Geek For E!

TwiView: The Lost City, C+

TwiView: The Lost City, C+ (in theaters everywhere FRI 03.25.22) Sandra Bullock (Demolition Man) co-stars with Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) in this sweet, implausible adventure and dare I say ‘love story?’  Loretta (Bullock) is a famed romance-adventure novelist who travels with Alan (Tatum) her cover-boy model that makes a living and life out of living as the pretty-boy Fabio cover model.  When Loretta taps into a clue to a famed Lost City in one of her books, she gets kidnapped by an eccentric zillionaire (Harry Potter aka Daniel Radcliffe) intent on finding a treasure buried within.  The adventure is fun enough, and Bullock looks uh-mazing, but there’s just no chemistry between she and Tatum (not as love interests anyway).   What starts as a comical action farce to rescue Loretta, somehow morphs into a love confession.  And just when you thought you could let that go and absorb the payoff of the big treasure find and untold riches….you just get a dose of lovey-dovey reality.  Brad Pitt’s cameo is fun and a great comical stretch for him, but even he can’t save this one.  See it for the fun ‘Indy Jones’ style adventure, see it for a knock-out Bullock in a hot pantsuit!  Heck, even see if for Tatum’s bare-chested hot bod; but don’t see if for a believable romance between the two of them, you’ll be lost.

TwiView: Matrix, Resurrections (2021)

Matrix, Resurrections (2021) A-.  They should have called it Matrix Redemptions; it erased the stench of the 2nd and 3rd installments.  It was fresh, it what was logically next for the Matrix on film and for the lore of how the Matrix system worked.  It was a bit long at 2hrs+ and for me, a little short on ‘money shot’ effects.  Thankfully, it’s still a love story at its core, centered around the two we know (even if this time they don’t know each other).  You don’t need to have seen Reloaded or Revolutions to feel right at home in this one.  It’s the original Matrix film…essentially resurrected (no spoilers!)  The opening scene sets the tone for a sweet ride down memory lane via the first film (keep your eyes open and if you can, watch the original before catching this one!).  #MatrixStillHasIt #MatrixMovie #MatrixBaltimore

Movie Review: Sing 2 (in theaters and On-Demand, WED 12.22.21)

Buster Moon is at it again!  Only this time, you’ll feel a bit different about it.  Sing 2 thumps into theaters and On Demand this holiday weekend and hopes to entice you and your little ones back for some high flying adventure and super cool pop tunes like the original.  All the cast is back including some newcomers (Singers Halsey & Bono as well as Letitia Wright to name a few), and they’re trying to put on an epic show anchored by a retired rock-and-roll star who is reluctantly pulled back into showbiz.   For me, this one is a miss – not because it’s almost 2 hours long (is that necessary?), and not because it’s the same awesome pop-music & hijinks formula as the original.  For me, it misses because it’s not inspiring, nor original.  You know the show will happen; you know it’ll be epic – but where’s the character growth?  Even Rosita (the worrywart pig voiced by Reese Witherspoon), and Meena (the shy elephant voiced by Tori Kelly) are the same tepid characters who big shock, overcome it again in the 3rd act.  I loved the song selections (covering the 70’s thru today), the coloring was masterful (the Ms. Crawly chase scene was amazing!), but it doesn’t make the film, and your little ones will fade away a bit, it’s just too long.  I’m giving this one a C+; see it if you have kids who need some new ‘food’ and loved the original.  Heck, watch it if you dig pop music through the years, but I defy you to not think you’re watching Zootopia 2 in between the song numbers. 

Movie Review: The Mauritanian (in theaters FRI 02.12.21)

(G4E Reviewer: Matthew Snider) I went into this film blind, as in knowing nothing, seeing nothing, something that put me in a good place to really dive into the drama that unfolded.

The Mauritanian or prisoner 760 is based on a true story about one of the hundreds of detainees that were unlawfully kept in-prisoned in Guantanamo Bay after the 9/11 attacks on US soil.

The premise as described on Wikipedia is as follows: The film follows Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Rahim), who is captured by the U.S. government and languishing in Guantanamo Bay detention camp without charge or trial. Losing all hope, Salahi finds allies in defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Woodley). Together, they face countless   obstacles in a desperate pursuit for justice. Their controversial advocacy, along with evidence uncovered by formidable military prosecutor, Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Cumberbatch), eventually reveals a shocking and far reaching conspiracy.

The Mauritanian brings to light a true story of one Mo Salahi who unravels and is built up all throughout this wonderful film. The pain, the confusion, the hatred, the broken hope and the restoration and forgiveness that is woven in and around this drama is one to really sit with.

The film brings together a heart breaking story of truth and lies, of death and life, of despair and hope, and of good and evil. 

Yet it doesn’t have a villain. 

Not the justice system, not the guards at Gitmo, not the Christian attorney or even the Islamic people group as a whole. This film really shows you people. Hurting and lost people.

In some of the last words we hear from Mo at the ending of the film, he explains to the judge that in the Arabic language, the word for Freedom and Forgiveness is the same.

With this powerful line delivered with such heart and faith, it truly gives us a picture of what humanity, in such a time as this, really needs to look too.

We need to believe the best about each other, and to forgive so that we can find freedom in all our circumstances. The Mauritanian is a film of black and whites, and a large grey area, but plays on both sides of the line. It plays on your heart strings and asks you to see people, not just a movie.

4 out of 5 stars (Matthew Snider, G4E)

Movie Premier: Antebellum (FRI 09.18.20, on PVOD everywhere)

“Enter to win a copy of Antebellum available to watch on Friday, September 18th.” To enter, check the details below the banner and movie synopsis, and we’ll see you (virtually) at the movies!

Veronica Henley (Monae) stars as a 21st century high-powered woman of industry who finds herself stalked, kidnapped and enslaved in a horrifying reality that may or may not be real.  Trapped in a slave world, she’s forced to confront her past, present and future demons in a race against time for her very life.  Produced by the minds that brought you ‘Get Out’ and written/Directed by Advocacy filmmakers Bush & Renz, this insane and mind-bending suspense thriller will have you gripping the cushions!

For more information on the film, visit the official site: www.antebellum.movie. Share your thoughts with us on social using the tags; @AntebellumFilm #Antebellum

CONTEST: If you didn’t know, ‘Antebellum’ will be released directed to premium streaming this FRI, 09.18.20.  Winners of our contest will receive a ‘1-time use electronic code’ which will allow you to stream the entire film from the comfort of your home…free of charge!  How do we pick you for the code?  Check it out below!

Find our Facebook page and post up your best images of star Janelle Monae – as many as you can.  Add the hashtag #antebellumfilm to your posts and sit back.  If G4E ‘LIKE’s’ your image, that LIKE will be turned into an entry for our random drawing of stream codes.  SO, post as many images/hashtags as you can – you only increase your chances of winning (although you can only win a code once!).  The writers of G4E will take all entries/LIKE’s and draw names – if you are a code winner we will direct Facebook Messenger you the stream code for the film.  All winners will be notified by THU 09.17.20 @ 9PM (so you can make your weekend plans!)  Remember, our LIKE is your entry to the contest – we will contact you directly via Messenger if your LIKE/Name is drawn as a winner.

MOVIE SCREENING: Do The Right Thing & Get Out (WED 08.12.20 @ 7PM)

Don’t call it a comeback geeky faithful, we’ve been here through all this crazy COVID stuff but we’re not letting it get us down.  If you can’t go in a theater, how about going to one outside?  Sounds crazy for Millenials, but Gen X & Y know all about drive in-movies and now with coronavirus at our door, drive-ins are making a comeback.  Luckily we have one here in the Maryland area (also another a bit up north and further south in VA, but that’s a story for another day).  The good news is, the movie studios are embracing the drive-in format to promote new and old films.  Now, let’s not get carried away when we start thinking about what the film selections will be in the drive-in format.  It’s extremely unlikely that say, Warner Bros will make a special 70MM to drive-in movie format copy of their incredible new sci-fi thriller ‘Tenet’ which was due to come out like five months ago.  But it is very likely they’ll dust off some of their older, quality and entertaining releases to the drive-in format.  And that brings us to our special ticket giveaway for this week courtesy of Amazon Studios & actor/producer Michael B Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four).  Check the details below the banners and we hope to see you (and all the humans you can comfortably, and social distance style, fit into your car) at the movies!

Amazon Studios and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society present to you ‘A Night At The Drive-In.’  A nation-wide screening of selected films celebrating multi-cultural voices.  This week, nation-wide is your opportunity to catch Spike Lee’s 1989 comedy-drama-thriller, ‘Do The Right Thing.’  The film centers on one of the hottest days in 1980’s Brooklyn and the simmering racial tensions that come to the surface as the heat heightens; culminating into a powerful and thought-provoking narrative about race, class, gender and even ageism in America.  One of Lee’s best works and it cemented him as a versatile, opinionated and worldly Director.  Directly following that film, will be Jordan Peele’s 2018 thriller ‘Get Out.’  Set against the backdrop of current day America, the film takes you on a journey deep into the bowels of race, trust, prejudice, belief, love, and betrayal (of yeah, there’s some comic relief too).  The world knew writer and Director Jordan Peele had talent from his previous work in comedic stage and TV acting, but winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for this film cemented his moxie and slow draw film style into the cinematic landscape.

We’re super stoked that Michael B and Amazon are doing this and when asked why he was embarking on such a bold summer move, he said “with this drive-in summer series, I hope that friends and families are able to not only enjoy, but to learn and grow. Now more than ever, amplifying Black and Brown stories means engaging culture to speak to hearts and minds about the world we live in. As we use this opportunity to reimagine community and proximity, I am excited that these films will be shared and celebrated all across the country.”

As part of the concessions for the screenings, all attendees will receive refreshments provided by Black and Brown owned businesses, which are Path Water, Pipcorn Popcorn and Partake Cookies.

SCREENING INFO:

Box offices opens @ 7PM and closes at 10PM – you are free to arrive and claim your ticket anywhere in between. The first film begins @ 8:30PM (hey…the sun has to go down right?). COVID policies are in effect – you must wear a facemask for entry and there is a $15 charge to bring in outside food.

TICKETS: Check our Facebook page, that’s where the ticket code will be posted in the 9PM hour (FRI 08.07.20)

Some helpful tips for attending films @ Bengies:

  • The theater and box office open at 7PM, and best seating goes to those who get there early, but NOTE!  4×4’s and SUV’s only get one row of dead center parking (at the back of the lot), otherwise you are located to the 45 degree left or right of the screen
  • You are not allowed to run your car during the film.  If you try and cheat by turning the key over without engaging the engine (cause you need some AC bad), make sure your car battery is strong.  If not, no worries, Bengies is prepared with mobile car jumpers (no charge), however, once they start your car – you will have to leave the facility
  • You cannot sit any higher than your vehicle.  What does that mean?  If you drive in with a Ford F150 with a nice towbed and decide you’ll place your lawn chairs in the bed to get as high a seat as possible…you’ll be asked to take them down.  In fact, Bengies has staff wandering around with stretches of rope to help you bring your rear hatch doors down to no higher than your vehicle’s height.
  • Don’t test them on the personal food.  If you plan to bring your own food, pay the $15 fee at the gate.  There are roaming Bengie staff looking for you, and they know what their food items look like!  You’ve been warned.

TwiView: Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), A-

You know it’s hard to reboot a videogame into a movie with the right formula.  Many have tried and failed (anybody ever see Super Mario Bros?), but hats off here because this Sonic works and borrows just enough visible cues from the game to make this a delight for the 6, 16 and even 60yr olds of the world – and that’s no small feat.  The story centers on our blue hero who is chased from his home world and into ours only to be comically and relentlessly hunted by the evil Dr. Robotnik (of course it’s Jim Carrey, who else could portray a methodical genius and a haphazard buffoon at the same time!).  Aiding Sonic on Earth is an upstart Montana town Sheriff James Marsden (Cyclops of X-Men fame) who struggles with his place within a small Montana town and yearns for some action.   When Sonic and Robotnik hit the scene, we’re all treated to a videogame style melee that hits all the marks.  I was truly surprised at how enjoyable and just plain fun this was to watch.  I’m even going all-out on my fearless box office forecast:  It will be #1, it will beat Fantasy island & The Photograph on its way to a $40M+ box office weekend.  A- (why a minus?  Just something about the demographic makeup of the fictional town of Green Springs, Montana – but it’s a movie, so I’ll let it slide)

TwiView: Bad Boys For Life (B+)

TwiView: Bad Boys For Life (in theaters now!) They’re back! Will Smith (Mike Lowery) and Martin Lawrence (Marcus Burnett) return after a 17yr hiatus and the two haven’t skipped a beat. Still just as funny, and despite their ages, just as action-packed. BB4L centers on a revenge plot being taken against Mike Lowery that inevitably pulls everyone from his past into focus. The ‘boys’ reluctantly team up in attempt to thwart the plot but also to help Mike get his mojo back (we know, how did he lose it right? And why would the boys be reluctant to join up?) Oddly, after 17yrs the series is not stale, and Miami looks as stylish and as hot as ever. What separates this 3rd chapter of the BB series from other buddy-cop stories and their third chapters (we’re thinking Lethal Weapon series) is…nothing, ok maybe a little something. Of course it has the same formulaic lost love that needs to be rekindled, the same tragedy scenario that befalls one of our heroes, and the obligatory death of a major character. Where BB4L separates, is a really unexpected plot twist that you don’t see coming, but you’ll get a small kick out of it all the same (can someone say the ‘Bad Boy Universe?’). BB4L has the laughs, the explosions, and the hot cars to take its place in the pantheon of action-comedy hits and our only complaint is that even though the characters got older (like Grandpop, gray haired and hittin’ the Grecian formula!), their action-moves did not. These characters are 50yo+ and still jumping, flying and kicking a lot of ‘arse’ – hey maybe they’re just in great shape and we’re jealous! You won’t mind though it though as you’re being treated to a barrage of bullets, one-liners and oh yeah, Reggie (memba him?). BB4L is rated R with a 2hr and 4min running time. We give this solid little threequel 4 out of 5 stars. Fearless Box Office forecast: $51M opening weekend).  Oh yeah, BB4L is taking a page from Marvel, so stick around for the credits!

BB4L (2020)
This time, it’s personal

TwiView: Dolittle (2020)

After losing the love of his life Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) shuts himself and the doors of his animal sanctuary off from the world. That is until Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) is taken ill, and Dr. Dolittle is summoned to help her. With the help of a young boy Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) and Dr. Dolittle’s animal friends, Poly (Emma Thompson), Chee-Chee (Rami Malek), Yoshi (John Cena), Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani), and Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer), they all set sail to find the one thing that will cure the Queen.

Dolittle will have you laughing out loud from start to finish. It is also a movie that helps to remind us there is nothing we can’t overcome. Especially when we have great friends by our side. Dolittle has an amazing all-star cast that also contains Antonio Banderas as King Rassouli, Michael Sheen as Dr. Blair Müdfly, Jim Broadbent as Lord Thomas Badgley, Tom Holland as Jip, Craig Robinson as Kevin, Ralph Fiennes as Barry, Selena Gomez as Betsy, and Marion Cotillard as Tutu.

While it was refreshing to see Robert Downey Jr. in a role outside of Iron Man it was really the animated animals who stole the movie. Chee-Chee (Rami Malek), Yoshi (John Cena), and Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani) have some of the funniest lines in the movie and will have you rolling with laughter. Dolittle is rated PG, and is a movie all ages can see and enjoy. I give Dolittle a B+. You can find Dolittle in theaters Friday, January 17, 2020. (R. Barry)

TwiView: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the battle between the Resistance and the First Order rages on while Rey (Daisey Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) continue their journey to find out who they truly are. In the conclusion of the Star Wars saga, fans will find themselves torn between the good and the bad. During parts, The Rise of Skywalker is fantastic, such as the visuals, but it has many parts that will leave you shaking your head. The Rise of Skywalker also brings back stars John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Issac (Poe), and Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), but some of the stand out characters in The Rise of Skywalker are the Droid C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and newcomer Babu Frik. Director J.J. Abrams was given a huge task to not only finish the Star Wars saga but also try to tie up every loose end left by The Last Jedi, and I feel he did the best he could with what he had.

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

So, how do I rate the movie? As a Star Wars fan, I rate the movie a B. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action. There is death, a little bit of blood, some curse words, and of course scary Sith. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters December 20th. (R.Barry)