My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Out of all the movies coming out in 2016, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was probably one of the ones I was looking forward to the most. I know, surprising right? Thing is, the first My Big Fat is actually one of my all time favorite movies. I  have seen it so many times with my sisters to the point where we own our own copy and can quote lines directly from it. It’s just one of those films that you can relate to so much and it will always be a classic for me. As many of you may know, I am not a huge fan of sequels at all. At all. So of course I was skeptical of a sequel to a movie that came out fourteen years ago. Sure my skepticism had good reason, but it was honestly so much fun to be reunited with the Portokalos family again!

With her daughter about to graduate and head off to college, Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is struggling to let go while also dealing with marital problems with her husband (John Corbett) and family problems when her parents realize they were never officially married. Thus, the whole Portokalos family comes together again for an even bigger and fatter Greek wedding.

Let me just start off with this: if you are a fan of the first My Big Fat, you will like this film. If you are not or you have not seen the first one: then don’t watch it (I don’t know why you would if you haven’t even seen the first one anyways). It is as simple as that. Fans of the first will enjoy the movie because it definitely makes you feel nostalgic. There are tons of references to the first film and it so awesome to see all those beloved characters back again. When I say all of them, I mean all of them too! Even the most minor characters are back and it really feels like a huge reunion.

When I first saw the trailer, I was not a huge fan of the whole fed-up teenage daughter subplot, but it actually turned out to be fine. The actress who plays the daughter, Elena Kampouris, even favorited my tweet about the movie so shout out to her! Also the characters really do look the same, have they even aged? John Corbett is a stud as always, and of course my favorite character Aunt Voula steals the show every scene.

That’s another thing, the film really tries to give more screen time to many of the supporting characters and develop their story lines more. While for me that’s fine since I love them all, I can see why that might have been a criticism of the film. Sometimes it felt like too much was going on at once. The writing was not as strong for me either when compared to the first film. A few times there were just awkward moments that fell short and made me cringe.

Nevertheless I liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2! It was fun to watch and so great to see all the characters back again. The central message is still there too: family is always first and will always be there for you.

ALL IN ALL: Fans of the first film will enjoy My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, full of sentiments, nostalgia, and of course the fun and beloved Portokalos family.

image from: http://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/gallery/my-big-fat-greek-wedding-2/cw192dju4aao657-jpg-large.jpg

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The Fault in Our Stars

I’m sure many of you have heard about this phenomenon of a book/movie. I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green earlier this year and absolutely loved it. The writing was superb and the emotions run high. Perhaps it was a bit too philosophical for its young protagonists, but still enjoyable. High expectations were given for the film adaptation and they were met when I finally got to see it, along with some annoyance.

The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) tells the story of sixteen year old cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) who is forced to attend a cancer support group. Here she meets the devilishly charming Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) and subsequently falls in love.

I thought the film was great! Perhaps I am a bit biased because I fall in the film’s young female target audience, but I still thought it was a good adaptation of the book. The actors played their characters perfectly. Shailene Woodley’s performance was beautiful and natural. Ansel Elgort (who fun fact: played Woodley’s brother in Divergent) was simply Augustus. There were so many moments between the two characters were I just felt myself beaming. Their chemistry was palpable and refreshing, as was the story. A few scenes were left out, but you don’t really notice until afterwards. I personally liked the soundtrack as well. There is one criticism I have but it lies outside of the movie.

Practically everyone I know who has seen this film always claims to have cried. It’s a sad story no doubt about it. No, I did not cry (though I did tear up during the book). My lack of emotion during the film can be pointed to two reasons. One: I read the book already so the plot was not much of a surprise to me. “What?”, you say, “How can you have no heart?!”. I know, I know. Seeing some more of the emotional scenes on-screen should have done the trick but nope. My focus was not on the movie but on the large group of crying girls in front of me, reason #2.  I do not cry much during movies anyway but I could not enjoy TFIOS fully with these sobbing girls passing tissues to one another and choking so hard that you would think they too went through the same ordeals. I cannot fathom what it would have been like if I saw this movie opening day. A word of advice to those with little patience who also like silence during a movie: skip the theater for TFIOS and watch it at home.

Aside from that little rant, I truly did like The Fault in Our Stars. I think I need to see it again, by myself, to truly appreciate it more though. It is kind of targeted for young girls but I think its’ abundant warmth and humor can be enjoyed by many. By many, for years to come.

ALL IN ALL: The Fault in Our Stars really has no essential faults and can valued as the Love Story of this generation.

Rated PG-13, 125 minutes

 

 

See This, Not That: Rom-Com Edition

So we took a bit of a break after award season concluded, but now we’re back on track! So, Friday nights can be spent a couple of ways, but one of the most popular activities is to watch a movie! Something light and fresh, perhaps a romantic comedy? If you’re in the mood for some laughs and love, stick with us as we review Ruby Sparks and When Harry Tries to Marry.

SEE THIS: Ruby Sparks

My sister suggested this movie to me a long time ago, but I never felt like sitting down and actually watching it. I decided today that I wanted something fun and a bit quirky to watch so I’m glad I remembered Ruby Sparks.

Ruby Sparks is about a writer (Paul Dano) struggling with writer’s block whose fictional character Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) comes to life.

I really liked this film. It was a bit eccentric like most indie films and had a very creative plot. Dano was exceptional as the lovelorn and secluded Calvin and though her character annoyed me a bit, Kazan portrayed Ruby’s free-spirited attitude with ease. Kazan actually wrote the screenplay and though I praise her ingenuity, I was not a fan of knowing she pretty much created her own character (kind of like the movie ironically). What I liked most about the film was that it rolls numerous genres and aspects all into one:  fantasy, a view on the creative process, a beautiful romance,  the fragility and controlling power of relationships and the male ego, etc. Jam packed, but compelling

ALL IN ALL: Ruby Sparks is a charming and enjoyable film that does an interesting take on love and relationships.

Rated R, 104 minutes


NOT THIS: When Harry Tries to Marry

 

I enjoy British Asian films like Bend it Like Beckham, and though When Harry Tries to Marry is not exactly British, there were similarities with the Indian-American child living in the country the parents immigrated to, kind of like The Namesake as well. However, this film tries to be funny and show a child who is not ashamed of his culture and actually embraces aspects of it even more than his parents. Notice how I said “tried”.

When Harry Tries to Marry tells the story of Indian- American Harry (Rahul Rai) who is cynical about love after his parents’ divorce and desires an arranged marriage, but his friendship with an American friend Theresa (Stefanie Estes) complicates his plan.

Let me start off with pointing out that I could not even finish this movie. I stopped halfway, went against all my film morals and skipped to the end, then immediately turned it off and regretted deciding to watch it in the first place. Yes, it’s that bad. It could have been good, but it failed in so many places! First of all, if you are going to have the main protagonist decide between two girls, you have to give some kind of negative quality to the character he will reject or else your audience becomes confused and does not know who to root for. I disliked Theresa’s character so much, that it just ruined the whole story for me. The characters were unlikable, the plot swerved, and I feel like the story could have worked much better if it was switched around. Perhaps Harry could have been against arranged marriages and then discovered his culture or something like that. Either way, it just does not work.

ALL IN ALL: When Harry Tries to Marry is very very scary, in its attempt to be good.

Rated PG-13, 93 minutes

images from:

Morning Glory

I knew the time would come for me to do a chick flick, so let’s get it over with. I decided to do Morning Glory, which came out in 2010, because while it’s not really a cliché movie, it still had some areas of improvement.

Morning Glory is about a young and devoted television producer Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) who accepts the challenge of reviving a failing morning show program by contracting a prominent news journalist/anchor (Harrison Ford), who disapproves of co-hosting a show that doesn’t deal with real news stories. Diane Keaton also serves as the shows long-running co-host and Patrick Wilson plays the role of Becky’s love interest.

I thought the film was, I guess, cute. It had all the ingredients to be a really good movie, but the plot structure had many flaws. For one thing, there were way too many ups and downs in the film. Just stick with the normal plot outline: have the intro, initiating event, turning point, crisis, final push, aftermath. Don’t have a crisis every three minutes!

The film also had a good cast, but they didn’t really live up to their standards. Rachel McAdams was too hyper for my liking, though that’s how her character is supposed to be. Diane Keaton should have been used more as a prominent character. I could totally picture her as morning show host too!  Harrison Ford was by far the best part of the film. He was excellent, though his voice reminded me of Batman. He was able to play this unlikeable, extremely grumpy character, but still have the audience love him by the end of the film. He showed the human side of this character flawlessly. Keaton and Ford’s chemistry was strong too.

I would recommend Morning Glory to any cheeky female (males beware), who’s looking a cute movie to snuggle up to on a Friday night. The film produces some genuine laughs and smiles.  However, it’s not really a film worthwile to see, in my opinon. Instead check some of the other movies I’ve reviewed! Please.

ALL IN ALL: Morning Glory is one movie that shouldn’t be on your must-see watchlist.

image from: http://mobile.company3.com/data/images/File_Morning_Glory_Poster23545723210.jpg

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

I keep meaning to review older movies, but I can’t help but review movies that I have recently seen! So far, all the movies I have reviewed have been award contenders, including this one: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which was nominated for 3 Golden Globes this year (Best Picture: Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy, and Best Actor in a Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy). I can happily say that it deserved those nominations.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is about a fisheries expert( Ewan McGregor) who is approached by a consultant (Emily Blunt) to help realize a sheik’s (Amr Waked) vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the Yemen desert, initiating an upward journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.

I liked Salmon Fishing a lot. It was a charming, feel-good movie. However, the movie was sometimes carried through by its amazing cast. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt were fantastic in this movie. You know, I honestly thought McGregor always had a British accent, but then he had such a remarkable Scottish accent in the film that I was prompted to look the matter up and I found that he was originally from Scotland, which must have been helpful. In conclusion, his accent was great, as well as his amazing performance. Emily Blunt did a good job too, and the both of them had great chemistry in this movie. I loved them together. Kristen Scott Thomas was additionally in the cast, as the British Prime Minister’s overzealous press secretary. Her character, at times, was bit too overzealous for me, but nevertheless she belonged in the film.

Harriet (Blunt) and Dr. Jones (McGregor) talking to Sheik Muhammed (Waked) about the salmon plan.

One of my only problems with the film was that it started into the storyline so suddenly that I was unprepared and confused. The plot was a bit puzzling at times, but it all smooths out as the film progresses. The accents were a bit heavy too, but that’s really not a huge issue. Also the ending seemed a bit unfinished, tying up the loose strings too quickly. However, I did love the plot of the film because the whole idea was very original, though we can’t forget that it was based on a novel of the same name by Paul Torday. The imagery was beautiful and symbolic too. There was one scene where a salmon swims the opposite way in the river, which parallels a scene earlier in the film where McGregor’s character turns around and walks through a crowd after a sudden realization. So I guess, McGregor is essentially the “salmon”? Oh….. that does make sense, but I can’t explain without giving away too much!

Salmon Fishing had everything a film should have: comedy, drama, romance, etc. It was full of hope and new beginnings, which I liked. And c’mon, salmon in the Yemen?! Even I didn’t believe in it, but by the end you realize that the wise sheik didn’t only want salmon to come to the desert. He also wanted faith to come and so it does, in the film and also in the hearts of viewers.

ALL IN ALL: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a charming movie that brings faith and joy to its viewers.

images courtesy of:

The Artist

Aloha. So in honor of the Golden Globe nominations, which came out yesterday http://www.imdb.com/oscars/nominations/golden-globes, I decided to review one of my favorite movies and last year’s Academy Award Best Picture film: The Artist.

Let’s first observe the film industry today. We are surrounded by 3D, remakes, reboots, sequels, and adaptations of books(seriously does every book have to be made into a movie?). In some cases these can produce great movies, but I feel that most are lifeless. It’s like all the writers in Hollywood have run out of ideas! Then comes The Artist.

One word: refreshing. How refreshing to find a film with an original idea. A film with a love story that is actually centered around love! The Artist is in the style of a black-and-white- silent film. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius and starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, the movie focuses on the relationship between a silent film star and a rising young actress in the late 1920’s Hollywood. As silent cinema falls out of action and is replaced by “talkies”, their careers veer in opposite directions.

This was the first silent film I’ve ever seen. Before seeing it in January, I was curious as to how it would all play out. However, the silent aspect of the film brings it all together. Also the cast, above all, are the people who carry this film through from start to finish. Jean Dujardin, oh Jean. I absolutely love saying your name and I absolutely loved you in this film. Not only did you look the part of a dashing actor but your portrayal as the silent movie star, George Valentin, who’s world is turned upside down by the introduction of talking-pictures was excellent.You deserved every karat of gold in that Oscar you won for best actor. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was where Valentin dreams a nightmare where all these everyday sounds are exagerrated (the first sounds the audience actually hears in the film), and he finds that only his own voice is stifled. The scene was just chock full of emotion and was acted out flawlessly. Oh and Bérénice! You were so perfect as Peppy Miller, a peppy girl who slowly rises through the entertainment industry. You portrayed the persona of your character with grace and charm, a true star.  Last but not least, we can’t forget Uggie the dog who was impeccable!

My favorite part of the movie would have to be the climax which definetly packs a bang( heehee double meaning for those who have seen movie). The ending is great too. I wish I could talk about them, but I don’t want to give spoil the movie. I recommend everyone to see it.

ALL IN ALL: The Artist is a refreshing movie that is an absolute pleasure to watch.

movie poster from: http://manilovefilms.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/The-Artist-Affiche-finale.jpg