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Rough Night

Movie:  Rough Night

Rating:  3 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Way back in 2006, there were four BFFs in college who swore they would always be there for each other.  Ten years have gone by, and while they have kept in touch, they really haven’t seen much of each other.  But when Tess (Scarlett Johansson), in the midst of running for public office, announces she is getting married, her gal pals decide to reunite for a badass bachelorette party.   Uninhibited Alice (Jillian Bell) flies into Miami along with professional political activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer), and soon to be divorced Blair (Zoe Kravitz), and the ladies waste no time getting down to party.  One more bachelorette appears, a friend of Tess, in the person of Aussie girlfriend Pippa (Kate McKinnon).

The night is young, and the five women engage in the usual bachelorette activities of consuming alcohol, snorting cocaine, wanton dancing with secret code words (tampon!), and eventually make their way to a gorgeous house by the ocean to continue their non-stop party ways.  But something happens to change the festive mood in an instant, and their lives change dramatically.  While they scheme to stay out of jail, the ladies find that being under emotional duress brings out feelings that have been pent up too long, most of them quite unflattering about each other.  Meanwhile, the fiancé is wondering what in the world has happened to Tess as she is incommunicado, sending Peter (Paul Downs) on a bizarre search and rescue mission to Miami.

What to say about this film?  To say it is an uneven story is to damn with faint praise.  After the first half of the movie, I was about to write it off as one of those heavy-handed rude and unduly crude comedies (yes, Seth Rogen, I am talking about Neighbors and Neighbors 2), but then there was that event in the movie that caused the plot to shift gears into a totally different film.  Let’s just say it started out as a wacky comedy, and turned into a new genre,  a comedic film noir, where things turn very dark indeed!  So while this is not a great film, I must admit it kept my attention riveted to the very end.  So I would give this movie one thumb up….(nod to Siskel & Ebert)

Mini Trailers:  Frat Party Dude in 2006 – “Stop making me horny and shoot!”

Bachelorette Girls (BGs) – “What is that?”  “It’s my vibrator.  It randomly turns on and off.”

Tess to a Campaign Staffer – “My opponent tweeted out a dick pic!”  Staffer – “He apologized for it.”  Tess – “Yeah, he said it was the wrong dick pic and then he tweeted out another!”

Alice – “I don’t want to do anything illegal tonight.”  “Frankie – “You just snorted a mound of cocaine!”

Pippa – “This is a poltergeist situation.  I’m not doing anything!”

Peter’s Buddies to Peter – “You want to get Tess back, right?  Then you’ve got to go astronaut, Bro.”  “Let’s get some adult diapers!”

Tess – “We promise to spend the rest of our lives being better people.”  Other BG – “We suck.”

BG to Pippa – “How are you alive?”  Pippa – “I don’t know but I’ll take it.”  Other BG – “She should get a CAT scan.”

BG – “How many strippers did you order?”

“Now by the power invested in me by GetOrdained.net, I now pronounce you….”

Cameo:  Quickie appearance by Demi Moore.  Where have you been, girl?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot:    Hard to believe 5 people fit in a Smart car.

Harder to believe Weenie Linguine is a real thing you can buy.    Another sign of the apocalypse….

Astronaut Diapers:   For those of you who may think the reference in the movie is phony, it is not.  There actually was a female NASA astronaut who allegedly wore the space diaper (known officially as the Disposable Absorption Containment Trunks) so she could drive many miles to kidnap the love interest of her one-time boyfriend.  Ick!

Post Credits:  This is one movie that is really worth it to stay until all the credits have run.  There are two extra scenes, and the last one explains a key mystery from the movie.

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Wonder Woman

Movie:  Wonder Woman

Rating 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Rating:    Long, long ago, there was a dust-up among the gods, and Ares killed off the other gods.  But before he kicked the bucket, Zeus set up the isolated island kingdom of Themyscira  as the home of the Amazons.  It is protected by mysterious barriers that make it difficult for outsiders to penetrate, so the Amazons, ruled by Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), live an idyllic life in isolation and without the annoying presence of any men in their world.  The Queen’s daughter, Princess Diana, decides at an early age that she wants to become a great warrior, and in time becomes the most skilled warrior on the island.

Then one day the sound of an engine in the sky startles the Amazons, and for the first time their kingdom is penetrated by a WW I fighter plane that crashes off the coast.  Diana pulls the injured pilot, Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from the craft and saves him from a watery grave.  Unfortunately, Captain Trevor is hotly pursued by a German vessel that finds their way to the Amazon homeland, and Princess Diana learns of the War To End All Wars being waged in 1918 Europe.

Diana, with Captain Trevor, is off to Belgium to stop the trench warfare being fought by the Germans and the Allied armies.  The war seems about over, but Germany is trying for a last gasp victory by developing a super lethal biological weapon from Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya), aka Doctor Poison.  With support from Germany’s General Ludendorff (Danny Huston), the war is about to take a very nasty and toxic turn.  Unless of course, Diana and Steve, along with a motley support crew of Sameer the spy, Charlie the marksman, and an American Indian chief, can somehow intervene and save the day.

This is a great action movie, and very well done.  Recent DC comic movies have not done as well as the Marvel films, but Wonder Woman is a home run.  Gal Gadot is marvelous, as beautiful as she is talented in an action role.  She has the goods to carry the film, and Chris Pine is all the ladies could ask for in a leading man.  The movie does not make the mistake of burdening the audience with endless action sequences to show off their CGI special effects, although the end of the movie indulged itself a tad much in that regard.  All in all, terrific fun.  Can’t wait for the next installment of Wonder Woman!

Mini Trailers:  Diana meets Capt. Trevor – “Wow, you’re a man!”  “Yeah, do I look like one?”  “Who are you?”  “I’m one of the good guys.  Here come the bad guys!”

Diana – “You are a typical example of your sex?”  Steve – “I am…above average.”

Diana to Queen – “If no one else will defend the world from Ares, I will.  I must go.”

Steve – “Welcome to jolly old England.”  Diana – “It’s hideous!”

Diana to British High Command – “Where I come from, generals don’t hide in their offices like cowards.”

Sameer seeing Diana in action – “I’m both frightened and aroused.”

Steve showing Diana the trenches – “No Man’s Land.  This battalion has been here a year and they’ve barely gained an inch.”

Steve to Diana – “It has to be me.  I can save today.  You can save the world.  I love you.”

Gal Gadot:  The last two years Alicia Vikander was wanted for every film.  Now Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress, is the new “It Girl” in Hollywood, and is in great demand for new projects.  If you haven’t seen her she has been in 4 of the Fast and Furious flicks, and last year killed in her Keeping Up With The Joneses role.

About Time:  Wonder Woman has been around in the comics since 1941.  About time she made it onto the big screen as the leading lady.  You go, girl!

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Baywatch

Movie:  Baywatch

Rating:  2 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Lt. Mitch Buchannon is on the job.  He is the head lifeguard on the elite Baywatch team that patrols the crowded beach at Emerald Bay, Florida.  Besides the families there to soak up the sun and fun, there are plenty of rowdy college kids and occasionally the criminal sorts preying on the unwary.  Mitch and his core group of incredibly beautiful and extremely competent lifeguards, (Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), CJ Parker (Kelly Rohrbach), and Stephanie Holden (Ifenesh Hadera)), are there to save folks from drowning, getting in trouble, or just getting too sunburned.  Never a boring day at the beach.

Then things got really interesting.  As part of his community service for vague misdeeds, two time Olympic gold medalist Matt Brody, aka the “Vomit Comet” (Zac Efron) shows up to be a new lifeguard.  Cocky to the point of arrogance, Matt does not fit in with the Baywatch team.  Even worse, there seems to be a drug trade near Emerald Bay, and a few dead bodies popping up as well.  Mitch and the gang just can’t let the police worry about crime on the beach.  They are hell-bent on getting to the bottom of whatever is going on.  Maybe the stunning Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) has something to do with Mitch and Zac’s interest.

Hoo boy, how to describe this movie?  If you like plenty of eye candy on the beach, or have a nostalgia for the old TV show, then you will probably enjoy this flick.  It indulges in frequent juvenile humor (Ronnie Greenbaum stuck in the beach chair was just pathetic), then tries to pivot into some serious action stuff.  Despite Dwayne’s considerable comedic skills and Zac’s impressive pecs, the movie just doesn’t jell.  Sorry gang.

Mimi Trailers:  Mitch to Matt – “This ocean will tear your man-gina off.”

Ronnie staring at CJ Parker – “She’s the reason I believe in God!”

Mitch – “We watch what other people don’t want to watch.  We protect what other people don’t want to protect.”

Mitch – “No one can claw their way to the top without getting a little dirt under their fingernails.  You disobeyed orders.  You can’t save anyone if you die.”  Matt – “I know, I messed up.”

Mitch to cop – “We were in lifeguard pursuit.”  Cop – “There is no such thing as lifeguard pursuit.  You’re just regular people pursuing regular people!”

Matt holding up Olympic medal – “Where did you find this?”  Mitch – “It washed up on the beach.  You only threw it 8 feet.”

Cameos – Yup.  They managed to shoehorn David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson into the show.

Baywatch TV Trivia:  Mitch Buchannon had a lot of relatives pop up over the years.  There was Gayle, Irene, Kyle, Buzz, Jim, Al, and two Hobie Buchannons.

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Going In Style

Movie:  Going In Style

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    The Wexler Steel Company, a major employer of the community, has gone belly up and moving the operation to Vietnam.  Not only has that meant its employees are now out of a job, but through some dubious restructuring of the company’s debts, the bastards have sucked the money out of the company pension fund.  That leaves retirees like Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman), and Albert (Alan Arkin) up the creek without a paddle.  Joe is about to have his home repossessed by an unsympathetic bank, and Willie’s kidney is giving out and needs money for his medical bills.  The three best pals meet for lunch at Nat’s Diner every day as their funds dwindle, desperate for answers but don’t see a way out of their dilemma.

Then one day Joe is in line at the bank when a gang of masked gunmen burst into the bank and rob the place.  The hold-up goes like clockwork, and the obviously professional gang get away with a great deal of money.   The robbery plants a thought in Joe’s head.  What if we were able to rob a bank?  It would solve our problems.  After much debate, the trio decide to go for it.  What have they got to lose?  But they need help from a real criminal who can train them.  And they need a plan, a foolproof plan.  Because at their age, they can’t afford to get caught….

This movie is a joy to watch.  With three old pros like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin, all Academy Award winners, how can you go wrong?  The chemistry with this cast is perfect, with additional help from fine actors like Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon and John Ortiz.  Along with the great actors you get a first rate heist caper with a plot that holds water and entertains the viewer till the very end of the movie.  Do yourself a favor and go see this film.

Mini Trailers:   Bank Robber – “Ladies and Gentlemen.  Thank you for your attention.  We’ve come to make a withdrawal!  Please do not call the police for 90 seconds.  A shootout never ends well.”

Steel Company Spokesman – “The company pension fund is being dissolved.”  Joe shouts – “Thirty years of hard work means shit to you people!”

Albert – “You could have been shot!  Or worse.”  Joe – “What’s worse than being shot?”  Albert – “Being shot twice.”

Waitress to Depressed Geezers – “No pies?”  Willie – “We’re watching our waistlines today.”  Albert – “Plus we’re shit broke!”

Joe – “We hit a bank and we get away with it, we keep out dignity.”  Albert – “What if we don’t?”  Joe – “We’ll get away with it.  We got experience and smarts.”  Willie – “And arthritis, shingles, and gout.”

Supermarket Security Officer to Geezers – “Look what you did to Cindy.  She looks like a Colombian drug mule!”

Criminal Tutor – “You have to be in great shape.  I realize you guys are 4000 years old, but under those masks you have to look in great shape.”

Bank Robber – “It is a culture’s duty to take care of its elders.”