REVIEW: LAST VEGAS

Starring

Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Robert De Niro (Joy)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Kevin Kline (Dave)
Mary Steenburgen (Elf)
Jerry Ferrara (Sunny)
Romany Malco (Kindergarten Cop 2)
Roger Bart (Trumbo)
Joanna Gleason (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
Michael Ealy (Takers)
Bre Blair (Quarantine 2: Terminal)
50 Cent (Spy)
Elisa Gabrielli (The Brady Bunch Movie)

Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline in Last Vegas (2013)Billy, Paddy, Archie, and Sam are childhood friends from Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, who are now living in their senior years. Sam and his wife Miriam are living mundane lives in Naples, Florida. Archie, twice-divorced and recovering from a minor stroke, lives with his overprotective son Ezra and his family in Englewood, New Jersey. Paddy lives alone in his Brooklyn apartment, a curmudgeon in grief since the death of his wife, Sophie, over a year ago. Billy is a successful entrepreneur in Malibu, California, who lives with his 31-year-old girlfriend Lisa. Shortly after proposing to Lisa, Billy finds an old bottle of scotch he and his friends stole in their childhood days and calls Sam and Archie, who immediately propose a bachelor party for Billy in Las Vegas before his wedding that weekend. After being given permission by Miriam to cheat on her, Sam collects Archie and Paddy and fly off to rendezvous with Billy in Vegas.Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline in Last Vegas (2013)Arriving in Vegas, Billy and Paddy get into a heated argument about Billy’s failure to attend Sophie’s funeral. They head to Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel to check in, only to realize that the hotel is closed for renovations. They agree to try the Aria Resort and Casino, where the wedding will be held. Before leaving Binion’s they are attracted to the lounge by the singing voice of Diana, who is immediately charmed by their appreciation of her singing. The five share a drink, and they convince Diana to join them at The Aria.Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline in Last Vegas (2013)While waiting to get rooms, Archie goes to a blackjack table and has a brief altercation with a cocky gambler named Dean. Archie buys chips with $15,000 (half of his pension funds), planning to enjoy his escape from medical worries. When Paddy and Sam return, they find that Archie is up to $102,000, and they quickly leave the table in fear of being accused of card counting. Meanwhile, as Billy tours the wedding chapel with Diana, he becomes charmed with her as she explains to him that she moved to Vegas because she was recently laid off as a tax attorney in Atlanta and always wanted to sing despite being a divorced empty nester.Last Vegas (2013)The quartet later become judges of a wild swimsuit competition. They are then confronted by the casino manager, who offers the group his largest penthouse suite for free, in hopes that Archie will stay and spend his winnings at the hotel. They are assigned Lonnie (who is disappointed because the original person staying in the room was going to be 50 Cent) is their host/butler. Billy suggests they open the old bottle of scotch to celebrate the gang’s reunion, but Paddy confronts him about his absence from Sophie’s funeral and leaves the suite. That night, the remaining three go to the Aria’s popular nightclub, where they accept the bouncer’s suggestion that they earn immediate entrance by purchasing $1,800 bottle service, using some of Archie’s winnings. There, Billy and Sam talk with the bachelorette and her maid-of-honor from a bachelorette party while Archie goes dancing. Dean comes by and begins groping the bachelorette and is confronted by Archie, Billy and Sam. Dean attempts to throw a punch at Billy but is knocked down by Paddy, who stopped by to give Archie his cell phone due to several missed calls from his son Ezra.Last Vegas (2013)The next day, while the others are hungover and recovering, Paddy visits Diana and tells her that he and Billy were both in love with Sophie when they were younger and she picked Paddy. Diana catches his eye while she tries to convince him to stop grieving and move on with life because Sophie would want it. Afterwards, Paddy joins Billy at their pool cabana and admits he needs to move on from Sophie’s passing while also showing concern for Billy about marrying a younger woman. Sam and Archie join in and decide to throw a big bachelor party for Billy in their suite that night. Lonnie brings Dean to the cabana to apologize for his behavior, having convinced him that the quartet are mafia members from the East Coast called “The Flatbush Four.” Dean, fearing for his life, agrees to become their errand boy for the day. With Lonnie and Dean’s help, they prepare for the party and invite several people including the bachelorette group from the nightclub, exotic dancers, a band of transvestite entertainers, and cast members of Zarkana.Last Vegas (2013)While the others prepare his party, Billy visits Diana. She admits that she is fond of him, and asks if he truly loves Lisa. As they walk along The Strip, Billy tells Diana that Paddy gave Sophie an ultimatum to choose either Billy or him and she secretly chose Billy first, but Billy told Sophie that she was meant to be with Paddy. The bachelor party goes into full force as Paddy gets ready to be social again, finally removing his wedding ring. Sam meets the maid of honor from the night before, who begins flirting with him to his delight. Archie dances with the bachelorette, strippers, transvestites, then gives advice to Dean on how he, too, can meet women properly. Archie is surprised by a worried Ezra, who tracked Archie’s cell phone. Archie convinces him to calm down and enjoy this chance for some special father-son time. Sam and the maid of honor head upstairs to be alone, where he encourages and enjoys her seductive ways but eventually turns down sex, realizing that he tells Miriam about all the wonderful things that happen in his life, and telling her about this soon-to-be wonderful moment would devastate her.Last Vegas (2013)Paddy tells Billy he invited Diana to the party because he likes her and wants to start anew after Sophie’s passing, but realizes Billy likes her too. When Diana arrives, Billy pushes Paddy into the decorative pool in the suite and takes Diana upstairs to tell her that Paddy likes her and to give him a chance. She states that she feels like she is being treated like Sophie and “gifted” by Billy to Paddy, which Paddy overhears. Paddy is devastated to learn about Sophie’s choice and throws the old bottle of scotch in the trash as he leaves the party.Last Vegas (2013)The next morning, Paddy confronts Billy at the pool and tells him he does not love Lisa like Paddy loved Sophie and that the wedding must be stopped. As Lisa and her bridesmaids arrive, Paddy pushes Billy into the pool and tells Lisa that Billy is calling off the wedding. Billy and Lisa talk it out and Lisa leaves with her bridesmaids. As the guys pack up to leave, Billy comes to terms with his age and admits his fear of getting old and being alone. They come together as friends again and tell Billy to go see Diana. Billy shows up at the lounge where Diana is singing and reveals his feelings for her. The guys say their goodbyes to Dean and Lonnie and finally decide to crack open the old bottle of scotch for a final toast, however to their surprise, all but Paddy find the taste to be repulsive. A couple months later, Billy and Diana call Archie and Paddy to announce they are getting married. They try to call Sam but he is unable to answer the phone as he is busy in bed with Miriam.Last Vegas (2013)In all, this is not a movie that’s going to win any awards. The game cast does try hard and succeeds at the comic moments more than anything else. So, sure, it’s a geriatric version of Tom Hanks’ old Bachelor Party, but it does have some sweet elements to it as well as a few endearing performances. Lost Vegas is perhaps a movie best appreciated on a smaller screen

REVIEW: THE FINDER

Starring

Geoff Stults (Wedding Crashers)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Scorpion King)
Mercedes Masohn (Fear The Walking Dead)
Maddie Hasson (Impulse)
Toby Hemingway (The Covenant)

Geoff Stults in An Orphan Walks Into a Bar (2012)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jaime Murray (Gotham)
Amy Aquino (Moonstruck)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ryan Cutrona (Bones)
Blake Shields (Heores)
Mario Van Peebles (Highlander 3)
Katie Garfield (Legacies)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire DIaries)
Ian Reed Kesler (2 Broke Girls)
Wilson Cruz (Star Trek: Discovery)
Lance Gross (Sleepy Hollow_
Jake Busey (The Predator)
Chris Johnson (The Orville)
Jonathan Slavin (Santa Clarita Diet)
Joshua Leonard (Bates Motel)
Eric Roberts (Heores)
Jason Beghe (Home Alone 4)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)
Sumalee Montano (10 Cloverfield Lane)
T.J. Thyne (Ghost World)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Laura Wiggins (Rings)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Am Legend)
50 Cent (Spy)
Charlene Amoia (How I Met Your Mother)
Shane Edelman (Flightplan)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Alex Fernandez (Devious Maids)
Mercedes Colon (JAG)
John Francis Daley (Game Night)
Yara Shahidi (Salt)
Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck)
Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul)
Michael Irby (Barry)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2)
Chris Browning (Agent Carter)
William Stanford Davis (A Lot Like Love)
Mike Starr (Ed Wood)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank)
Lorraine Toussaint (Selma)
Michael Des Barres (Posion Ivy 3)
Nestor Serrano (Bad Boys)
George Stults (Necrosis)
Annette O’Toole (Smallville)
Patrick Fischler (Birds of Prey)
Anne Ramsay (Mad About You)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)

Geoff Stults in An Orphan Walks Into a Bar (2012)I honestly didn’t expect to like The Finder. I wanted to like the show, of course. It has an intriguing concept — a former military man, now suffering from brain damage, is capable of finding absolutely anything — and comes from Hart Hanson, the man who made the weirdness of Bones possible. But I was not convinced. Fortunately, I was wrong. The Finder has flaws, but they are not enough to take away the show’s fun.The Finder (2012)Viewers got their first peek at The Finder, when the show and its characters were introduced during an episode of Bones. That back-door pilot wasn’t a complete fiasco or anything, but it did indicate that The Finder might just be a clunky, non-murder version of Bones, only without the romantic chemistry.In its series debut, the central characters and setting of The Finder remain the same — Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) hangs out in a Florida Keys bar with his mammoth-sized sidekick, Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), when not actively looking for a bizarre assortment of people and possessions.Michael Clarke Duncan, John Sanderford, and Geoff Stults in The Finder (2012)But there are changes. The character of Ike, a bartender and pilot played by Saffron Burrows, is gone. In her place, we get two new characters — Isabel (Mercedes Masohn), a US marshal with a casually semi-romantic interest in Walter, and Willa (Maddie Hasson), a felonious teen dropped at Walter and Leo’s bar by the juvenile justice system. The crux and plot-generating device of The Finder is Walter’s almost-supernatural (and possibly brain damage-caused) ability to locate things. In the premiere episode, “An Orphan Walks into a Bar,” Walter manages to locate: a) John Fogerty’s guitar b) A bank robber attending a cock fight c) The father of an orphaned teen who had crashed his plane and disappeared.Geoff Stults in The Finder (2012)Walter’s method and madness are both a lot of fun to watch. The central mystery is just twisted enough to provide solid entertainment throughout the hour. Geoff Stults and Michael Clarke Duncan are obviously having a great time with their characters, and that joy translates well on the screen. Mercedes Masohn’s Isabel is also a useful addition — not only does she have believable chemistry with Stults’ Walter, but she provides a much-needed connection to actual law enforcement.Geoff Stults and T.J. Thyne in The Finder (2012)Like its main character, The Finder is pleasant but a little bit awkward. The show is easy to watch, has an interesting mystery at the center and is well acted. It’s just going to take awhile before everything feels smooth. But a few bumps are not enough to derail the fun of The Finder. The show does crossover twice Bones, first Lance Sweet appears on the show then, Hodgens shows up for an episode.Geoff Stults and T.J. Thyne in The Finder (2012)As the show continued, it became a nice companion to Bones and a highly enjoyable show, sadly it was another show cancelled all too soon, with a cliffhanger leaving things unanswered. With the death of Michael Clarke Duncan it is unlikely we will ever see a conclusion of the story.

REVIEW: SPY

CAST

Melissa McCarthy (Ghostbusters)
Jude Law (A.I.)
Rose Byrne (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Jason Staham (Fast & Furious 7)
Miranda Hart (Miranda)
Jessica Chaffin (The Heat)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
Peter Serafinowicz (Shaun of The Dead)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
50 Cent (Southpaw)
Paul Feig (Sabrina: TTW)

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst guiding her partner Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission to Varna from a CIA office in the Washington, D.C. area. Fine kills Tihomir Boyanov after he sneezes without first finding a suitcase nuke whose location is known only to Boyanov. Meanwhile, the agency learns that Boyanov’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) might know the location of her father’s device, so they send Fine to infiltrate her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead while Susan watches online. Rayna knows the identities of all the agency’s top agents, including Fine and Rick Ford (Jason Statham). Susan, who is unknown to Rayna, volunteers to become a field agent, and her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees. Ford quits in disgust over Susan being chosen for the assignment.
Susan is sent to Paris to spy on Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). Later that night, Ford appears in the hotel Susan is staying at and insists that she will ruin the mission due to being an inexperienced field agent. The next morning, Susan sees an assassin working for De Luca, and one of his contacts, exchanging Ford’s bag for one with a bomb inside it. Susan warns Ford, then catches up to the assassin, but he is killed when they fight. Susan follows De Luca to Rome, where she meets her contact Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), a suave Italian informant who makes inappropriate advances towards her. Susan meets Rayna in a casino, prevents Rayna’s assassination, and becomes part of her inner circle. When they fly in her private plane to Budapest, the steward kills the bodyguard and pilots and tries to kill Rayna, but Susan subdues him and lands the plane in Budapest.
Rayna believes Susan to be a CIA spy, but Susan convinces Rayna that her father hired her to be Rayna’s bodyguard. In Budapest, the two encounter Susan’s best friend Nancy B. Artingstall (Miranda Hart), who is sent by Crocker to provide back-up. After being shot at in the street, Susan orders Nancy to get Rayna to safety while she pursues the shooter’s vehicle. The shooter turns out to be CIA double agent Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin), who sold Rayna the names of the agents. As she is about to shoot Susan, Walker is killed by an unknown sniper. Later that night, Susan and Nancy accompany Rayna to a party. The contact is De Luca’s associate, Lia (Nargis Fakhri). Nancy creates a diversion so Susan can fight Lia, who is a skilled assassin. Just as Susan is about to arrest Lia, she is fatally stabbed in the chest by an unknown assailant, who turns out to be Bradley Fine. Susan is captured and is told that Fine faked his death so he could become Rayna’s lover.
Jason Statham and Melissa McCarthy in Spy (2015)
After Susan is imprisoned with Aldo in a bunker, Fine appears and reveals to Susan that the real reason he faked his death was to gain intelligence on the device’s location, which could only happen if he gained Rayna’s trust. Fine also reveals that he was the one who assassinated Karen. Susan and Aldo escape after subduing two bodyguards. Eventually, Susan accompanies Rayna and Fine at De Luca’s mansion while posing as a double agent. Chechen terrorist Solsa Dudaev (Richard Brake) and his men arrive to purchase the device for a suitcase full of diamonds. Rayna then reveals the location of the device. However, De Luca, now in possession of the device and doubting that Dudaev can safely smuggle it into the United States, kills him and his men and keeps the diamonds. De Luca intends to sell the device to someone who can transport it to New York City within a week. As De Luca is about to kill Rayna, Ford appears and distracts him, allowing Susan to save Rayna’s life again.
Melissa McCarthy and Nargis Fakhri in Spy (2015)
De Luca escapes with the device and diamonds on his helicopter, with Susan and Ford clinging to the landing gear. Ford loses his grip, causing him to falls into the lake ocean, leaving Susan to confront De Luca in the helicopter alone. After Nancy and Aldo arrive in a helicopter and help Susan kill De Luca, Crocker shows up to recover the device. Rayna is arrested, but it is implied that she has come to like Susan as a friend. After Aldo reveals to Susan that his real name is Albert and he is an MI6 agent, he invites her to dinner should they ever cross paths in London, which Susan accepts. Susan declines a similar offer from Fine and instead opts for a girls’ night out with Nancy. The next morning, Susan is shown screaming after waking up amidst empty champagne bottles, realizing that she has slept with Ford.
I thought Spy would be just another parody of the James Bond-type of movies, cheap and cringy. But I was wrong! This is a highly entertaining and intelligent film. The leading lady Melissa McCarthy excels in this clever action-comedy galore. The ensemble of actors, the script, director’s work all makes for a great film.