Mississippi Grind (2015)

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is the type of guy who has his life fall apart because he is addicted to gambling. He loses his daughter, his home, and even his marriage. He is constantly behind and always owes people money. He has to pay off all of his debts, but he still goes out an gambles everyday. While at a blackjack table, he meets Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). Curtis is a real jokester and he and Gerry become very close after he buys him a drink at the table. Curtis sees that Gerry is the type of guy who he can go out and party with and also go gamble with. However, while on the road at a huge gambling event in Mississippi, Gerry and Curtis start to run into some problems with each other, especially when they are losing. It all goes down hill for them there because they are still two degenerate gamblers who do not know when to get out.

First off, this is a gambling movie that is a boatload of fun to watch. Going into this movie I was a tad bit skeptical given what it was about, but I am very glad that this movie did not disappoint.  The greatest thing about this film is the character development. They really go int depth on the personal lives of Gerry and Curtis, which is something that I really like to see in a film. Mississippi Grind is one of the better films about gambling that is out there. It was great to see the troubles of an addicted gambler and how they absolutely cannot stop going to the race track and the casino. Mississippi Grind does a really good job of showing how these two cannot overcome their addiction and what it does to their lives.

The acting in this is pretty great, which really surprised me. I usually feel like it is hit or miss with Ryan Reynolds, especially after the last few films that he has made, including Self/Less. I do however, feel that he really did an outstanding job with this and he ended up being your favorite character throughout the entire film. The same goes for Ben Mendelsohn. I’ve never been his biggest fan either, but he showed that he can really act when he is in his right element. Mendelsohn has never really showed me anything from his work that has really intrigued me. i have heard he is good in Netflix’s new show, Bloodline, but I have not seen that yet.

What you get from Mississippi Grind is a really fun and energetic movie about the struggles of gambling and what they can do to you as a human being. When watching this film, you really find yourself becoming very engaged and never bored. There is constant entertainment in this and really never a dull moment. I think that all of the credit for this goes to Mendelsohn and Reynolds because with their outstanding chemistry together, they provide a movie that is well worth watching. This is a smaller release that many people may not have heard of from 2015, but you should definitely check this out.

Overall, Mississippi Grind provides a large amount of entertainment and a really cool and fun story. With fantastic performances from Reynolds and Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind does everything it can to impress you.

Grade: B

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99 Homes (2015)

A desperate construction worker, Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is really trying to make ends meat to support his son, Connor (Noah Lomax) and mother, Lynn Nash (Laura Dern). Nash is a construction worker who has been in-and-out of work all the time due to a poor economy. After several warnings of repossession, a sketchy real estate broker by the name of Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) shows up at the Nash home with police officers informing them that they must vacate the premises because the home now belongs to the bank. After being escorted off the property, Nash has no idea what he is going to do. He has no money, no job, and he has to take care of his son and mother. After a few days, Nash finally finds a job with Carver where he will have to do exactly what Carver does, even if that means cheating the government, which could very likely put him in prison for a long time, destroying people’s lives, and having his son and mother resent him as a person.

The is one that I have been looking forward to seeing for a while. I have never seen anything that director, Ramin Bahrani made prior to this film, but I may actually want to check them out now. I was really happy with the turnout of this movie. I think that it had a great story, great acting, directing and even went into character development. 99 Homes also teaches you some lessons in life that there are a lot of hardships in life and things like this can actually happen. This is just a really exciting and thrilling drama that often makes you feel bad for people, but love the people who are on the other end of this doing the illegal work. What I really liked about this is that we see Nash go from completely desperate when he loses his home, to greedy and unable to stop what he’s doing because he wants more.

The acting is what really made this movie better than good. Andrew Garfield gives a fantastic performance in this and he is someone who we know is capable of doing great things, but we often forget about him due to the amount he is actually in. He is someone who I think is capable of having an Oscar nomination in the near future. Another great thing about this movie is the outstanding performance from Michael Shannon. He has been in a lot of movies as of late and I think he has only gotten stronger as an actor in his career. He definitely stole the show on this now. Even the small amount that Laure Dern was in this, she was pretty good. She is generally good in everything she is in, so I kind of expected this.

99 Homes is pretty much a thriller and not a serious drama. There are a few scenes in this movie that will have your heart racing. There was even a lot of character development in this movie that sparked my interest. From the beginning, they really went deep into how Nash and his family live their lives and the hardships they faced all the time and they did the same with Carver. 99 Homes is definitely a movie that I think a lot of people will find to be good. This is a really good thriller that has you not knowing how things are going to work out for Nash. The entire movie is almost like watching a close sports game and you are down to the final two minutes.

Overall, 99 Homes is a crazy thriller with some triumphant performances and an interesting premise. This is one I recommend checking out.

Grade= B+

 

Fantastic Four (2015)

Growing up as a geek in school, Reed (Miles Teller) has always been interested in science and what he can do with it to make a serious impact on life. Now he is in high school and he finally gets his chance to show some people at his science fair what it is he is trying to do. After doing something pretty unbelievable, Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathy) asks Reed if he would be interested in a full scholarship and coming to work for him. This offer is way too good to be passed up. Reed then teams up with Dr. Storms two children, Johnny (Michael. B. Jordan) and Sue (Kate Mara). Then there is also the help of Reeds buddy. Victor (Toby Kebbell). After working on a huge operation for some time, the four of them finally get their machine working and then something goes horribly wrong. All of them have something strange about them that is pretty unexplainable. This is something that will absolutely be stuck with them for the rest of their lives and together, they will be fantastic!

Some time has passed that this movie came out and I have been extremely hesitant of checking it out. Yes, I am a huge fan of Marvel movies, but with this one, I don’t really know what happened. Even with a promising cast, this movie still needed a lot of help, but before I get to the negative, let me first talk about the positive of this movie. About the first hour of this movie I really did not have any complaints about this movie. I thought it kicked off strong and was going to deliver another awesome Marvel flick, but sadly after the first hour, it turned to, pardon my language, shit! It took a turn for the worst and completely destroyed any hope that this movie actually had.

The acting was honestly not too bad in the movie, but it went nowhere and just got completely ridiculous and stupid. Miles Teller was fine in this. He is actually one of the big up-and-coming actors in my opinion. I think that he is capable of a lot and he is someone who we should look out for. Kate Mara has definitely been in the game for a while ever since she was a supporting cast member of Netflix’s original series, House Of Cards. It does seem like she chooses some bad movies though. She was fine in this, as well as the rest of the cast. I really can’t complain about them, but the movie itself just was awful.

This movie started off so strong and then had a disappointing last hour. It absolutely could not finish in the way we all wanted it to and hoped it would. This is a movie that without-a-doubt should be entertaining its audience from start to finish, but it could not do that. This movie needs a different director to help out because with such a good cast there is no reason it should suck as much as it does. To be brutally honest, it actually turns into a compete trainwreck that everyone was expecting. All the interesting stuff goes away after the first hour and then we are left with pure boredom and no entertainment or awesomeness at all. This is one you can absolutely skip and is very disappointing for all Marvel fans.

Overall, Fantastic Four is a complete travesty that even the strong cast could not help. This movie needed so much help and is one that I was horribly disappointed by.

Grade= D

Focus (2015)

Here’s a flick that’s been out for a few weeks that I was just able to watch. Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) is a very experienced man when it comes to conning people. Nicky has done this for many years and starts to feel like he should think about life more and maybe get out of this business. Things really start to change in Nicky’s life when a girl named Jess Barret (Margot Robbie) walks into his life. Jess wants Nicky to show her everything that he knows about being a con artist. Nicky decides that he will show her the ropes and help her out with this. Nicky thinks that Jess is capable to be in this kind of business. Things start to really change when Nicky is helping Jess because he starts to develop feelings for her. After a great weekend of conning, Nicky decides that he needs to let Jess go. We then fast forward three years into the future where the two somehow find themselves becoming reconnected.

Focus is the typical type of crime movie that is awesome, but starts to get a little over-the-top. I really enjoyed this movie and thought it was a lot of fun to watch. I was very surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this film. I have never been much of a Will Smith fan, but he made the me pretty entertained with this movie. I thought Will Smith and Margot Robbie were very enjoyable together and played a nice duo. I haven’t seen much of Margot Robbie in much besides The Wolf Of Wall Street, but I think she found the kind of role that she can really act in with Focus. 

Focus is directed by Glenn Ficarra. He is also the writer of this movie. I am not very familiar with the movies he has directed, but I am a little more familiar with some of the movies he has written. This was a nice change for him and I think this movie was directed very well. He gave us a fun movie with a couple solid actors that keep you entertained. This is a movie that is full of many twists and turns that you think are just awesome. Focus is a movie that can sometimes put you on the edge of your seat.

I wouldn’t say that this movie was excellent by any means, but it is a movie that I think many people will enjoy. Focus is the kind of movie that just provides you with a ton of entertainment and some smart conning ideas. If you are into that sort of thing, I think Focus is the movie that you will want to see. I’m honestly sorry I was unable to see this in theaters. I think this would make a really good movie going experience. It is an awesome crime/drama film that is just simply enjoyable.

Overall, Focus is a film that provides plenty of cool scenes and some pretty good acting. This is definitely a movie that I would check out at some point.

Grade= B (Good)

The Loft (2015)

Here’s a movie that had a release date pushed back five years. We meet five guys, Vince, Chris, Luke, Marty, and Philip (Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, and Matthias Schoenaerts). These five guys are not very good husbands and decide to purchase a nice and spacious loft where they can take their prostitutes and women they are having an affair with. They buy this so their wives have no trace of knowing where they were. There will be no credit card bills saying they rented a hotel room. This was a smart move on their part. That is until now. A young female is found dead in the bed and clearly one out of the five men have killed her. No one is confessing who did this. We find out in this movie what exactly happened to that girl.

First off, The Loft had a release date that was pushed back five years for obvious reasons. The problem with this movie is that it’s just not any good. This movie had a very recognizable cast, but none of them delivered an entertaining and even believable acting job. I was very disappointed with the way this movie turned out because I liked the idea of it. Sadly, this movie was just 100 minutes of nonsense. I felt as if no one knew what they were doing when making tho movie. This was just not good!

The Loft jumped from one thing to the other. I liked how it started off, but then it took a very weird turn and left you saying, “what the fuck is happening?” This movie was all over the place and just makes you frustrated almost the whole time watching it. It is such a shame to see some really good actors go and play these terrible and very dull roles. You may know Eric Stonestreet from ABC’s, Modern Family. He is one of the best actors from that show and after seeing this, you would think he never performed in any other role in his lifetime.

The Loft is a movie where none of the characters are interesting. Each different character left you more and more disappointed. This movie was just a waste of what was an awesome premise. This movie is filled with so many weaknesses that you can’t even look for anything good about this movie. Even when the expected twist came, you still were not satisfied and could not wait for this to end. This is not one that you want to see and I definitely do not recommend giving this one a look.

Overall, The Loft is a movie with a great premise that goes absolutely nowhere. We see nothing but terrible acting, writing, and directing.

Grade= D- (Terrible!)

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (2015)

Looking for a ridiculous comedy to watch? Here’s one you probably won’t like! After the events of the first movie, let’s see what our old pals are up to. Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Jacob (Clark Duke) are living the dream. After they traveled back in time in the first movie, they used their knowledge of the future to get ahead in life and make them very wealthy and powerful. Lou ripped off the future by becoming a technology fanatic and a rock star. He was the inventor of a huge search engine website and became the lead vocalist for a huge rock band. Nick stole songs from people of the future and released them years before they were supposed to come out. While a party is going on in Lou’s honor, someone who is at the party shoots him. Nick and Jacob decide they have to go back to the hot tub and travel back in time so they can stop the assassin from killing Lou. The thing is, they don’t end up back in time. They travel ten years into the future. Jacob realizes the assassin is from the future who traveled back in time to kill Lou. Now they must figure out how to find the person from the future who killed Lou.

First off, I think we have another Dumb And Dumber To on our hands. I was a huge fan of the first Hot Tub Time Machine. I thought it was something totally ridiculous that absolutely worked as a comedy. I thought that movie had a ton of laughs and cool scenes. This second film, sadly did not. I was very nervous going into this because I didn’t think they could make it as good as the first one, or even close to good for that matter.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 was a movie that was just not very funny and rather boring. This was just a movie that was comically hollow. It had an occasional laughing scene, but for the most part I found myself waiting for this movie to end. Adam Scott was now a major character in this film. They needed to find someone to replace for the spot of Adam (John Cusack). I was very disappointed John Cusack decided not to be in this movie, but I absolutely understand what the reason for not wanting to do it was.

This was just a really boring and dull comedy. I can’t stand how people try to ruin a great comedy by making a bad sequel. This was a movie I was really excited and anxious to see because I loved the first one so much. This movie just did not work at all. It was very poorly written and is a huge disappointment to you if you enjoyed the first film.

Overall, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is a movie that is poorly written, rarely funny, and just flat-out bad. I don’t think you should take time out of your day to go see this.

Grade= D (Bad)

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

Wanna see an awesome action packed movie? This is one for you! If you are a fan of the first one you will absolutely love this. This one is set ten years after the first one ends and most of civilization is completely wiped out. The apes are finally able to live in the wilderness where they  belong. The apes have resided there for quite some time and they get sight of humans still living in the city and they feel they may need to act on this. The leader of the apes, Caeser (Andy Serkis) does not want to start a war wight them. He tells the humans that as long as they stay on their side of the bridge there will be no war. There is one problem with this. There is a generator that can bring back all the power in the city, but this is located right where the apes are living. Caeser is not happy about this, but one of the humans, (Jason Clarke) is able to connect with Caeser and let them know that the two of them can work together without anyone being harmed. One ape, Koba, (Toby Kebbell) does not like how Caeser is handling the situation this way and he decides to do something that will make him leader of the apes. Koba decides it’s time to go to war with the humans.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is an incredibly awesome movie. You have no idea who you are rooting for in this movie. This is not a movie of right versus wrong or good versus bad. This is a movie where the act is definitely the enemy. Caeser and the humans do not want to go to war with each other. As soon as Koba took over, everything changed and all the apes had to listen to what he said. In its delivery of these ideas, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes gives us something that is very impressive.

It was incredible to see how the computers were able to make the apes look so realistic for what was not an animated movie. While watching this movie you feel as if you are the humans on earth. This is a re- boot that was done correctly and it may even be considered almost as good as the Dark Knight trilogy, but that is a whole other argument. The motion- capture of movies just keeps getting better and this was a perfect movie to notice it. Everything just looked too real and it was awesome.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is something that has the audience amazed and wanting to see more. I can’t wait to see where they decide to go with the next one. This is a series that will be talked about for a long time to come.

Overall, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a movie you have to see the first one to better understand why all of this is happening. This movie was a summer blockbuster that makes an awesome movie watching experience. Two thumbs up!

Grade= A- (Awesome!)