Nina Dobrev

#DogDays – Movie Review

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Dog Days – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 53 minutes

Dog Days
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People love their dogs.  And on the hottest days in Los Angelos, the dog days of summer, several peoples’ lives will be intertwined all because of their dogs.  Tara is a barista who feels she is putting her marketing degree to waste.  She has a crush on the local vet Dr. Mike but is too nervous to approach him.  But after she finds a dog hiding behind the coffee shop’s trash can, she uses it to get to know Dr. Mike better.  Walter is a widower and a retired English teacher.  His dog is his only connection to his wife.  But his dog runs away after Walter has a heart attack.  He will search to the ends of the earth to get his dog back.  Dax skates through life until his sister goes into labor with twins.  She asks, well demands that Dax takes care of her dog.  Dax barely takes care of himself so he is extremely hesitant about taking care of a dog in his “no pets” building.  Finally, Grace and Greg are getting the child they have always wanted.  Grace does have concerns because Amelia is not a baby.  She is quiet and shy until she finds a dog in the park.  Elizabeth works for Wake Up LA.  After catching her dog with another woman’s bra inside its mouth, she is single again.  With so many more stories, it’s only fair that everyone will run into each other and grow.  All because of their dogs.

This feel-good comedy is for the “12 and up” crowd.  You will fall in love with each dog as they warm their owners’ hearts.  There are moments that will cause you to laugh out loud, be in complete shock, and get misty-eyed.  And with so many characters, like New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day, you may be concerned about losing track of each storyline.  But don’t worry at all.  Since this movie is over the course of months, it has the same precision as a soap opera and with some of the juicy drama.  If you don’t own a dog, you may start looking after this movie.  And the credits are funny too.  However, don’t be late for this movie.  If you miss the first 5 minutes, you will miss everything.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

I thought you were a giant beige rat – Tara

What if I’m not good at it, being a mom – Grace

I’m plenty loose – Elizabeth

Sorry, but this is not my dog – Walter

How do you like it – Dax


#AmericanMade, #TilDeathDoUsPart, and more – Movie Reviews

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American Made – Review

American Made – Budget of $50 million – 1 hour and 55 minutes

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American Made
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Barry Seal graduated top of his class in flight school; now he is working for TWA. To make extra cash, he smuggles Cuban cigars between flights. After a cigar drop, Barry is approached by CIA agent Monty Schafer with an offer. Monty will give Barry is own plane (the fastest double engine ever made) and a company called IAC. The catch is he has to use the plane to take pictures of the communist groups in South America. But Barry’s risky flights have garnered the attention of the Medellin Cartel. The cartel is poised to become the largest drug rings in the world. However, their cocaine can’t make it to America because of new custom busts and procedures. They want Barry to use is skills to flight the drugs into Miami. However, when Barry examines the Cartel’s plan he sees a few problems. First, Barry warns that that Miami is the worst place to smuggle drugs. He convinces them to drop the drugs in Louisana. In Louisiana, he can trick air traffic control into believing he was an oil rig helicopter and clean the plane before inspection. Second, the Cartel’s runway is too short and surrounded by trees and mountains. However, the Cartel won’t budge. Barry must make this runway work. Finally, is a number of drugs they want to smuggle. The cartel doesn’t understand that the plane can only hold so much weight. Even with the promise of $2,000 per kilo, Barry warns them he can only fly 300 pounds at a time. With a few adjustments, Barry makes the trip and drops of the drugs. In a few years, Barry has ties to the Cartel, CIA, Contras, and the US Government. Soon, Barry can’t launder the money faster than he can make it. Even after Barry funds his town, traffic guns, and become everyone’s enemy.

American Made will leave you entertained and disgusted. While Barry falls into traps, he is never portrayed as a victim. He was already committing illegal acts before the government was involved. The government just gave him a bigger platform for his crimes. It’s hard to believe this is a true story, its the documentary style confessionals help drive that point. Also, the real clips of President’s speeches and congressional meetings remind you that this was all government funded and approved. Costume and set design did a magnificent job of placing the time period and financial changes in each scene. In one scene is set in the late 70s, the Seals have a late 70s modest TV. With a few years, they have an early 80s expensive TV. At some point, the film becomes comical as Barry gets out of criminal situations by committing more crimes for both sides. While this is a good film at full price, once is enough. And you will get a conclusion for each major character. Although some conclusion may not be satisfying, they are honest.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

South of the border, north of the equator. Let’s just say an enemy of the state – Monty Schafer

I do tend to leap before I look. Maybe, I should have asked a few questions – Barry Seal

Well that sound f’ing made up Barry – Lucy

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Til Death Do Us Part – Review

Til Death Do Us Part – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 41 minutes

Til Death Do Us Part
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Madison and Michael are living a dream life. Madison, at the request of her husband, quits her job and becomes a full-time wife. While she loves her husband and home, she wants a baby. However, no matter how hard she tries she can’t get pregnant. She later discovers that her husband is taking shots. These shots make him impotent which infuriates Madison. When she claims he is just like his father, he hits her. He explains that she needs to be grateful and respect him home. Since he makes the money, he makes the rules. The abuse continues even when she becomes pregnant. But one night, Madison has had enough. As she attempts to leave, they fight and she rushes into her car. She speeds down the street and gets into an accident. Michael and Chelsea, Madison’s best friend since high school, are informed that she and the baby died. Both Michael and Chelsea are heartbroken. Michael even considers suicide. But one phone call will turn Michael from suicidal to murderous.

Give credit where credit is due. The movie is compelling and gives a realistic story. There isn’t any fancy hacking or millionaire family to aid the storyline, just everyday life events, and knowledge. It’s easy to see Michael’s controlling ways in the beginning. The great part of this movie is that it displays how control can be misinterpreted as love and/or concern. Madison hopes for change, but the baby seals her fate. Although this movie explains the gradual decline into abuse, you are not given a reason for Michael’s controlling ways until the end. Knowing this would help the viewer understand why Michael snaps at being compared to his father and partially why he is controlling. Also, things happen in the movie that makes you wonder if it really happens, if it’s a dream, or if it’s paranoia. So, you are often left confused. The realistic events take it from an overpriced Lifetime movie to being worthy of the big screen at matinee price. And don’t be surprised if the song Living for the Love of You feels creepy for a while (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

You are the only good thing that has happened in my entire life. I don’t know how I would live without you – Michael

Always the selfish bastard – Rob

I’m ready to go home now – Madison

Watch out for the good ones – Chelsea

I don’t cook. I throw down – Alex

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Flatliners – Review

Flatliners – Budget of $19 million – 1 hour and 50 minutes

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After speaking with a patient whose heart stopped, Courtney (medical student and sole car crash survivor) becomes obsessed with the afterlife. She decides to create an experiment. But she will need help. First, she asks Sophia. Sophia tells her that she can’t help because she needs to study. Sophia’s mother put all her money into Sophia’s education. So Sophia is determined to focus and become a doctor. Next, Courtney asks Jamie to help. The playboy can’t help but to believe she is asking for sex, so he agrees. All three end up in the basement of the hospital. In the basement is a fully functioning hospital in case of a natural disaster. Courtney finally tells the two what she really wants to do. She wants to die for a minute and map her brain activity like they do during a seizure. Then after the minute is over, Sophia and Jamie will bring her back to life. Sophia quickly says no but Jamie agrees to do it. As Courtney lies dead, Sophia and Jamie have a hard time bringing Courtney back. Sophia panics and calls Ray. Ray has the most experience of any student in the hospital and runs to help. Marlo, who is constantly competing with Ray, sees him running and follows. After a few seconds, Courtney is back. And she has perfect recall of everything she has ever learned and sees life with a new respect. Marlo, Sophia, and Jamie are in awe of Courtney’s new abilities, and Jamie decides to go next. However, he wants to go in for 2 minutes. Soon it will be Marlo and Sophia’s turn but Courtney and Jamie have been keeping a secret. Besides enhanced abilities, they are experiencing a bad side effect. Their guilt is hunting them down one by one. Now, they have to face their past in order to have a future.

A remake of the 1990 film Flatliners, this movie has the same premise but a different ending and different reasons of guilt (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). While they die, the audience is given a different view of the afterlife. Also, as the beautiful imagery turns dark, it gives clues to what each person feels guilty for doing in their past. There are a few moments that will make you jump. However, they are all predictable. While some things have been changed to create a new movie, 1990s fans will be satisfied with the changes. While this is a remake, it’s more engaging than the original. So the overall content makes up for the lack of fear. This should be qualified as a thriller, not a horror. So see it with your friends at the matinee price and determine what is a good day to die.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I’m gonna be the Anderson Cooper of medicine – Jamie

Was it all fun? – Courtney

Well I don’t care how dangerous it is – Sophia

You were ok – Ray

It won’t bring him back – Marlo

Is there something you aren’t telling me – Dr. Barry

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The Lego Ninjago Movie – Review

The Lego Ninjago Movie – Budget of $70 million – 1 hour and 41 minutes

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The Lego Ninjago Movie
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Lloyd is living a double life as an enemy and a hero. Lloyd is the son of Garmadon. The most dangerous villain of Ninjago City. Often, he attempts to take over the city and destroys everything in his path.  Since this villain is his father, the town turn on Lloyd. They write songs about him, tweets about him, and avoids him at every chance they get. But what the town doesn’t know is that Lloyd is the leader of the Secret Ninja Force. The Secret Ninja Force is made of the following:

  • Lloyd – Green Ninja – Leader of the force
  • Kai – Red Ninja of Fire – Brother of Nya
  • Jay – Blue Ninja of Lightning – Has a crush on Nya
  • Nya – Sliver Ninja of Water – Strong
  • Zane – White Ninja of Ice – Robot that pretends to be real
  • Cole – Black Ninja of Earth – Relaxed
  • Master Wu – Master of the Group, Lloyd’s uncle, Garmadon’s brother

As a team, they defeat Garmadon’s plans but continue to let him walk away. Ninjago citizens are confused but the team knows that Lloyd just can’t destroy his father. He is constantly hoping his father will love him and acknowledge all his wrongdoing. But after one intense battle, Lloyd has had enough and decides to use the Ultimate Weapon to destroy Garmadon. With one mistake, a monster is released on the town and Garmadon gets the weapon. Soon, Garmadon has taken over and everything is lost. But Master Wu tells Lloyd they still have a chance to save Ninjago. All they need to do is get the Ultimate, Ultimate Weapon. So the team follows Wu to crossing the Forest of Dangers, into the Canyon of Death, and up the Temple of Fragile Foundations to find the weapon. With Garmadon on their heels, the team will fight and find inner peace to save Ninjago.

Well, it’s cute. This movie has a strong start, weak middle, and sweet ending. With the third installment, the graphics are not enough to excite the viewer. A viewer knows they have the technology to make legos come to life, so more focus needs to go to the story. When children and adults fall asleep, more needs to be done. While the movie does get slow, it drives a great story of family and forgiveness. It has plenty of laughs for adults and children, Master Wu is the gem of the story. His knowledgeable antidotes and near death experience could only be accomplished by a true master. But, 3D is not necessary and see it at the matinee price if you have children. Otherwise, wait for Redbox.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

Have you been to high school? It’s judgy extremely judge – Lloyd

If you can see me, why don’t you shoot me – Garmadon

Don’t judge me – Master Wu

No, he didn’t join forces with his father. Like your husband’s a saint – Koko

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#PatriotsDayMovie, #xXxTheMovie, and more – Movie Review

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Patriot’s Day – Review

Patriot’s Day – Budget of $45 million – 2 hours and 13 minutes

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Patriots Day
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Sargent Tommy Saunders is on suspension from the Boston Police Department and has to do beat cop work to get his job back.  The final beat is patrolling the Boston Marathon’s finish line. Dun Meng was trying to sell his new app to local restaurants while missing his family in China. He finally works up the nerve to ask out a cashier at a restaurant and takes her out after the bombing for normalcy. Patrick Downes and Jessica Kesky, newlyweds, decide to watch the race instead of going to watch the Red Sox play. Steve Woolfenden, a family man, takes his son, Leo, to the race for a good time.  Officer Sean Collier, works for MIT security and makes plans to go out with his dream girl to a concert. Brothers, Dzhokhar “Black Hat” and Tamerlan “White Hat” Tsarnaev, sit and watch Al-Qaeda instruction videos for bomb-making while eating breakfast. All these people, Boston, and the world will be changed with 2 bombs. When the smoke clears, blood, body parts, and ball bearings will be all over the ground … leaving the FBI Agent Richard DesLauriers in charge over Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, his team, and the investigation. They know they have to stop Black Hat and White Hat before they set off another bomb. But another question the police have: Is there any more bombs around the City? They will do everything to stop the bombers and save Boston.

BOSTON STRONG!!!! This movie is shot like a reality TV show. The camera focuses in and out, is not steady, and it’s shot from weird angles. This makes you believe you are watching this as it happens. Also, real clips of the bombing, race, capture, and news coverage are used to help drive the story. This movie tugs at the heart strings will make you scream in angry, and smile with joy. You are inspired that Boston, the Police, and the FBI all came together and work as a unit to catch the Tsarnaev brothers. The FBI quickly learn that their biggest weapon was Boston’s eyes and ears. And hearing first person testimonials at the end are poignant and endearing perspective.  Although every story that day can not be told, these accounts give a conclusion to each story. This is a great movie for adults to see at full price. Children will not be able to handle some of the images.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Do I look like a clown – Tommy Saunders

Is it just me or do I get better-looking every day – Jeffrey Pugliese

Are you ready for this – Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Yeah, but I am a fornicator – Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Yeah, it’s very dead out here – Sean Collier

You know nothing about me – Katherine Tsarnaev

I bet I will race before you – Patrick Downes

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xXx: Return of Xander Cage – Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage – Budget of $85 million – 1 hour and 47 minutes

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xXx: Return of Xander Cage
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When a satellite falls from the sky, killing a top agent, Jane Marke assembles the highest ranking world leaders in one room.  She tells them the satellite falling was not an accident but a deliberate attack caused by Pandora’s Box.  This box can break through any firewall, take over missiles, and (of course) drop satellites from the sky.  Only the people in the room had the ability to run Pandora’s Box and she is determined to know who dropped the satellite.  Just when she starts to drill the leaders, a man, Xiang, jumps through the window and starts shooting.  In the melee, Pandora’s Box is stolen by the man and his crew members (Serena, Talon, & Hawk).    Jane knows she must call someone who thinks, moves, and fights like them in order to get Pandora’s Box back.  She pulls Xander out of hiding by “testing” him.  Xander decided to help, but he must have his team.  First, Adele Wolff, who hasn’t seen a target she can’t hit.  Second, the life of the party, Nicks.  Finally, Tennyson, who loves to crash cars.  For safe measure, Marke adds Becky to Xander’s team.  Becky is a technical wiz who’s mouth runs faster than her brain … especially around Xander.  Xander must work with his team to find Pandora’s Box and return it before more satellites fall from the sky.

As the third installment of xXx franchise (xXx, xXx: State of the Union), this movie performed much better than it’s predecessors (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It had a lot of high impact fight scenes, great stunts, and amazing characters to drive the story.  It does help to see the first two movies or you won’t get the shuttle jokes or references.   There are a few moments the movie makes fun of itself and it’s obvious cliches.  This movie has a Fast & Furious feel with a bit of James Bond (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  The co-stars shine bright and add a fresh perspective on the mission, fights, and espionage.  Also, you never know which way is up, who is bad, who is good, and who is in charge.  But all will be revealed in the end.  If you can, see it in Dolby but not 3D.  On another note, there is nothing after the end crawl; but they the possibility for a 4th movie.  Although this movie is a wild ride, viewing it once is enough.  It’s not a movie to buy and watch it over and over again.  But see it once in the theaters.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Who says there is no such thing as a free … meal. – Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons

One of you here did this and I am not leaving until I find out who – Jane Marke

I need a new map – Xander

That’s the problem. You forgot the queen – Serena

If you need a 50 of purple Urkel, I am not the girl to talk to – Becky

It was like that when I got here – Tennyson

You look so sexy with a frisbee in your mouth – Adele

That’s my style though – Nicks

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TheFounder – Review

The Founder – Budget of $7 million – 1 hour and 55 minutes

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The Founder
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Ray Kroc is selling a 5 spindle milkshake mixer that makes 5 milkshakes at once. He his having a hard time selling when he gets a big order. He is so curious about the business, that needed 8 mixers, he travels from across the country to see it. The business is McDonald’s. Owned by Richard “Dick” and Maurice “Mac” McDonald, they were able to do what no restaurant could do, serve a meal within 30 seconds. After several failed business, they decided to start a restaurant. But when they were losing money, they did what few do.   They studied their success and failures and changed. They only sold a few items, got rid of the wait staff, and got rid of silverware. Then to make sure the food would be fast, they changed their entire kitchen to focus on precision and speed. Seeing this model only made Ray think of one thing: Franchise. The brothers quickly said no; because in the past quality was sacrificed in franchising. They only wanted their store and nothing more. But Ray promised he could do better, so they drew up a contract to allow Ray to be the Head of Franchising. But this deal wasn’t the beginning of McDonald’s (i.e. Mac and Dick), it was the beginning of Ray’s vision, the McDonald’s Corporation.

Calling all Entrepreneurs, Business People, Business Students, and anyone with a great idea. See this movie. Mac and Dick had the best intentions and tried to protect themselves, but they were no match for Ray and the Tastee Freeze King. Parts of this movie will be laughable when you hear what Dick didn’t want McDonald’s to become – compared to what it is now. It will be difficult to look at McDonald’s the same again. And prepared to be shocked to find out how much a #1 cost then. Even if you don’t know the history of McDonald’s, you will be able to see Ray’s true colors within 30 minutes. There are moments when the movie drags, but hang in there and you will learn an important lesson. This movie does give a synopsis of some of their characters lives, however other important players were left out. The Founder isn’t just a movie about business, it is a movie about persistence, trust, and contracts.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Contracts, like hearts, were made to be broken – Ray Kroc

You’re really not my type – Mac McDonald

When is enough going to be enough for you – Ethal Kroc

It’s gonna to be ok – Dick McDonald

Good things come to those who wait – Joni

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