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Jurassic World – Review

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Jurassic World – Budget of $150 million – 2 hours and 4 minutes

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Jurassic World
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Welcome back one, and all to Jurassic World.  And yes, this movie has the feel of bringing you back to the classic, Jurassic Park.  It even pays homage by “using the original arch from 20 years ago”, showing you the original mosquito, and a part of that cute DNA film.  They open the viewer to the park with a breathtaking view of the “City Walk”-esque portion of the park and through each of the attractions.  Like the first movie, you have a familiar set up:

  1. 2 children: 1 who is smart but afraid of everything and the other who is a sulking teen with all the knowledge to get them out of any situation
  2. Bad communication issues: Don’t you just love cell phones
  3. A park manager more concerned with money than people
  4. A people with ulterior motives for the dinosaurs

However, with this movie you learn that the Park Manager, Claire Dearing, knows visitors are not awed by a T-Rex, Velociraptors, or Stegosaurus.  Now, children ride baby Stegosauruses like they are ponies.  The park needs MORE.  And MORE is a new, genetically enhanced dinosaurs.  When a new dinosaur is introduced to Jurassic World, ticket sales go up.  The new dinosaur is called Indominus Rex.  Indominus Rex is a genetic mix of several dinosaurs and today’s animals.  This gives it new capabilities and higher intelligence. Of course, as a viewer, you know this will go wrong.  It’s more of a question of when it will go wrong.  Enter Owen Grady.  Owen is a Velociraptor expert and trainer, aka, the Alpha of a Velociraptor pack.  Owen is the voice of reason and alerts Claire to everything we know will happen.  To add to the mix, Claire’s two nephews, Zach and Gray,both visiting the park that day.  Clair doesn’t know their ages, hasn’t seen them in seven years, and has a park guide pick them up from the airport.  It doesn’t take long for the sulking older teen, Zack, to get annoyed, ditch their guide, and run off in the park with his brother, Gray.  If you saw the first movie, you know where this is going.

The new dinosaurs add to the heart pounding fear in this movie.  Not knowing anything about the new species allows you to wonder … what can it do next.  Also, this movie takes a page from horror genres by letting you see things moves, letting you see the victim’s fear, and letting you see the blood before you see the new dinosaur.  Your imagination works overtime of wondering how horrible Indominus Rex can be.

With all the great aspects of this movie, one thing it could use less of … product placements.   Starbucks, Pandora, Beats by Dre, Mercedes, and it goes on.  Its just too much and too obvious.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monster is only relative.  To a canary, a cat is a monster.   We are just use to being the cat. – Dr. Henry Wu

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Pitch Perfect 2 – Review

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Pitch Perfect 2 – Budget of $29 million – 1 hour 55 minutes

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Hello Pitches, the Bellas are back.  During a performance at the Lincoln Center, fat Amy lets the President see her thunder down under.  After this embarrassing display is seen worldwide, the Bellas are banded from all nation competition, recruiting new members, and performing at nationals. However, they discover a loop hole.  If they win the international competition, they will be reinstated and be able to compete, recruit, and perform again.  So the Bellas attempt to go for the world crown.   During the movie, the Bellas get a look at their biggest competition, Das Sound Machine (DSM).  DSM is a German team that has amazing and precise choreography with great singing.

During the movie, it is apparent that the Bellas have relied too much on theatrics and not on their singing to perform.  So, the Bellas must get back to basics, come together and sing.  Along with this, Becca is working an internship for a record company.  After an impress collaboration with Snoop Dog, she is allowed to give her demo to her boss.  But he hates it and says if she want to be a producer, she must make her own music.  Not just mashups.  And a new Bella, Emily, who is a legacy that seeks out the Bellas … not recruited, is trying to find her place in a group when she has her own voice.

Pitches favorites are definitely in this movie, spontaneous girl power singalongs, Green Bay Pacers sing off, Snoop Dogg, and an original song.  However, this movie has a weird Hispanic girl, which adds to the weird Asian girl’s “Huh” and “What” moments. This comic relief is not needed in the movie, after writers worked so hard to flush out fan favorite characters and allow them to graduate beyond mashups and theatrics.

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I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

Groovy like a drive-in movie – Snoop Dogg

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – Review

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – Budget of $38 million – 1 hour 34 minutes

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After losing his new wife and mom, Paul and his daughter, Maya, get invited to a Security Officers Convention in Las Vegas.  At the same time, Maya learns she has been accepted to UCLA.  For most, this would be great news.  However, Maya knows her dad is having issues with loss and fears telling him of her college acceptance.  While at the conference, Paul is put down by hotel and mall security officers ,alike.  This all changes when Paul has to step into action because thieves are trying to steal from the hotel and has kidnap the person he loves and fears to lose the most, Maya.

This movie has the Hangover 2 effect.  By that, this movie follows the same format as the first movie, just a different location and a different target.  Paul Blart is mistreated and marginalized, attracts a sexy girl, daughter is missing, and kicks ass.  So, if you enjoyed Hangover 2 despite it being the same as Hangover, then you will love Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

The bad guy in this movie is a fan favorite.  And with his white hair, strong presence, and 2 different color eyes, he definitely adds a new and exciting element to the movie.

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I will give this movie a 2.5 out of 5 stars

Security is a mission, not an intermission – Paul Blart

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Hot Pursuit – Review

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Hot Pursuit – Budget of $35 million – 1 hour 27 minutes

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Cooper,a cop that was raised by her cop dad, is given a chance to redeem herself by escorting the wife, Daniella, of a witness to testify in court against a murder and drug dealer.  After Cooper and another cop arrive, 4 gunman kill the husband and the other cop, while Cooper and Daniella escape.  While waiting for help to arrive, Cooper realizes she and Daniella are in danger and runs.  Running leads to Cooper and Daniella both being marked as fugitives.  Cooper must turn Daniella over to the prosecutors and clear her reputation as a cop.

In commercials, this movies comes off as Thelma & Louise meets Bridesmaids.  But in reality it’s Thelma and Louise meets Scarface meets Bridesmaids.  Of course they play off the characters’ noticeable differences (e.g. Plain Jane vs sexy, short vs tall, American vs Colombian) which makes the joke dry and predictable.  Also, in one of the driving scenes, there is a terrible and obvious green screen affect that takes away from the movie at the pivotal moment that the main characters have with each other.

On the plus side, the running gag (seen in the commercials) is funny and the senior tour bus/car chase shootout is a wild and exciting scene.  The characters they meet on the run add nice elements.  A character twist keeps you engaged in the movie.

The fun “twist” at the very end is expected in this type of movie and leaves nothing new about it.  This movie could have been on Lifetime and done just as well as it did in the theaters.  Wait for it to come out On Demand.

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I give it 2 out of 5 stars

I got shotgun – Mayor’s teenage son

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Get Hard – Review

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Get Hard – Budget of $40 million – 1 hour 40 minutes

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James seems to have everything going for him, a promotion, a new hot fiance’, and plans to build a new home.   Then, the world gets pulled from underneath him when he is found guilty of fraud and embezzlement.  The judge is sick of white collar criminals getting light sentences in Club Fed prisons.  So, the judge sentences James to 10 years in San Quentin with only 30 days to get his affairs in order.  Darnell is a car wash owner, who needs a $30,000 down payment for a new home in order to get his daughter in a better and safer school district.  James, statistically, racially profiles Darnell as an ex-con and offers to pay Darnell $30,000 to teach him how to survive in prison.

With one black actor and one white actor, you know you will get the typical racial humor.  But they throw in something more with a touching story, some fun twist, a crazy bathroom scene, and topless skinheads.  The writers even find a way to string in a tie between Macbeth and Boyz-N-the-Hood within 10 seconds.  If you are looking for a good mindless laugh, then Kevin and Will are always a safe bet.  You get the laughs you expect with some more laughs thrown in.  But be prepared to miss some of the jokes because you are laughing at others.

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I give this movie 3.5  out of 5 stars.

I’m glad to be back in Crenshaw, where its safe – James King

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Tomorrowland – Review

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Tomorrowland – Budget of $190 million – 2 hours 10 minutes

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Tomorrowland is about Casey, who finds a pin from the 1964 World Fair after being released from jail because she tried to save her father’s job.  By touching this pin she is transported to what she believes is Tomorrowland.  After seeing the potential of the future, she does more research on the pin and Casey’s world collides with Athena and Frank.  Athena, whose mission it is to find special people (e.g. dreamers, thinkers, inventors) and leave pins, must get Casey to Frank safely.  Frank, who came to live in Tomorrowland after being discovered by Athena at the 1964 World Fair, has been exiled from Tomorrowland but knows the world is doomed.  Now, a deadly countdown has started and with Frank and Athena’s help, Casey could be the one to change the world’s fate.

Sounds like great premises … and it is.  However, this movie gets boring real quick.  More time went into the look and feel of this movie instead of the dialogue.  And this movie is driven on the dialogue to explain each character’s background, their needs, and their connection to the overall plot and conclusion of the story.  The effects are seamless and very realistic, but easily lost in boredom.  With this strong premise, Disney can do much better.

Wait for this movie on cable.
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I give this movie 1 out of 5 stars

If you want something, don’t wait for someone else to build it. Do it yourself. – Frank

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Home – Review

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Home – Budget of $135 million – 1 hour 34 minutes

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Home is a heart warming story about family, true friendship, and sacrifice.  It’s a tale about an alien race called the Boov. They run from the Gorg from one planet to another.  The next best planet for the Boov to hide is, of course, Earth.  They put all the humans on one continent and take over the rest of the planet.  Or so they think.  The Boov happen to leave one human behind.  A teenager namedGratuity A.K.A Tip.  Tip encounters one of the Boov named Oh, who happens to be on the run due to an email mishap.  Let’s just say we have ALL made this email mishap.  Oh wants to hide until he fix his mistake and Tip wants to find her mom.  Tip and Oh need each other to complete their goals.  Craziness and a budding friendship ensues.

While this story has its funny moments, most you have seen in the commercials, its not a laugh riot.  There are plenty jokes for parents and kids alike but you have seen funnier.  As usual they make the main characters outsiders, or fit out (as Oh says), to tug at the heart strings.  At the core, Home is a kids movie, so you know how it will end.

So what did I learn from Home?

  1. Sad mad can make a person/Boov/Gorg irrational and violent
  2. Green is not always the color of envy
  3. A beauty mark is the best disguise

My advice, if you have children, see it as a matinee.  If you are a kid at heart and team #nokids, wait for redbox.

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I give Home 2.5 out of 5 stars

It is a good thing I does not has to go “Number 3”.  It would not be safe for you.  We only does it once a year.  I would not call it a holiday.  But you does need to take the day off. – Oh

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