HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 – Rated R

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Well, the boys are back for more ridiculous HOT TUB mayhem as Lou (Ron Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) find themselves having to rev up the TIME MACHINE YET AGAIN, to travel back in time to save one of them from peril.

Flash-forward, literally, as apparently we have gone the wrong way in time ~ DAMN HOT TUB!!! But, thank goodness, since they are all do arrive in the future ~everything must turn out all right…right? Well not so fast…as the future contains more fun than these three can get their fill of, with a majority of it being absolutely “politically and morally incorrect” at every turn…but what else would you expect to take place with these TIME TRAVELERS…. question is, will they be able to make their way back? Or do they even want to???

I give HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2 an F: Even though the first installment was nothing to write home about, sadly the second time in the ol’ hot tub is even worse. I was so hoping that Corddry was going to tunnel some of his character from “What Happens in Vegas”, as I totally loved him in that film, but nah, that was nothing but wishful thinking. Robinson’s character was the only role giving me any glimmer of hope as the scenes continued to unfold, but nope, same old thing we’ve seen from him in all of his films too. Even Duke’s attempt to play the nerdy son of Corddry yet again didn’t work either, which is so surprising as his appearance alone should at least count for getting him half way there ~ he is a total nerd ~ but nope, that didn’t even help this time around either. And Cusack isn’t along for the ride this time either ~ maybe him saying thanks, but no thanks, should have been a clue ~ yet he still makes a cameo via a photograph, which is totally lame too!!! And believe me, I am not a prude by any means, but after sitting through almost two hours of a film filled with nothing but corny and over the edge inappropriate material on the male appendage ~ I found myself wanting to escape from the theater as fast as I could, trying to not focus on the fact that I would never get those lost hours I just spent back in my life ~ Just know that I definitely felt that the LAWS OF SPACE AND TIME for me, while watching this film, were definitely VIOLATED!!! Enough said…

Kathy Kaiser

50 SHADES OF GREY~ Rated R

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English Director Sam Taylor-Johnson brings to the big screen E.L. James novel of sex and seduction mixed with a little pain for good measure, with the much-anticipated film ~ 50 SHADES OF GREY.

As we meet the meek and mild mannered Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), she is interviewing the young and gorgeous, and of course worth billions, Mr. Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Mesmerized by his incredible good looks and charm, Anna cannot get him out of her mind.

Apparently the feelings are mutual, as Christian makes sure that their paths cross again, and again. Confused by Christian’s advances and then quick exit, Anna isn’t really sure what this guy is all about. When Christian decides that even though he knows he isn’t what is best for Anna, but he must have her, he starts his seduction, hoping that she will be willing to fulfill his “every need”. Unsure of what Christians “needs” all entail, Anna still isn’t sure if Grey is the man for her.

Christian finally convinces Anna to test the waters, as his seduction and dominance over her begins. As Christian teaches Anna all she needs to know about what he is expecting with from their “little arrangement”, Anna starts to fall hard, but doesn’t she know that loving him is not an option…

Will Anna be able to bring herself to enter into Christian’s twisted world? Will Christian be able to persuade Anna that she is the only woman who can truly make him happy? Or will the romance that Anna wants and needs be something that Christian will never, ever be able to give her???

I give 50 SHADES OF GREY a C: Okay, so you know going in, if you have read any of the book, that in order to truly make this film remotely close to the novel, it would have to be rated X, and it’s not. But, with that said, Jamie Dornan is SUPER HOT, so you have to give snaps for that casting, and Dakota Johnson was a better actress than I was anticipating ~ Sorry Dakota ~ so I was pleasantly surprised there too, which is always a good thing. And I am not going to try to tell you that some of the seduction and sex scenes weren’t quite enjoyable to view either, but…that’s where the positives of this film STOP. It seemed that they were hoping that the sex scenes were going to be good enough to keep everyone’s attention, as the dialogue just seemed to be a sentence here, a sentence there, and without giving too much away, let’s just say that the end of the film left me rather Dazed and Confused, and that was soooo not the feeling I was hoping to get from THIS FILM. I was also amused by the laughter that erupted in the theater at the end of this film, as I am guessing I was not the only one asking…is that really it??? I am sure that many women were right there with me, hoping that this film would be a definite MUST SEE, and a MUST SEE NUMEROUS TIMES just for good measure, but now, I must sadly share after viewing, that once was more than enough, thank you, now lets get to some REALLY GOOD FILMS in the coming weeks, shall we…

Kathy Kaiser

KINGSMAN ~ THE SECRET SERVICE ~ Rated R

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Matthew Vaughn brings to life his comic book series by the same name, as he ushers us back to the days when real men wear suits ~ YEAH!! ~ Well at least the REAL SPIES do anyway – as we enter the world of – KINGSMAN: The Secret Service

When we meet Galahad (Colin Firth), he is recruiting young desirables to put through the intense training program to become future Kingsman. As each agent gets to select a candidate of their own, per boss Arthur’s (Michael Cain) instruction, Galahad brings to the table a streetwise know-it-all named Eggsy (Taron Egerton).

Galahad sees something in him that no one else sees, except for maybe Merlin (Mark Strong) the Kingsman running these youngsters through the paces to see if they have IT, or not.

And in the midst of all this training and spyness going on, welcome Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) the nastiest, meanest, and lyspiest mad man ever, who is bound and determined to use his technological mind to take out an entire country ~ or at least half of its population anyway!!

Eggsy seems to be passing with flying colors through his testing ~ as fellow recruit, after fellow recruit, fail to measure up and are sent packing…

Will Eggsy be able to make it through and become a KINGSMAN? OR will he be beat out by his fellow trainee, the beautiful and talented Roxy (Sophie Cookson)? And will Valentine be able to institute his evil plan, or will Galahad and his fellow Kingsman be able to stop him, before its too late?

I give KIngsman a B+: I have to admit going in, I was a bit skeptical, wondering if this movie was going to be worth spending two hours watching from the trailers I had viewed. But, since I love Colin Firth and have enjoyed many of his films over the years, I knew I had to give it a chance. And I am so glad I did. This film has a plethora of interesting characters, plot twists and lines of dialogue that are not only funny, but also raunchy and seem to come out of nowhere.   This film is actually so enjoyable that the 129 minutes it was playing on screen seemed to just fly by! Firth is perfectly cast, as is Cain, Jackson, Egerton too ~ heck everyone in the film seemed to totally be in the right role – and how often does that happen? Vaughn also shot scenes that were not only memorable, but made you feel like you were literally dropped into the pages of one of his comic books, which was also enjoyable to experience. IF you love spies, lots of action, or even just fancy nicely dressed men both young and old…then you have got to check out KINGSMAN, there is something this time around for everyone to enjoy, so suffice to say, I think it is a definite MUST SEE, just between you and me! Besides, if you start to fanaticize about becoming a Kingsman while viewing, well that will work too ~ as they actually have come out with a new KINGSMAN line by Mr. Porter @ mrporter.com – so you can look just like them, which will totally work, as most women love nothing more than a finely dressed gentleman – and I will leave it at that.

Kathy Kaiser

PIZZA & BULLETS – Independent Film by Nick Murphy and Spoon Pictures Production

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Writer & Director Nick Murphy has managed to bring to life the most enjoyable short-film I have been privy to see in a long time – combining the attributes of sweet & adorable PIZZA DELIVERY GUY with the nastiness of HIRED HIT-MAN – but it’s okay, cause it’s all in a days work – with his new film – PIZZA AND BULLETS.

As we meet the always cordial and loveable James (Played by Nick Murphy), he is riding his scooter around town delivering Pizza’s as fast as he possibly can.   Making his daily stop to check in with friend Nolan (played by Sean Rourke) we find that MR. PIZZA DELIVERY GUY, may not be as nice as we first thought…

Nolan orders James to take on his next hit, #143, but who’s counting, so James heads out to take care of his next menace to society, but he is making tracks because he needs to get home for “date night” with his girlfriend Elly (played by Terra Flowers), who has no idea about “HIS OTHER JOB”…

James finds himself in a place he didn’t anticipate, when the brother of his last hit kidnaps Elly and promises to kill her…

Can James manage to save the love of his life? And if he can save her, will he be able to explain the real line of work he’s in, which is what got her in this mess in the first place? And who else might have an inkling about James’s other line of work, putting Elly’s life in jeopardy?

I give PIZZA AND BULLETS a B:: As film shorts go, the concept of this film is hilarious, and Nick Murphy plays the part of James perfectly. You will find comfort in the warm and very funny spin Murphy puts on this film, reassuring you that a PIZZA DELIVERY GUY is the perfect alibi for being a hit man…come on.. no one ever thinks its him! Murphy also made the wise move of surrounding himself with superb actors, and fantastic cinematographers, making PIZZA AND BULLETS an absolute joy ride from beginning to end. I enjoyed viewing this short film more than I have enjoyed viewing many commercial, full-length features this last year too – Seriously! I truly feel that Murphy could take this short film and make it into a new show for the Fall lineup on one of the networks, as the quirkiness of the storyline and the superb acting throughout would keep me coming back for more each and every week!!! Or maybe Murphy should put James back on his very impressive blue scooter to make another film, as James is one character that can take out every bad guy in this world, and you would be right by his side, supporting him every step of the way…

Kathy Kaiser

JUPITER ASCENDING – Rated PG-13

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Andy and Lana Wachowski’s – the creative brother & Transgender sister team, who brought us 3 Matrix movies and the film Cloud Atlas – have brought to the big screen their latest sci-fi, action-packed thriller and love story ~ oh which genre should we choose? ~ with their latest film, JUPITER ASCENDING.

Loosing her father before her birth, Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is stuck living in a world of poverty and cleaning toilets for a living. Just when she thinks she can’t take her life for one more day, Jupiter is rescued from an apparent abduction from creepers from another planet by Caine Wise (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter.

As Caine returns Jupiter to the far off planet where she supposedly belongs, she is met by fellow members of her royal family – or so they say – as Jupiter tries to adjust to the thought that she might actually be royalty too.

All of the Royal siblings of the Abrasax family, including Titus (Douglas Booth), Kalique (Tuppence Middleton), and Balem (Eddie Redmayne) have something in mind for Jupiter, and none of it sounds too inviting…

While Jupiter tries to fight her feelings for Caine, and come to terms with her DESTINY, what will happen to her family and the place we all call home – Planet EARTH???

I give JUPITER ASCENDING a C: I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to see Tatum, Kunis and Redmayne really act before seeing them in this film, because none of them even came close to reaching their full potential with this material. The whole concept of this film felt like a conglomeration of STAR WARS, STAR TREK, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and any other space film you can name from the last two decades, just thrown together for good measure. At times, the cinematography and special effects almost started to impress me, but then just as quickly, it fell short with really bad effects moments later. The only positive factors I took away from this film was the fact that Mila definitely has some of the most beautiful brown eyes I have ever seen (lots of close-ups to prove it) and Channing can definitely pull off the Military Hunter gig and the attire to go with it quite nicely (HOT, HOT, HOT), but that is about it!!! It saddens me to give this film AN AVERAGE REVIEW, as I truly adore Mila, Channing and Eddie, but that’s exactly what this film is – JUST AVERAGE. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad, it just really wasn’t much of anything. So, if you love science fiction films filled with lots of creatures and characters from space, or have an addiction to action-packed thrillers with an underlying infatuation between the two main characters, then you might want to head out to a theater to catch JUPITER ASCENDING, but if you are wanting to see a spectacular film with an incredible storyline, amazing cinematography and phenomenal acting, well this film really isn’t that either…

Kathy Kaiser

BLACK OR WHITE – Rated PG-13

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From Writer and Director Mike Binder – the man who brought us REIGN OVER ME and THE UPSIDE OF ANGER – comes a poignant and poetic drama touching on race relations at the very core of our lives – and families – with his new film – BLACK OR WHITE.

Loosing his wife very unexpectedly, Elliott Anderson (Kevin Costner) finds himself lost and alone, and trying desperately to pull himself together, as he is now faced with raising his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell), on his own.

Saddened by the passing of Eloise’s other grandmother, but determined that Eloise be raised by her father’s side of the family, Grandma Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spencer) sets out to adopt Eloise, and enlists the help her nephew, Counselor Jeremiah Jeffers (Anthony Macke) to make it happen.

Elliott is bound and determined to keep Eloise in his care – where she has always been – since the death of her mother. But, sadly, Elliott has found solace in the bottle to comfort him in his time of grief, and Grandma We We is not about to let Eloise stay in his care, especially if he is bound and determined to numb himself with alcohol. And if the exploitation that Elliott is an alcoholic isn’t enough to convince the judge to hand Eloise over to her Grandmother, maybe the new found interest that her son, and absentee father Reggie Davis (Andre’ Holland) has for being a part of his daughter’s life, will…

Will Elliott be able to get his act together and prove Eloise is best suited to continue her life in his care? Will Reggie convince the Judge that he is no longer a junkie and that he deserves his little girl in his life? And will Rowena find it in her heart to do what is best for Eloise, even though it may not be living with her family?

I give BLACK OR WHITE a B+: The storyline of this film is very apropos for the complexity of our culture, as it brings out the many misconceptions that both Blacks and Whites have for one another. But, must I say even more important to the storyline of this film, is the fact that it also brings to the conscious that love and understanding has no color. Costner is absolutely superb as the dotting Grandfather, Spencer is equally as good as the Grandmother on a mission and Jillian Estell is one young actress that you will want to keep your eyes on, as she is going to give Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild, 12 Years a Slave, Annie) a run for her money in years to come, as she too is perfect in her role as Eloise. Throw in the fantastic acting by Macke and Holland, and you have yourself one incredibly moving and extremely touching film. You will laugh, you will cry, you will enjoy each and every frame because BLACK OR WHITE touches at the heart of the human spirit, regardless of what color of skin you live in J

Kathy Kaiser

P.S. And for all my girlfriends who think that I just gave this film a GLOWING review because I was blessed with covering the Red Carpet event for the film in St. Louis, you are wrong. It was incredible getting to see Kevin Costner in person, that’s true, but this film is truly a FABULOUS FILM that EVERYONE ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO SEE!!!

ROSEWATER – Rated R

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The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart takes a sabbatical from THE DAILY SHOW to bring to the big screen the true story of Iranian/Canadian Journalist Maziar Bahari, who was brutalized by his own people as a suspected spy in Iraq, after being interviewed by a reporter for the Daily Show…

As we meet Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal), he has decided to leave his new wife in Canada and return to his homeland to tell the story of his people, who are electing their first leader after the fall of Hussain. As Bahari travels around Iraq, gaining awareness of both sides that are striving to take control of the nation, he runs into American journalist Jason Jones(who plays himself in the film), and decides to go along with his playful interview about the elections.

The Iraquies find out about the interview, and suspect that this proves he is a spy acquiring information for the US Government. Wrongfully imprisoned, Bahari must endure months of torture and time away from his family, as the Iraqi government knows that they can “make him crack” and admit to his espionage on behalf of the Americans. Striving to keep his sanity, and longing to be reunited with his wife, Bahari tries to fend off his captures, and to prove his innocence…

Will Bahari be able to convince the Iraqi’s that he is innocent and they have misjudged him and his viewpoint as a journalist? Will Bahari’s captor be swayed to believe his innocence, or will he just continue to torture him? Or will Bahari’s unwillingness to appease the Iraqi’s keep him away from his wife, and his mother, forever?

I give ROSEWATER a B-: I was very pleasantly surprised by the incredible job that Jon Stewart did with telling Maziar Bahari’s story. Ironic as it may be, that Bahari was detained and tortured due to his interview for Jon’s show, but apparently Stewart felt an incredible need to right this wrong, and to bring Bahari’s story to the masses. Gael García Bernal gave an incredible performance as Bahari, and having the genius to allow Jason Jones to play himself in the film, was magic as well. And as torture movies go, this one was relatively mild, which made it an ever better film for me, as I don’t enjoy brutality in any way, shape or form.

Kathy Kaiser

INTERSTELLAR – Rated PG-13

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Jonathon and Christopher Nolan take us deep into the vast unknown of space – or at least deep into the vastness of their own imaginations – with a story that is both intense and cerebral beyond measure – with their latest film – INTERSTELLAR.

As we meet Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), his daughter Murphy (MacKenzie Foy/Jessica Chastain/Ellen Burstyn), his son Tom (Timothee Chalamet/Casey Affleck) and his father in-law Donald (John Lithgow), they are trying to make the most of their new lives as farmers, vastly different from the Space World that Copper was used to being in before his wife passed away.  Being farmers isn’t the only change for this family, as it seems that our planet is in self-destruct mode, and everyone is trying to live through our planets extreme climate change.  As the dust continues to fly on a daily basis, Murphy notices a strange apparition that has taken over her room….that she calls “the ghost”……but what exactly is it?

Convincing her father to help her explore the possibilities of what is inhabiting her room, Cooper and Murphy use the dust diagram that shows up on the floor of her room after the latest dust storm, to plot coordinates to a location – but to where?

When they happen upon the secure location where Dr. Brand (Michael Caine), his daughter Dr. Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) and other scientists are busy at work trying to save our universe, it seems that NASA must have told Coop one big ol fat lie when they retired his flight suit, as NASA is alive and well, and planning to make a trip into the vast unknown to find an alternate planet for us all to inhabit, as earth is on her last leg.

Torn between saving the lives of not only his family, but all the families on earth, and facing the distinct possibility of never returning at all from his trip into utter darkness to save all human-kind….Cooper must decide if it is better to STAY with Murphy and his son, or take the journey that seems to be tugging at him as HIS DESTINY…..

Will Cooper be able to find an alternate Universe for us to inhabit?  Will Murphy ever forgive him for leaving her alone for what seems like an eternity?  Will Dr. Brand’s theories of what is really out there in the WORM HOLE of our universe pan out? Or will everyone perish both here on earth and in the vast unknown?

I give INTERSTELLAR a B+: Christopher Nolan has done it again, bringing the vast universe to the big screen in a BIG WAY!  The cinematography is indescribable, the music is some of Hans Zimmer’s finest, and McConaughey may be on his way to yet another Oscar, as his performance was absolutely superb and some of his best work EVER!   I was also surprised to see the actor who plays the role of Dr. Mann in the film – Nope not giving away who it is; you will have to see the film – as it was totally unexpected.  The storyline itself was an intense roller-coaster of mind blowing possibilities all the way through, so kudos to the Nolan Brothers for keeping my mind racing almost the entire time – and my heart too – as this film engages you both mentally and physically – which is why I couldn’t give this film an A – I saw it in IMAX and was physically ill from the incredible cinematography and sound that bombarded me for over 169 minutes – yep it’s a long one too, so buckle in!  But, I am certain that when Oscar time rolls around, there will be plenty of nominations being thrust in the direction of this outer space phenomenon known as INTERSTELLAR.

Kathy Kaiser

GONE GIRL – Rated R

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Director David Fincher, the man who has brought us such incredible films as SE7EN, PANIC ROOM, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, & THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO – brings to life the literary genius of Gillian Flynn with his latest psychological thriller – GONE GIRL.

As we meet Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), they are relationship bound, having found “the perfect match” in each other.  When their whirlwind romance is halted by Nick’s mother turning ill – and Nick losing his job – they decide to head back to Missouri to nurse Nick’s mom back to health and to start anew.

Even though his mother’s passing is still weighing heavily on him, Nick finds comfort in the ability to share his life with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon), as they embark upon a new profession for both of them – Bar owners.

Amy is feeling left out and trapped, as her life is nothing like she had imagined when they lived in New York City.  Tired of the mundane life of living in the Midwest, Amy tries to convince Nick that since she hasn’t found a job yet, maybe it’s time to procreate.  Nick isn’t ready to walk down that road just yet, besides, when a marriage seems to be going south, it may not be the best time to have a child.

When Nick returns home, he finds that the house has been broken into and Amy is nowhere to be found.  Nick alerts the police, as Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) and Officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) arrive to find that things don’t seem to add up with this particular disappearance.  When they find forensic evidence is everywhere, the investigation starts to point to someone very close to Amy……her husband Nick.  As the search continues to find Amy, her parents Marybeth (Lisa Banes) and Rand (David Clennon) arrive to start a search mission to find their “Amazing Amy”.  Another person of interest arrives on the scene, with the appearance of Amy’s high school sweetheart Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris), who is lurking in the shadows, but why?  The entire town has been turned upside down, and still no sign of Amy……

Did Amy find out about Nick’s extracurricular activity and just leave?  Did Desi’s love for Amy from the past resurface and he abducted her?  Did Nick find out that Amy was with child and decide that this little problem needed to be eliminated? Or has Amy pulled off the perfect frame job to make sure that Nick pays in the end?

I give GONE GIRL 5 out of 5 stars – An A – It’s truly a Cinematic Masterpiece…… – You will be on the edge of your seat the entire time, as David Fincher brings out the best there is in each and every actor in this film.  Affleck, Pike and Coon all give award winning performances, so get ready to see a few nods from the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, or their may even be an Academy award nod or two too for their incredible performances i their future.  Even though I didn’t get the book finished, you don’t need to have read the book to thoroughly enjoy this film.      GONE GIRL is my #1pick of all the films I have viewed so far this year as it is superb from beginning to endIf you only see one film this weekend – make it GONE GIRL!  You will be thanking me profusely next week for suggesting you see this film at a theater near you this weekend – I’m SURE OF IT!

Kathy Kaiser

P.S. Please be advised too, that this film is rated R for explicate nudity and violence, so please don’t take anyone under 17 to see it – as it is way too graphic for children to see – just in case you were considering taken them – believe me – it’s not for them!