Review: The Big Sick
The Big Sick is the best romcom of 2017, hands down. Real, funny and heartwarming; The Big Sick comes in as a late-summer surprise full of rich rewards.
Like most romantic comedies, they fall into the same dark routines full of formulaic relationships and lazy plot lines. Luckily, The Big Sick’s cross-cultural themes and appealing leads (the fantastic Kumail Nanjiani and the charming Zoe Kazan) help redefine the genre. Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (screenwriter for the film); The Big Sick tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani, himself), who connects with grad student Emily (Kazan), who is white, after one of his standup sets in Chicago, IL. Kumail and Emily’s connection sparks on contact.
What they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing. So, after a series of back-and-forth, Kumail and Emily decide to date. Unfortunately, this complicates things for Kumail because his parents are traditional Pakistani Muslims, who believe in arranged marriage. Kumail begins to worry about telling his family, knowing they would disapprove and disown him. Emily discovers a cigar box, in Kumail’s room, which contains the pictures of all the Pakistani-women his parents have tried to set him up with.
Kumail tells Emily that he is uncertain about seeing a future with her, thus ending their relationship. But when Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (a brilliant Holly Hunter and a funny Ray Romano) who he's never met. An emotional tug-of-war begins to develop in Kumail for his family and his heart, Emily. Director Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name is Doris) gives this romantic comedy depth and direction. Showing us real people, in real situations and how they overcome them together through life.
This film will send you laughing and crying all at the same time. A dynamic movie with an enormous heart, The Big Sick is one of the best films to hit theaters this year. Kumail and Kazan are stellar, while Hunter, Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff and Adeel Akhtar all solely standout in their performances well. The dialog is crisp, while tapping into your inner heart. I loved The Big Sick and you will too.
The Big Sick is rated R (Restricted). For language including some sexual references.
Review: Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is fierce, colorful and full of heart. It’s a complete 180° for the DCEU (Extended Universe) and probably one of the best superhero films to-date.
Gal Gadot soars as the woman in red, gold and blue. Her charismatic performance helped the film succeed in spectacular fashion throughout. In regards to the DCEU, the fourth time is a charm. Wonder Woman is the best film to come from the extended franchise and leaves audience’s everywhere eager for more. Forget the mediocracy of Man of Steel, and forget the sheer awfulness of Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad because those films are a thing in the past.
Dial back to 1918, as director Patty Jenkins (Monster) takes us to the lively origin story of Wonder Woman. But before Gadot can throw around the lasso, she has to go through training. And before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana (a wondrous Gadot), princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. Her and the rest of the Amazon people are fueled with rich, Greek mythology. But when a pilot (the charming Chris Pine) crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
Set during World War I, Diana decides to join Steve (Pine) and his crew to eliminate the threat. Wonder Woman does many things right, one of them being justice to the origin story. Jenkins gives us characters that we care about and keeps the plot rolling. The other wonder from this film is that Gadot and Pine’s chemistry is dynamic. These two work great with each other, giving off an emotional and romantic bond. Another big plus for the film is that Wonder Woman's character is not sexualized. No misogyny here.
Gadot’s incarnation breathes fire and packs in a punch. Since the release, Wonder Woman has broken multiple records. Here are some of the records broken thus far: the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman, the highest-grossing opening weekend from a female director, ever, the highest-grossing woman-led superhero film, ever, the first Marvel or DC Film ever directed by a woman and it is now the biggest domestic earnings in the DC Extended Universe. Nearly flawless, Wonder Woman ends on a high note. Jenkins has done herself proud, while Gadot showed off her true warrior roots. Wonder Woman will, without a doubt, slap a smile on your face. It’s a 141-minutes of pure fun.
Wonder Woman is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned). For sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content.
Review: Alien: Covenant
Ridley Scott returns to his Alien roots with another haunting visual grandeur. While, I did enjoy Prometheus more, nevertheless; Alien: Covenant is still a thrilling deep-space terror.
Yes, Alien: Covenant doesn’t take the franchise in any new directions… that’s the bummer. On the flipside, Covenant is a haunting thrill-ride waiting to be unleashed. Director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Prometheus) returns with blood. After divided fan criticism on his prequel (Prometheus), Scott decided to return more to his Alien roots and released his audience into a world of living hell. Covenant is a new chapter to the Alien franchise and stands-in as a sequel/prequel.
The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape. Actor Michael Fassbender returns as the mysterious android, David and his brother-android, Walter. Fassbender is exceptional as ever, delivering a groundbreaking performance that holds the film steady. Actors Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Demian Bichir, Danny McBride, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz and Carmen Ejogo all join the Covenant crew this time around.
Some becoming alien meat and others surviving until the last frame. While, Covenant didn’t impress (numbers wise) at the box office, Scott is still planning on making two additional Alien sequel/prequels leading up to the very first film (1979). In the end, I enjoyed Prometheus more for its approach to the slow-building suspense and terror. At times, Covenant felt like a constant bloodbath that was never going to let up. In all, Covenant continued to deliver deep-space thrills with mysterious plot lines still left unanswered.
Alien: Covenant is rated R (Restricted). For sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Review: Baby Driver
The coolest movie of the summer has finally arrived. Baby Driver is driven with great writing, acting and direction. Plus, the film features a killer soundtrack!
Put the petal to the metal, Baby Driver is a summer movie sensation. Fueled by fast-paced action that is both smartly written and character driven. Writer-director, Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) hits a new high is his superb career. In a world, full of bloated CGI, Baby Driver goes retro as there is little to no CGI or green screen used in the car chase sequences. The driving is all practically done. The intensity you feel rush through your bones, while watching the thrilling car chase scenes was captured in real time and live stunts.
This just goes to show how brilliant Wright really is as a filmmaker. Without giving away too much of the plot, after being coerced into working for a crime boss (a vicious Kevin Spacey), a young getaway driver (a fantastic Ansel Elgort) finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail. That’s all I will say about the plot and the rest is waiting for you to experience on the big screen. Alongside, the exceptional writing is the star-studded character development. Elgort plays Baby, a getaway driver, who through his charm and “Kubrick look” will win your heart. Spacey plays Doc, a vicious mastermind behind the planning and execution of the ongoing robberies.
Doc calls Baby his lucky charm because he has used him for multiple heists. Lilly James plays Debra, a young waitress and Baby’s girlfriend. James evolves perfectly into her character and doesn’t run into the cliché girlfriend role. Jamie Foxx plays Bats, a psychopath who would creepy out even your average, everyday psychopaths. John Hamm plays Buddy, the handsome criminal who you don’t want to cross. Eiza González plays Darling, Buddy’s dame and faithful partner in crime. Wright takes his time with each character showing us their strengths and weaknesses throughout the film. Baby Driver also has a killer soundtrack that packs in a punch.
Songs like Bellbottoms by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Harlem Shuffle by Bob & Earl, Easy by The Commodores, B-A-B-Y by Carla Thomas, Debra by Beck, Every Little Bit Hurts by Brenda Holloway, Hocus Pocus by Focus, Radar Love by Golden Earring and Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up by Barry White. Needless to say, Baby Driver delivers and is not only one of the best films of the summer, it’s one of the best films of the year. Masterfully crafted and well-executed, Baby Driver will leave you wanting more after the credits roll. In time, it will go down as a new American classic. I had a blast from the opening scene until the very last and I hope you do as well. Yes, the coolest movie of the summer has finally arrived. Check it out now!
Baby Driver is rated R (Restricted). For violence and language throughout.
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