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+

 

Jurassic World (2015)

Here’s something that I’ve been waiting fourteen years for! We fast forward twenty-two years after the incidents that occurred at Jurassic Park. Now we have, Jurassic World! Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the person who is in charge of making sure everything is running smoothly with the theme park. Jurassic World is not exactly creating the revenue Claire hoped for, so now the park needs something new. A new dinosaur is in the process of growing and it is called the Indominus Rex. It is around Christmas time and Claire has not seen her nephews in a very long time, so they come to pay her a visit on Isla Nublar. Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) arrive at the park hoping to have a nice and fun time. After something goes horribly wrong with the Indominus Rex and it escapes out of captivity, the park needs to be evacuated, but Gray and Zach are left in the middle of an attraction not knowing anything is going on. Claire needs to go out in the middle of the park and find them. This is where things get extremely chaotic. Claire obviously can’t do this alone, so she does this with the help of Raptor trainer, Owen (Chris Pratt).

I absolutely could not wait to see this movie. Every since I found out that this was being made, this was the number one movie I wanted to see. Growing up I was and currently am a huge fan of Jurassic Park. I don’t even know how to start with this one. I tried to go into this with not all that high expectations and I am very glad I didn’t because I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Let’s face it, it was going to be damn-near impossible to beat the first one, but Jurassic World is definitely a movie that provides us with more than enough entertainment and is absolutely the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. If you are a Jurassic Park fan, then hold onto you seats and sit back and enjoy this ride.

The acting in this is pretty good for the most part. After the lovable and powerhouse performance from Chris Pratt in Guardians Of The Galaxy, it only makes sense that he would be one of the leads in this movie. As funny as he was in NBC’s sitcom, Parks And Recreation, I think Pratt really found his role in movies like this. Bryce Dallas Howard really didn’t impress me all that much, besides the fact that she is smoking hot. I don’t really think there was anything wrong with her performance, but I think that someone else would have fit the role a tad better. I haven’t really seen her in all that much, which isn’t really a problem, but with a big release like this one, I wish that someone else was the lead role.

I am not even gonna touch the CGI factor. Just know that there is a ton of it in this movie. Jurassic World is absolutely the movie that the entire world has been waiting for. The effects that you see in this movie are absolutely incredible. Something I really loved about this movie was that it often gave props to the original movie, which I found to be very cool. This is definitely a movie that you have to see in theaters because of the sound and effects. I think that any true Jurassic Park fan will definitely enjoy this to the fullest amount, but if you have never seen the original three, then you may not enjoy it as much. I think this was a really enjoyable movie that gives you all kinds of cool and awesome effects. Two thumbs up from me!

Overall, Jurassic World is the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. It provides us with entertainment, over-the-top awesomeness and is just simply an enjoyable movie that demands you see it in theaters. I definitely recommend going to see this one!

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)

Hot Pursuit (2015)

This is exactly what I was afraid of! We meet Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), a cop who likes to do everything the correct way. The thing about Cooper is that she is not the brightest one in the bunch an after a bad incident, she finds herself working behind a desk rather than being out on the streets. Cooper is given another assignment and that is to transport a big time drug cartels wife, Daniella (Sofia Vergara) to a witness protection house in Dallas. Cooper is very excited about doing this because she has been out of the action for a little while and this is the perfect opportunity for her to get her feet back on the ground and show her boss that she is capable of being back out on the street. The whole time while Cooper is on the road with Daniella, it seems as if a real friendship may be developing, or is it?

First off, this movie was nothing but a waste of my time. I just want to point that out in the very beginning. Hot Pursuit is a movie that has an incredible amount of problems. To play it short, I really despise this movie and actually really never want to watch it again. I think that I may have laughed three times and to be quite honest it might be less than that. There was just nothing about this movie that showed me that it was good, let alone funny. I think that the script was very poorly written and I think that everything about this was just sloppy and took you in many stupid directions that were never interesting or entertaining. Every laugh in this movie that they aimed for was a complete fail.

The acting in Hot Pursuit is not only dreadful, it’s horrendous. I thought that with the great performance by Reese Witherspoon in Wild, we would start to see some interesting roles and good acting from Reese, but sadly we see nothing but poor acting from her in this movie. As far as Sofia Vergara goes, I think it is best if she just sticks to ABC’s, Modern Family. She seems to have pretty solid humor in that show, but in Hot Pursuit, she shows that her lack of humor makes her a terribly casted actress for this movie. The greatest acting performance in the movie was from Mike Birbiglia and he only shows up for about one minute. Witherspoon and Vergara showed me nothing to think that either of them are the least bit funny.

Everything about this movie just made it completely painful to watch. From the lack of laughs to the horrendous acting, Hot Pursuit falls way short of everything that it aimed for. This was just a poor comedy that shouldn’t even be labeled as a comedy. I can’t even tell you what category this movie should fall into because it doesn’t fit any of them. This movie is just so bad that is makes you feel terrible sorry for everyone that has watched it. This movie is pretty much the equivalent to any new Adam Sandler or Kevin James film. The only outcome we see from those movies are nothing but poorly acted, written and all-around bad movies. This exactly how I felt while watching Hot Pursuit. I definitely do not recommend seeing this one!

Overall, Hot Pursuit is another one of those movies that has nothing good about it at all. This is simply just a bad movie that is in no way funny and one that is forgettable fifteen seconds after it ends.

Grad= D- (Terrible!)

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!)