The highly energized, clever and witty film ‘Late Night,’ tells the story of the first and only female late-night talk show host named Katherine Newbury (Thompson). The script by, Mindy Kaling, is sharp and spirited. From the trailer, you could think this is just another office comedy, but I assure you it’s much more. Read more
There are times when you should ignore the critics and just, based on who’s in it, watch a damn movie. This is one of those times. Is ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ perfect? Not by any stretch, but you get to sit down and witness an outstanding cast offer you zany jokes about the undead walking around a little town. It’s a zombie film! Relax your standards a little and watch it for the cast. Watch if for the camp. There’s plenty of it and it’ll certainly take your mind off your troubles for a little while. We need that these days. It’s Father’s Day weekend. If your dad has a sense of humor, take him to this movie! I’m done ranting.
There’s plenty of gore in this zombie effort but where it really excels is in its kook. There are a lot of clever moments in this flick. As I mentioned, I love the cast, but I also like the tone of it and the attitudes of the characters. The film is appealing, mostly because it isn’t scary. It isn’t meant to frighten but what I found most inviting is how it looks and smells of the old Ed Wood style of filmmaking. It’s quite possible that’s what Jim Jarmusch (Paterson, Only Lovers Left Alive) was going for. I sense this will eventually fall into the same status, as well. ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ could be the film that wouldn’t die either. Good for him if it lives on. Seems to me, Jarmusch was simply out to make a fun film for people who have a sense of humor and don’t take things so seriously… to hell with the critics, this is for some laughs.
In the town of Centerville, Bill Murray and Adam Driver are two of the three police officers in town. They play Cliff and Ronnie, respectively, while a third officer, Mindy, is played by Chloë Sevigny. Driver and Murray have perfected the art of deadpan and use it to its full potential here. Polar Fracking has caused a change to the earth which has shifted off its axis and now everything has gone haywire, even time. Coffee-loving zombies enter a diner and, to their joy, find a couple of employees to dine on, too. This scene is rather graphic but again… zombie film.
Three cops are on their own to rid the town of the serious problem of a Zombie Apocalypse. They have to stop it, but how? Luckily, zombie films are out there. The advice in films has always been, ‘The only way to kill the dead, is to kill the head.’ There are plenty of cameos to entertain you. Steve Buscemi is a farmer wearing a ‘Make America White Again’ hat. That’s a nightmare, actually. Tilda Swinton comes out of nowhere wielding a Samurai sword like a Jedi handles his lightsaber and, you’ll cherish this… Adam Driver has a ‘Star Wars’ keychain. You’ll love other movie references and pay attention to the song. The movie is filled with little gems you’ll have a great time spotting. And! I refuse to ruin anymore for you. Look. It can be slow at times. The pacing might have you looking at your watch, (Because we don’t look at our phones in a theatre, correct?!), but ultimately, with such a deliberately biting and satirical script, how can you go wrong? It’s summer. Loosen up and have some fun!
The Dead Don’t Die
Director Jim Jarmusch
Writers Jim Jarmusch
Stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Rosie Perez, Iggy Pop, Sara Driver, RZA, Selena Gomez, Carol Kane, Austin Butler, Luka Sabbat and Tom Waits
Running Time 1h 45m
Genres Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
“Men In Black: International” demonstrates that the whole world still needs to be saved from some truly awful aliens. But MIB is no longer only in America, eh – mostly in New York City – but now in London, Paris and other exotic locations. The New York agents K and J are gone now. Perhaps they have taken a vacation to Uranus. But in any case, there are still threats to the world. And there is a band of Men (and Women) in Black to keep the peace. Not to mention all the De-Neuralyzer action to start flashing and make all the bystanders forget anything they saw of the action…
Molly (Tessa Thompson) is a young kid who lives and breathes science and outer space. When an alien makes it to her house one day, she befriends the little guy and helps him escape. The Men in Black visit the house and De-Neuralyze her parents to make them forget, but they did not get Molly. She grows up and finally locates the NYC branch of the MIB offices. She invites herself into the building, and is caught by the new Chief, Agent O (Emma Thompson). She gets put into probationary status as a junior Agent. She is now going to be Agent M, and she gets sent to the London branch to help out over there. She meets the leader in London, named (appropriately) High T (Liam Neeson).
The London office is in a bit of a shambles. There might a mole in the office, and some people are not trusting anyone else. Agent C (Rafe Spall) thinks there is something fishy with the most famous one, Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Agent H and High T once saved the world in Paris a few years ago, and he will not let anyone forget. Agent H decides to team up with the new Agent M and show her how it done. The first assignment is an easy one – protect a royal alien dignitary show him a good time. However, when a couple of shape-shifting aliens attack and try to kill the visiting alien – the royal visitor gives Agent M a special keepsake before he dies. Then shift to Marrakesh, where some shady arms dealers have been attempting to get banned alien weapons to sell on the Black Market. Agent H and Agent M find that his contacts have been killed.
They also locate a strange small alien race that lives life on a chessboard. All the other little alien guys have been murdered, and only a single pawn remains. Agent M names him Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), and he swears allegiance to Agent M forever. Agent H and Agent M (and Pawny) are chased by other MIB Agents, but they escape. Agent M determines that the ‘special keepsake’ was a secret weapon with the power of a supernova. It could destroy the whole planet if, it fell into the wrong hands. The all decide to go and visit Agent H’s old girlfriend in Naples. She is a three-armed alien named Riza (Rebecca Ferguson), and she could be after the supernova weapon. But Riza has a mean alien bodyguard who is ready to kill Agent M, until she remembers that he is the grown-up version of the cute little alien from her childhood. Awwwww!
When all seems lost, High T comes with reinforcements and saves the day. The shape-shifting aliens are destroyed, and the supernova weapon is secured back at London HQ. The MIB world can now rest in peace. Or is it going to be – RIP? If there is a high-ranking mole, then the special weapon is in danger, and so is the rest of the Earth. Agent C now understands that Agent H is not the bad guy, so it must be someone else. But can they get to the Paris location where the earlier battle occurred? The world is under attack and again, and the only group who can save it are the Men (and Women!) in Black. Just like AC/DC might say, “I’m Back in Black”!
This version of the MIB is very good, even without the original pair of Agents (Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith). Getting it to open up overseas where even more insane action can happen is a good thing. Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson have a really finely-honed ability to do comedy. The story can sometimes drag in places, but it gets a few great lines and some nice touches here and there. A good voice acting job is done by Kumail Nanjiani as the cute little Pawny. It would have been nice to have a little bigger role for Emma Thompson, because her part was little more than a cameo. And of course, Liam Neeson could never be the bad guy, right?
“Men In Black: International” does what it can to pick up after the prior three MIB movies. If this one can generate some sparks, then maybe we can eventually see a sequel crossover event, an MIB movie directed by Christopher Nolan — “”Men In Black: Interstellar”…
Men In Black: International
Director F. Gary Gray
Writers Art Marcum, Matt Holloway
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson
Running Time 1h 55m
Genres Comedy, Adventure
“Shaft” is the current 2019 version of the continuing story of John Shaft that was started in 1971. “He’s a complicated man – But no one understands him but his woman” – you know, the theme song by Isaac Hayes. Well then, “Shaft” later appeared in 2000, when Samuel L. Jackson took over the main role from Richard Roundtree. Now, with this movie, there is trifecta of “Shaft”. This new version has Jessie Usher playing a newest generation of “the cat that won’t cop out, when there’s danger all about”. Can ya dig it? You’re damn right!
JJ Shaft (Jessie Usher) was raised by his mother Maya (Regina Hall) because she was afraid of the violence that followed her husband, John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson). JJ grew up not knowing that his father was a fearless private detective in Harlem. He had a major bad attitude that matched his bad-ass skills. JJ is much meeker and more gentrified, being raised by his Mom. But law enforcement was in his blood. He became an FBI Agent, well – actually – he is a Computer Data Analyst. JJ is far from the guns and violence and the street thugs, or so he thinks. A friend of his is found dead of an overdose. But his childhood friend Sasha (Alexandra Shipp), who is now a nurse, knows that he was killed, and it was made to look like an OD.
JJ Shaft takes time from his FBI duties to go and find his father, John Shaft. Shaft has not seen JJ in close to 20 years, and he wonders why the kid seems like a wimp. John Shaft has no filter and says whatever the F*** that he wants. So, there is a little bit of stress between the two of them. Since the death of JJ’s friend also ties back to a drug kingpin, John Shaft is very interested to find out more. JJ and John go and start checking into some seedy places to find out things that some very scary people want to keep private. Sasha is not amused with the blunt attitude of Mr. Shaft (senior). But she also finds some clues that lead the detectives onto the right trail. Maya has also come back into New York City for a date, but she does not know that JJ is working with John Shaft.
There are some assassins that are out to kill John Shaft and in son JJ. They attack them in different places, where JJ is with Sasha and wher John is around Maya. They both get the best of both of teams of thugs, sent by a mysterious source. Later JJ and Sasha go to explore a warehouse that they think is a link to drug smuggling. Sasha gets abducted and taken as a hostage, and JJ goes to his dad for help. John Shaft knows that he could also use some assistance. So, he goes and gets another person to help them – the original John Shaft (Richard Roundtree). He is the uncle (or father?) of the current John Shaft, and he knows New York City and Harlem scene since, when – going back at least to 1971…
“Shaft” is a politically-incorrect, trigger-rich environment of crazy laughs and misadventures. It is not for the faint-of-heart or for people who could be easily offended. If that might describe you, then “yo’ better keep yo’ ass away!” (as John Shaft might say). It is designed to teeter over into crude language, violent behavior and irreverant humor. This movie is that much better for doing that, and pulling no punches. It skids out of the boundries of ‘polite company’ into a uproarious down-n-dirty gutter crawl through the funniest adventure ever found in Harlem. Samuel L. Jackson is given full reign to go off the rails in his portrayal of John Shaft. He rides that role hard and puts it away wet. With top-notch help from Regina Hall, Jessie Usher and Alexandra Shipp – the movie is a full-tilt boogie blast of fun. Then, bring on the original Shaft – Richard Roundtree – at the end, and it’ll blow the roof off the joint.
“Shaft” uses the Hard-R rated power of Samuel L. Jackson to deliver one wild Harlem ride. “You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother. Shut your Mouth !”
Director Tim Story
Writers Kenya Barris, Alex Barnow
Stars Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, Richard Roundtree, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp
Running Time 1h 51m
Genres Action, Comedy, Crime
“The Secret Life of Pets 2” is very similar to the first movie in this series (the first one was just named without the “2”). It has mostly the same animated characters, and (mostly) the same actors doing the vocal work of those characters. The same cheerful animation style is used to tell a cute and engaging story about several pets who live in New York City. The dogs and cats, and occasionally a little white bunny and a hamster, have grand adventures and learn deep, important lessons about life. In other words, it is kid’s movie. But it is done with a wonderful flair and style, and the animation is top-notch. The story is a nice blend of adventures based on three of the main pets. There is nothing earth-shattering here, just a fun time for the kids…
In New York, the two dogs Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) are owned by a nice lady named Katie (Ellie Kemper). In the first movie, the adventure revolved around Max getting used to Duke as a new dog housemate. Now Katie is married, and she has a child. Max, who is already a Nervous Nelly type anyway, is very petrified that his job is to always protect the little kid. Max develops a scratching issue, and he is brought to the vet. Max gets the ‘Cone of Shame’, and he is even more upset. Duke is not worried about little things like that. Both dogs are ready to take a trip to the country for some relaxation. While at the farm, Max meets a fearless farm work dog named Rooster (Harrison Ford). Rooster will not put up with any little pansy-wansy city dogs. If Max is out at the farm, he will learn to face his fears and be brave.
Back in the city, Max’s neighbor dog Gidet (Jenny Slate) has been given the job to safely hold in to Max’s favorite toy. But Gidget accidentally lets it get away and it goes into an apartment owned by a crazy cat lady, who has multiple crazy cats. The only way that Gidget can get the toy back is to get advice for another neighbor cat named Chloe (Lake Bell). Chloe is a typical cat and will help Gidget to get the mindet of a cat. She works with Buddy (Hannibal Buress) and Mel (Bobby Moynihan), so she can learn the ‘Way of the Cat’. Gidget is able to enter the crazy cat lady apartment and face the overwhelming foes. There are cats that really want to keep the new toy, and they do not want to give it up. She must battle to become the Top Cat in the crazy cat lady space.
Also, there is a cute fuzzy white bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart) who is deluded into thinking that he is a superhero. He even has daydreams about being ‘Captain Snowball’ – the caped crusader against evil and bad things. In his daydreams he seems to enter “Into the Snowball-verse”, an alternate dimension where is a real Hero. He does get his chance when a new dog named Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) comes looking for help. She knows that a baby white tiger is being held captive by a very bad circus owner named Sergei (Nick Kroll). She and Snowball go there to the circus to fight wolves and release the little deadly tiger. They seem to be able to do this will remarkable ease, but the evil Sergei and his fierce wolves are soon on the hunt and get him back. By the end of the movie, all the pets get into the chase to catch up with Sergei and free the little tiger cub again.
There is a big ensemble cast in “The Secret Life of Pets 2” and they all do very good voice work. The visual details are well done, and the clear characterization of each of the pets is fun to watch. The story line is a little bit fragmented, seeing that there three different stories going on. But it easy for even a small child to see the various story lines progressing as the movie goes on. Each of the stories matches up towards the end, with a chase and a fight sequence on a train. But even when the darker side of Sergei is revealed, there is a way that all the pets work together to defeat him. They even get a boost from the crazy cat lady to get back the baby tiger and send Sergei packing.
So you can do yourself a favor by seeing this movie. That way you can stay out of the dog house (unlike Louis CK)…
Movie Screening Summary
“Shaft” is the next chapter in the film franchise featuring the coolest private eye on any New York City block. JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ’s own FBI analyst’s badge may clash with his dad’s trademark leather duster, there’s no denying family. Besides, Shaft’s got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that’s professional and personal.
Advance Movie Screening For SHAFT
Find your chance to receive special advance movie screening passes below.
Advance Movie Screening Details
Movie Screening Date: Monday, June 10
Location: Harkins Tempe Marketplace
Movie Screening Time: 7:00pm
Las Vegas, Nevada
Advance Movie Screening Details
Movie Screening Date: Monday, June 10
Location: AMC Town Square
Movie Screening Time: 7:00pm
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This is charming… just darling. I’ve made it a point to keep an eye on what Netflix has been putting out and I’ve been pleased. However, I’m not quite sure why they’re not releasing all their films in the theatres nationwide instead of only in select theatres. My advice to you is, if you’re near one of the theatres releasing ‘Always Be My Maybe,’ give it a watch this weekend. It deserves your attention. If you don’t have Netflix, but let’s face it, you most likely do, get it for the string of films Netflix has been releasing lately. There’s ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,’ ‘The Highwaymen’ and now this. If these films alone speak of what’s coming next, there truly may be a day when theatres become obsolete. Not that I’m hoping for this, it’s that Netflix is getting that good.
This isn’t the most original story, I’ll grant you that, but Randall Park and Ali Wong, who also helped produce and write the script, have been working together since 2015 on ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and make this film feel, well, fresh. They’ve perfected their attitude toward one another’s work, are very familiar with one another’s style and approach to comedy and have chemistry you can’t deny. Had this movie been made with someone else, I don’t think it would have worked as well. Since these two truly identify with each other’s id, they sell the relationship and you’re happy to pay.
Park and Wong play Marcus and Sasha who have been best friends most of their lives. When we meet them it’s 1996. Young Sasha, a latch-key kid, is alone most of the time. Her parents are too busy to even be home for dinner. Luckily, she doesn’t always have to feed herself because the mother of her best friend Marcus usually invites her to eat with them. This is also where she learns how to cook and why she’s now a massively successful chef who’s going all over the country opening new restaurants.
In 2003, Sasha helps Marcus through the death of his mother. They become close. Soon after, sympathy and compassion turn to passion and they have sex. It’s an awkward and witty scene. Wait until you hear about the condom!
Anyway, after the sex, in the backseat of his car no less, they feel uncomfortable around and toward one another. It’s clear they weren’t ready and they both wish they could take the moment back.
Now we’re in present time. Sasha, L.A.’s latest Hot New Chef, is engaged to Brandon, played by Daniel Dae Kim, who’s also her manager. They’re planning to wed but you know how your best plans can go sometimes. Sasha spends most of her time with her pregnant assistant Veronica (Michelle Buteau), especially when Brandon ends up leaving town for a while. This is, of course, around the same time Marcus, who’s the lead singer of a band, living with his dad, comes back into her life.
When they see each other again, they remember why they’re no longer friends and instantly go for each other’s throats. Let the laughs begin. Wong and Park must have worked extra hard in front of the mirror to display just the right ‘If looks could kill,’ faces. The more scenes they have together, the better the film gets. Pay close attention to all the dialogue… you’ll greatly appreciate this character-driven, comedic gem. What you’re looking to happen throughout the movie is to see if Marcus can break through the rough exterior that this lost, heartbroken, intelligent and loving woman has built OR is he forever destined to live outside the walls of her heart?
See this and be sure to stay and listen to the song during the end credits. Again, the film and its concept aren’t new but Wong and Park designed this script for themselves so they couldn’t have done better with the casting. You’ll love the surprise guest, too. It was perfect.
Watch ‘Always Be My Maybe’ on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/80202874
Director: Michael Dowse
Writer: Tripper Clancy
Producers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan
When a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) picks up a passenger (Dave Bautista) who turns out to be a cop hot on the trail of a brutal killer, he’s thrust into a harrowing ordeal where he desperately tries to hold onto his wits, his life and his five-star rating. Directed by Michael Dowse, this action-comedy from 20th Century Fox also stars Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino and Karen Gillan.
STUBER Official Channels:
OFFICIAL SITE: StuberMovie.com
DIRECTOR: Olivia Wilde
WRITERS: Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins and Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman
PRODUCERS: Megan Ellison p.g.a., Chelsea Barnard p.g.a., David Distenfeld, Jessica
Elbaum p.g.a., Katie Silberman
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jillian Longnecker, Scott Robertson, Alex G. Scott
CAST: Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jessica Williams, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, Billie Lourd, Diana Silvers, Skyler Gisondo, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Austin Crute, Nico Hiraga, Mason Gooding, Eduardo Franco, Victoria Ruesga and Mike O’Brien
Official Site: http://www.booksmart.movie/
THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
Director: Simon Curtis
Screenplay by: Mark Bomback
Based on the novel by Garth Stein
Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Patrick Dempsey, Tania Landau
Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Gary Cole, Kathy Baker, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Martin Donovan and the voice of Kevin Costner
Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN is a heartfelt tale narrated by a witty and philosophical dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner). Through his bond with his owner, Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia), an aspiring Formula One race car driver, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition and understands that the techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life. The film follows Denny and the loves of his life – his wife, Eve (Amanda Seyfried), their young daughter Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), and ultimately, his true best friend, Enzo.
OFFICIAL SITE: TheArtOfRacingInTheRainMovie.com