Movie Review: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)
Written by Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg
Directed by Nicholas Stoller

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What do college student consider to be old? The answer is pretty simple, anyone who has graduated college and is no longer in school gets lumped into that category and is deemed an official adult. In the comedy sequel, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, once again the battle between college-aged kids and adults ensues and delivers on every humorous level imaginable. In the first film, the loving thirty-something couple Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) were just trying to establish themselves in their new home with their baby, but all hell broke loose when they realized they were living next to one of the wildest fraternities on campus.

In the sequel, the bros have moved out and life is peaceful and calm, who are now expecting their second child and are having fun raising their toddler Stella (Ella and Zoey Vargas). They have decided to upgrade and already purchased a brand new home in a different neighborhood and have just sold their home to a young couple with a baby. What Mac and Kelly never paid attention to, was the term escrow, now that the home is sold, it is in escrow and the new couple has 30 days to make inspections and check if anything is wrong with the home before going through with the deal. They quickly become stressed and paranoid, but hope and pray that all should be okay in the next 30 days, what could go wrong?

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On the other side of town, the frat boys of yesteryear are now full-fledged (sort of) real life adults. They have all moved on to careers, Pete (Dave Franco) is now an architect, Garf (Jerrod Carmichael) is a cop, Scoonie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) created an app that has made him tons of money, and the infamous Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) is still, record scratches, working at Abercrombie and Fitch. Yes, Teddy now has a criminal record, due to last year’s shenanigans and can’t keep down a real job. He feels like his life has no value, no one appreciates him, not even his best friend Pete, so he decides to move out and is left alone with not much to do.

On campus, freshman girls Shelby (Chloe Grace Mertz), Beth (Kiersey Clemons), and Nora (Beanie Feldstein) realize that they don’t fit into the typical sorority scene. For one, sororities are not allowed to throw parties, only frats can, and all the parties that they do attend are like meat-markets, where the women are on parade for horny frat boys. The girls decide to start their own sorority, Kappa Nu, there’s just one thing they need, a sorority house. They decide to move in next door to Mac and Kelly and what starts to feel like a bad reoccurring dream, happens all over again. Except this time around, the girls do not mess around, remember girls are smarter than boys, and they cannot be led astray so easily with the lure of a hot chick.

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With nothing, but time on his hands, the girls enlist the help of Teddy, almost haphazardly as he was sitting in his old frat house being sad, and he shows them the ropes of running a sorority. Teddy doesn’t know much, but he does know how to do one thing right, and that is throwing parties. He helps the girls raise money, get pledges, and of course how to make Mac and Kelly completely miserable. What ensues from there is complete chaos and fun.

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I thought the movie was fun to watch and it made me laugh from beginning to end. Rogen and Byrne delivered with their spot-on jokes and their take on marriage and being a thirty-something. I also loved their best friends Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo) who are also expecting a child, and their humor only adds to the film. Honestly Barinholtz is one of the best aspects of the film, his comedic delivery is spot on and he plays off Rogen perfectly.

Efron was surprisingly really good, I like that he is willing to poke fun at himself and make fun of his sculpted body and pretty face. That doesn’t sound like it would be necessarily funny, but his abs are like their own character in the film. He also knows how to play sweet and charming, and gave Teddy some emotion.

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I liked the fact that the girls in the sorority weren’t made to wear sexy outfits, instead these girls wore whatever they want and threw parties they thought were cool. Donning hoodies and sneakers and just being themselves and having fun. What I didn’t like was how many of the girls in the sorority specifically Mertz felt the need make their voices overtly high, it sounded like they were trying really hard to be valley girls. Aside from that, Mertz, Clemons, and Feldstein played well against each other and made for a good rag-tag crew of outsiders trying to fend for themselves in the cutthroat world of college partying. I also loved how they thought Teddy was just an old guy because to them he basically is an old dude.

I think if you enjoyed the first, then you will definitely enjoy this one. It delivered on all points of comedy and there wasn’t a moment where I felt bored or where the film felt awkward, which can sometimes happen with sequels. This is a perfect movie for a fun filled date night or a movie with friends, either way it will not disappoint.

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(Insert pic of Zac Efron shirtless for no particular reason at all. See above.)

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

}}Melissa

Movie Review: Everybody Wants Some! (2016)

Everybody Wants Some! (2016)
Written and Directed by Richard Linklater

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In 1993, Richard Linklater wrote and directed the cult classic Dazed and Confused, which remains as one of the most quintessential high school coming-of-age stories ever told on screen. To duplicate that feeling is nearly impossible as cult classics garner their names from being plucked out of obscurity and attaining a quality to them that just hits the nail on the head. Fast forward and now Linklater is a prominent director who is just coming off the heels of his highly successful and critically acclaimed film Boyhood and is ready to relax a bit and give audiences another perspective on growing up. In his new film Everybody Wants Some!, the story follows freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) and his first weekend at a fictitious college in Texas circa 1980. He moves into the baseball team’s off-campus house, it can loosely be described as a house, it’s more like a place where guys store some prized possessions, a few paisley adorned shirts, and a lot of beer.

Immediately Jake, who is the newbie pitcher of the team, encounters both a sense of comradery and hostility towards him. Although the team welcomes him with open arms, they try to sniff him out like a pack of wolves deciding whether or not they want to allow a wolf into their pack.

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The house is filled with every character under the book and these guys are truly what make the movie fun to watch. There is McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), the badass homerun hitter of the team, who dons a glorious Burt Reynolds-like mustache and detests pitchers. Finn (Glenn Powell) he’s that one guy in college who is always philosophizing anything and everything, although it can be annoying to his teammates it serves him well with the ladies. Then there is Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), the all-around cool laid back guy and Roper (Ryan Guzman), the ring leader of the group. Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) the stoner who always has some interesting point of views, of course there had to be one, and Nesbit (Austin Amelio) the loud-mouth who likes to challenge and bet guys to do dumb stuff (basically a typical boy).

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Along with Jake, there are a few more freshman just like him trying to find their place within the team, Plummer (Temple Baker) who has the funniest voice and is a bit dim-witted and Brumley (Tanner Kalina) the sensitive guy who doesn’t seem to get a lot of jokes, he’s sort of like the virgin of the group. The film takes all these types of guys and throws them together to get to know one another before the beginning of the school year.

The guys have their usual party spot, Sound Machine, which plays the coolest Disco jams and the spot where pretty much everyone hangs out and dances. Yes, everyone there is fresh off the Saturday Night Fever disco wave, equip with hot dance moves and tight pants. The guys also move around to various clubs and parties, from punk to country western ones. At each place, they try to fit in with their clothes and hair, which seems apt for college because everyone is still trying to figure out their identity and where they fit in.

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This film is essentially about that struggle, the good and the bad, and the fun that comes with trying to figure one’s self out and where one fits into their world. Linklater conveys that truth in his film, that college is the time we make some of the most eventful decisions of our life. From friends to careers, it is a pivotal time that is the beginning of construing our future lives. The conversations that happen in this movie aren’t the most prolific, but they’re realistic and that is what has always set Linklater’s films apart from others.

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The actors in the film worked well together and blended and mad sense. I loved that there were no big name actors in it, just guys getting started in their careers, which in a way reflects the characters themselves. Powell was one of my favorites, I loved him in Scream Queens, and he is equally fun to watch in this film, he definitely has that “it” factor going from him. Jenner did really well, considering this was his first big-screen film and he was someone picked out of obscurity with the reality show The Glee Project, it has been awesome to see him grow as an actor.

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What I would have liked a bit more from the film was to see more depth with the characters. I wanted them to be fleshed out a bit more and dig just a little deeper. Regardless, I enjoyed the film, it really isn’t about anything crazy or chaotic, there are no action sequences or overly dramatic ones, but it was still fun to watch. I am a fan of movies where characters are trying to figure themselves out and their place in the world, whether they be 18 or 45, audiences can always relate on some level and that is what I took away from this film. I think if you enjoy nostalgia and an overall fun time at the movies, then this is one for you.

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

}} Melissa

Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
Directed by Kirk Jones
Written by Nia Vardalos

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In the film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, we are once again brought into the realm of the over-bearing, meddling, and somewhat smothering Portokalos family. Regardless of all their intrusions into the business of every single family member, they remain a close-knit and loving family. The original was made 14 years ago, that’s eons in Hollywood years between sequels, and gave the film a good enough timeframe from which to build a story. The patriarch of the family Gus (Michael Constantine), would love this antidote because the word eon is derived from the Greek word “age,” and can mean many years, even billions of years that can’t be measured. In the film, he continually reminds his grandchildren that almost every single word in the English language is derived from a Greek word. Once again we are thrown into their world, Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) are now married with a teenage daughter Paris (Elena Kampouris), ready to head off to college and her family remains much unchanged.

As mentioned before, Gus still enjoys reminding everyone that the Greeks are the best, their language is the most exemplary, and he continues to use Windex for pretty much every use in the book. He even tells Paris, just as he did Toula, that she needs to find a nice Greek boyfriend and get married soon.

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Toula works at the family restaurant, The Dancing Zorba, yes it’s still up and running, but this time around she devotes a lot of time to her parents who are aging and need her help even more than before. Ian is the principal of Paris’ high-school, to her dismay, and he is now completely assimilated into Toula’s Greek way of life. In other words, he totally gets how they are and doesn’t take offense to their intruding ways. When Ian and Toula go on a date to spice up their dull marriage, they make out in their car for old time’s sake and without a hitch her family shines a flashlight into the car and tries to see what they’re doing, but Ian doesn’t even blink an eye. It’s just another day with the Portokalos family to him.

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The film centers much on two story lines, one is Paris wrestling with the decisions about what college to attend. Should she stay local in Chicago or go away to her dream school? She also is dealing with her Greek family and their way of being just like Toula had to contend with in the first installment. Secondly, Gus finds his old marriage license and realizes that it was never signed off by the Priest who married them in Greece. This unsigned document means that he is not legally married to Maria (Lainie Kazan) and when he ends up telling the whole family they flip out. Maria is infuriated and wants Gus to purpose to her all over again and decides she also wants to get remarried and have the wedding of her dreams. The story that ensues from here is the family trying to pull a wedding together on a shoe string budget and the craziness that comes with planning a wedding.

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I thought the film was enjoyable and something that can be seen with the entire family. There is no denying that the jokes are a bit corny and somewhat overused. How many times can we see the old Greek grandmother do something funny or kooky? But still some of the humor is quite funny and really most of it came from Gus. I thought he was the best character in the whole film and he carried it from beginning to end. At times I laughed with him and others he made my heart ache a bit, which I think Constantine acted to perfection.

I also enjoyed Kampouris who played the teenage angst card well, yet she remained quite loveable. I was rooting for her throughout the film and I loved that they made her into a strong female character and not a boy-crazy teenager. She continuously reminded herself that she was a strong Greek girl who comes from a long line of resilient Greek women and to act accordingly, never compromising her beliefs or self.

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The film I wouldn’t say is the best I have ever seen, nor is it the worse, but I think it would appeal to anyone who enjoyed the first one. This is a great movie for a family night out or a fun date night flick. And if you like Windex as much as Gus does, then you will really like this movie.

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

}}Melissa

Oscars 2016 Recap: The Top 15 Best, Worst, and Most Interesting Moments

The 2016 Oscars will forever go down surrounded by the controversies about diversity and the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which caused various members of the film community to protest attending the Oscars. Host Chris Rock, came out right away and started the jokes about race, mentioning that black people in the 1960’s could have cared less about the Oscars back then because they had bigger problems on their hands. Then he went in on Jade Pinkett Smith and said, “Everyone went mad. Jada said she’s not coming, protesting. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties — I wasn’t invited.” Ohh that was a low blow for Jada.

From there it was a never ending barrage of jokes on why black people hate, don’t care, and want nothing to do with the Oscars. To be honest with you guys, I was so over it, after about 15 minutes it stopped being funny and it just became almost annoying. It made me think well if you are going to complain about the lack of black people in film, what about all the other races out there who are not represented in Hollywood? Regardless, Chris Rock did do a good job and I found the Oscars to be somewhat entertaining.

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Let’s talk about what went down and recap the best, worst, and most interesting moments of the night.

1.Chris Rock as host. I will call it a winning performance by a black comedian and he succeeded at making his predominately white audience feel uncomfortable. I don’t know if I should put this under best, worst, or interesting?

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2.Stacey Dash UGH. What the hell was that? She came out on stage for like 2 minutes and said something odd about happy Black History month. What was the last movie she was in? Clueless in 1997? Umm, get off the stage. BOO!

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3. Mad Max: Fury Road won 6 awards, all for technical categories and they were aptly deserved. Bravo!

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4. Chris Rock did his pizza moment like Ellen and made the audience buy Girl Scout cookies from his daughter’s troop. That was really cute and he had the star-studded audience taking out their one hundred dollar bills because honestly I doubt they had any one’s on them. He later revealed they raised $65,243 dollars and mentioned most of it was probably purchased by the tied up in a prison jumpsuit, Suge Knight (yes it was the actor from Straight Outta Compton).

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5. When Louis C.K. presented the award for Best Documentary Short film. His suit looked too big on him, like he bought it for an interview and didn’t have it tailored. He then joked that the people who make these films do it for the love of telling an important story, because let’s be honest they don’t make a cent off these films. He said, “This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic. … It’s going to give them anxiety to keep it in their crappy apartment.” That was funny, but kind of sad considering they are in a room filled with millionaires.

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6. Chris Rock went into a Compton movie theater and asked people about Oscar nominated films. When asked if they had seen The Big Short, Spotlight and Bridge of Spies, people were confused and shocked and didn’t even think these films existed. But they did all have one thing in common they all saw Straight Outta Compton and loved it. I think this segment once again solidified the mood of the night, that the movies black people enjoy were omitted from the Oscars race. We get it.

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7. Ennio Morricone won for Best Original Score for The Hateful Eight. At 87, he finally won after being nominated various times in the past. He came on stage with his interpreter and gave a moving speech thanking Quentin Tarantino, his late wife, and gave praise to fellow nominee John Williams. He also said, “There isn’t a great soundtrack without a great movie that inspires it.” Well said, it was truly a sweet and moving moment and he deserved it.

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8. Brie Larson won for Best Actress. She looked so beautiful and it was a wonderful moment for an actress that always seems so humble.

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9. Jared Leto in his black Gucci suit with red piping and a floral pin. No one else can pull off this look. No one. Be forewarned, he has pulled off the man bun with ease, long flowing hair, and now this, normal men don’t try this at home.

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10. Mark Rylance won for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Bridge of Spies. I think no one was more surprised than him.

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11. Two words. Tom Hardy. Forget about everything else. I was sad that he didn’t win for Best Supporting Actor, honestly I was rooting for him, not just because he is gorgeous, but his performance was the most memorable to me. Oh well, he’s still super hot and he did not disappoint last night. Sigh.

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12. Alejandro González Iñárritu for the Best Director win! Bravo. I was happy to see him win for the second year in a row, what a feat! A win for diversity, but no one mentioned any of that.

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12. When BB-8 rolled on stage with his droid homies C-3PO and R2-D2. They paid tribute to Star Wars composer John Williams and gleefully admired the golden statue. That was seriously cute and a definite highlight.

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13. FINALLY Leonardo DiCaprio won his Oscar! He won Best Actor for his tremendous role in The Revenant. His speech was heartfelt and moving, he thanked his parents, Martin Scorsese, co-star Tom Hardy, and friends. He then discussed climate change and urged people to wake up and take notice of what is happening in the world. It didn’t come off as preachy at all and I think it worked with his speech. He ended by saying, “Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”

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14. Spotlight took home the Best Picture Oscar and I think a lot of people had mixed feelings on this one. I think it had to win in a way considering the gravity of the film’s subject. I was rooting for The Revenant and I know some of my fellow movie buffs wanted Room and Mad Max: Fury Road to win, but I guess no one ever comes out of this category completely pleased with the results. Regardless of who your favorite was, the message behind Spotlight is a powerful one and producer Michael Sugar said “This film gave a voice to survivors and this Oscar amplifies that voice. We hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican. Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

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15. And finally the closing music. The song that played as the credits rolled was Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and it ended the night on the note Chris Rock began on, which was to use his position to take a stance on the lack of diversity and opportunities for black people in Hollywood. Again, I believe Chris Rock should have used this platform to talk about not just black people, but all other races.

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I know I missed a bunch of moments and things that happened, the thank you scroll, the Amy  documentary film win, Tracey Morgan doing the Danish Girl bit, Saoirse Ronan and her beautiful dress, Alicia Vikander’s win, etc, but then we’d be here forever. What did you guys think of the show? So much went down and I am curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.

And finally Brie Larson ended the night perfectly with a burger, chucks, and an Oscar.

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}}Melissa

Movie Review: How to Be Single (2016)

How to Be Single (2016)
Directed by Christian Ditter
Written by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein, & Dana Fox, adapted from the book by Liz Tuccillo

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Being single can be one of the best experiences of someone’s life and for anyone that is single the best advice I can give is to enjoy it while it lasts. Now for the person who is single, that is probably the last thing they want to hear from their smug friends in long-term relationships or their happily married ones. Instead being single can feel really lonesome, depressing (literally everyone is in a relationship or at least it feels like that), and sometimes the constant disappoint of meeting another douchey guy can be too much to handle. But the reality of the whole situation is that women and men should embrace their single lifestyle and welcome it with open arms. In the film How to Be Single, directed by Christian Ditter and based on the novel of the same name by Liz Tuccillo, the story follows a group of women with their struggles in finding love in New York City.

The story revolves around Alice (Dakota Johnson); she is the type of girl who has always been in a relationship, so when she finds herself suddenly single she is clueless about how to proceed with dating. Cue her friend Robin (Rebel Wilson) who completely enjoys being single and knows all the ins-and-outs of dating in the Big Apple. She teaches Alice a thing or two about navigating a world filled with mixed messages sent via text (never send a guy an emoji right after you meet him it screams desperation) and how to talk to guys at crowded bars.

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Alice lives with her older sister Meg (Leslie Mann), an overworked OB/GYN who rarely has time to sleep let alone date. She goes on a mission to have a baby of her own by finding a sperm donor, never really thinking she would meet anyone. When Ken (Jake Lacy) introduces himself to her at a work party, sparks fly and she cannot deny that she likes this much younger dude.

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Then there is Lucy (Alison Brie), the single girl who has gone so far as to create an algorithm to try to find the perfect match on a dating site. She has a horrible WIFI connection in her home, so she sets up shop with her laptop and sweat pants at the local bar downstairs where Tom (Anders Holm) the snarky bartender and experienced lothario tries to give her dating advice.

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All the meantime, Alice remains stuck between sort of still liking her ex Josh (Nicholas Braun) and meeting interesting new men like David (Damon Wayans Jr.), the single dad who is a total sweetheart. Alice must learn how to love herself before anyone else can come into her life and take pleasure in being a party of one.

I thought the film had a lot of funny moments in it, Johnson was great as the awkward, yet totally cute single gal and of course Wilson played her part to perfection and gave the film its most comical times. Part of me is kind of sick of seeing Wilson play the same persona, but we can’t deny that she plays it well and she embraces every inch of her wackiness which I totally love.

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Mann was funny and probably had some of my favorite moments in the film, like when Jake sees her shopping for baby items when he had no idea she was pregnant and she totally freaks out. That was pretty funny and I enjoyed the banter between Brie and Holm. He is slowly coming out of his Workaholics persona and turning into a bona fide actor.

I felt that at many times this film was trying so hard to be like Sex and the City, but I guess anytime you put single women in a film set in New York City its difficult not to make that comparison. I liked this movie more than the annoying show Girls, which again gives us the same NYC scenario; in fact I would have thoroughly enjoyed this as a series on HBO. I think it would be really promising and I would love to see many of these characters shelled out more.

This is a perfect film to see with your girl friends as it just oozes female estrogen in every scene. It could also be a fun date night movie to drag your significant other to or maybe a first date, although that might result in you staying single. But hey it doesn’t matter because being single is liberating, exciting, and a great state of mind to be in at any age.

}}Melissa

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

Movie Review: Zoolander (2016)

Zoolander 2 (2016)
Directed by Ben Stiller
Written by Ben Stiller, Justin Theroux, Nicholas Stoller, & John Hamburg

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Any movie that starts off with the hunting down of an infamous pop star like Justin Bieber is a pretty good movie in my book. In the new film Zoolander 2, we are once again reintroduced into the world of one of the biggest male models to ever live Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller). This time around though he is not the man he once was and the modeling world has evolved into one where hipsters, bearded men, and androgynous looking people take center stage on the catwalk.

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The original Zoolander premiered shortly after September 11, 2001 and it was not an instantaneous hit. It has now become a cult classic due to being a DVD everyone has had in their collection or pulls up on Netflix for nostalgia sake and one that spun off a million catchphrases through the years. What everyone loved about the first film, got rehashed and put in the sequel, but for me it worked. Critics have already begun bashing the film, but I don’t think we should sit here and review this movie on such a critical and high level of aestheticism like we would an Oscar worthy film (come on guys this is not Gone with the Wind). This is simply put a fun movie to watch, a complete two hours of escapist nonsense to sit back, laugh with, and enjoy.

International male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) come out of hiding, both were in various parts of the world, I mean Malibu and New Jersey, and are lured back into the fashion world via an invitation from Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) to appear in her upcoming show in Rome, Italy.

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Derek has been very distraught; he lost custody of his son with Matilda (Christine Taylor) because he failed to be a good parent. He didn’t even know how to make turn raw spaghetti into a real pasta dish, thus failing to be able to feed his child.

The story this time around revolves around not only the fashion world, but a string of assassinations on the most “beautiful” people in the world, ones like Usher, Demi Lovato, and Lenny Kravitz, who when killed post the infamous “Blue Steel” pose to their social media as a last ditch effort to send a message. Interpol’s fashion division intervenes led by Valentina Valencia (Penélope Cruz) who believes that finding the killer involves unlocking the secret message to the “Blue Steel” pose. She convinces Derek, the man who made the pose famous, and Hansel to help her out.  They abide when she promises to find Derek’s son.

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Valentina finds Derek’s son in about one minute, she just hops on Facebook and there he is and it turns out he is in Italy too. Derek Jr. (Cyrus Arnold) to his father’s dismay is chubby and a bit fat, which could be considered the “F” word in the modeling world. They soon realize that Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is somehow behind the attacks and together they all must figure out a way to stop the mad man.

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I literally laughed from beginning to end with this film. I don’t care what the critics say, I loved it. I grew up watching the originals in college and it was always a go-to for me when I wanted to relax. The sequel is just as funny as the originals and is complete with idiotic and dumb nonsensical jokes. I mean they really pushed the envelope here and did some outlandish stuff, but it worked, when you take a film that is so out there like this, it is okay to fill it with silliness.

The cameos were abundant, everyone from Kyle Mooney of SNL who played Don Atari the hipster fashion designer, to Sting who played himself and Fred Armisen as a miniature (literally he had a mini-size head and body) VIP host. There was also every fashion designer and celebrity you could think of from Vogue’s fashion editor Anna Wintour, to Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and the surprisingly funny Tommy Hilfiger. My absolute favorite was Benedict Cumberbatch who played the androgynous model named All, complete with no eyebrows and long black hair. The film makes great use of and utilized the cameos for all they were worth.

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Stiller and Wilson are always great together and do a good job of playing off one another. I love when Stiller goes back to his comedy roots because he is seriously a comedic gem that sometimes goes unmentioned. I also thought Cruz did really well and does just as well in a comedic role as she does in her more serious ones.

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As I mentioned before the film is funny and lends itself for a fun night out at the movies because after all isn’t that why we go in the first place? If you enjoyed the first one, then I think you will get a kick out of it. Overall a funny flick and if you go see this, remember that you will never be as ridiculously good looking, like really, really good looking as Derek Zoolander.

Had to add this pic because it’s too funny.

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}}Melissa

Also posted on Pink Egg Media

Movie Review: Hail Caesar (2016)

Hail Caesar (2015)
Written and Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

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Hollywood in the 1950’s was a well-oiled and composed machine that spun out hit after hit. Movies did not have to be of that soulful pensive nature (think The Revenant) or one with guns and plenty of blood (think Hateful Eight); instead they were elaborate tales that showcased grandeur and elegance. Usually the movie screen was filled with the grandness of a fake set with tons of extras and the films seemed so magnificently grand. It was a time when actors were the face of studios and many had to know how to sing and dance and be all around performers. Studios created stars and directors were treated like royalty. In Joel and Ethan Coens’ new film Hail Caesar!, they bring to life the reality of movie making in the fifties and the great lengths studios went to in order to keep up decorum and create the illusion of Hollywood magic.

Written and directed by the Coen brothers, it is obvious that they made this movie because they are lovers of film and in a sense ended up paying homage to it in their own silly way. This movie is so unlike many of their others such as No Country for Old Men, Fargo, etc, yet at the same time it is completely a Coen brothers’ film in the dialogue and the jovial hijinks aspect to it.

The film is about Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) the Hollywood fixer, similar to a modern day Olivia Pope, he works for Capitol studios and is in charge of keeping the actors in line and fixing any issues that could make the studio look bad. He is a Catholic family man who enjoys confessing his sins (even the Priest tells him he comes too often), an occasional cigarette despite his wife’s protests and knows how to give an old-fashioned slap around to any Hollywood actor or actress who goes awry.

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When one of the studios most famous and handsome actors go missing, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), he is in charge of finding and bringing him back to the set. Whitlock is in the middle of filming Hail Caesar!, obviously a nod to the epic Ben Hur, and is taken fresh off the set in Roman regalia, sandals, armor, fake sword, and all. I am sure that in looking back at old films, the Coen brothers realized the ridiculousness of some of the over acted expressions that were used back then and they were smartly put into the film. Clooney smiles like a nitwit who barely knows his lines, yet exudes charm that can fill a room.

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Whitlock it turns out is captured by a group of screenwriters who are part of the Communist Party. They want $100, 000 dollars in exchange for the actor. They hold him up in a beautiful Malibu home and feed him cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and indulge him in Communist theories. Being that he is so dim, he falls for everything they say and starts to think they are actually really smart. Yes, that’s how dumb he is.

We see that Mannix has a lot on his plate at all times. He places a Western movies actor Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), who can sing country tunes and lasso a pony like no other, similar to Gene Autry, in a more serious film Merrily We Dance. Doyle has a pretty face and Mannix knows he would look great up on the poster, but the problem is as director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) realizes is that he can’t act to save his life. His southern drawl gets in the way of his lines and they both interact in one of the funniest scenes in the movie, going back and forth trying to say the line right.

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Another side story is that of the beautiful screen starlet DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johanssen) who Mannix has to go visit on the set of her Busby Berkeley-inspired movie filled with synchronized swimmers and a grand orchestra. He has to figure out a way for her to adopt her fatherless child, so that she doesn’t look bad in the press.

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One of my favorite scenes was the musical number by Hollywood heartthrob Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), who performs a tap dance routine straight out of a Gene Kelly movie. Clad as sailors, Gurney and his fellow men, sing a tune and dance that turns a bit homoerotic, but that lends itself to the fact that movies back in the day didn’t realize they were being so friendly and gay.

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Clooney was fantastically funny and played the part to perfection. Tatum was rightly cast as the dancer of the group and his scenes literally had me cracking up. The way he looked at the camera, he was definitely playing into a Gloria Swanson type persona. Yes, Mr. Deville, Tatum is ready for his close-up.

My favorite performance was from Ehrenreich, who stole the film with his ability to act so naïve, yet, debonair at the same time. I look forward to seeing him in more films. Brolin carried the film from start to finish and exuded the grit necessary for the part.

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Overall the movie had a lot of different stories and actors running through it. I didn’t even mention them all, but together brings about an ensemble cast that leaves us wanting more. I felt some actors were underused and I wanted to see them on screen more, but with so much going on that was virtually impossible. This was not my favorite Coen brothers’ film, as I am a huge fan of Fargo, The Big Lebowski and Inside Llewyn Davis, but it was pleasantly good. I can’t rave about it because I felt it was missing something from the end and honestly I left wanting a little more. The film had a lot of funny moments and great dialogue and it is a must watch if you are fan of the Coen brothers and want to add this to your repertoire.

}}Melissa