Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

 
Release year: 2002
Production company: Gaylord Films
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith

Wanting to bring peace between their best friend Vivi (Burstyn) and her oldest daughter Siddalee (Bullock) who are currently engaged in a petty fight, Vivi's childhood best friends - nicknamed The Ya-Ya's - fake-kidnap Siddalee from her home in New York and drag her back down to the deep South where she was born and raised. Over the course of several days, Sidda learns about her mother's life and comes to startling realizations about tragic events that happened during her childhood. Maybe now that Siddalee understands her mother better, they can start to repair their relationship.

I have been hopelessly in love with this movie for years now!! Ya-Ya Sisterhood, in my mind, is the pinnacle of sweet, Southern charm girly movies. It's like Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes, Hope Floats, and Now and Then all wrapped up into one perfect movie!! When it comes to wanting to curl up on a gloomy day and watch something comforting, fun, and kindhearted Ya-Ya Sisterhood is always a movie at the top of my list to watch.

Doused in Southern charm and nostalgia, Ya-Ya Sisterhood is an adorable movie. There are multiple, dynamic female characters that make you laugh, and cry right along with them. The biggest reason that I love this movie so much is that it's the type that does a lot of flashback and essentially it's all about revisiting memories but it explores them from both sides - the sides of the kids and the parents. You get to see both sides of the memories and gain a well-rounded understanding of the characters. Plus, there are plenty of ways to identify with the story too - "Oh, I remember thinking that when I was a kid too!" sort of stuff. There's drama, comedy, romance, tragedy, friendship...this is a well-rounded movie that I absolutely adore!

What can I say? There are few girly dram-edies that I can turn down!

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood gets a 5 OF 5 must own for those who love girly movies that revolve around memories or storytelling. This is also another movie where I highly recommend also checking out the book, both mediums are very similar to each other so if you love one then you'll definitely be a fan of the other!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Devil's Advocate

 
Release year: 1997
Production company: Regency Enterprises
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones

Successful Southern attorney Kevin Lomax (Reeves) is offered the opportunity of a lifetime when a large International corporation based in New York City hires Kevin to become the head of their legal department. Kevin's moral compass is repeatedly taken for a spin when he is forced to defend clients who are far from innocent in their crimes...but Kevin has never lost a case, and he wants to keep his boss (Pacino) happy. But at what cost does all this success come? Kevin's wife Mary Ann (Theron) is starting to feel isolated in her new life as a woman of leisure and she's starting to have wild hallucinations. Kevin himself is having strange dreams, and desires...but maybe it's just the new pressures of his job. Or maybe something far more sinister is at work here.

What an unsettling, intense, creepy, intriguing movie!! The Devil's Advocate was a movie that I dove into thinking I had some idea of what it would be about - a lawyer makes a deal with the devil and does his bidding - this movie was so much more sneaky than that! Sure, the devil does come into play in this movie, but we go on one super crazy wild ride in the meantime! The dialogue and plot of this movie are sharp, cunning, and witty. The entire vibe of this movie is also very tense and suspicious, something is off but you don't really know what...and it's clear that everyone else feels it too.

Nothing like a couple of pale lawyers in dark
suits to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

For a movie that was 2 and a half hours long, I didn't expect to be fully enticed for the whole duration - but I was! I had to know what would happen next, what weird twists and turns were going to present themselves. But I feel like the real powerhouse of The Devil's Advocate had to be the casting. Keanu Reeves plays such a lively ambitious character, and Al Pacino is sinister, creepy, and reassuring all at the same time - these two were a fantastic duo and played off each other amazingly. For such a long, potentially dry movie I loved that this one had so much supernatural suspense and tension. I love unexpected wins like this!

The Devil's Advocate gets a 4 OF 5 must own for fans of courtroom drama movies that also have a supernatural twist to them. Think of this like a corrupt version of Philadelphia with a light sprinkling of Constantine - how could you possibly pass this one up?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

 
Release year: 1982
Production company: Aspen Film Society
Starring: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward. Carl Reiner

Private investigator Rigby Reardon (Martin) is sought by a beautiful young woman named Juliet (Ward) who believes that her father's tragic death was no accident. Learning that he was a brilliant scientist specializing in cheese and working on a top secret project, Reardon starts investigating close friends and acquaintances of Juliet's father...and finds himself repeatedly faced with dangerous men and loose women with sealed lips. Will Reardon discover the secret behind the scientist's death? Or will he find himself in an early grave?

Oh, and Reardon has to try to not fall in love
with Juliet in the process.

Acting like a zany parody of classic Film Noire from the 1940's and 1950's, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is not a movie that I'm going to jump up and down and recommend to everyone. I'm pretty sure that the only reason I ever saw it was because I had just seen some Steve Martin movie for the first time and I became convinced that everything he stared in would be perfect. Well, this isn't true at all. Yes, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is indeed funny. However, this was not a movie I would ever care to see again despite how creative it is at times.

This is a comedy that heavily relies on raunchy/sexually-related humor, which is not all bad...it's just excessive and I feel like there could have been other elements added. Steve Martin is definitely a very entertaining comedic actor, but certain comedic avenues taken in this movie came across less funny and more tired. For example, Martin takes up a solid 5 minutes of screen time shaking coffee grounds into a pot....only to end up using the whole entire bag. It was funny after a few minutes, but it became exhausting and I instantly wanted some kind of distraction. So while the comedy wasn't a full win for me, I did like a different element used in this movie!

Just watch this GIF for 5 minutes and you'll have basically
watched the scene from the movie...

Throughout the movie when Martin's character would go to meet others, the film would splice in old footage from actual Film Noire and Pulp Detective films from the 40's that would perfectly pair with Martin's dialogue and furthering the plot of the story - that was a really cool touch! And they used over 19 different films to do that! So that was a really fun, creative twist on this movie...but like I said, this bought of creativity didn't save this movie from just not being all that funny.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid gets a 2 OF 5 must own for fans of Noire film and Steve Martin's comedy style, which are both very heavily represented here. And while I don't think this is a movie I would tell you to rush out and buy, it might be worth the one-time watch just to see what the fuss is about.

My thoughts exactly Humphrey...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Darkman II: The Return of Durant

 
Release year: 1995
Production company: Renaissance Pictures
Starring: Arnold Vosloo, Larry Drake

After the final battle from the first Darkman movie that resulted in a fiery helicopter crash, Durant (Drake) has awoken from his coma and is wasting no time getting down to business!! Durant breaks crazed weapons master Dr. Hathaway () out of a mental institution and instantly puts him to work developing a high-powered laser-gun-thing that will help Durant become the most powerful criminal in all of the city!! But Dr. Peyton Westlake (Vosloo), our hero of the night Darkman, is going to see to it that Durant never gets the chance to take control of the city!!

Considering how much I loved the first Darkman movie, I was so sure that the sequels would be just as fun...but from the moment Darkman II started I knew it wasn't going to be a good fit.  The movie didn't feel thorough, it didn't explain some major plot holes. Like, how on Earth did Durant survive that helicopter crashing into the side of a concrete bridge - causing the whole thing to explode - and walk away with only a scar on his face??? This mad absolutely no sense to me and felt like such a reach for the sequel. But the worst crime Darkman II committed has to do with our leading man. That's right, Liam Neeson is nowhere to be seen.

I don't care if you only see his face half of the
movie - it's still not Liam Neeson!!

BUT!!! Considering what this movie was - a sequel to Darkman and a continuation of Peyton Westlake's story - this movie actually was not bad. The action and stunts are decent, there's fun over-the-top Sci Fi, and the acting is not terrible. I'm just a stick in the mud. I wanted Liam Neeson back and I wanted Durant to stay dead - I hated him so much, he was such a cruel villain! But I see why they brought him back. But sadly, because I didn't gel with Darkman II, I didn't bother to give the following sequel - Die Darkman Die - a shot. But I don't regret it. Liam Neeson is the only Peyton Westlake for me!!

Darkman II: The Return of Durant gets a 3 OF 5 must own for fans of the first Darkman movie and those who enjoy a fun 90's era superhero movie. Don't be dissuaded just because I can't have fun! Darkman II is a good movie...just don't expect it to compare at all to the first.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Okja

 
Release year: 2017
Production company: Kate Street  Picture Company
Starring: Seo-Hyun Ahn, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal

In an attempt to help the world food shortage crisis and shed a positive light on their morally-questionable company, Mirando Corp creates 10 genetically enhanced "Superpigs" that are sent out into the world to be raised by farmers from different parts of the world. The farmer that raises the largest Superpig will have their Superpig brought to New York City to be featured in a big celebration and the overall success in the project! And 10 years later, the lucky Superpig is found being raised on a farm in the mountains of South Korea by a young girl named Mija (Ahn) and her grandfather. Mija helped to raise the Superpig, who she named Okja, and the two became best friends. But Mija was under the impression that Okja was going to stay with her! So when the Mirando Corp scientists come to take Okja with them to New York, Mija teams up with a group of animal rights activists who want to save Okja and take her back to South Korea to live with Mija!

Ever since the trailer came across my Newsfeed on Facebook, I could not WAIT for Okja to come to Netflix!! This movie looked like the perfect combination of magical-sci-fi-action-friendship-lovey-comedy goodness, it somehow looked like everything I wanted in a movie but didn't know that I wanted. And Okja totally delivered! I adore this movie, I want to watch it over and over again...it's perfect and totally worth having to wait all those months. Okja is fantastic.

I couldn't have asked for more from this
movie - prepare to be stunned!!

Feeling like Gordy (remember that movie?!) meets Clifford the Big Red Dog all set in a fantastically, off-putting futuristic world, Okja was such a joy to watch. It was both exactly what I thought it would be, but also so much more at the same time. The biggest highlight of the entire movie was definitely the animation and CGI used in the movie. I had a feeling that the CGI would be the make-it-or-break-it factor of Okja and luckily it delivered! Everything is seamless, high quality, but more than anything it's all believable! I also was a big fan of the cast, which was a mixture of South Korean and American actors - it was refreshing and unexpected. I also loved seeing Paul Dano in a good guy role for the first time in quite a while - There Will Be Blood definitely freaked me out a little bit...

Okja also incorporated some really masterful storytelling alongside the incredible animation! The whole movie had a quirky, adventurous vibe that paired with this beautifully original plot - your imagination is constantly being pulled and stretched and dazzled while watching this movie! I definitely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions while watching this - I laughed, I cried, I was angry, scared, excited...I loved that Okja evoked so many feelings. But the absolute highlight, the most tippy top of the peak of awesomeness that is this movie has to be the Superpig Okja herself. I was a little weirded out by her design - she looks more like a hippopotamus than a pig in my opinion - but I quickly fell in love with her. She is such a massive, somewhat clumsy beast...but she is created and designed to act in such a way that perfectly reflects this gentle, innocent soul... I'm starting to well up thinking about her. She is probably my favorite movie character out of anything I've ever seen, and yes that does include Alabama Worley from True Romance! Can you tell I really loved this movie?

Who couldn't love such a sweet face as Okja's???

As I have mentioned - or been beating you over the head with, whichever way you prefer to look at it - Okja is the perfect movie. But I can see one big flaw with it, even though it's not a personal belief of mine. I can see how people could easily look at this movie and see it as an implement to further any kind of vegan-vegetarian lifestyle, or opinions. It's definitely pro-animal liberation/anti-slaughterhouse...this is kind of a touchy area. But for me, I chose to see Okja as the tale of two best friends fighting against the odds to be reunited. And that's how I hope you plan to see it too.

Okja gets a solid 5 OF 5 must own for those who love a whimsical action-fantasy-Sci-Fi film featuring strong friendship bonds, especially those between humans and animals. Hell, it's my own rating system! I'll give Okja a 10 OF 10, or a 100 OF 100!! A full YES OF YES!!! This is the sweetest movie, and I wholeheartedly believe this is the best thing I will see for the rest of the year. Nothing will surpass Okja. This movie may have shattered my soul, but it also pieced me back together and made the world all right again. If there is any movie you should be watching right now, it is this one. I promise, Okja is well worth it.

This movie truly was the most incredible
adventure... I already want to watch it again!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Rogue One


Release year: 2016
Production company: Lucasfilm Ltd
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Alan Tudyk

After being rescued from a labor camp by Rebel forces, orphan Jyn (Jones) learns that the fate of the galaxy rests in her hands. Her scientist father helped the Imperial army build a massive war ship that they've named the Death Star, a ship capable of destroying whole planets! Feeling guilty over helping to design the Death Star, Jyn's father left her a hologram message explaining that she needs to find the building plans for the shop which also hold a clue to it's one weakness - and the one way way the Revels will be able to destroy it! So now it is up to Jyn, her newfound pilot friend Cassian (Luna), and a group of ragtag rebels to all come together and bring down the Death Star!

Ever since Rogue One came out, I've heard nothing but amazing things about this movie but I didn't really feel the need to see it because....don't judge me... I'm holding out for Kylo Ren to come back and I knew he wasn't going to be in this movie. But this was a fun little delve into more of the backstory of the original 3 movies that helped to explain some holes in the plot of A New Hope.

I loved that this was a movie I didn't know
I needed, and ended up loving!

Thanks to the magic of Disney, this movie had absolutely FANTASTIC special effects and animation used for the sets, the action, and the characters - there are a couple of grumpy looking space frogs that quickly became some of my favorite characters! All the characters in the movie were fantastic, we were given another wonderfully strong female heroine! But personally I loved K2-SO, the new sassy robot that accompanies our heroes in the movie - he's such a smartypants and a know-it-all! I loved him! I also really loved that the plot behind this movie - explaining why the Death Star had this one major flaw in it's design - wasn't something I knew I wanted! Rogue One was an unexpected surprise and I loved watching it!

K2-SO totally stole the show - he's such a sass pot!!

Rogue One gets a 4 OF 5 must own for fans of the Star Wars franchise! This is a wonderful addition to all the movies and I feel like it's opened new doors for other branch-off movies too. Maybe these will be the kinds of movies that quench our thirst inbetween the upcoming Episode 8 - The Last Jedi, and Episode 9...whatever that one may be.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Black Dynamite


Release year: 2009
Production company: ARS Nova
Starring: Michael Jai White

After learning that his beloved little brother has been murdered by The Man and that the children of the local orphanage are all addicted to drugs, former cop Black Dynamite (White) gets his badge reinstated and gathers up his best brothers to help him sniff out where the drugs are coming from.

Feeling like Dolemite realized exactly how hilarious he is and decided to amp things up, Black Dynamite is HILARIOUS and so much fun!! For as much as I love the Blaxploitation genre, this was my first delve into a Blaxploitation parody...and now I want more! This movie takes all the fun, the cheese, and the stereotypes of Blaxploitation and turns up the volume to 11! The afros are bigger, the platforms are taller, the dialogue is even more hilarious...it was all too much, which was just enough! This movie is also PACKED with tons of Kung Fu fighting and action, it's just nonstop! There were times when Black Dynamite would drag on a little bit and start to feel long...but then someone would get kicked in the face and the movie came right back on track! If you're looking for something politically correct, racially sensitive, and historically accurate...well you're watching the wrong movie kid. Black Dynamite don't care what you think and he's gonna roundhouse kick you in the face to prove it!!

Black Dynamite gets all the ladies - even First Lady Patricia Nixon!

Black Dynamite gets a 5 OF 5 must own for fans of Blaxploitation and parody movies - this movie was so hilarious and tons of fun! I highly recommend it!! Don't be shocked if you find yourself quoting this movie long after you see it...ya dig?

THURSDAY NIGHT IS THE BEST NIGHT TO TUNE IN TO REAL PUNK RADIO!! Home to the Thursday Night Wrecking Pit, Real Punk Radio is your Thursday night destination for the best in Psychobilly radio programming. Starting tonight at 6pm PT Gone Mental will be kicking off the evening, and then at 7pm PT Zorch Radio takes over the reigns and rides out the evening til 9pm with the best in Psychotronic rock n' roll. So make sure to tune in to Real Punk Radio tonight!

Get down with some funky jams!!
I know I sound stupid, I just really loved Black Dynamite!