Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Documentaries of 2016

Seems like art really does imitate life because 2016 was the year of documentaries. Recently I've had a keen interest in the genre. Here are some of my current favorites.

Weiner (Showtime)
Weiner follows controversial congressman Anthony Weiner as he goes through, not one, but two sex scandals while running for public office. Twitter-d**k pics and bulges no one intended to see are exposed across the internet as Weiner runs for NY Mayor and also battles multiple accusations of being unfaithful to his wife, Huma Adedin, Hillary Clinton's aide. 

Amanda Knox (Netflix)
This Netflix Original follows American exchange student Amanda Knox as she describes, in her own words, how she was convicted of murdering her roommate while studying abroad in Italy in 2007. Is she guilty or innocent? You decide after watching--no one is deciding for you.

13th (Netflix)
This doc is definitely going to get your blood boiling. 13th takes an in-depth look into the corrupt and racist U.S. prison system. Slavery may have been abolished many years ago, but 13th will show you the modern-day equivalent.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru (Netflix)
An in-depth look into Tony Robbin's cult-like conference that changes millions of lives a year. His events costs hundreds of dollars, are held all across the world, and sold out every time. Take an inside look into one of his sessions as he guides people from despair to triumph. You might learn a thing or two about yourself too. 

The Cuba Libre Story (Netflix)
A TV-mini series that takes you through the history of Cuba from it's 400 year old rule under Spain to it's place under America's control in the 21st century. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bad Santa 2

Bill Bob Thorton is back at it again in Bad Santa 2 after 13 years. 2016 really is the year of the overdue sequel! There's a new director on board, Mark Waters, who directed the acclaimed Mean Girls.

I was skeptical of a sequel and didn't think it would live up to the raunchiness of the original. But I was definitely proven wrong. Bad Santa 2 is just as raunchy and comical. Billy Bob is trashier and nastier than ever. His life is just as shitty and it doesn't look like he plans on cleaning it up.

Willie's small sidekick, Marcus, is out of prison and has a new heist in store this holiday season. This time they're bringing in Willie's mom, played by Kathy Bates. Willie is headed to Chicago to crack a safe potentially worth millions from a charity collecting donations for the holidays. 

Who knew Willie's mom would be just as soul-less and messed up. Kathy Bates is great in comedy roles and doesn't hold back. She's gives Billy Bob a run for his money as a no-good heartless thief. Things definitely don't go smoothly but that's when all the tricks come out.

The nicest celeb surprise is Christina Hendricks (Mad Men). She's just as flirtatious, but maybe a little more naughty than usual.

I give Bad Santa 2 two thumbs up for some mindless lighthearted raunchy fun. 


Monday, November 21, 2016

Miss Sloane

Jessica Chastain is Elizabath Sloane, a big time lobbyist who has everyone in Congress in the grip of her hand. The NRA approaches her firm to help kill the Brady Handgun Bill- a provision that would require waiting periods for handgun purchases and background checks.

But Miss Sloane, as unethical as her practices may be, cannot take on this case. As news circulates the opposing side hires her on to take down the NRA and get the bill passed. With all the odds, and dollars, against her she's fighting for a win no matter the cost. Gloves off and nothing off limits, Miss Sloane is taking on the fight of her career.

Miss Sloane premieres in a very appropriate time, while our country battles one another on gun control, or the lack there of. The film is seat-clenching excitement and will keep you enticed until the end. There's a lot of information to consume, as this political-drama takes you through the battles of getting a billed passed, especially one this controversial. 

Chastain is joined by other notable stars likes Mark Strong, John Lithgow, and Sam Waterston. But the stand out performance comes from Chastain who plays a pill-popping neurotic and deceiving powerful lobbyist who is obsessed with winning and won't take no for an answer. I was reminded of Chastain's role in Zero Dark Thirty, a strong character who takes no s**t from anyone.

I highly recommend this film. It's my favorite genre, drama meets deception.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Crown on Netflix

The new Netflix series The Crown just debuted all 10 episodes of the first season. I was skeptical about it at first but was determined to watch the first episode. Let's just say I was not very productive the rest of the weekend. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen, as I finished the season in just a matter of three days.

The Crown tells the real life story of how a young 26 year old Elizabeth becomes the queen of England. Queen Elizabeth is 90 years old today and still rules the monarchy. There has been many controversies and misfortunes along the way. The entire series takes places in the 1940's into the late 1950's. While each episode leads into the other, each one stands on its own. Each episode showcases a different dilemma or scandal the monarchy was faced with in it's early reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Claire Foy is beautifully casted as Queen Elizabeth. Her supporting casts lets her shine. John Lithgow plays Winston Churchill very appropriately. Lithgow humanizes a man which stood out as one of the most stern and brash leaders of the 20th century.

The Crown is dialogue heavy and not a lot of physical action. But at the same time, the series will keep you captivated, as it's stunning to see the inside of Buckingham Palace and other sets. The set and costume designing was done astonishingly also. You can see how much effort and time went into creating each outfit and set design.

The Crown will hopefully be nominated this upcoming awards season. It's best you watch it now.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Netflix's Special Correspondents

Netflix recently premiered an original film starring Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana entitled Special Correspondents. Just when you thought they couldn't release anything worse than Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous 6, they surprise us with another flop. 

Special Correspondents was written and directed by the star himself, Ricky Gervais. It tells the story of fearfull and gutless sound engineer, Ian Finch (played by Gervais) who is sent on special assignment with the handsome and talented radio journalist Frank Bonevelle, Eric Bana, to war-torn South America. But when Ian mistakenly loses the tickets and passports they are forced to hide in NYC and pretend to be on site. Their jobs are at risk if they should return without the story. 

While this film was categorized as a comedy, I don't think I chuckled once. The film bordered on unwatchable. I couldn't help but cover my eyes and cringe at the humorless one liners and terrible acting. The story line was boring and way to predictable. Special Correspondents is a great example of what's wrong with Hollywood these days, no originality and quality but still pushing out anything that seems to stick.

I enjoy Ricky Gervais's humor normally and I really tried to make an effort this time but he completely failed. Eric Bana on the other hand is not meant for comedic roles at all, and should stick to drama. There were a couple nice surprise celeb cameos byAmerica Ferrera and Raul Castillo (HBO's Looking). What a shame they had to play such menial roles with terrible accents. I guess it was another failed attempt at comedy.

Please save yourself the time and do not watch Special Correspondents


Monday, May 2, 2016

Showtime's Billions

Listen to my review of Showtime's newest series 'Billions' on Youtube.

Up-and-coming star to look out for:
My favorite fresh face is Condola Rashad. The New York native had small roles in 2012's Steel Magnolias and Sex and The City 2. You can see her next in Clooney's latest upcoming film, Money Monster. She's definitely a name and face to keep an eye out for.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Top 10 Movies of 2015

1. The Martian

2. Inside Out

3. Straight Outta Compton

4. The Danish Girl

5. The Hateful Eight

6. Steve Jobs

7. The Big Short

8. Ex Machina

9. The Hunger Games Mockingjay-Part 2
10. The 33


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Big Short

The Big Short is based on the New York Times Bestseller by Michael Lewis "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine," which chronicles the real life U.S. real estate economic meltdown in 2008. The film is packed with A-list actors like Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, and Brad Pitt. Fun fact, this is the second project Gosling and Carell play opposite one another, the first being Stupid. Crazy. Love. Adam McKay, who brought us Anchorman wrote and directed the feature. This is the first drama McKay is directing.

The heavy use of financial, real estate, and economic terms may get you tangled up although they attempt to define most things. Nonetheless the film is very true to the facts and clearly explains how we drove ourselves in a recession. I continued to shift uneasily in my seat while watching. You almost can't believe this actually happened, and worse, it continues to happen today. 

The Big Short is The Wolf of Wall Street meets Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's so authentic it almost felt like a documentary.

While this isn't a traditional horror film, you're still bound to be screaming and covering your eyes before the credits run. I recommend this film with a heavy hand as it does get a bit confusing with all the financial terms. The pace can get tiresome and slow also. 

SEE IT...after taking an economics class or speaking with a banker ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl tells the true story of artist Lili Elbe who became a pioneer in the transgender community. This is the first real Oscar contender I have seen so far this year. Eddie Redmayne is my choice for Best Actor. 

The Danish Girl is in theaters starting November 27, 2015.