REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

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REVIEW: BIG FAT LIAR

CAST

Frankie Muniz (Malcolm In The Middle)
Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Amanda Bynes (Easy A)
Donald Faison (Scrubs)
Russell Hornsby (In Treatment)
Amanda Detmer (Boys and Girls)
Michael Bryan French (I Know What You Did LAst Summer)
Christine Tucci (K-911)
Alexandra Breckenridge (She’s The Man)
Sandra Oh (Tammy)
Jaleel White (Dreamgirls)
Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man)
Sean O’Bryan (Chaplin)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Taran Killam (Ted 2)
Kenan Thompson (Kenan & Kel)
Dustin Diamond (Saved By The Bell)
Martin Klebba (Project X)

Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old chronic liar who is constantly deceiving and misleading his way out of trouble. He tries to get out of his creative writing essay by making up a lie, but eventually gets caught by his English teacher Phyllis Caldwell, who alerts his parents. He is given three hours to submit his essay, otherwise he will fail English and go to summer school. At first, Jason struggles to come up with inspiration for his essay, but after remembering an earlier comment from his father that making up stories seems to be his God-given talent, he writes a story entitled “Big Fat Liar,” which is based on all of the lies he has told throughout his life. On his way to turn it in, he is struck by the limousine of Hollywood producer Marty Wolf, who gives him a ride to the community college. Along the way, when Jason explains that he had made up a lie to get out of trouble, Marty tells him he should have made it more convincing, revealing that he is a more professional liar than Jason. Upon arriving at school, Jason leaves with a “word of advice” from Marty: “The truth is overrated.” In a rush, Jason accidentally forgets his essay in the limo; Marty initially tries to return it, but is inspired by the story when he reads it and he decides to keep it for himself.Jason realizes his essay is missing and tries to explain what happened, but neither his parents nor Ms. Caldwell believe him and he is sent to summer school to repeat English. Later, he and his best friend Kaylee see a preview for a film produced by Wolf Pictures titled “Big Fat Liar”, realizing it was plagiarized from Jason’s essay. Determined to convince his parents he was being truthful after losing their trust, Jason and Kaylee fly to Los Angeles to confront Marty. Upon arrival, they trick limo driver and struggling actor Frank Jackson into giving them a ride to the Wolf Pictures studio. Jason sneaks into Marty’s office, hoping to convince him to tell his parents what really happened; but Marty burns the essay and has Jason and Kaylee thrown out. Angered, the two decide to inconvenience him until he confesses, with Jackson joining them due to his own troubled history with Marty. After gathering information about Marty’s cruel and abusive treatment of his employees, they begin to sabotage him through various pranks, such as dying his skin blue and hair orange, super gluing his headset, sending him to a child’s birthday party where he is mistaken for the hired clown, and modifying the controls to his car, which is destroyed by a wrestler known as “the Masher.”These pranks make Marty miss his appointment with his boss, Universal Pictures president Marcus Duncan. After Marty’s previous film proves to be a critical and commercial failure, Marcus loses confidence in him and threatens to pull production for Big Fat Liar. Jason approaches Marty and agrees to help in exchange for his confession. Guided by Jason, he makes a successful presentation which convinces Marcus’s wife Shandra to green-light Big Fat Liar, but Marcus warns Marty any mistakes will make Universal pull funding and end his career. However, Marty betrays Jason again and calls security to arrest him and Kaylee. Marty’s assistant, Monty Kirkham, decides to help Jason and Kaylee expose him, having grown tired of his repeated verbal abuse. They rally all of his employees and devise a plan to stop him once and for all.The next morning, as Marty heads to the studio to begin shooting, many of his employees make him be late through multiple mishaps. As Marty finally arrives at the studio, he witnesses Jason kidnapping his stuffed monkey Mr. Funny Bones. After a chase across the studio, Marty catches Jason on a rooftop, snatches his stuffed monkey back, and immaturely and arrogantly celebrates his victory. He mocks Jason and tells him he will never tell the truth to anyone, confessing that he stole Jason’s story in the process. However, the entire conversation is revealed to have been caught on camera and is witnessed by many people, including Marty’s employees, the news media, Jason’s parents, and Marcus. Disgusted by his plagiarism and dishonesty, Marcus immediately fires Marty while Jason reunites with his parents, who finally learn that Jason was telling the truth, allowing him to regain their trust.In the aftermath, Universal produces Big Fat Liar, utilizing the talents and skills of all those whom Marty had abused. Frank Jackson stars as the film’s lead character after being rehired by Marcus, and the film is released in theaters, with Jason being credited for having written the original story, making Jason’s parents and Ms. Caldwell proud of him. Meanwhile, Marty, having been permanently stripped of his career, declares bankruptcy and begins his new job as a birthday clown. Unfortunately, he is recognized by the Masher, who tells his son Darren to show Marty his “nutcracker” maneuver. Marty screams in horror as Darren charges at him and flying roundhouse kicks his testicles, making him groan in pain.The story is cute and fifth grade humored but what do you expect it’s rated PG. I really believe this is one of the best family comedies. Not only is the childrens acting great, exceptional casting, well written, but it’s good clean fun.

REVIEW: MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING

CAST

Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Dermot Mulroney (Young GUns)
Cameron Diaz (Sex Tape)
Rupert Everett (Stardust)
Philip Bosco (It Takes Two)
Rachel Griffiths (Divorcing Jack)
M. Emmet Walsh (Blade Runner)
Carrie Preston (The Good Wife)
Susan Sullivan (Castle)
Christopher Masterson (Malcolm In The Middle)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Harry Shearer (The Simpsons)

MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, Dermot Mulroney, Julia Roberts, 1997urtesy EverettJulianne Potter (Julia Roberts), a 27-year-old New York City restaurant critic, receives a call from her lifelong friend Michael O’Neal (Dermot Mulroney). In college, the two made an agreement that if neither of them were married by the time they turned 28, they would marry each other. Three weeks before her 28th birthday, Michael tells her that in four days, he will marry Kimmy Wallace (Cameron Diaz), a 20-year-old University of Chicago student from a wealthy family.mybestfriendswedding02Julianne is disappointed that Michael will marry someone so wrong for him, and someone he has known for such a short time. She realizes that she is in love with Michael, and heads to Chicago, intent on sabotaging his wedding. Soon after arriving she meets Kimmy, who asks her to be the maid of honor. This sets off a subplot in which Julianne must pretend to be the dutiful maid of honor while secretly scheming ways to prevent the wedding from happening. She engages in petty sabotage—for example, taking Kimmy and Michael to a karaoke bar after discovering that Kimmy is a terrible singer—and later asks her gay friend and editor George Downes (Rupert Everett) to pretend they are engaged, hoping to make Michael jealous.my_best_friends_wedding_image30When these tactics fail, George persuades Julianne to do the obvious: tell Michael she is in love with him. One morning, Michael gets Julianne alone and tells her that it’ll be the last time they ever get to be alone. He expresses some skepticism in marrying Kimmy, explaining that he and Kimmy don’t share a special song like he and Julianne do. Michael discreetly gives Julianne the invitation to tell him she’s in love with him, but she lets the opportunity pass. Michael starts singing their song as he grabs Julianne and holds her while they dance one last time. Julianne’s unauthorized use of Kimmy’s father’s computer to forge an email message to Michael’s employer causes further problems for Michael and Kimmy, to the point where they are on the verge of calling off the wedding.

untitledThe next morning, the day of the wedding, Julianne tries to sabotage the situation further; as Michael and Kimmy are not speaking to each other, they communicate through Julianne, not realizing she is trying to manipulate them into breaking up for good. In spite of this, Michael and Kimmy decide they do love each other and want to get married after all. Julianne and Michael then take a walk, with Julianne finally confessing her love to Michael. She asks him to marry her instead, and passionately kisses him. Kimmy witnesses this, and runs off, but Michael chases her. Julianne pursues Michael, but finally realizes he loves Kimmy. Julianne finds Michael at Chicago Union Station, where he is looking for Kimmy, and confesses all to him. Despite his anger at her deception, Michael forgives Julianne, and they split up to look for Kimmy. Julianne then tracks down Kimmy in the bathroom of Comiskey Park (Kimmy’s family has a private viewing box at the stadium). Kimmy, rightly furious with Julianne, confronts her, while the other women watch, immediately siding with Kimmy and are disgusted with Julianne’s dirty tactics. Julianne, however, apologizes and explains to Kimmy that she kissed Michael unexpectedly, but he didn’t kiss her back because he was in love with Kimmy. Julianne declares that Kimmy has won, and that she accepts Michael’s decision. Kimmy and Julianne reconcile with each other while the witnesses applaud.rehost_2016_9_13_b800b64f-8362-42a3-b97e-e235bcc40eedAfter the wedding, at the reception, Julianne tells Michael that he and Kimmy can use their special song until they find one of their own, essentially acting like a true best friend. Julianne wishes them well, and she and Michael share their goodbyes, both of them finally moving on with their lives. Later, Julianne is surprised by George showing up at the wedding reception. The movie ends with the two of them happily sharing a dance together.my+best+friend27s+weddingThe pacing is great with hardly a slowdown in the entire movie. Those times the movie does lessen the pace for a moment are to showcase a tender moment between Julia & Dermot. The movie is extremely well directed and acted and worth watching for the cast.

REVIEW: THE HANGOVER – PART II

 

CAST

Bradley Cooper (Ameircan Sniper_
Ed Helms (Cedar Rapids)
Zach Galifianakis (Up In The Air)
Justin Bartha (Gigli)
Jeffrey Tambor (Dr. Dolittle)
Ken Jeong (Couples Retreat)
Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch)
Mason Lee (Super Express)
Bryan Callen (Ride Along)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sasha Barrese (Let Me In)
Sondra Currie (Alien Nation: Dark Horizon)
Gillian Vigman (Deck The Halls)
Yasmin Lee (Red Ice)
Mike Tyson (Mike Tyson Mysteries)

Two years after the events of the first movie in Las Vegas, Stu Price, Phil Wenneck, Alan Garner and Doug Billings travel to Thailand to celebrate Stu’s upcoming wedding to Lauren. Much to Alan’s dismay, they are joined by Lauren’s younger brother, Teddy. At the rehearsal dinner, Lauren’s father’s reveals his disapproval of Stu during a toast. Later that night, Stu hesitantly joins Phil, Doug, Alan and Teddy for a beer. Sitting at a campfire and roasting marshmallows, the group toast to Stu and Lauren’s future happiness.The next morning, Phil, Stu and Alan, along with gangster Leslie Chow – whom Alan befriended after Las Vegas – and a chain-smoking capuchin monkey, awaken in a dirty hotel room in Bangkok. Stu has a face tattoo (a replica of Mike Tyson’s) and Alan’s head is completely shaved. They cannot find Teddy, and discover only his severed finger. Chow begins to relay the events of the prior night, but he seemingly dies after snorting a line of cocaine. Panicked, the trio dispose of Chow’s body in an ice box.Through a tip from Doug who is still at the resort (he left the campfire earlier than the others), they go to a police station to pick up Teddy but are given a wheelchair-bound elderly Buddhist monk, who knows more about what happened; however, he refuses to reveal anything, having taken a vow of silence. After finding a business card, they travel to the smoldering ruins of the business. They enter a nearby tattoo parlor where Stu got his tattoo, and they learn that they started a fight that escalated into a riot. The trio returns the monk to his Buddhist temple, where they are encouraged by the head monk to meditate. Alan is able to recall that they had been at the White Lion strip club, where they learn that Stu was sodomized by a kathoey prostitute named Kimmy. Upon exiting, the trio are attacked by two Russian mobsters who steal the monkey, and one shoots Phil in his arm.After Phil is treated at a clinic, Alan confesses that he had drugged some of the marshmallows from the previous night with muscle relaxers and ADHD medication in order to sedate Teddy but accidentally mixed up the bags. Phil and Stu become furious that Alan drugged them again. Stu blames Alan for ruining his life and attacks him. Phil breaks it up and tells them that they have to stick together. They notice something on Alan’s stomach: an address and a time for a meeting. They meet a gangster named Kingsley, who demands Chow’s bank account password by the next morning in exchange for Teddy. They return to the hotel to try to find Chow’s password, only to discover that he is still alive. They steal the monkey (who had the code given to him and put inside his jacket for safe-keeping by Chow) back from the Russian mobsters through a violent car chase, during which the monkey is shot and injured. After taking the code and leaving the monkey at a veterinary clinic, the group completes the deal with Kingsley. Suddenly, Interpol agents appear and arrest Chow. Kingsley turns out to be an undercover agent, who tells the trio that the police had used the information that Teddy had disappeared to arrest Chow and Kingsley actually does not know where Teddy is.Desperate and out of clues, Phil calls Doug’s wife Tracy to tell her they can’t find Teddy. Stu decides to call off the wedding and live in Bangkok and say that Teddy died. While Alan is playing a game of PAC-MAN the power goes out again. Stu suddenly realizes where Teddy is. The trio rushes back to the hotel to find Teddy who is in the elevator unharmed (albeit still missing a finger). Teddy had woken up in the middle of the night to get more ice for his severed finger (after the first bucket of ice had melted) but became trapped after the power went out. The four use Chow’s speedboat, the Perfect Life, the keys for which were in Teddy’s pocket, to travel back to the wedding reception.Arriving on land just as Lauren’s father is about to cancel the wedding, Stu makes a defiant speech where he rejects being boring and instead states that he is in fact quite wild. Impressed, Lauren’s father gives the couple his blessing. After they exchange their vows, Alan presents Stu with a special gift at the post-reception dance: a musical guest performance by Mike Tyson. Teddy later discovers that he had taken many pictures during the night on his cell phone. The group, along with Tyson, agree to look at the pictures together once (some of which reveal Teddy lost his finger playing the knife game) before erasing the evidence of their exploits once again.Since The Hangover Part II is basically a repeat of the first film, it ups the R-rated humor to get a leg up. The jokes are dirtier, and the nudity is less shocking than tedious. The Hangover Part II  is funny. At least some of it is, thanks to Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis, who have a damn good thing going.

REVIEW: BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE

CAST

Martin Lawrence (Bad Boys)
Nia Long (Stigmata)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Terrence Howard (Iron Man)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Jascha Washington (Frenemies)
Ella Mitchell (Lord Shango)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Cedric the Entertainer (A Huanted House)
Aldis Hodge (Red Sands)

The film begins in an illegal underground dog-fighting arena in Korea, where an FBI agent, John Maxwell (Paul Giamatti), has been identified. John is ordered to be killed by a Korean mob boss, but is eventually rescued by his undercover partner and master of disguise, Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence). Suddenly, a group of FBI agents storm around the arena.

Meanwhile, a criminal named Lester Vesco (Terrence Howard), who was originally serving a life sentence in prison for murder and armed robbery, escapes from his cell by killing the doctor and stealing his car. The FBI assigns Malcolm and John to capture Lester by sending them to small-town Cartersville, Georgia to stake out the house of a heavyset, elderly African American woman, Hattie Mae Pierce (Ella Mitchell; whom her friends call “Big Momma”), the estranged Southern grandmother of Lester’s ex-girlfriend, Sherry Pierce (Nia Long), who supposedly aided Lester in his original bank robbery by giving him the key to the vault. After Big Momma unexpectedly leaves town to help her ill friend within a couple of weeks, Malcolm and John sneak into her house to plant security cameras and tap the phones. Sherry later calls Big Momma’s house and Malcolm disguises his voice as Big Momma in order to lure Sherry and possibly obtain a confession. The plan works, and Malcolm and John work together on a Big Momma disguise costume before Sherry’s arrival the next day. The next day, Sherry arrives at Big Momma’s house with her 10-year-old son, Trent (Jascha Washington). However, Malcolm’s inexperience with cooking and strange behavior prompt Sherry to believe that Big Momma might have gone senile. Malcolm also has to deal with Big Momma’s lecherous boyfriend, Ben Rawley (Carl Wright), act as midwife for Ritha (Tichina Arnold), who has gone into labor, and attend self-defense classes under Ritha’s older brother and dim-witted security guard, Nolan (Anthony Anderson), whom Malcolm handily defeats and humiliates in front of all the other old women.

After Malcolm almost damages the suit during the night, he tries to sneak back to the safe house where he and John are staying to capture Lester. However, Sherry catches him on the porch, and Malcolm poses as a “handyman” after just barely hiding the suit in a bush. Malcolm and John repair the suit, and when Malcolm leaves town with Sherry, John searches the safe house for any trace of the money Lester had stolen from the bank, but to no avail. Malcolm also bonds with Trent when he defends him against the two older guys who bullied Trent and kicked him off the court so they could play. Malcolm and Trent eventually beat the boys at basketball, amazing Nolan and Trent. Malcolm also begins to bond with Sherry and Trent by accompanying them on a fishing trip. After Malcolm returns to the safe house with John that evening, Nolan bursts in and tries to arrest Malcolm and John for dismembering Big Momma. Malcolm and John identify themselves and reluctantly recruit Nolan to help them out, promising Nolan that Malcolm and John will recommend him for a place in the FBI if he succeeds.

Malcolm, Sherry, and Trent go to church, where the Reverend (Cedric the Entertainer) calls on Malcolm to give his testimony. While posing as Big Momma, Malcolm attempts to influence Sherry and Trent by giving them his testimony about the importance of not keeping secrets. While returning to Big Momma’s house after mass, Malcolm pulls his gun on Big Momma’s surprise birthday party. During the party that evening, the real Big Momma returns home prematurely, whom John tries to stall her. Malcolm accidentally stumbles across the stolen money hidden in Trent’s footlocker. Sherry sees this, and tells Malcolm the real story: Lester had merely been playing her for a fool the whole time. Lester wooed Sherry, stole her keys, and got into the vault during the robbery, which Sherry did not tell anyone about her stolen keys out of fear of getting fired. Malcolm goes off to call for his real name to come help them out. In the bathroom, John quietly tells Nolan that the real Big Momma is back, and Nolan accidentally locks Malcolm out of the house to think that he is the real Big Momma.

Meanwhile, Lester finally arrives in Big Momma’s house, where he successfully tracked Sherry, Trent, and the money. Lester tries to take Sherry and Trent out of the house with him, but as he allows Sherry to say goodbye to the real Big Momma, Nolan spots Lester’s gun and attempts to arrest him. However, he accidentally unloads his own gun which gives Lester the advantage to draw his weapon. Luckily, Malcolm breaks through the window just in time and fights Lester, causing confusion among the partygoers as they see two Big Mommas at once. In the ensuing struggle, Lester shoots John in his right shoulder, and ends up ripping Malcolm’s mask during a fistfight to reveal his identity. Nonetheless, Malcolm eventually subdues Lester, who tries to shoot him from behind and is knock out of the window. Sherry and Trent are heartbroken to realize that Malcolm was just an FBI agent the whole time, and they refuse to speak to him, even when the police arrest Lester and paramedics take John to the hospital for a gunshot wounded in his right arm.

In the epilogue, Malcolm goes to church on Sunday morning to testify Sherry, Trent, and Big Momma. Malcolm delivers his confession and heartfelt speech to Sherry and Trent and admits that he genuinely loves them. Big Momma eventually forgives Malcolm with a big, strong hug, and the crowd cheers as Malcolm and Sherry kiss. Malcolm and Sherry invite Trent over for a group hug and the crowd celebrates as Big Momma and the choir sings “Oh Happy Day” during the film’s closing credits.

An oldie but a goodie. Time less classic fully of belly laughs. Perfect for a wet afternoon

REVIEW: SAN ANDREAS

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 8)
Carla Gugino (Faster)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Art Parkinson (Dracula Untold)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Kylie Minogue (Sample People)
Colton Haynes (Arrow)

Raymond “Ray” Gaines is a Los Angeles Fire Department Air Rescue pilot in the midst of a divorce from Emma and planning a trip to San Francisco with his daughter Blake. Meanwhile, Caltech seismologist Dr. Lawrence Hayes and his colleague Dr. Kim Park are at Hoover Dam doing research for a new earthquake predicting model when a nearby and previously unknown fault ruptures. This triggers a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that collapses the dam and kills Park after he rescues a little girl and throws her to Hayes as he falls to the collapsing ground. When Ray is called into work because of this, Blake goes with her mother’s new boyfriend Daniel Riddick to San Francisco, instead of Ray.Hayes discovers that the entire San Andreas Fault is shifting and will soon cause a major earthquake, thereby destroying cities along the fault line. Emma is having lunch at a hotel in Downtown LA with Daniel’s sister Susan when the fault shifts triggering a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, with Susan among the casualties during the event. Rather than reporting for emergency rescue duty, Ray saves Emma from the collapsing building, and they escape the city aboard his helicopter, barely managing to swerve around the US Bank Tower as it comes crumbling down.In San Francisco, Daniel brings Blake to his office where she meets Ben, an engineer from England seeking employment and his brother, Ollie. Daniel and Blake leave the premises, but they become trapped in their car in the parking garage after a string of earthquakes, with Blake getting her legs pinned in the event. Daniel flees but Blake is found by Ben and Ollie, who help her escape. They then find a working phone in Chinatown and Blake calls Ray and Emma, who fly to San Francisco to save her.En route, Ray’s helicopter fails, forcing him to make an emergency landing at a shopping mall in Bakersfield. Amid the chaos of looting, he steals a truck and he and Emma escape. They come across an older couple broken down on the side of the road where the San Andreas Fault has opened up, blocking the road and the couple, who happen to own an airplane, agree to give it up in exchange for Ray’s vehicle. In San Francisco, Blake, Ben and Ollie are trying to find a place to signal Ray, as the point they agreed to meet at, Coit Tower, is engulfed in flames. On approach, Ray and Emma are forced to parachute in the city when a 9.6 magnitude quake hits the city, becoming the largest earthquake in history. Much of the city is left in ruins and Blake, Ben and Ollie narrowly survive. Ray and Emma, realizing they cannot make their way through the destroyed city, are able to commandeer a boat only to see that the water in the bay is beginning to recede, indicating that a megatsunami is approaching.As it approaches, Blake, Ben, and Ollie run into a building under construction which Daniel helped design. Ray and Emma, accompanied by dozens of other people in boats, manage to make it over the wave before it crests, barely avoiding a huge cargo ship getting caught up in the wave. They then watch in horror as the giant tsunami hits the Golden Gate Bridge with the enormous cargo ship, which snaps the center span cleanly in two; Daniel is among those killed when a loose shipping container crushes him. The wave then proceeds into the ruined city, swamping cruise ships, killing thousands and flooding the building Blake is in. Emma and Ray make their way through the flooded downtown area and are finally able to locate Blake, Ben, and Ollie as the building begins to sink beneath the water. Ray dives into the building to save Blake as she becomes unconscious while trapped underwater, while Emma breaks into the building with the boat and rescues everyone just as the building also collapses; however, it appears too late as Blake has seemingly drowned. Ray, however, manages to resuscitate her, and the family is happily reunited.They head to a relief camp where the reconciled Ray and Emma talk about their future; on the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge, an American flag unfolds, giving hope that the city will recover and rebuild as rescue vehicles descend on the radically altered landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area. Then the camera zooms out to see the whole Bay Area, showing that the bay now extends south from San Jose to Santa Cruz, turning the San Francisco peninsula into an island.Typical Rock actioner with great special effects and so so acting but I don’t think anyone expected an Oscar. The Rock does what he does best and it makes for an enjoyable watch.Classic popcorn movie.

REVIEW: SIDEWAYS

CAST

Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Thomas Haden Church (Easy A)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
Sandra Oh (Tammy)
Marylouise Burke (Wild Canaries)
Jessica Hecht (The Forgotten)
Stephanie Faracy(Flightplan)
Missy Doty (Nebraska)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Alysia Reiner (Better Things)

Miles Raymond is an aspiring – but unsuccessful – writer, a wine aficionado and a divorced, depressed, borderline alcoholic middle-aged English teacher living in San Diego, who takes his soon-to-be-married actor friend and former college roommate, Jack Cole, on a road trip through Santa Ynez Valley wine country. Though still recognized on occasion, Jack’s acting career appears to have peaked years ago, when he had a role in a popular TV soap but now does commercial voice-overs and plans to enter his future father-in-law’s successful real estate business after he’s married. Miles wants to spend the week relaxing, golfing, enjoying good food and wine; however, much to Miles’ consternation, Jack is on the prowl and wants one last sexual fling before settling into domestic life.In the wine country, the pair visit Miles’ favorite restaurant, The Hitching Post II, and meet Maya, an attractive, intelligent waitress with whom Miles is casually acquainted. Jack senses that Maya is interested in Miles, who downplays his friend’s intuition, and tells Jack that Maya is married. Jack tells Maya that Miles’ manuscript has been accepted for publication, even though it is only being considered. Later, at a tasting in a local winery, they meet an attractive wine pourer named Stephanie, who is also acquainted with Maya. Jack is immediately attracted to Stephanie and arranges a double date, to include Miles and Maya, and tells Miles that he learned Maya is no longer married (“sans rock”, as he describes it). During the date, Miles gets drunk and telephones Vicki, his ex-wife, after learning from Jack earlier that day that she has remarried. They return to Stephanie’s home, where Jack and Stephanie immediately adjourn to her bedroom for sex, while Miles and Maya connect through their mutual interest in wine. Miles tells Maya about his book, and Maya says she is finishing a master’s degree in horticulture so she can leave serving. Miles makes a gauche pass at Maya, which she rejects. They leave separately, but not before he gives her a copy of his manuscript. As the week progresses, Jack’s affair with Stephanie continues, to the point where he believes he’s falling in love with her; he bonds with her daughter and makes the suggestion to Miles that they move there for him to be closer to Stephanie. After spending the day together, Miles and Maya return to her apartment and have sex. The next day, Miles lets it slip that Jack is to be married. Disgusted with the dishonesty, Maya dumps Miles and later tells Stephanie who, furious and devastated to learn she’s been used, hits Jack repeatedly and breaks his nose using her motorcycle helmet.On finding out his manuscript has been rejected again, Miles drinks heavily and causes a scene during a wine tasting when the server cuts him off, and ends up trying to drink from the spit bucket. That night, with Stephanie gone, Jack hooks up with another waitress named Cammi, who recognized him from his acting career. Hours later, Jack shows up back at the motel room he shares with Miles – naked and confessing that Cammi’s husband came home early while she and Jack were having sex. Jack explains he was forced to flee without his clothes and wallet (which contains a pair of irreplaceable wedding rings). Jack convinces Miles to drive him back to Cammi’s house and sneak inside, where he discovers Cammi and her husband having sex. Miles spies Jack’s wallet, grabs it and runs from the house, barely escaping Cammi’s irate husband, who pursues him in the nude. To explain the broken nose and cover up the infidelity to his fiancée, Jack runs Miles’ convertible into a tree, giving the appearance they had been in an accident. The pair return to the home of Jack’s fiancée, where he is welcomed with open arms, and Miles drives away in his battered car.Following the wedding ceremony, Miles runs into his ex-wife Vicki and meets her new husband. After learning that she is also pregnant, Miles accepts that he will never get Vicki back. Alone, he drinks his prized wine, a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc, from a disposable coffee cup at a fast-food restaurant and falls into an even deeper depression. After some time passes, Miles returns to the routine of teaching school; coming home one afternoon, he receives a voice-mail from Maya, who says she enjoyed his manuscript and invites him to visit. Ultimately, Miles is seen driving back to Santa Ynez and knocking on Maya’s door.

While it is so easy to resort to the wine as metaphor – as the film amply does with smart, sharp and pungent dialogue – the film is a full-bodied, never precocious vintage that needs to be savored in a desirable bouquet of cinematic finesse