Geek For E!

TwiView: Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil picks up 5 years after the events of the first movie, Maleficent. We find Aurora (Elle Fanning) Queen of the Moors and still madly in love with Prince Phillip of Ulstead (Harris Dickinson). When Prince Phillip finally asks Aurora for her hand in marriage it becomes time for both families to finally meet. Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) is still feared throughout the land, but Prince Phillips’s mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), isn’t scared and has her own devious intentions.

Family relationships are tested on both sides, and we finally find out who Maleficent really is. Filled to the brim with action Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is funnier, darker, more violent, and far better than the first movie. Angelina Jolie and Michelle Pfeiffer both give great performances, and provide tons of one-liners and deadpan humor. The animation and cinematography are beautiful and worth seeing on the big screen. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is rated PG, but really stretches the rating to the max so it might not be suitable for some ages. I give Maleficent: Mistress of Evil a B. Grab the popcorn and see it in theaters on 10/18/19. (R. Barry)

TwiView: Joker (2019)

We all knew about the Joker, but we all didn’t KNOW the Joker. Until now. Joaquin Phoenix gives a commanding performance, possibly his best performance to date, as Arthur Fleck the man who would later become the Joker. Arthur Fleck is an unhappy man. He suffers from mental illness and uncontrollable fits of laughter. He works as a clown for hire in Gotham City, and lives with and takes care of his mom, Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy). When hospital funding is cut Arthur loses access to his therapist and his medication. Arthur does have dreams though and aspires to become a standup comedian, but Gotham City is a cruel place and one subway ride changes the direction of his life.

Directed by Todd Philips Joker gives us a look into the mind, and making, of the man who would become Batman’s greatest nemesis. Joker also stars Robert De Niro (Murray Franklin), Zazie Beetz (Sophie Dumond), and Brett Cullen (Thomas Wayne). It is a fantastic movie and a true representation of the Joker character. It is rated R due to violence, language, and brief sexual and disturbing images. Not for children. I give it an A+. A must-see if you are a DC Comics fan. Joker opens in theaters on 10/4/2019. (R. Barry)

TwiView: Abominable (2019)

If you are looking for a heartwarming movie the whole family can watch then you have found it in DreamWorks Abominable. When a teenage girl, Yi (Chloe Bennet), finds a hurt young Yeti on her roof it sets her off on a magical adventure of a lifetime. Naming him Everest (Joseph Izzo), Yi decides to help get him home even though there are people, Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard) and Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) looking to capture him at all costs. Joining her quest to get Everest home are her neighbors Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainer). Their wild adventure teaches them about each other, the importance of family, and that maybe Everest wasn’t the only one who was lost. The story, music, and animation of Abominable are beautiful. While it does have a couple of slightly tense scenes humor is placed just right to relieve any tension almost immediately. The characters of Peng, Jin, and Nai Nai (Tzai Chin) are the standouts for this film and will have you laughing till the end. Abominable is rated PG, but it is a movie for all ages. I give Abominable a B+. Opens 9/27/2019. Whoop! (R. Barry)

(from left) – Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor), Peng (Albert Tsai) and Yi (Chloe Bennet) with the Yeti, Everest, in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s Abominable, written and directed by Jill Culton.

TwiView: Ready or Not (2019)

Ready or Not is a gruesomely funny thriller that will have you rolling with laughter from start to finish. Grace (Samara Weaving) is set to marry the love of her life, Alex (Mark O’Brien). From the start, she has the inclination his family really doesn’t like her. From his creepy Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) to his alcoholic brother Daniel (Adam Brody), Grace hopes to win them all over and be a part of the Le Domas family.

Little does she know that her new husband’s gaming tycoon family has a little secret. At midnight on her wedding night, Grace learns she has to play a game to be inducted into the family. It could be anything chess, old maid, checkers, but the game Grace draws, hide and seek, is the worst of all. Grace slowly learns this game of hide and seek is like no other, and that she must do ANYTHING to survive her crazy new in-laws till dawn.

(L to R) Kristian Bruun, Melanie Scrofano, Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, Adam Brody, and Elyse Levesque in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Even though Ready or Not has some amazing actors such as Andie MacDowell as Becky and Henry Czerny as Tony, Samara Weaving, and Nicky Guadagni are the standouts in this movie. Ready or Not is pegged as horror, mystery, thriller, but it really isn’t scary. Yes, a few things go bump in the night and there is a lot of gore, but the writers (Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy) and directors (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett) do such a great job interjecting comedy into just the right places that all tense moments are alleviated in seconds. Ready or Not will leave you rooting for the heroine and possibly never wanting to play hide and seek again. Haha! Ready or Not is Rated R. It has a lot of violence, blood, language, and some drugs. Not for children. Great movie all around. This non-horror film lover would see it again. I give it an A. Ready or Not opens on 08/21/2019. (R. Barry)

TwiView: Angry Birds 2 (2019)

The birds are back and they are no longer angry. After saving the eggs of Bird Island from the Pigs in the first movie, Red (Jason Sudeikis), Chuck (Josh Gad), and Bomb (Danny McBride) spend their days feuding with the Pigs from Pig Island. Their job is never done and Red basks in the glory of being a hero.

That is until one day the leader of the Pigs, Leonard (Bill Hader), asks for a truce. Having discovered another Island whose inhabitants don’t have the best intentions in mind for Bird or Pig Island, Leonard asks Red for his help to stop them. Cue Red getting the bird band back together including Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) and reluctantly adding Chuck’s sister, Silver (Rachel Bloom).

Funnier than the first Angry Birds 2 has a ton of laughs, and if the late ’90s and early 2000s was your jam a lot of the humor is right up your alley. (Especially if you loved Dawson’s Creek.) Some amazing actors join the cast for Angry Birds 2, Leslie Jones as Zeta, Awkwafina as Courtney, Sterling K. Brown as Garry, and Tiffany Haddish as Debbie. Angry Birds 2 is rated PG. It does have some adult language and rude humor. I give Angry Birds 2 a B. Angry Birds 2 opens on TUES 08.13.19 (R. Barry)

(L to R, front to back) Courtney (Awkwafina), Chuck (Josh Gad), Silver (Rachel Bloom), Red (Jason Sudeikis), Leonard (Bill Hader), Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) and Bomb (Danny McBride) in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animations’ ANGRY BIRDS 2.

Hair Love Short Film (2019)

There is an animated short film that shows before Angry Birds 2 called Hair Love. It is about a little girl who wants her hair done so badly and her father who tries to do it. It is one of the cutest and most heartwarming short films I have seen in a while. I give Hair Love an A. (R. Barry)

TwiView: The Upside (in theaters now)

TwiView: The Upside (in theaters now). Kevin Hart (Dell) & Bryan Cranston (Philip) form the unlikeliest of friends in this touching, urbanely funny, and spirit lifting dramedy. After stumbling onto a job as a care companion for Philip, an agitated paraplegic billionaire, Dell discovers hope, challenge and change are in store for them both as each helps the other to recognize ‘the upside’ to their very different but equally difficult lives. For Dell, an estranged father to his son and girlfriend, there are lessons of humility and responsibility. For Philip, it’s learning that he can recover the pieces of his life he’d long thought gone based on his crippling condition. The film is light hearted enough and full of adventures between the two as the curmudgeonly Philip is shown a new way of looking at life by the optimistic and one-liner filled Dell. The true standout in the film is Nicole Kidman (Yvonne), who works for Philip as an Executive household secretary of sorts (even though she’s Harvard educated and capable of so much more). Kidman’s ability to showcase command of Philips home staff, while simultaneously displaying frailty over her own life and choices was mesmerizing. ‘The Upside’ is funny, yes – but at its root is a story of redemption – for both Dell & Philip. See it with a friend or date and see if you can gauge if in fact that is Julianna Margulies (TV’s ER & The Good Wife), portraying Philips long time pen-pal turned blind date. B+

Hart & Cranston from an enjoyable albeit unlikely friendship

Movie Review: Aquaman

TwittReview: Aquaman delivers a big bucket of FUN! Director James Wan brings us a movie that shows there is light in this tunnel for DC Comics and movie adaptions. The second act, from start to finish, is one of the most fun sequences I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time! Grade: 5 out of 5!!

Aquaman official poster (aquamanmovie.com)

[Read more…]

TwitView: A Star Is Born (2018); in theaters FRI 10.05.18

TwiView: A Star Is Born (2018), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) stars and directs this immersive and beat banging remake.  From the start you’re treated to a barrage of original soul, blues, and rock music courtesy of co-star Lady Gaga (Machete) and Cooper, who each co-wrote the bulk of the films tracks.  This age old tale (redone for the 4th time?) follows an aging rocker, Jackson Maine (Cooper) who still has the fans and the sound, but is fading in a pop music world.  After accidentally discovering Ally (Gaga), they begin developing music and a relationship together.  No ‘rock love story’ ends happily ever after, and Jackson’s eventual descent into a booze and pill ridden lifestyle eventually takes its toll with he and Ally, his brother and manager (played so powerfully by the great Sam Elliott), and even on him.  If you’re a fan of blues-rock ‘ala’ Santana, Clapton or Page/Plant, the rock track ‘Black Eyes’ will slay you.  On the softer side is Cooper’s ‘Maybe It’s Time.’  This film will definitely garner some awards nominations; for Cooper it’ll be Oscar level for gaga it’ll be an MTV award.  The film runs a bit long at 138 minutes and you feel it in the 3rd act which seems to drag to its conclusion.  In the end, it’s a soulful and rocking good time watching these two blossom and the ultimate downer to see how their relationship falls apart.  B+

Bradley Cooper (Jackson Maine) and Lady Gaga (Ally) share a tender moment

Movie Review: Ant-Man & the Wasp

TwitReview: Ant-Man & the Wasp is a fun ride in the MCU. Lots of action, laughs, and a post-credit sequence that will leave you wanting more! Go see it!! 5 stars

[Read more…]

Movie Review – Solo: A Star Wars Story

TwitReview-  Solo: A Star Wars Movie delivers an origin story of Han Solo, Chewbacca, and an adventure in a galaxy that is far, far, away. Full of action, humor, and a darn good fun time.
Grade: 4 stars

[Read more…]