MichaelPena

#12StrongMovie and #PeterRabbitMovie – Review Repost – In Stores Now

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Table of Reviews

12 Strong – Review

12 Strong – Budget of $35 million – 2 hours and 9 minutes

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12 Strong
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After seeing the 9/11 attacks on TV, Capt. Nelson wants to rescind his retirement paperwork and go to Afghanistan with his men.  Lt. Bowers says no but when Cheif Warrant Officer Spencer learns the papers have not been filed, he rips them up and Nelson’s men will be the first strike against the Taliban.  Once they arrive in the war zone, Col.Mulholland gives the team of 12 men the code name Task Force Dagger.  Dagger must meet with General Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northan Alliance and join forces.  They will use his intel and Dagger’s training & air strikes to release the Taliban’s stronghold on the area.  They have a few problems.  First, winter is near and the weather will hinder the air strikes.  Second, there is a turf war between the different factions of the Northern Alliance.  And last, the terrain is better accessible by horseback.  With little horse riding experience and only 6 horses, the Dagger splits off into 2 teams.  Alpha Team will meet up with Dostum while Bravo Team will stay at the base and relay messages to HQ until they get more horses.  This is a bloody and complicated battle that will have a lasting impact on both sides.

Based on Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton, this movie gives you a small window into the first battle against the Taliban (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It’s frustrating to see Task Force Dagger face language barriers and infighting within the Northern Alliance.  When Nelson learns that Dostum is in contact with the Taliban, he is in total shock.  They consistently have pissing matches over the walkie-talkies.  While this is the first blow of a major war, it left its mark on American and Taliban history.  This movie does not hold back on any battle scene.  You will see blood, guts, dismemberment, and the after-effects of a suicide bomber.  So if you suffer from PTSD or shell shock, this movie can be skipped.  On the other side, it does show that the Taliban’s beliefs are not widely held among the Afghan people but it is deadly forced upon them.  This is just one more war on their soil.  And that’s the truly sad part about this movie.  Also, there is no need to see it in IMAX.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I told him I wanted back in and he said no – Nelson

You are cutting the head off your most venomous snake – Spencer

No, he is showing us off. He is saying here’s the Americans. They are with me – Diller

Those are killer’s eyes – Dostum

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Peter Rabbit – Review

Peter Rabbit – Budget of $50 million – 1 hour and 33 minutes

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Peter Rabbit
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Bea believes that humans were latecomers to the forest and should allow the animals to roam freely in their gardens.  Her neighbor Mr. McGregor firmly disagrees.  So when Peter’s dad saw the fence going up, he went into Mr. McGregor’s yard and was killed and turned into a pie.  That harsh lesson taught Peter to be careful and devise plans before entering McGregor’s garden.  However, one day while chasing Peter, Mr. McGregor has a heart attack and dies.  The animals in the woods go wild and take over Mr. McGregor’s yard and home.  In London, Tom McGregor got bad news.  His great uncle died.  But Tom is more concerned about a promotion than an uncle never knew.  However, when he is turned down for a promotion he deserved due to nepotism.  He goes ballistic and loses his job.  His former boss tells him to go to his Uncle’s home (he just inherited) and relax.  Tom comes to the McGregor Manor to find it overrun with animals.  He wants to be rid of all of them.  His new neighbor Bea attempts to sway him to allow the animals to roam free.  He agrees in front of her but goes after Peter and his friends.  Meanwhile, when Peter sees that Bea is falling for Tom, he decides to put an end to Tom and his deceitful ways.

Based on Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, this is an imaginative and funny take on a classic children’s story (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It quickly gets your attention with classic “Disney”-style singing birds who are consistently interrupted.  Providing a great running gag while allowing the film to separate themselves from other live action movies.  There are plenty of jokes for children and adults alike.  However, please be advised that the movie shows Daddy Rabbit getting caught and then a warm pie coming out of the oven.  If your children can handle this 5-second scene, then bring them.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Why don’t you pick on someone your own size – Peter Rabbit

I am selling the home and use the proceeds to build a toy store across from Harrods so they can watch their imminent demise – Tom

I’m in the mood for rabbit pie – Mr. McGregor

I thought I heard explosives – Bea

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#TombRaider, #WrinkleInTime, and more – Movie Reviews

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Table of Reviews

Tomb Raider – Review

Tomb Raider – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 58 minutes

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Tomb Raider
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Lara sits in a large boardroom with her former guardian Anna and her father Richard’s attorney.  Anna has urged Lara to sign the papers to confirm her father is dead so the company and properties can be passed over to her.  Her father went missing 7 years ago but she hasn’t worked up the nerve to confirm his death, until now.  Just as she puts the pen to paper, the attorney hands her a Japanese puzzle box from her father.   She puts down the pen and starts to work on the puzzle and out pops a key with a note.  She follows the clues to a private office.  She finds a camcorder with the words ‘Play Me” posted to it.  She is intrigued to find a message from her father.  He tells her he is more than just a businessman.  He worked to discover the legends of the world.  His latest mission was to find Himiko: The Goddess of Death.  However, he feels he is being watched by a group called Trinity.  He warns her to burn all his work so no one will ever find it.  Lara’s curiosity gets the better of her and she searches for the truth.  And by the end of this adventure, Lara will gain an ally, get some trademark firepower, and come face to face with the person who shot her father.

Based on the Tomb Raider video games, this adventure story goes from 0 to 100 real quick (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It is better than you would expect and the best movie of this series.  During a chase sequence, so many bad things are happening in succession that Lara says the one thing the audience is really thinking: ‘Really?!?!’  Now there is a lull for 15 minutes to a pivotal moment but it does pick up.  The only downfall is the beginning has a lot faster pace than the end.  As they creep through the tomb and find traps, the soliloquies tend to drag for each character.  The end is only strengthened by the final fight scene.  Stay past the 1st set of end credits.  It does leave an opening for a part 2 and there is potential for a second.

I give it a 3 out of 5

Stop dancing and start fighting – Terry

You’ve been decorating – Anna

I’m sorry.  I’m just not that kind of Croft – Lara

What you got in the other boot – Lu

You shouldn’t have come here.  But I’m glad you did – bad guy

I love you – Richard

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Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time – Review

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time – Budget of $100 million – 1 hour and 49 minutes

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Disney's A Wrinkle in Time
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Meg is the beloved oldest child of scientists Dr. Kate and Dr. Alex Murry.  She soaked up every ounce of knowledge they placed in front of her.  So when they adopt another child Charles Wallace, they let her know she will always be loved.  So having her father disappear for 4 years has caused Meg to acted out.  Her latest interaction with a bully has caused a rift in the household.  During a conversation about her behavior with Kate, she hears Charles Wallace talking to a woman in the living room.  Kate and Meg are stunned to see Mrs. Whatsit talking to Charles.  Mrs. Whatsis lets them all know that Meg is important and Charles is remarkable.  She expresses that the others will be there to help the children in their mission.  Kate politely asks Mrs. Whatsit to leave.  The next morning, Calvin is drawn to Meg.  Charles says Calvin was summoned because he has the diplomacy they will need later.  While walking with Calvin, Charles takes them to an abandoned house to meet Mrs. Who.   She has gone beyond language and just quotes the words of others.  They leave her and go home.  The next day Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who introduce the children to Mrs. Which.   Mrs. Which tells Meg and Charles their father is still alive.  They will have to wrinkle time to find him in another dimension.  Meg will have to become a true warrior to save her father.

Based on A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet) by Madeleine L’Engle, this visual masterpiece has a great message for children and teens (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It praises acknowledging your faults while having a deeper understanding and compassion for others.  As Meg’s lack-of-self makes her time wrinkle painful while Calvin and Charles love the experience.  As she becomes stronger and finds a reason to fight, Meg finds the strength she never knew she had.  While it’s not a new story, the imagery given to the author’s words makes it remarkable.  The special effects can only be experienced on the big screen, but 3D is not necessary.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

You have pretty hair – Calvin

Don’t use dad like that. It’s not fair – Kate

Your home is warm. You do a good job keeping the darkness out – Mrs. Whatsit

I love you – Meg

Let’s beat em up – Alex

Is there such a thing as the wrong size – Mrs. Which

I don’t like visitation – Happy Medium

Outkast, American – Mrs. Who

We tired her out – Calvin

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Gringo – Review

Gringo – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 50 minutes

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Gringo
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Harold has the typical 9 to 5 job in Chicago.  He was recommended by his friend Richard as an Operations Manager.  While he works hard, he is $20,000 in debt because he supports his wife Bonnie’s business that doesn’t make a profit.  Harold, Richard, and Elaine all go to Mexico on a business trip.  Richard and Elaine leave Harold in the dark about most of the business dealings.  For a while, to make a profit, they have worked with the Mexican cartel to sell their medical marijuana pills.  Now they want to cut off the cartel.  The cartel decides to steal the formula and the only one who can get behind the volt is Harold.  They go to find Harold but he has run off.  Not because of the cartel.  But his world is crumbling around him.  With one phone call, he learns he is losing his friend, his job, and his wife.  With his debt, he decides to fake his kidnapping for the company travel insurance.  The problem is Richard and Elaine let it lapse.  But there is another insurance policy; life insurance.  With Harold dead, Richard and Elaine will make millions.  Harold has no idea his fake kidnapping will become a real life and death situation.

There is so much going on its hard to keep it straight.  For a while it tries to be funny, then serious, then a gangster movie, and then a love story.  This movie goes in so many directions it leaves the watcher dizzy and confused.  This storyline that takes on too much at once.  At least 2 angles could have been removed and the story would still make sense.  Wait for Redbox so you can rewind and rewatch.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

You didn’t notice the guerilla – Bonnie

Do want to know what I had to eat on the flight home – Elaine

Eat your f’ing carrot – Harold

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Thoroughbreds – Review

Thoroughbreds – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 30 minutes

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Thoroughbreds
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Lily was paid by Amanda’s mom to tutor her and be friends.  While they were friends in the past, Amanda calls Lily out for her ‘pay-to-play’ friendship.  After seeing an interaction between Lily and her step-father Mark, Amanda can see the tension between them.  Lily finally gets real and tells Amanda she hates her step-father.  Lily has a solution: Kill Mark.  Lily cuts Amanda off because she knows Amanda killed her family’s horse.  Lily knows that killing Mark isn’t something Amanda says in just.  But after Mark tells Lily she is being sent to boarding school for being expelled and fired, Lily wants him gone.  So she calls Amanda to hear the plan to kill Mark and execute it.

So have you ever wonder what happens when a sociopath meets a psychopath? Well, wonder no more.  These two girls quickly delve into darkness when Amanda tells Lily she can’t feel emotions.  She can feel tired, hungry, and pain but she can’t feel sad, happy, or afraid.  Lily, on the other hand, can feel everything to the point she is overwhelmed with emotions.  But its a question of who is controlling who.  While it’s an interesting movie, this feels like a long Criminal Minds episode (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  Wait for VOD.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars

It’s only weird if you make it weird – Amanda

Some things weighing on you – Tim

Don’t drink that – Lily

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The Hurricane Heist – Review

The Hurricane Heist – Budget of $35 million – 1 hour and 43 minutes

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hurricane-heist-review
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ATF and Washington liaison Casey is ready to end her shift.  She needs to drop off 3 truckloads of money to a US treasury in Alabama to be shredded.  Once she gets there, she learns their generator is down due to the incoming hurricane.  She can’t leave without witnessing the shredding.  Since the phones are down, she goes into town to find Breeze.  Breeze is an ex-marine, mechanic, and partier.  Breeze has been warned by his meteorologist brother, Dr. Will that this hurricane is going to be bigger than any other hurricane before it.  Even bigger than the one that killed their father in front of them.  Breeze decides to stay in town and help Casey instead.  Driving back, Casey and Breeze don’t know that the Treasury has been taken over and the thieves are using the hurricane as cover.  They plan on stealing $600 million before it can be shredded.  However, the power is out and Casey has the codes.

While Hurricane Heist was Twister meets Den of Thieves, it’s missing a twist and real punchlines (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It does offer special effects but nothing that hasn’t been seen before.  This movie is just missing the action and firepower that comes from Fast and the Furious.  There is no real connection between the characters besides football and the acting is subpar.  This movie should have gone straight to DVD or VOD.  Wait until it’s on cable.

I give it 1.5 out of 5 stars

I shot them all – Casey

Here, don’t forget to take your vitamins – Breeze

How did that happen – Will

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#12StrongMovie and #DenOfThieves – Movie Reviews

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Table of Reviews

12 Strong – Review

12 Strong – Budget of $35 million – 2 hours and 9 minutes

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12 Strong
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After seeing the 9/11 attacks on TV, Capt. Nelson wants to rescind his retirement paperwork and go to Afghanistan with his men.  Lt. Bowers says no but when Cheif Warrant Officer Spencer learns the papers have not been filed, he rips them up and Nelson’s men will be the first strike against the Taliban.  Once they arrive in the war zone, Col.Mulholland gives the team of 12 men the code name Task Force Dagger.  Dagger must meet with General Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northan Alliance and join forces.  They will use his intel and Dagger’s training & air strikes to release the Taliban’s stronghold on the area.  They have a few problems.  First, winter is near and the weather will hinder the air strikes.  Second, there is a turf war between the different factions of the Northern Alliance.  And last, the terrain is better accessible by horseback.  With little horse riding experience and only 6 horses, the Dagger splits off into 2 teams.  Alpha Team will meet up with Dostum while Bravo Team will stay at the base and relay messages to HQ until they get more horses.  This is a bloody and complicated battle that will have a lasting impact on both sides.

Based on Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton, this movie gives you a small window into the first battle against the Taliban (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It’s frustrating to see Task Force Dagger face language barriers and infighting within the Northern Alliance.  When Nelson learns that Dostum is in contact with the Taliban, he is in total shock.  They consistently have pissing matches over the walkie-talkies.  While this is the first blow of a major war, it left its mark on American and Taliban history.  This movie does not hold back on any battle scene.  You will see blood, guts, dismemberment, and the after-effects of a suicide bomber.  So if you suffer from PTSD or shell shock, this movie can be skipped.  On the other side, it does show that the Taliban’s beliefs are not widely held among the Afghan people but it is deadly forced upon them.  This is just one more war on their soil.  And that’s the truly sad part about this movie.  Also, there is no need to see it in IMAX.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I told him I wanted back in and he said no – Nelson

You are cutting the head off your most venomous snake – Spencer

No, he is showing us off. He is saying here’s the Americans. They are with me – Diller

Those are killer’s eyes – Dostum

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Den of Thieves – Review

Den of Thieves – Budget of $30 million – 2 hours and 20 minutes

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Den of Thieves
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Los Angeles is the banking capital of the world and has 9 bank robberies a day.  So after an armored truck is stolen, Big Nick and his fellow officers are ready to go.  They look through their list of usual suspects to narrow the potential perpetrators down.  However, when Nick learns the thieves knew how to strike and where to strike but the truck was empty, he concludes there is more to the robbery.  The only known robber with this much expertise is Merriman.  Merriman is ex-military, ex-football player gone bad and paroled 8 months ago.  After surveillance, they find the Den of Thieves backing Merriman.  Big Nick learns Merriman’s thieves were either in jail with him, in the military with him, or on his football team.  Nick knows the thieves are trained and ready at a moments notice.  But what Nick doesn’t know is the robbers are preparing for the biggest score ever.  The one bank that has never been robbed, The Federal Reserve.  The team wants to break in and steal the bills marked for shredding.  They know the serial number will be taken out of the system and no one will be looking for the money.  To get this information, Nick will go after the newest and weakest member of the team, Donnie, the driver.

Talk about a roller coaster ride.  This movie hits the gas and never let’s go.  You are given a thrilling cat and mouse game with an Ocean’s Eleven-style bank robbery with a Set It Off shootout (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  Now pay close attention to everything you see and hear, it will become important.  And you have no idea how this will end.  While uncovering the mystery, it does go own the path of Nick’s marriage.  This was completely unnecessary.  With several scenes, you got to see that he is self-destructive.  So the fallout of his marriage was not needed.  See this movie before someone ruins the ending.  And you will want to watch it again.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

You pausing for dramatic effect? – Big Nick

I told you so – Merriman

So, you work across the street? – Donnie

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#MarshallMovie, #BladeRunner2049, and more – Movie Reviews

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Table of Reviews

Marshall – Review

Marshall – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 58 minutes

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Marshall
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Thurgood Marshall goes back to the NAACP after finishing a trial.  He hopes to meet up with his wife Buster and be a husband.  But before he can put down his suitcases, he is given another case in Connecuit.  Joseph Spell was a driver for the Strubing Family.  One night, Eleanor was found soaking wet, on the side of the road.  She told the medical examiner and police officers that Joseph raped and attempted to kill her.  The NAACP worries the media coverage could sway the jury and cause many in the area to lose their job.  However, in order to be included in an active trial, Marshall will need to be introduced to the court.  The NAACP and his firm decided that Sam Friedman, a civil attorney, will be the one to introduce Marshall.  Sam is unhappy with the decision because he doesn’t want notoriety.  Trying this case could cost Sam is family, job, friends, and his life.   Judge Foster will allow Marshall to sit in on the trial with 1 stipulations: he can’t say a word, only write.   As the case becomes dangerous for both men, it’s their client who can lose the case for them.

This is a tough story that drives a strong point home while making you laugh.  The banter between Marshall and Friedman is refreshing and necessary.  While Marshall comes off as arrogant, it doesn’t distract from his ability to speak to and read the jury.  While Friedman comes off as fearful, he knows how to spot discrepancies from his time in civil court.  However, each man is dealing with personal issues, while trying this case.  With both men facing struggles and bigotry, it’s great to see them come together and make a compelling case for Spell.  This movie was a set and costume designer’s dream.  Seeing the old cars, home layouts, fashion, and technology,  keeps you in the time period.  This movie only downfall was that lack of closure for other characters (Mr. and Mrs. Strubing, Friedman’s wife, and Friedman’s partner).  It would have been interesting to see how this case affects the ones who cared for them, not just the 2 men.  This is a must-see for the theaters. Also, if you stay during end credits you will hear Thurgood speak for himself.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I thought Jews were supposed to be smart. You’re no better than the negro – Loren Willis

You’re late – Sam Friedman

If you dropped a nickel will kicking him in the balls, he would return your nickle – Tad Lancaster

Why would she lie – Bretha Lancaster

Can you see the bump – Buster Marshall

I was afraid for my life – Eleanor Strubing

I can do that – Joseph Spell

She likes you – Thurgood Marshall

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Blade Runner 2049 – Review

Blade Runner 2049 – Budget of $150 – 185 million – 2 hours and 23 minutes

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Blade Runner 2049
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Replicants, bioengineered humans, have gotten better over the past 30 years. They have been integrated into the human culture and can live a normal lifespan because they obey without emotion. However, older models still exist that need to be “retired”. KD9-3.7 or “K” is the latest and best model created by the Wallace Corporation.  Also, K is a Blade Runner for the LAPD.  It is his job to hunt down the older models and retire them.  On a hunt, he scans the grounds and finds a buried box.  Once the box is dug up, bones of a female are found.  They are saddened to learn she died in childbirth.  However, they are shocked to learn that she was a Nexus 6 Replicant that died 30 years ago.  Lt. Joshi, K’s commander, tells him to destroy all the evidence of the birth, including the child.  If word gets out that replicants can have children, it could cause a war.  When K starts to investigate, he goes back to the home of his last hunt.  He finds a tree where the box was buried and sees a carving that reads 6 – 10 – 21.   The date shakes the core of his belief and sends him on a mission to find out the truth about the baby, the mother, and himself.

With characters from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and the sequel to Blade Runner, this is a great continuation of the story (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It connects information about the past with things going on in 2049.  It does help to see the first movie before seeing the sequel.   And yes, this is a sequel and it contains a very compelling mystery of a lost child and a lost K, grabs your attention and can live up to the first movie.  The graphics are strong and encompasses the prequel with this sequel while bringing something new.  Blade Runner 2049 has walking adds like its predecessor but adds the visual eye candy of a “sync”.  This cannot be explained, only experienced.  It keeps dark imagery in most scenes while adding light with open floor plans and snow.  One problem was the movie’s running time.  It was too long.  Also, 3D nor Dolby was needed.  3D is just unnecessary.  However, the Dolby’s sound system often drowned out the actors and made it hard to hear.  So, see it in IMAX at full price, but see the 1st one first.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

How does it feel hunting your own kind – Mr. Norton

I never retired something that was born before – K

He liked working alone. So did I. So we worked together to keep it that way – Gaff

We have lost the stomach for slaves. Unless it’s engineered – Niander Wallace

Madame – Luv

I always knew you were special – Joi

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My Little Pony: The Movie – Review

My Little Pony – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 39 minutes

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My Little Pony: The Movie
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Princess Twilight Sparkle is quietly freaking out about throwing the Friendship Festival.  She is looking forward to having the biggest singer Songbird Serenade performing for Equestria.  To make the performance extra special she wants to ask Princess Luna, Princess Celestia, and Princess Cadance for “small” favors.  After they politely turn her down, the preparations are ended by a large dark ship descending upon them.  They learn that the ship is running at the command of the Storm King and his actions are carried out by Tempest Shadow, a unicorn with a broken horn. Tempest lets them know she is going to take all the Princesses and steal their powers for the Storm King.  Twilight Sparkle hears Celestia tell Luna to find the “Queen of the Hippos” before they are both frozen.  Then after, Princess Cadance is frozen, Twilight Sparkle and her friends escape.  They are on a mission to find the Queen of the Hippos, save the 3 Princesses, and stop the Storm King.  This adventure will test Princess Twilight Sparkle’s power of friendship.

This is surprisingly watchable.  While it’s not spectacular, it has a good amount of laughs and some notable songs.  This movie is like the chipper person you know in your office.  At first, they were annoying, but they grew on you slowly.  This movie will grow on you.  It has plenty of jokes for kids, with a few dashed in for parents.  This is a children’s movie however the final scene, music, and graphics will draw you in.   The voices are that of Alvin and the Chipmunks but each pony has its own personality and drive.  So if you have a child, see it at the matinee price.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

I didn’t grow up in a barn. My parents owned a barn. I was born there and spend most of my formable years there. So what would you call that – AppleJack

Of course, I know. I am the Queen. I know everything – Queen Novo

Friendship didn’t fail me. I failed friendship – Princess Twilight Sparkles

I am nothing like you. I am more than you ever will be – Tempest

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#AmericanMade, #TilDeathDoUsPart, and more – Movie Reviews

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Table of Reviews

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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Flatliners
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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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#CollateralBeauty- Review

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Collateral Beauty – Budget of $36 million – 1 hours and 36 minutes

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Collateral Beauty
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Wit, Claire, and Simon have watch their friend, Howard, fall apart after his daughter died 2 years ago. As his life deteriorated, so has his company. Wit, Carla, and Simon want to have him declared mentally incompetent, so they can repair the company and increase its public share value. They get a private investigator, Sally Price, to find evidence to support them. Sally discovers that Howard is writing letters to Time, Death, and Love. Although this is tough to hear, it doesn’t mean Howard is crazy, just coping. So, Wit gets the idea to hire actors to play the physical manifestations of these concepts; and with Howard’s letter and a little coaching, they can make Howard look mentally unstable.

Concept Played By Coached by
Love Amy Wit
Time Raffi Claire
Death Brigitte Simon

Each concept will enter Howard’s life to guide him. With a larger share price, Wit hopes he can earn more money and get his daughter to love him again. Claire hopes that she can get afford IVF treatment and sperm donation. She spent so much time working to create a family within the company, she forgot to create her own. Simon needs the money to take care of his family because he is sick.  He fears that after his death they will penniless. The coaches spend so much time with the “Concepts”, who is really being helped.

This movie has a great, albeit depressing, concept. If you search deep enough, you can see the beauty in the plot line. However the ending is a bit confusing. You are at a lost for what is real and what is imaginary. With a premise that is suppose to make you think, it just leaves you confused. Collateral Beauty tries hard to be introspective, but slowly unravels. Even with the confusion, this movie is lead by an amazing cast, which saves the movie. See this one matinee.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

What is your “why” – Howard

No, I caused my divorced. Sally just documented it – Wit

You’re a dead tissue that does not decompose – Claire

That’s impressive – Simon

Shed your skin. Find your life. You can have it for free – Love

Great. When do we get paid? – Time

Well done, you – Death

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