Regrets, Please (Movie Thoughts: The Wedding Invitation)

MV5BMWY4ZTIwOWEtMjA2MC00MjQ3LWE1Y2YtZWJiMzRlN2FlZTQwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTM2MzgyOTU@._V1_UY1200_CR92,0,630,1200_AL_It’s not that ‘The Wedding Invitation’ is necessarily bad, it’s just so…nothing. This film was written, directed and stars Rainy Kerwin, and is about three women killing themselves just so they can get a date for an upcoming wedding. It’s really a sad state of affairs here. But the acting wasn’t too bad, to be honest, and there were some moments I almost moved my mouth going to a smile (it did not go all the way)  I guess it’s a little better than going outside when the temperature in the desert is in the triple digits.

Dance Me To The World (Television Thoughts: World of Dance, Tuesdays on NBC)

World-of-DanceI haven’t watched any of these reality competition shows in a while but somehow I was lured by World of Dance on NBC.  Perhaps jennifer Lopez and Derek Hough – two people I genuinely like – were the ones who lured me. And I wasn’t expecting much, but after watching two episodes back to back, I am now fairly certain I will watch the rest of the episodes the rest of the summer. I think what I liked about the show is the passion these contestants have for dancing. The show wisely doesn’t dwell that much on auditions that are bad and focuses on the great performances – and there are some great performances here. I know that some of those back stories can be very manipulative – tribute to dead father, I come from a broken family and boo hoo – but those stories really color their performances greatly, and helps with your appreciation of them. And Jennifer Lopez is a great judge – full of passion herself. And can I make a confession that U have never heard or seen NeYo in anything? But he is a good judge here, as well as Hough, though I would have to see more of them to really comment. and Jenna Tatum is emphatic  and bubbly enough as a host/mentor.  All in all, this is a great team assembled, and for now, I have high hopes.

Lost In Translation (Movie Thoughts: How To Be A Latin Lover)

how-to-be-a-latin-lover-50-shades-poster‘How To be A Latin Lover’ was a niche hit a couple of weeks ago when it first opened.  The movie rests on the shoulders of Eugenio Derbez, who I am told is a big star in Mexico. I have never heard of him, and if I am not mistaken this is his first film to have a major release in the States. Well, he is definitely the draw here, as he plays the role of Maximo, a jilted gigolo who has to find his way back to being taken cared of by another financier. Perhaps something is lost in translation, because I found Derbez annoying. This role should be played by someone good looking and charming, so you can understand why an older woman would be attracted by him, but I found Maximo insufferable. And physically, I don’t know how someone would find this guy attractive at all (but of course mileage on that may vary)  He is supported by a great cast – I found Rob Lowe as his fellow gigolo to be funnier, and he certainly projects better on screen (Lowe looks like how Brad Pitt should look now) and Salma Hayak, as Maximo’s sister, shows great sincerity here.  There are some genuine scenes in Derbez’s scenes with Hugo, played by cute kid Raphael Alejandro, but they aren’t enough to save the film, or my boredom.

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On Holy Ground (Movie Thoughts: The Shack)

large_shackThis will be a negative review of ‘The Shack.’ But before I do so, let me just tell you where I stand on spirituality and religion. I was raised a Catholic and a lot of it is still swimming in my head. I believe in faith, yes I believe in God, but no, for the most part, I do not believe in organized religion. I remember having a realization when I was at the Vatican years ago and saw how immensely wealthy the Catholic church is. And I thought to myself, if the church is preaching what it is about love and helping others, why is the organization such a fat pig and there are still a lot of starving people in the world? I am not totally against it, but if you are thinking person and not just sheep following, you would wonder.

I never did read the best-selling book by William P Young that this movie is based from – not my kind of reading, but I know it has a lot of fans. My initial reaction to the movie – is it one of those Christian propaganda movies, designed to bait? It’s not. It goes out of it’s way to be ‘partial.’ But it does that by going the way of new age mumbo-jumbo. Mackenzie Phillips (Sam Worthington, who I thought was Scott Eastwood) has a family tragedy and he questions his faith, which was not rock-solid to begin with. He gets summoned to go to a shack where said tragedy occurred, and there he meets The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. It should be more meaningful, but it’s worse: it was boring. And this film says what it tries to say in one hundred and thirteen minutes, and in the end it doesn’t say much. I wanted this to be better, and for sure the film has some competent performances, but there’s only so much Octavia Spencer. who plays ‘The Father,’ can do. In real life, she isn’t God.

 

Revenge Served Cold (Book Thoughts: Payback, John Inman)

24281300‘Payback’ by John Inman is a very engrossing story, and touches up[on some very important issues: homophobia, gun violence, even immigration. But I foudn it very hard to get past some of the stupid choices the main character makes. The story revolves mostly around grief, and how it affects us in different ways. But I guess it is my own prejudice that hinders me from accepting what Tyler, the main character, does to deal with grief, and in particular how he deals with thought of revenge.  But Inman’s book is never boring, I gotta give him that – you will be riveted from the first page to the last. Some things don’t really make sense, but I charge it to good storytelling.

She Had It All (Movie Thoughts: All We Had)

large_all_we_hadI was just talking about Katie Holmes, and it just so happens that I just watched her movie, ‘All We Had,’ and found out that this is her directorial debut. Based on a book by Annie Weatherwall’s 2015 novel, the film is one of those ‘women-in-peril’ movies,  although in this case, Holmes’ character Rita’s perils are caused by herself by making all these bad decisions for her and her daughter, Ruthie (a luminous Stefania Owen)  and the she runs away from these said problems. She gets into ruts and bottoms, and Holmes, in poor girl grub, is deglamourized and acts like the martyr. This film seems to be not broad enough for a major movie, and is more akin to one of those Lifetime movies – although if I have to confess, I have not seen any of those Lifetime movies in years. I do like Holmes as an actress, and she is effective her, and their mother-daughter relationship is appealingly complex at times. There is even a sub storyline about a trans woman that is very positive, and I also appreciated Luke Wilson as one of her love interests. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it is truly forgettable.

Kids Just Want To Have Fun (Movie Thoughts: Kids In Love)

kilwebLook, I probably love London more than anyone I know, but in ‘Kids In Love,’ I learn that millenials in there are just as annoying as the ones in the United States. Will Poulter stars in this movie directed Chris Foggin’s kids-filled movie. he plays Jack, who is eighteen years old, and is taking a gap year before going to Uni. Then he meets a mysterious French girl named Evelyn, played Alma Jodorowsky, and his life is momentarily turned upside down. He hangs out with them, he squats at their place, foregoing household responsibilities, childhood friends, and an internship acquired by nepotism. Everything is fun and games until you realize you need to work to live life, and then you go back to reality. That is basically the plot of this film, its thinness ready to sink the whole thing at any minute. I felt a lot of it a waste of my time, but I did enjoy the obscure London locales, so it wasn’t a total loss I guess. But for others, I bet it will be.