore the world outside of the castle and even travel to a different country.

Not wanting to disappoint his little girl, he allows her to visit a small village just outside of the castle that same night. However, it turns out that the village is not real. It is made of multiple facades with Dracula's zombie workers disguised as humans who scare Mavis away by using fire and threatening to kill her.

Her curiosity of humans is put to rest by the experience. But, when she meets a mystery young male drifter named Jonathan who stumbles into the hotel claiming the identity of a party planner for her birthday who is Frankenstein's cousin – John Stein, Mavis feels a certain "zing" with him that she just can't shake. At the end, his true identity is revealed in the worst way – under the scrutiny of the hotel's monster guests as well as Mavis who is hurt by her Father's betrayal but is fascinated even more by Jonathan. However, upon Dracula's wishes Jonathan exits the hotel to continue his travels. Dracula says, "I want to kill him. But it would set monsters back hundreds of years".

"Hotel Transylvania" is a movie that parents will genuinely enjoy with their children. Though having some plot holes, such as even though Dracula stated early in the movie that he too has kept himself from the outside world away from humans for over 100 years, yet he knows what the word "nerd" means and recognizes the movie "Twilight" when he sees it. Dracula clears up a few misconceptions about vampires – MORE: http://hllywdjnkt.co/QtQNfL

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Looper
(2012)

Note To Self: Never Travel Back In Time To Myself!
"Looper", written and directed by Rian Johnson is a theoretical view on time travel with an unusual purpose. The future is ruled by an evil force called "The Rainmaker" who heads a mob-like group of killers. However, they aren't doing the actual killing. When they want to "bump" somebody-off, they send them 30 years back in time to the year 2044 which is where the story begins in Kansas. The hit-men from the past doing the killings are called "loopers".

The film revolves around Looper "Joe", played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. A self-centered, wealthy young thirty-something whose wealth was created from his looping and who finds comfort in liquid drugs dropped into his eyes and a prostitute named "Suzie" (Piper Perabo) until he discovers more in life outside of his daily grind after coming into contact with his older self, played by Bruce Willis and finding the woman who "saves his life", "Sara" (Emily Blunt).

Loopers receive their jobs at an exact, sometimes approximate time in a specific secluded location where the person being killed is a man that is bound, hooded, and gagged. As soon as they appear out of thin air, the Looper shoots them dead, then turns their body over to receive their pay-out which is bars of silver tied to the victim's back.

Ultimately, every "looper" has his day, so-to-speak. When their bosses want to finish the jobs, they must do this be eliminating all evidence of the killings – which by-the-way are technically killings of people that don't currently exist since they were knocked-off 30 years ago. But, they do this by sending the Looper himself (if he's still alive) from 30 years into the future back in time to be killed by themselves. Once the looper assassinates himself, the reward is a huge payout with gold bars. They then have 30 years to live...MORE - http://hllywdjnkt.co/QtPtJM

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