Monday, December 22, 2014


5 Reasons to Watch Transparent on Amazon

Transparent is the latest original series from Amazon Studios. This comedy-drama follows an LA family as they discover old and new secrets combating sexuality, love, and life.

Jeffrey Tambor is captivating, as he encompasses the perfect balance of quirky yet serious, playing a sixty-something year old divorced retiree who is finally ready to 'come out' as transgender to his family. 

Think your family is messed up? Think again. The Pfefferman family is one dysfunctional mess, but they love each other nonetheless. No matter the struggle they come together to support and help one another. We are reminded that blood is always thicker than water.

Opens your eyes to a different unknown world of transgender lives. While gay characters have become commonplace over the years, we have yet to see many real roles discussing transgender people in society. This series gives us a further look into their lives.

Fun and surprising guest appearances like Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia) and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing). Every so often a familiar yet exciting face makes a cameo. 

Transparent is Golden Globe nominated for 'Best series, comedy or musical' and 'Best actor, comedy or musical series'. Award season is just starting and I'm sure it's going to get the accolades it deserves.

Season one, consisting of ten episodes, is available on Amazon Prime. The show has already been renewed for a second season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Horrible Bosses 2

With Horrible Bosses bringing in over $200 million internationally, it was pretty clear a sequel was in the works. I had the chance of watching an early screening of Horrible Bosses 2 almost 8 months ago. While there are some fresh faces, Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz, the movie still falls flat. There were some cheap laughs here and there but the plot was pretty much mimicking the first film, lacking in originality. Not a big surprise though, as no one expected they would deviate much from a successful formula.

Lucky for the Warner Bros. Sudeikis, Bateman, and Day are comedic geniuses. They are the modern day David Spade, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley. As bad as the film was the actors give it some substance and boost of entertainment. Jennifer Aniston hasn't lost her comedic touch either. She was entertaining and kept the ball rolling. 

At the end of the day, it's best to enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday getting stuffed and steering clear of Horrible Bosses 2


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Marco Polo (Netflix)

I am really excited to see Netflix's latest original series Marco Polo set to premiere December 12. The 60 minute series is based on the explorer's adventures in Kublai Khan's court in 13th century China. The new show seems to have it all; intriguing dialogue, action packed fighting, and passion-filled sex scenes.

Marco Polo will be played by 24 year old Italian-born Lorenzo Richelmy, a fairly new face with few credits to his name.

Check out the trailer on Youtube:

Friday, July 25, 2014


If you see any movie this summer make sure Lucy is one of them. Lucy (Scarlett Johanson) is forced into becoming a drug mule for a Japanese drug lord. But things only get worse when the narcotics erupt in her body and spread through her system. She begins to unlock parts of her brain because the drug allows her to access more of her mind over time. She eventually begins to control people's minds and her surroundings. But with great power comes great difficulty as her body cannot take the growth of her mind. Time is of the essence as she fights for her life against two forces, her own brain and drug lords. 

The imagery in this film is amazing and really leaves you questioning what is real and what is fantasy. Lucy is action packed and a great summer film to check out. Scar Jo is badass as ever. The plot is riveting and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Lucy a refreshing blend of Limitless (Bradley Cooper) meets the Matrix

Written and directed by Luc Besson, from The Fifth Element. In theaters July 25, 2014. 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West

3 Reasons Not to See 'A Millions Ways'

As a huge Family Guy fan it saddens me to say this, but do not waste your time or money watching this film.

1. It was unnecessarily long and boring: Run time is almost 2 hours of uncomfortably low-brow, boring humor. It was uneventful and slow placed.

2. Seth MacFarlane is not a suitable onscreen actor: He needs to stay behind the camera...or better yet behind the microphone. He may have forgotten this wasn't an animated film. He's emotionless and has no onscreen presence. 

3. Plot line was a joke, and no not the good kind: Seth tried to get serious when the audience just wants to laugh. Attempting to build up dramatic effect, he just left the viewer yawning and dosing off. There was no real movement or fluidity.   

If you liked Ted, you'll hate this. If you hated Ted you'll dislike this also. If you have the ability to see and hear, you'll hate this.

*Highlight: Fun and surprising cameos.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I saw an advanced screening of Neighbors starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, and Rose Byrne. It delivered exactly what you'd expect, a crazy off-the-wall nonsense comedy. I really enjoyed the film for what it was. It borders on silly to witty at times but is a great look at dealing with crazy neighbors. 

Mac and Kelly, played by Rogen and Byrne, are new parents who just aren't used to the idea of being all grown up and responsible. The idea isn't made any easier when a college fraternity moves in next door. At first Teddy the fraternity president, played by Efron, is all smiles and friendly. But things turn for the worse as Mac and Kelly can't live with all the noise and craziness. The story unfolds as both neighbors go head-to-head to eliminate one another.

Seth Rogen delivers as the outrageous irresponsible adult-child that he is. And I know college is crazy but this fraternity takes outrageous to another level. The film also stars Dave Franco (21 Jump Street) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad). There are some nice cameos as well that may surprise you. 

Franco's acting is limited. Not just in this, but in general I've noticed. I don't expect much from him. Cannot take his acting seriously. Rose Byrne is a comedy genius. Great to see an attractive women who's great at being silly and funny. Enjoyed her as the young-party mom.

The film doesn't have much substance but that's not why you're going to watch it. Neighbors is a great laugh and will keep you entertained. 

Check out Neighbors when is hits theaters May 9, 2014. 


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Divergent is a futuristic action thriller set to premiere this Friday March 21. It takes place in a post-war Chicago where people are separated into different societies based on their personalities. Everyone fits into one of five groups that is determined by a test and influenced by upbringing. Beatrice Prior, played by Shailene Woodley, doesn't conform into one specific category. She finds her way into one society at first and tries to assimilate but just isn't able to. As she trains to become a part of her new faction, she realizes she's one of a few people who possesses the power to exercise free will. Beatrice wants to think and live freely, and that's a danger to the current structure of society. Beatrice becomes a threat to plans the government has in store. The journey takes us through the trials and tribulations of fighting against evil to regain humanity.

Divergent is the latest in Hunger Games look-a-likes. Based on the 2011 book by Veronica Roth, Divergent is one of a three book series that has a large following among tweens and teenagers. Interesting fact, Roth wrote the book when she was only 21 years old.
The film was engaging and enjoyable to watch. It was action packed and carried a strong plot line throughout. The most interesting scenes were Beatrice's "dream" sequences that were pretty intense. Woodley plays opposite Theo James. The British native has been acting for a number of years but is an up-and -coming young actor to look out for. He has great screen presence and is sure to be a hit with the ladies. Kate Winslet was the true scene-stealer though. She plays Jeanine Matthews, the villainous leader of her faction with plans of total domination. Matthews goal of completely wiping out independent will is obstructed by Divergents, so she is on the hunt to capture each last one. 

Whether or not you've read the book this movie is a great watch. At first I was not even aware that Divergent was a book adaptation, but thoroughly enjoyed it and understood the concept. An added bonus, the soundtrack is amazing. It features music by Ellie Goulding, Zedd, and A$AP Rocky. The musical score accompanied in the film really set the tone.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Honor Diaries LA Premiere

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the LA premiere of Honor Diaries at the Museum of Tolerance. This documentary brings to light the popular yet horrifying act of  'honor violence' that women and girls face around the world. Nine women come together to tell their stories and difficult journey as women's rights advocates, specifically within Muslim societies. These heroic women hail from different parts of the world and professional backgrounds but have one common message, the goal to end the inequality and injustices that women are facing globally.

Through a compilation of interviews, round table discussions, and news stories we learn about the unfortunate mentality the Muslim world carries about the 'honor' women are expected to uphold. The film discusses such horrible atrocities like female genital mutilation and honor killings. What I found most gripping and appalling is the fact that these acts of female oppression are not only occurring in the Middle East but in the United States, Canada, and Britain. Westernized societies have turned a blind eye to the persecution of women in the name of culture and religion. Audiences of all backgrounds and genders need to see Honor Diaries in order to not only become educated, but learn how to speak up against such dangerous and morally unjust acts.

Alex Traiman, the producer and writer, spoke briefly before the screening and his words encompassed the overall message: "More than a movie, Honor Diaries is a movement meant to inspire viewers to learn more about issues facing women in Muslim-majority societies, and to act for change."

To find out more about the film or to attend/host a screening visit:

Q&A with three of the stars: Zainab Khan, Raquel Saraswati, and Nazie Eftekhari (left to right)

Raquel Saraswati, one of the stars of Honor Diaries

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oscar 2014 Wrap Up and Review

This past Sunday's 86th annual Oscars was a pleasant and entertaining, yet predictable show. Ellen DeGeneres hosted for the second time, and jokingly said it only took 7 years. She was a delightful host who succeeded at making the show engaging. Ellen was constantly in the crowd playing around with the stars. This really made the night more interactive. In fact, she made history with the most re-tweets in Twitter history (photo below). And it's not every year a host can get celebs to eat pizza right in the middle an award show. Ellen amusingly wanted to feed the starving stars by ordering a few pies from LA's famous Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria, only to later collect money from Harvey Weinstein and Brat Pitt to pay the tab.

Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey's wins for Supporting Actor and Lead Actor, respectively, were the big stand outs of the night. Each played a role that was culturally timely and pushed the limits of acting. I think they both take home the title of 'best acceptance speech' also. It's hard to believe a rock star and the man who brought us Failure to Launch could be Oscar winners but every year we see unlikely surprises. I don't understand all the Leo DiCaprio sympathizers who think he deserved to win. While I agree he's a great actor, his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street was in no way comparable to McConaughey's portrayal of an AIDS victim in Dallas Buyers Club. Recently someone sarcastically joked, 'Leo's many roles playing a rich white guy is a far stretch from his real life.'

I was personally hoping Her would have won more awards but was glad to see Spike Jonze take home Original Screenplay. For all the hype American Hustle gathered over the months, it was happily surprising (for me) to see them with no wins. Gravity took home a few awards to for it's excellence in technical fields like Best Director and Cinematography. 

The Great Gatsby won awards for Costume Design and Production Design, although the film didn't garner any recognition in acting and directional work. Lupita Nyong'o won for Supporting Actress which was really no big surprise, but that doesn't make it any less worthy. As an alumnus of Yale University School of Drama, Lupita moved us not only with her acting in 12 Years a Slave but her real-life poise and heroism. Bill Murray's impromptu and off-the- record tribute to the late Harold Ramis was a great treat as well. Those unexpected moments are what I enjoy and remember the most.

All four nominees for Original Song performed, which really added entertainment value to the show. Otherwise we'd just be looking at John Travolta's horrible head of hair and Leonardo DiCaprio's sour face. Most the performances were beautifully sung, but Pink's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" paying tribute to the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz really blew everyone else out of the water. Surprisingly the worst performance was the actual winner, Idina Menzel's "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen. I think she was just having an off night. Menzel was great on Glee, but last night was not her best work. Bette Midler made an unexpected yet welcoming appearance singing her classic Beaches song "Wing Beneath My Wings" following the in memoriam video.

The big award of the night went to 12 Years a Slave for Best Picture. While I don't think it was best picture worthy, I do agree that it was the standout film of 2013. It surpassed all other nominees in depth of acting and range of content. Overall another great year in movies. Let's see what this year has in store for us. Make sure to follow me at @MattMovieGuy for more reviews and maybe we can shut down Twitter again.