With an authentic Hispanic flavor, How to Be a Latin Lover is a delightful movie. I’m giving it a B.
After seeing his dad spend his life working full time and gaining nothing, Maximo (played by well-known Hispanic actor, Eugenio Derbez) vows to do something different. He’s going to be Man Candy and marry a rich older woman in order to be cared for. With one signature move, he wins the heart of wealthy Peggy. But after twenty-five years, she falls for a younger man and Maximo is let go with only a suitcase of his clothes.
With nowhere to go, he seeks out his sister (played by Salma Hayek) who he’s ignored. Sara’s husband passed a few years ago and she’s raising her son on her own and trying to juggle a job and motherhood. Adding her selfish brother to her life makes for some hilarious situations as Maximo sets his cap on the grandmother of his nephew’s crush for his next wife.
With many amazing actors and actresses, some we haven’t seen in years such as Raquel Welch and Linda Lavin, How to Be a Latin Lover pokes fun at Maximo as he learns what is really important—family. Twists and turns keep the viewer guessing. Just when you think he’s going to get back in the good graces of his family, he does another silly mistake.
Spanish is spoken throughout the movie but subtitles are shown for those who aren’t fluent. This can pull you from the story but adds an authentic note to the movie which was filmed in partnership with Lionsgate and Telemundo. Also with an amazing soundtrack of Hispanic music, it’s sure to get your feet tapping.
Hugo, Sara’s son steals the movie with his ten-year old charm. He’s a kid who says what he thinks and is seeking a male role model after the death of his father. When he gives his heart to Maximo, your own heart will melt.
This little known movie is funny and heartwarming at the same time. With adult humor, it’s not good for younger audiences. But adults will enjoy it.
An epic tale of love among wartime, I’m giving The Promise an A.
During the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise tells about an Armenian medical student, Mikael (played by Oscar Isaac) who falls in love with a tutor, Ana (played by Charlotte Le Bon), who is already with Chris (played by Christian Bale)--a NY Times journalist reporting on the atrocities in Turkey.
Mikael has always longed to be a doctor and agrees to an engagement in order to get the money to attend medical school. In Constantinople, he meets Ana and Chris and becomes fast friends, but when the danger to Armenians escalates, Ana and Mikael act on their desires only to be parted when Mikael is drafted by the Turkish army.
This sweeping tale shows the little known Armenian genocide by the Turkish people. Over 1.5 million people were killed during atrocity. I was a little surprised it wasn’t released closer to the Oscar voting because this movie has all the keys to an Oscar nominee, love, passion and war. The love story features prominently as both men love Ana but are forced to make tough choices in order to do what is morally right. The movie reminds me of Doctor Zhivago but with a desert not the snow.
Ana is a delight as she puts the children and others always before herself. Who else sings French children’s songs in a tent camp? Charlotte LeBon is amazing as this born nurturer. It’s hard not to like Chris in this movie. He’s set out to tell the world about the horrible things happening but the things he sees are eating him up inside. Taken to drinking, he isn’t the man he used to be. Christian Bale plays him with the ferociousness of Batman, but one who is unable to take on the whole Turkish army. Mikael is a man who makes a promise and goes through with it even when his heart isn’t in it. With some of the most heartbreaking scenes, Oscar displays stoicism in the face of his pain.
The Promise is a movie which will be talked about for years, partially because Turkey still refuses to recognize this part of their history and also because it took over fifty years to get this movie made. Afraid of threats and retribution, The Promise was filmed amid a publicity black-out and received an unprecedented slam of one star reviews prior to the movie’s release. At the very least, The Promise is a movie which will expand your knowledge of history.
The latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise misses a beat without Paul Walker. I’m giving it an A-.
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is a man who stands by family, whether they are family by blood or choice. So when he’s forced to turn his back on his family to protect someone, all hell breaks loose. A skilled cyber hacker, Cipher (Charlize Theron), uses Dom to gather the materials necessary to hold the world governments accountable. She’s got eyes everywhere and has a warped sense of right and wrong.
In order to capture Dom and Cipher, Mr. Nobody enlists Dom’s family as well as some of his former targets. Hobbs (Dawyne -the Rock- Johnson) felt Dom’s betrayal first hand and is forced to work with former criminal, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in order to stop Dom and Cipher. But things aren’t all they seem. Letty (Dom’s wife) has never given up on him. And when push comes to shove, he risks the life of another to keep her safe.
The eighth installment is the first without Paul Walker. His character is referenced but not a part of the series and it changes the dynamic since in this movie, the team is battling each other. It would have been exciting to have “Brian” show up somehow to save the day. Featuring eye candy galore (Vin, the Rock, Statham, Luke Evans and Scott Eastwood…to name a few), Fate has a hot guy for every taste! But it’s a little guy that steals the show.
Charlize Theron is super bad. She’s got her own set of morals and even quotes Dr. William Glasser and Choice Theory (which made me sit up since I’m trained in it) as a reason for what she does. We learn she’s been behind everything in many of the previous movies and the ending leaves it open for future movies with her working her devious magic.
A movie with non-stop action, Fate has amazing cars and crazy stunts. Filmed in Atlanta, Cleveland, and Iceland, it’s not a movie you go to for outstanding dialogue but the snarky comments make it all the better. The swear-off between The Rock and Statham in prison is hilarious. In fact, Statham has the best fight scene at the end while keeping a baby safe.
You do have to suspend disbelief with a movie like this. Some of the over the top stunts seem to be impossible. One scene in Iceland with the submarine begs the question as to why more ice didn’t break up and take out the cars. The ice only broke in certain parts and didn’t have fissure lines which would have caused ice floats. So I’m knocking it down a little for those strange incidents. But if you are looking for a movie with fast-paced action, non-stop stunts, Fate is for you.
Each of us has a ghost-a soul-but Major’s shell is unique. I give Ghost in the Shell a B.
Based on a Japanese Anime comic book, then a video game and animated movies, Ghost in the Shell remains true to the original storyline and characters. Major is the first of her kind, a successful transplant of a human brain into a fully cyber body. She has been trained as a kind of police officer who does what it takes in a world where hacking means taking over someone else’s body.
Set in the future, the cinematography of Japan with large animated 3-D billboards advertising everything from online schools to body enhancements, Ghost in the Shell is visually beautiful. Scarlett Johansson plays Major, a woman who is confused about her place in the world. Is she human or just a machine? This question is the main dilemma as more humans receive enhancements, like an upgraded liver to allow them to drink more or vision to see through walls. Some of these enhancements are by choice but many are as a result of damage or disease. Just imagine how our world would be if we could give people back limbs they lost or hearing they lost.
But with the enhancements comes danger as these upgrades can be hacked, allowing fake memories to be placed in a person’s mind or having someone else control your thoughts and movements. It is why a specialized force including Major is vital.
Not having seen the previous comics or movie, I came to the movie without the background that a fan would have. Ms Johansson has become a kick-butt heroine, which is good and bad. She seems to play the same character in each of her movies. I saw shades of Black Widow in Major. The big difference was the lack of sarcasm from Major that Black Widow has. In this movie, Ms. Johansson spends a lot of time looking like she’s got a major case of the cramps. At one point, I wanted to give her some meds to help with it.
The secondary characters are fun. Batou is Major’s best friend and is a trained killer with a heart of gold. Kuze as the bad guy is a wonderful twist because he’s almost more human than the humans. His motivation will have you empathizing with him. Although we don’t really get any of the background on the secondary characters, they do provide a different view of Major.
Fans of the series cheered with the gripping storyline which gives background and showcases the comic universe. Although it doesn’t follow exactly, it does remain true to the story. Ghost in the Shell is why my son decided on prosthetics as his major. He’d like to see many of these enhancements come about.
Filled with action and great imagery, this movie is a good one to see, but with Scarlett’s pained expressions as well as how it could be Black Widow in the same role, viewers might want to wait to see it on DVD or go for the cheaper times.
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