Wednesday, July 20, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Ghostbusters

There was certainly enough negative on the internet leading up to this flicks release.  But, sadly for the naysayers, it's not the horrible garbage they were anticipating.

This is the updated version of the 1984 classic. This of course with an all-female cast featuring some big names including Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. This has been brought up to date in some ways, and that part of this was done pretty well.  This is a big CG fest, and you get plenty of it.  But, this movie was kept to a nice one hour and thirty-five minutes and that was a good decision.  Also a good idea to not let this sink into the raunchy hole as that was my biggest fear.  Language tame  - and sight gags same.  And amazingly someone made a comedy without horrible human bodily functions gone wrong.

This version, is the genesis for what will certainly be more of these, with this cast in tact.  There are some fun cameo's here that are quick and work well.  The soundtrack has been updated nicely, and the original Ghostbusters theme in used as well, in a newer version. 

Is this funny?  Actually no.  Much of the completely over used technique of improv dialogue really doesn't work very well here.   Our stars are again, the same character as they were in last movie they made only this time fighting ghosts.  Many of these performances are really starting to meld together and look the same.  McKinnon for some reason really doesn't work here, as her character in theory should be really funny, but is not. Sadly, she is the weak link, but inn fairness, more was asked of her, as McCarthy, and Wiig are relegated to be the same character again, and again, and again - again.

But as non-funny as this is, Ghostbusters is pretty entertaining.  This moves along well, and there is enough to hold you till the next scene.  Most are quick and tidy, and they do pay off well as far as the special effects many want to see.  Strangely too, this is being reviewed far better than it is being received by many fans who seem to be so-so on the whole idea and movie.

Ghostbusters.  On a rainy or 100 degree day, not a bad afternoon in air conditioning.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

Summer means summer comedies.  Since The Hangover series is long over, we need something to replace it for the next few summers, and that franchise is here.

Sometimes you go to a movie and you know what it is.  You know this is going to be a raw, if not raunchy comedy.  And that's basically what this is. But looking at it fairly, this is more than that. No doubt they take the easy way out for much of this with predictable raunchy stuff,  but this also takes a really honest look at this generation as a whole. 

This is based on actual characters. Meet Mike and Dave. They are brothers in their late 20's who ruin about everything they touch at family gatherings with their drunken and even light drug infused antics.  As their baby sister is getting married, the parents insist they bring dates to the wedding who will keep them in line. Instead the girls they choose are in many ways even worse than them as far as the partying is concerned. So it's on!

As the escapades roll on there are some good laughs, some of them guilty pleasure, laughs but a lot of this is pretty funny. It walks up to, but never really crosses over the line as far as gross, or outrageous comedy is concerned.  Plenty of drinking, sex talk, light drug use and general inappropriateness.  And some of this works.  But there is more.

This movie actually addresses the issues that this generation faces, and looks at them head on.  Some of this is done through comedic dialogue and some of it heartfelt.  This does poke fun at the characters in general, and the generation at large.  Is this perfect? Heck no, but this is not a bad day a the flicks.  This is a hard R rated flick, so it may not be for everyone. But for the intended target, this will be spot on.

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates.  It's no Hangover, but it's fun.  And there will be more.  



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Indians - Tribe Time Is Our Time

When the Cavaliers won the NBA Title and bridged the 52 year sports crevasse, we all breathed a little easier, and stood a little taller. 

The celebration across the region was amazing, as we all took part in one way or another, and maybe you still are.  Enter the Indians, our Tribe.  Yes, they have been playing terrific baseball since the Cav's title, and I feel that is not a coincidence.  Who, in essence are the Indians?  They are just young guys, be it rich ones, who own televisions too. They saw what happened in the wake of a championship in Northeast Ohio. They liked it, and they want it too.

What the Cav's did was partly because of us, and with our help. I will always believe that. We felt that that it was within our grasp, and we willed this team to perform at its best when it seemed all was too late.  Then we took to the streets and let it all our when Lebron and the boys came home.  That has rejuvenated the area in total. What a great gift from the Cavs.

Many fans are coming back to the Tribe now that it is fashionable to to so.  I personally don't care how you get there, just so you do.  Many on Sports Radio and Social Media complain about the Tribe's ownership, and have problems with the Indians because of that, and are slow to support. Please!  How ridiculous and uneducated is that?  I have never decided to be a fan of any sports team because of the billionaire who owns them. 

But this Indians team is good.  And they have a much larger advantage than even the Cav's do.  No, the Tribe does not have the worlds best player, but they have something even more bonding for all of us to grab on to. They have the everydayness of baseball.  I know that's not a word, but so what, it's the truth.  It's so ironic that what the very casual fan views as baseball's negative in so-so or losing years, becomes it's biggest asset when it's finally "next year."  I don't know about you, but I find myself a bit ticked off  - on days off.  When you're winning, you want to play.  With this team,  I'm all in!

But the truth is, the Tribe has laid the framework down for an amazing season, and now it's up to us to push them as far as we can any way we can.   Take the ride with them and get involved emotionally with this very likable team.  As much as the Cav's brought us together, the Tribe now has the opportunity to galvanize us like never before, day in and day out.

Virtually no one reading this was even alive the last time the Tribe won the World Series in 1948 me included.  And I don't know about you, but I am ready.  I embrace the Tribe every year, but I am a realist from season to season and look at them as the really are. And this year, they are really good and really built right to give us all the thrill of a lifetime, and remind us that there is nothing like a World Series Title. - In OUR town.

It's Tribe time now,  and that's true. But just as important, it is our time too.  Enjoy this, because what you're seeing is damn rare air.  Go Tribe!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Free State Of Jones

Sometimes a movie comes out that looks like its going to be incredible, only to be on the other end. And that's what we are dealing with here.

Matthew McConaughey stars in this Civil War Drama that is based on actual events that took place between 1862 an 1876.  A Rebel soldier leaves the Confederate Army at the zenith of the war, and sets out to stage a rebellion against the Confederate way of life, and the Confederate Army itself.  And basically everyone and everything else.  Interesting story sure.  But...

I am having a very tough time deciding what this movie is actually trying to say. And I think the makers of this are too.  It's anti-North, South, Government, War, Rich, Military, Judicial system...in short, it's about anti-everything.  The story in it's raw form is pretty good, but it just goes on and on about how tough life was then, and how the deck is and was stacked against everyone.  Might be true, but it doesn't make for very good movie making.

This is also insanely too long. It's only about 2 hours 15, but feels way longer than that as it's about 30 minutes too long.  This totally needed a sharper editing blade.  There are some compelling moments in this movie, and McConaughey gives a nice performance, in an incredibly large role.  A role he seemingly was born to play.   But there is simply a heavy fog of "something's not right here" hanging over this entire project.  This is missing with many national critics, and this time they probably have it right.

The Free State Of Jones.  Marginal.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Independence Day 2

Some ideas are simply better left alone.  This certainly qualifies as one of them, if not the poster child for it.

20 years ago this was a real big CG movie that was fun, and had a sense of suspense to it, as it played on our fears of possibly being attacked by a large alien force.  It starred Will Smith and others, and in the end the good guys (Earth) survives.  Now flash forward to this installment (minus Smith) but with virtually all the other original cast and what do you have?  A total mess.  (Smith wanted nothing to do with this)

Now it's 2016 in the movie, and their world in this movie looks zero like the real world today. There are colonies on the moon, and we have space craft flying all over cities across the country.  We travel in space like we are running to Circle K.  I really don't understand this scenario at all for our movie.  This looks more like Star Wars than not.  This flaw is the death blow to this movie right out of the gate.

What made the original work so well, was you felt the vulnerability of living in our world, while being attacked by a superior race force.  This has none of that really, and is very much like a video game in its look and feel.  The script is embarrassingly bad, and is written on about a 4th grade level.  No offense to 4th graders, but this is simply bad.  Stink bad.

There is some humor here that works at times, and there are long action scenes that help push this along, but it can't be saved. But unlike the original from 1996, they have set this up for more to be made as this series can go on. Oh joy!  But luckily for some of our better actors involved, they chose to have their characters killed off so they don't have to do any more of these.  Good decision!

Independence Day 2.  What a waste of time, energy, money and effort. This really is a joke.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Weight Of The Wait

I have been a Cleveland sports fan my entire life.  I grew up here, and no matter where my professional travels took me, The Tribe, Browns and Cavaliers were still my favorite teams.  I am well aware of the 52 year wait for a championship from one of these guys, and I am trilled, like you  - it has finally happened.  I had been waiting too.

What the Cavaliers did was even more amazing that the sport stats will say.  I have stated on the air and on social media many times that nothing can galvanize an area more than a winning pro sports team.  Many times to the raised eyebrows to those within eye and or ear shot. But I think the last month or so, we all saw that play out day after day.  No matter where we come from socially, the one thing we all had in common this spring was the Cavs.  Or was it?

The Cavs did everything right, and for the record they did not break some silly so called "curse." I have never bought into that scapegoat negative mentality.  The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Jose Mesa, and the rest were just what sports cities go through.  All of those moments were simply one thing.  Better players, on better teams, making better plays, in bigger games.  Period!  Even Jim Chones broken foot for the Miracle Cavs, was just part of the game.  Over time, all of those things though do become a bit weighty

You see, what the Cavs did even more than win a championship for us, is they gave us an even better gift. They reminded us of how much we all really love our city, our area. That to me, is the galvanization, the real gift, and what we all may be secretly waiting for and not even know it.  They have relieved some of the pressure off the other teams here, and the city at large.  And maybe reminded you how much you love living here, if by chance you had forgotten.

Now we can stop talking about some half century drought, and get on with the enjoying the games, for the reason you're supposed to.  Because you love the game, and the fact that we are so fortunate to live in such an area to have all the major sports teams we do.  The Cavs reminded us that our sports teams are here to enjoy and not to agonize over. 

Thanks to the Cavaliers and their fans, the weight of the wait - is officially over.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - The Shallows

Here comes another shark movie, and the difference this time -  is that this is good. Darn good.

This is essentially a one person movie. This stars the wonderful Blake Lively who portrays a troubled young woman who is trying desperately to survive after being attacked by a shark while surfing in Mexico.  This is very nice and tidy checking in at 1 hour and 27 minutes, and almost all of them very intense.

Nancy (Lively) goes to Mexico after the death of her mother who is taken by cancer.  Nancy drops out of medical school and is trying to cope with her mothers death.  So she returns to a hidden Mexican beach her mother surfed before Nancy was born hoping that will bring her some solace.  What it brings is a savage shark attack, and this becomes a tale of survival.

This is brilliantly done. This movie is extremely intense with the entire emphasis on the impact, and the terror and the will to survive instead of the blood and gore of countless other shark movies. Nancy get marooned on this rock about 200 yards off shore and cannot make it back.  She is battling countless enemies in addition to the shark. The water, heat, sun, a badly wounded foot and leg and her inner demons.  You are the rock with her, and you squirm in your seat.

So refreshing to see a movie determined to be good instead of a bloody CG fest. There is far less shark here than you would think, but he looks great when you see him.  But this is Lively's flick. She is great, and pulls of this basically one person show with ease.  I am becoming a big fan of hers as she has grown into herself.  It's been a long time since The Traveling Pants movies.  I loved her in The Town, and the Age Of Adaline was a real nice performance. 

She is easy to watch on screen, and is really good here in a very physically challenging role.   I find myself really being ready to see what her next project will be. She's becoming that good.

The Shallows. Solid, intense, good.  Like a good jolt at the movies?  Go see this.