REVIEW: KILLER JOE

Starring

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Emile Hirsch (Lone Survivor)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
Gina Gershon (Riverdale)
Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3)
Marc Macaulay (My Bloody Valentine)

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)In West Dallas, Texas, 22-year-old drug dealer Chris Smith comes to the house of his father Ansel and step-mother Sharla, after his mother, Adele, threw him out of her house. To make matters worse, Adele stole his cocaine money and spent it on fixing her car, and now Chris is desperate to pay off his debt to his dealer, Digger Soames, so he decides to murder his mother to collect the $50,000 life insurance of which his sister Dottie is the sole beneficiary. Assuming Dottie would share the money with Chris and their father, Chris manages to rope the dim-witted Ansel into hiring Joe Cooper, a police detective who has a side career as a contract killer, to kill Adele (Ansel’s ex-wife) to get the money. Chris and Ansel decide that after paying Joe from the proceeds of the life insurance policy, they will split the remainder four ways between themselves, Dottie, and Ansel’s wife Sharla. Dottie hears the plan as they are talking, and agrees that it’s a good idea.Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple in Killer Joe (2011)The plan almost fails when Joe demands all of the money in advance, which of course Chris and Ansel do not have. However, Joe is interested in the odd, childlike Dottie and offers to take her as a “retainer” until the insurance comes through. Through Dottie’s interaction with Joe, it is revealed that Adele tried to kill Dottie once when she was an infant. Joe “dates” Dottie and then appears to be staying over at their home and having sex with her regularly. Chris has a change of heart and asks him to call off the hit, only to discover that Joe has already killed Adele. With Chris’ reluctant help, Joe hides the body in a car and torches it.Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe (2011)After Adele’s death is discovered, the family learns that the insurance beneficiary is actually Rex, Adele’s boyfriend, rather than her daughter Dottie. Chris then admits he originally heard the details about the policy from Rex, who also told him about Joe. Ansel then realizes that Rex duped Chris into hiring Joe to kill Adele. Immediately afterwards, Chris tries to talk Dottie into running away with him to escape Digger, who has already had two of his goons severely beat Chris up for not having repaid him. Dottie says she will go with him, but she must see Joe again first.Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in Killer Joe (2011)When Ansel and Sharla return home from Adele’s funeral, they find Joe inside with Dottie. He comes out of her room and asks increasingly pointed questions of Sharla, which ultimately leads her to admit that she knew the policy was really $100,000 (accidental death is double). Joe shows them a check of that amount payable to Rex, as well as incriminating photos which prove Sharla was having an affair with Rex. Angered, Ansel declines to protect Sharla when Joe punches her and forces her to simulate oral sex on a fried chicken drumstick.Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch in Killer Joe (2011)Joe knows Chris is coming to take Dottie away and he threatens to kill Ansel and Sharla if they don’t stop him. After Chris is seated for dinner, Joe announces that he and Dottie will be married. Chris refuses to let them, ordering Dottie to leave with him; Joe tells her to stay where she is. For a moment Dottie sits there, then she gets up and turns and, while the men yell out at her, Chris threatens Joe with a gun and the two struggle. Ansel and Sharla jump in to assist Joe as he brutally beats Chris, not wanting to be killed by Joe if Chris flees with Dottie. In all the confusion, Dottie recovers the gun and, in a rage, she fires several shots, killing Chris and seriously wounding Ansel. Dottie turns the gun on Joe, telling him that she is pregnant. Joe appears overjoyed as he inches closer to Dottie. The film ends just as Dottie moves her finger back on the trigger.Killer Joe (2011)Killer Joe is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is scatterbrained. It’s entirely focused and cohesive. All the genres it glosses over fit right into this depraved story arc, and it grips you to the screen from beginning to end. This movie certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you can stomach Killer Joe, you won’t soon forget it.

REVIEW: THE PAPERBOY

Starring

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Zac Efron (17 Again)
John Cusack (Runaway Jurys)
David Oyelowo (The Butler)
Nicole Kidman (Aquaman)
Macy Gray (Brotherly Love)
Scott Glenn (Daredevil)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)

Matthew McConaughey in The Paperboy (2012)Anita, the chain-smoking maid of the Jansen family, recounts to an unseen reporter the events of the summer of 1969, when idealistic reporter Ward Jansen came back to his hometown of Lately in Moat County, Florida, to investigate the events surrounding a murder in an effort to exonerate a man on death row, Hillary Van Wetter. In 1965, swamp-dwelling alligator hunter and small-time criminal Van Wetter was jailed for the murder of a violent and unscrupulous local sheriff, Thurmond Call. Four years later, Charlotte Bless, a woman from Mobile, Alabama, whom Van Wetter has never met but who has fallen in love with him after exchanging correspondence, is now determined to prove his innocence and have him released so they can marry.John Cusack in The Paperboy (2012)Charlotte requested the help of Ward and his colleague, Englishman Yardley Acheman, who are both investigative reporters from The Miami Times. Ward’s younger brother, Jack Jansen, is hired as their driver. Ward has mixed feelings about returning home to his estranged father, who runs a local newspaper and distributes The Miami Times in their town. Both Jansen brothers dislike their father’s latest girlfriend, Ellen. Jack now works as a paperboy for his father’s business after having been expelled from college for vandalism, ending his prospective career as a professional swimmer. His only real friend is Anita, who brought him and Ward up after their mother left them.Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron in The Paperboy (2012)The evidence against Van Wetter is inconsistent and Ward and Yardley are confident they can expose Van Wetter as a victim of redneck justice. Meanwhile, Jack has fallen in love with Charlotte, who only desires Van Wetter. During a day at the beach, Jack gets stung by a jellyfish and has a life-threatening allergic reaction. Charlotte saves his life by urinating on him, an embarrassing circumstance that his father promptly exploits for an article in his newspaper. Anita suggests that Jack can never stop thinking of Charlotte as she is his first true love.Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron in The Paperboy (2012)Van Wetter is hostile to the reporters at first, and contrary to the romantic portrayal he had painted of himself in his letters to Charlotte, he reveals himself to be a racist, a sexist and, in general, rude. One day, after finally acquiring some useful information from Van Wetter, the Jansens travel to meet Van Wetter’s uncle, Tyree. Tyree is the only one who can corroborate Van Wetter’s alibi, since, according to Van Wetter, the two men were stealing sod from a golf course in Ormond Beach the night of the murder. Tyree, who lives in pitiful conditions in the middle of the swamp with his “white trash” family, is initially ill-disposed and wary of admitting his own crime to save his nephew’s life, but finally caves in. In the meantime, Yardley and Charlotte have visited the golf course to verify that side of the story; Yardley comes back claiming to have tracked the developer who bought the sod stolen by Hillary and Tyree, but the man only agreed to talk upon a guarantee of anonymity, so Yardley refuses to disclose his name even to Ward. Satisfied with his findings, Yardley goes back to Miami to start writing the article.John Cusack and Matthew McConaughey in The Paperboy (2012)Suspicious of Yardley’s motives, Ward decides to go check the truth in Ormond Beach himself, with Jack and Charlotte in tow. During the trip, Ward gets drunk, approaches two black men in a bar, and takes them to his motel room. During the night, Charlotte wakes up Jack after hearing alarming sounds from Ward’s room, and the two find Ward naked, beaten, and hogtied and gagged. As Ward is taken to the hospital, Jack does not resent him for secretly being a homosexual or for “what he was into”, but just for keeping from him this side of his adult life.Zac Efron in The Paperboy (2012)While Ward is still in the hospital, Jack goes to Miami to try and convince Yardley not to publish the article in his brother’s name without checking all the facts first. During the confrontation, Yardley reveals he’s actually an American pretending to be English to escape discrimination. He also reveals he had given Ward sexual favors in the past, which was the beginning of Ward’s guilty, self-hating infatuation with black men. After the article is published, Van Wetter obtains a pardon and is released from prison, and Yardley leaves for New York with a deal to write a book on the Van Wetter case. Van Wetter takes Charlotte away to the swamp to live with him. Months later, she is unhappy with the demeaning lifestyle she has to endure, and sends a letter to Jack telling him she now realizes she made a mistake and plans to reunite with him at his father and Ellen’s wedding reception. However, Jack only finds out about the letter one month later, on the very day of the wedding, when Anita, who has been fired from the Jansen household, gives the letter to him and reveals Ellen decided to hide it from Jack.Since Charlotte is not there, a worried Jack leaves the party to go find her, followed by Ward, who has lost an eye due to the incident at Ormond Beach and is now an alcoholic. When Jack and Ward confront Van Wetter, Charlotte has already been killed after Van Watter refused to let her leave to attend the wedding. A fight ensues, and Van Wetter kills Ward as well, by slashing his throat with a machete (the same weapon the sheriff was murdered with), but Jack manages to evade Van Wetter by diving into the swamp; the next morning, he retrieves Ward and Charlotte’s bodies and leaves. Anita finishes narrating by revealing Van Wetter was later convicted for the murders of Ward and Charlotte and sent to the electric chair, yet the identity of the sheriff’s murderer was never ascertained. Jack would later meet his mother at Ward’s funeral, but he would never get over Charlotte.Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron in The Paperboy (2012)The cinematography is excellent as Roberto Schaefer’s camera gets so close to the characters that you can almost smell their body odour in the immense heat. Yes, I told you this film would make you feel dirty. A great example of this is where Charlotte meets Wetter for the first time. They are sat apart in the prison meeting room; Charlotte spread her legs and begins to masturbate. This scene wouldn’t have been so bad if they were alone, but Yardley, Ward and Jack are also in the room. Take that as you will… Even though The Paperboy is an uneven thriller, what it excels in is placing the audience in uncomfortable positions. A Haneke film this is not, but by doing this the whole issue of morality and senses in the cinema is raised. As such, Daniels new feature is a sweaty, sexy and visceral experience, which needed to take some more pointers from other more complete films. All in all, you may have to scrub yourself clean, but you won’t forget the experience for quite some time.

REVIEW: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION

CAST

Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire)
Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
Robert Jacks (Slacker)
Tonie Perensky (Varsity Blues)
Joe Stevens (True Grit)
Marilyn Burns (Helter Skelter)

In 1995, four teenagers—Jenny, Heather, Barry, and Sean—are celebrating during their senior prom. Heather finds Barry, her boyfriend, making out with another girl and attempts to drive away in his car alongside Jenny and Sean. After Barry eventually gains access into the car, Heather scolds him angrily. The four are forced to take a detour off the freeway, and Heather makes a wrong turn, driving them into a remote area. Distracted after thinking she sees someone standing in the woods, Heather crashes into another driver, who passes out in the ensuing confusion. The four decide that Sean look after the driver, while the others look for help. Heather, Barry, and Jenny discover a rural real estate office occupied by Darla, an insurance agent, who calls up her boyfriend Vilmer, a tow truck driver, to help them. Meanwhile, Heather and Barry are separated from Jenny.MV5BY2NlMWI2YWEtMWU0NS00NWU3LTg4YzgtNGJjZWMzYzI2NDQ5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Vilmer eventually arrives at the scene of the crash, where he snaps the driver’s neck and chases Sean in his pickup, eventually running him over. Meanwhile, Heather and Barry come across a dilapidated farmhouse. Barry goes to the front and is confronted by W.E., Vilmer’s brother. While waiting on the porch, Heather is captured by Leatherface, who stuffs her inside a meat locker. Meanwhile, W.E. lets Barry into the house, but Barry then discovers human remains in the bathroom and is killed by Leatherface with a sledgehammer. Leatherface then removes Heather from the meat locker and hangs her on a meathook afterwards.Jenny returns to the crash site and meets Vilmer, who shows her the bodies of Sean and the driver, and then chases her in his truck, but she escapes into the woods. She is then attacked by Leatherface, wielding a chainsaw; after a long chase, Jenny retreats back to Darla’s office, begging for help. However, W.E., now revealed to be Darla’s accomplice, arrives and subdues Jenny, and they take her to the family home. After an unsuccessful escape attempt, Jenny falls unconscious and awakens at a dinner table with the family, during which Vilmer has a mental breakdown and beats W.E. over the head with a hammer, knocking him unconscious. They are joined by a mysterious suited man named Rothman, a member of a secret organization responsible for many of the world’s major events and for hiring the family in a conspiracy to show their victims “the true meaning of horror”. Rothman criticizes the family for botching their mission with Jenny, before leaving. In response, a furious Vilmer crushes Heather’s skull, killing her.Jenny tries to escape, but is held down by Vilmer as Leatherface prepares to kill her. However, she manages to dislocate Vilmer’s knee and escapes. Fleeing to the main road, Jenny is helped by an elderly couple, but their RV is turned over by Vilmer and Leatherface, forcing Jenny to again flee. Eventually, an airplane operated by one of Rothman’s colleagues swoops over head and grazes Vilmer’s skull with its blade, killing him. A black limousine appears, and Jenny enters it only to discover Rothman inside. Rothman tells Jenny that her experience was supposed to be spiritual, but that it went awry and that Vilmer had to be stopped. She is dropped off at a hospital, where police question her.MV5BZjlmOTQ2NjgtMmNhMy00OTY5LWE3MDAtYmMxZmUwOWI5NWVhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_The first thing one notices about this film is that it stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, and if you’re fans of theirs, that’s definitely reason enough to check this out. Made in 1994, this is one of their earlier films. This disturbed little flick is a fun ride of a horror film. Okay, it’s not as scary as the others, but it’s decent entertainment.

REVIEW: SING

Starring

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
John C. Reilly (Life After Beth)
Taron Egerton (Legend)
Tori Kelly Star Search)
Jennifer Saunders (Minions)
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Garth Jennings (The World’s End)
Peter Serafinowicz (Spy)
Nick Kroll (The House)
Beck Bennett (Zoolander 2)
Jay Pharoah (Top Five)
Nick Offerman (We’re The Millers)
Leslie Jones (Ghostbusters)
Rhea Perlman (Lemon)
Laraine Newman (Inside Out)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Edgar Wright (Spaced)
Carlos Alazraqui (Family Guy)
Cathy Cavadini (Powerpuff Girls)
Townsend Coleman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Seth MacFarlane in Sing (2016)In a world of anthropomorphic animals, koala Buster Moon owns a theater, having been interested in show business since his father took him to his first music show as a child. Following financial problems brought up by the bank representative Judith, he tells his wealthy friend Eddie that he will host a singing competition with a prize of $1,000. But Buster’s assistant, Miss Crawly, accidentally appends two extra zeroes, and the promotional fliers showing $100,000 are blown out of Buster’s office into the city streets.Peter Serafinowicz in Sing (2016)Animals from all around the city gather for auditions. Those selected include: housewife and mother of 25 piglets Rosita; street musician mouse Mike; mobster’s son gorilla Johnny; and punk-rock porcupine Ash. Shy teenage elephant Meena fails her audition out of stage fright, while Ash’s boyfriend Lance is dismissed from the contest. Rosita is paired with another contestant, an exuberant pig named Gunter, for a dance routine. Although Buster discovers the flyers show a prize of $100,000 (money he does not have), he remains optimistic. Buster convinces Eddie to arrange a visit with Eddie’s grandmother, former opera singer and theater actress Nana Noodleman, to persuade her to sponsor the prize money. She is hesitant to contribute, but agrees to see a private screening of the show.Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson in Sing (2016)Encouraged by her grandfather, Meena tries to ask Buster for another chance, but becomes his stage hand instead. When one of the acts quits, and another is injured, Meena is added as an act. The performers’ individual problems begin to hinder rehearsals: Rosita flounders in her dance routine with Gunter, after having been distracted by her parenting duties that have fallen into disarray. After discovering Lance broke up with her for not being around anymore, with a new girlfriend named Becky and evicting them from her apartment, Ash is devastated and breaks down while singing her assigned song, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Johnny is torn between having to help his father as the driver of a getaway car in a heist and making the practices. When he tries to do both, he does not show up for the planned pickup in time, and his father and his gang are arrested. Meena does not get any help in overcoming her stage fright, and Mike, certain that the prize money is as good as his, buys a fancy car to impress a female mouse, and then swindles a group of bears in a card game at a nightclub.Reese Witherspoon in Sing (2016)The day of the screening, the bears interrupt the show, demanding the money from Mike, who in turn, points to Buster. The bears open the chest containing the prize money, but it is nowhere near $100,000. The glass tank full of luminescent squids that Buster got to light up the theater breaks after an accidental smash on the glass floor, flooding the theater, which then comes crashing down. With the lot repossessed by Judith, Buster, who had been living in his theater’s office desk, takes up residence at Eddie’s place (his parents’ pool house). Although the contestants (besides Mike, who saw Buster as a fraud) visit him and try to cheer him up, Buster is too despondent to listen to them. He tries to start over by opening a car wash, using the same bucket that his father had used to earn money for Buster’s theater.Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson, and Beck Bennett in Sing (2016)When Meena goes to the theater’s rubble lot and sings Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Buster hears her and is inspired to reinstate the show without the prize money. They perform on a makeshift stage on the lot in front of Rosita and Meena’s family members. As Rosita and Gunter perform Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”, which finally gets her husband Norman’s attention to her, more animals are attracted to the scene as the show is broadcast on the news. Johnny’s rendition of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” impresses his father, who then escapes from prison to reconcile with him. Despite an interruption by Judith, Ash sings her original rock song “Set It All Free.” Mike returns to the show and sings Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Meena finally overcomes her fears and sings Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing”, which literally brings down the house. The show becomes a success and impresses Nana, who was in the audience. Nana buys the lot and the theater is rebuilt and reopened.Matthew McConaughey and Garth Jennings in Sing (2016)All the characters were lovable and unique in their personalities. The Movie also had some very good music. Length of the movie was just fine for kids and adults. It’s a great feel good movie.

 

REVIEW: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Jonah Hill (22 Jump Street)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Rob Reiner (New Girl)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Matthew McConaughey (EDTV)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Joanna Lumley (The Cat’s Meow)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
Christine Ebersole (Confessions of a Shopaholic)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Katarina Cas (Danny Collins)
P. J. Byrne (Final Destination 5)
Kenneth Choi (Red Dawn)
Henry Zebrowski (Herores Reborn)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Jake Hoffman (Hook)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Jeremy Bobb (The Kitchen)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)In 1987, Jordan Belfort procures a job as a Wall Street stockbroker for L.F. Rothschild, employed under Mark Hanna, who quickly entices him with the sex and drugs fueled stockbroker culture and teaches him that a stockbroker’s only job is to make money for himself. Jordan soon finds his career terminated following Black Monday and takes a job at a boiler room brokerage firm on Long Island that specializes in penny stocks. Thanks to his aggressive pitching style and the high commissions, Jordan makes a small fortune.Leonardo DiCaprio, P.J. Byrne, Jonah Hill, Cristin Milioti, Henry Zebrowski, and MacKenzie Meehan in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Jordan befriends his neighbor, Donnie Azoff, and the two found their own company. They recruit several of Jordan’s friends, whom Jordan trains in the art of the “hard sell”. The basic method of the firm is a pump and dump scam. To cloak this, Jordan gives the firm the respectable-sounding name of Stratton Oakmont. After an exposé in Forbes, hundreds of ambitious young financiers flock to his company. Jordan becomes immensely successful and slides into a decadent lifestyle full of prostitutes and drugs. He has an affair with a woman named Naomi Lapaglia. When his wife finds out, they divorce, and he marries Naomi. Meanwhile, the SEC and the FBI begin investigating Stratton Oakmont. Jordan illegally makes $22 million in three hours upon securing the IPO of Steve Madden. This brings him and his firm to the attention of the FBI. To hide his money, Jordan opens a Swiss bank account with corrupt banker Jean-Jacques Saurel in the name of Naomi’s Aunt Emma, who is a British national and thus outside the reach of American authorities. He uses the wife and in-laws of his friend Brad Bodnick, who have European passports, to smuggle the cash into Switzerland.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Donnie gets into a public brawl with Brad, and, while Donnie escapes, Brad is arrested. Jordan also learns from his private investigator that the FBI is wiretapping his phones. Fearing for his son, Jordan’s father advises him to leave Stratton Oakmont and lie low while Jordan’s lawyer negotiates a deal to keep him out of prison. Jordan, however, cannot bear to quit and talks himself into staying in the middle of his farewell speech. Jordan, Donnie, and their wives are on a yacht trip to Italy when they learn that Aunt Emma has died of a heart attack. Jordan decides to travel to Switzerland immediately to settle the bank account. In order to bypass border controls, he forces his yacht captain to sail to Monaco, but the ship is capsized in a storm. After their rescue, the plane sent to take them to Geneva is destroyed when a seagull flies into the engine. Jordan takes this as a sign from God and decides to sober up.Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Two years later, the FBI arrests Jordan because Saurel, arrested in Florida on an unrelated charge, has also informed on Jordan. Since the evidence against him is overwhelming, Jordan agrees to gather evidence on his colleagues in exchange for leniency. Fed up with Jordan’s lifestyle, Naomi tells Jordan she is divorcing him and wants full custody of their children. Jordan loses his mind and tries to run off with his daughter Skylar in his car, but he ends up crashing in the driveway. The next morning, Jordan wears a wire to work but slips a note to Donnie warning him. Donnie keeps the note and rats out on Jordan to the FBI. Jordan is arrested for breaching his co-operation deal. The FBI raids and shuts down Stratton Oakmont. Despite this one breach, Jordan receives a reduced sentence for his testimony and serves three years in a minimum security prison. After his release, Jordan makes a living hosting seminars on sales technique.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Scorsese has always managed to elicit astounding performances from his actors, and his fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio results in one of the most charismatic, despicable, offensive and captivating characters to ever appear on screen. As financial bad boy Belfort, DiCaprio swaggers from scene to scene ingesting eye-popping amounts of narcotics, groping and fondling nearly every female within reach, and spouting more profanity in three hours than an entire season of The Sopranos. Belfort is the kind of person that any sane person would detest in real life, but thanks to Scorses and DiCaprio, we can’t take our eyes off him.

REVIEW: GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST

CAST

Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Michael Douglas (Ant-Man)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)
Robert Forster (Dragon Wars)
Anne Archer (Patriot Games)
Daniel Sunjata (The Dark Knight Rises)
Noureen DeWulf (Anger Management)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Christina Milian (Be Cool)
Logan Miller (Love, Simon)

Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a famous photographer and confirmed womanizer. He takes a break from his playboy lifestyle to attend his brother’s (Paul) wedding, where he becomes reacquainted with Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner), Connor’s childhood friend and the only girl who’s ever captured his heart. After Connor delivers a drunken speech at the rehearsal dinner where he says that love isn’t real, he’s met in the bathroom by the ghost of his uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a roué who taught Connor everything he knows about seducing women. Wayne informs Connor that, over the course of the evening, he will be visited by three ghosts who will lead him through his romantic past, present, and future.The first ghost is the “Ghost of Girlfriends Past” in the form of Allison Vandermeersh (Emma Stone), one of his high school girlfriends and his first lover. Together, they revisit scenes from his past, focusing on his relationship with Jenny. In 1982, Connor and Jenny were very close as children; she gave him his first instant camera which he used to take her picture, promising to keep it forever. When Connor’s parents died in a car accident, Jenny consoles Connor throughout the years without them, as she, his brother Paul and his uncle Wayne were all he had left. By middle school, the two were on the verge of romance, but Connor’s hesitation at asking her for a dance caused Jenny to dance with and kiss another boy. Heartbroken, Connor was told by Wayne that he must avoid romance at all costs in order not to feel such pain again. For the next two years, Wayne schooled Connor in the art of seduction. When he next saw Jenny, at a high school party, Connor ignored her and kissed another girl named Allison, whom he had his first sexual encounter with. Several years later, as adults, Connor and Jenny rekindled their romance, but Jenny forced him to woo her for several weeks in an attempt to rid him of his womanizing ways. After they finally did have sex, Connor falls in love with her, but when he lies in bed with her to fall asleep beside her, he remembers his uncle Wayne’s warnings about sleeping and spooning with the opposite sex after a night of passion. Realizing this, he panics, running out on her so he won’t be hurt. The next morning, Jenny wakes up alone and broken-hearted. His relationships thereafter consisted of a series of very short flings.Awakening back in the Mead mansion in the present, Connor accidentally destroys Paul and Sandra’s (his bride-to-be) wedding cake and unsuccessfully attempts to reconcile with Jenny. After his failed attempt, Connor returns to his uncle Wayne’s room and finds another woman awaiting him in his bed and, fearing that this woman was the next “Ghost” to accompany him on his journey to show him how he became “himself”, panics and runs out of his room, though it’s clear after he leaves that the woman in the bed awaiting him is actually one of the bridesmaids hoping to have sex with him. As he storms out of the house, he is confronted by the “Ghost of Girlfriends Present” in the form of his assistant Melanie (Noureen DeWulf), the only constant female figure in his life. With her, he sees that in his absence the other wedding guests make fun of him and his shallow lifestyle. Paul stands up for his brother, recalling that Connor helped raise him after their parents’ death, and expresses his hope that Connor will someday change for the better. As the bridemaids discusse their love lives, one of them makes a remark about Jenny being emotionally twisted beyond recognition by Connor to the point that she’s unable to move on to a new relationship. Jenny hears this and though Sandra tries to comfort her, Jenny leaves the room hurt and in tears. Melanie guides Connor to the kitchen to show him a crying Jenny as she tries to repair Paul and Sandra’s wedding cake. Connor also sees that Jenny is being comforted by Brad (Daniel Sunjata), and is upset that his own actions and attitude are bringing the two closer. He is further upset to discover that Melanie and the three women whom he previously broke up with by conference call are bonding over his disregard for their feelings.Returning to the house, Connor finds Sandra furious at learning that Paul had slept with one of her bridesmaids very early in their relationship, information that Connor had let slip earlier in the evening. Connor attempts to mend the situation but only makes things worse, and Paul tells him to leave. On his way out, he is confronted by the “Ghost of Girlfriends Future” (Olga Maliouk), who takes him forward in time to see that Jenny marries Brad while Paul remains alone. Further in the future, Paul is the only mourner at Connor’s funeral. Wayne appears and tells Connor that this is his future if he continues on the same path, pushing him into the grave to be buried by his many ex-girlfriends.Connor awakens in the Mead home and learns that Sandra has called off the wedding and is on her way to the airport. He intercepts the bridal party and convinces Sandra to forgive Paul by sharing lessons learned from his own mistakes, particularly that the pain of heartbreak is outweighed by the regret of never risking one’s heart in the first place, something he admits to always regretting having done. Connor helps Jenny to restart the wedding, which he photographs, and afterwards he reconciles with Jenny by showing her the picture he still carries of her as a child and by promising to always be there when she wakes up. The two kiss and dance in the snow to the same song Connor once hesitated to ask her to dance to.Meanwhile, Wayne tries to hit on the ghost of girlfriends future, but she magically vanishes after throwing a drink in his face. Then he tries to hit on the ghost of girlfriends present, but Melanie informs Wayne she is one of the attendees and vanishes. Melanie and Brad start talking and then dancing. Wayne is left with the ghost of girlfriends past, Allison, who is not interested since she is only 16. Wayne says that they are ghosts and therefore ageless.The film started out a little slowly but began to move well. I thought that there was really good chemistry between the two main characters. I liked the film for its well conveyed message about commitment and what it means to care for people. In order to receive you need to give and vice versa. The film used Dickens as a clever vehicle for its plot and it worked really well.

REVIEW: TROPIC THUNDER

CAST

Ben Stiller (Mystery Men)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Steve Coogan (Hott Fuzz)
Jay Braruchel (Fanboys)
Danny McBride (Land of the Lost)
Brandon T. Jackson (Thunderstruck)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man)
Nick Nolte (Hulk)
Matthew McConaughey (EdTV)
Brandon Soo Hoo (Supah Ninjas)
Tom Cruise (Knight and Day)
Tyra Banks (Coyote Ugly)
Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Alicia Silverstone (Clueless)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Mini Anden (Chuck)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Rachel Avery (Scrubs)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Repo Men)
Justin Theroux (American Psycho)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Reggie Lee (Grimm)
Miko Hughes (Full House)

87050434_3160538927291910_5145442233029230592_oHook-handed Vietnam veteran Staff Sergeant John “Four Leaf” Tayback’s (Nick Nolte) memoir, Tropic Thunder, is being made into a film. With the exception of newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), the cast—fading action hero Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), five-time Academy Award-winning Australian method actor Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.), rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson), and drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) all behave unreasonably. Rookie director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) cannot control them during filming of a large battle scene, and production is reported to be one month behind schedule a mere week into production. Furious studio executive Les Grossman (Tom Cruise) orders Cockburn to resume filming as planned, or have the project shut down.MV5BYmY0MDU3NDQtNWE4Yi00ZDkzLTk1OTYtNmU0MTk0ZDVlMjQ2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzUxODU4NDI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,731_AL_Acting on Four Leaf’s advice, Damien drops the actors into the middle of the jungle, with hidden cameras and rigged special effects explosions to film “guerrilla-style”. The actors have guns that fire blanks, along with a map and scene listing that will lead to a helicopter waiting at the end of the route. Unknown to the actors and production, the group have been dropped in the middle of the Golden Triangle, the home of the heroin-producing Flaming Dragon gang. Just as the group are about to set off, Damien inadvertently steps on an old land mine and is blown up, stunning the actors. Tugg, believing Damien faked his death to encourage the cast to give better performances, persuades the others that Damien is alive, and that they are still shooting the film. Lazarus is unconvinced but joins them in their trek through the jungle.Ryusoulger-TransformedWhen Four Leaf and pyrotechnics operator Cody Underwood (Danny McBride) try to locate the dead director, they are captured by Flaming Dragon. Four Leaf is revealed to have hands; he confesses to Underwood that he actually served in the Coast Guard, has never left the United States, and that he wrote his “memoir” as a tribute. As the actors continue through the jungle, Kirk and Kevin discover that Tugg is leading them in the wrong direction. The four actors, tired of walking and hoping to be rescued, leave Tugg, who goes off by himself and is captured by Flaming Dragon. Taken to their heroin factory, Tugg believes it is a POW camp from the script. The gang discovers he is the star of their favorite film, the box office bomb Simple Jack, and forces him to reenact it several times a day.MV5BMTgyOTI3MTgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQzOTcxNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Tugg’s agent Rick ‘Pecker’ Peck (Matthew McConaughey) is trying to negotiate with Les an unfulfilled term in Tugg’s contract that entitles him to a TiVo. Flaming Dragon calls the two and demands a ransom for Tugg, but Les instead berates the gang. Despite the threats, Les expresses no interest in rescuing Tugg and tries to convince Rick about the benefits of allowing Tugg to die and collecting the insurance. Les also offers Rick a Gulfstream V jet and money in return for his cooperation.Ryusoulger-Movie-GaisoulgKirk, Alpa, Jeff, and Kevin discover Flaming Dragon’s heroin factory. After witnessing Tugg being tortured, they plan a rescue attempt based on the film’s script. Kirk impersonates a farmer towing a captured Jeff on the back of a water buffalo, distracting the armed guards so Alpa and Kevin can locate the captives, but after the gang’s leader (Brandon Soo Hoo) notices inconsistencies in Kirk’s story, the actors, knowing their cover has been blown, begin firing, temporarily subduing the gang. Their control of the gang falls apart when Jeff grabs the leader and heads for the drugs, and the gang regains their guns and begin firing.MV5BNDM2MTUzMjIxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTcyOTcxNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_The four actors locate Four Leaf, Cody, and Tugg and cross a bridge rigged to explode to get to Underwood’s helicopter. Tugg asks to remain behind with the gang which he considers his family, but quickly returns when Flaming Dragon fires in pursuit. Four Leaf detonates the bridge allowing Tugg to reach safety, but as the helicopter takes off, the gang fires a rocket-propelled grenade at the helicopter. Rick unexpectedly stumbles out of the jungle carrying a TiVo box and throws it in the path of the grenade, saving them. The crew return to Hollywood, where footage from the hidden cameras is compiled into a feature film, Tropic Blunder, which becomes a major critical and commercial success. The film wins Tugg his first Academy Award, which Kirk presents to him at the ceremony. In a mid-credits scene, Rick is on a plane back to Hollywood with his estranged son.MV5BMzY5ODgwNDY2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjQzOTcxNA@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Brilliant satire on Hollywood and war/action movies. Easily Stiller’s best role as it mirrors his reality. Downey Jr is in his prime! “I don’t read the script, the script reads me”. In smaller roles Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise and excellent as an agent and a film mogul. The film definitely has a “Spinal Tap” edge to it where the jokes keep coming through their subtlety. It is sad that Stiller will always be in cheesy cash cow films but this is the one that he should be remembered for, directing a satirical classic