Sunday, July 19, 2015

Movie Review of Magic Mike XXL - review by Chelsea Richardson

Runtime: 115 minutes
Rating: R

Chances are, even if you have not seen the first Magic Mike, you know the general synopsis of Magic Mike XXL. Directed by Gregory Jacobs, whose resume also includes the Ocean’s trilogy, Magic Mike XXL features the return of the “Kings of Tampa” group from the first movie (Channing Tatum, Joe Mangianiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Matt Bomer) and man are at it again! 

Three years ago, Mike Lane (Tatum) vowed to retire from the stripper life while at the top of his game. Luckily for us, a visit from the remaining Kings of Tampa leaves him with the burning desire for one last performance. The men set off on a final road trip to Myrtle Beach for the annual stripper convention. Along the way, they make stops in Jacksonville and Savannah where they make some  new friends in addition to reviving a few old aquaintences. 

A pleasant surprise to the screen was that of Jada Pinkett Smith in the role of Rome, Mike’s employer from the days before he was magic. This stand out performance by Smith brought a confident and sassy female character into the mix as the perfect “queen” to tame the “Kings of Tampa.” 

Throughout the theater, viewers seemed to have mixed feelings towards the film. Many felt it did not compare to the original for the simple facts that there were fewer dance scenes in addition to the surplus of clothing the actors kept on throughout the 115 minute run time. However, they all seemed to be in agreement that regardless, the movie was still entertaining. What it lacked in dancing, it made up for in humor and a visually pleasing leading group of actors.  

The film gains its “R” rating through the obviously sexual content and overall nature of the storyline with an assist by profane language. The plot was not the driving factor in people attending this movie. More people will go to see the plot of the Minion Movie than that of this one, but in comparison to the first, Magic Mike XXL, had a more developed storyline that is sure to leave the audience entertained. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the new routines guaranteed to take the Kings of Tampa out of the industry with a bang.

Book review of 'Salem's Lot By Stephen King - Review by Nick McGoldrick

For over forty years, Stephen King has built a dynasty in the world of literature. Countless classics have formulated, with many being made into notable film adaptions. Call him the Master of Horror, or just a guy from Bangor with a serious imagination, but there's one story about a vampire-infested town in Maine that rivets readers every time.

“’Salem’s Lot” is the story of Ben Mears, an acclaimed author who grew up in the fictional town of Jerusalem's Lot, which is said to neighbor Windham, Cumberland and Falmouth. Mears has returned to write his newest book about the Marston house, which lies on top of a hill overlooking the Lot. The house holds eerie legends ranging back to the original owner and Depression-era hit man Hubert Marston, in the 1940s. The estate has now been bought by Kurt Barlow, an Austrian immigrant who has opened a store in town. His business partner, Richard Straker, is the only one of the two seen in public. Soon, townsfolk begin to go missing, people start turning into vampires, and it's up to Ben Mears along with a few brave patrons to make things right.

“’Salem’s Lot” is my favorite Stephen King novel, and also my favorite book of all time. Throughout the novel, King is able to poetically pinpoint different facets within the storyline, and issues the characters face. This is a story that is so well-done that I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next. Early on, King paints a portrait of a small, fall-time Maine town, and while not making his intention to scare readers obvious, the element of eeriness is sincere and underlying. This is Stephen King at his finest; I would highly recommend “’Salem’s Lot”.

Movie review for Terminator Genisys (PG-13) - review by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 126 min

Terminator Genisys is a new science-fiction/action movie and follows 2009s Terminator Salvation as the fifth installment in the 31-year-old franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger returns yet again to reprise his endlessly iconic role as the title character, alongside the new additions of Emilia Clarke (aka Daenerys Targaryen), Jai Courtney and Jason Clarke (no relation to Emilia). Personally, I think that the previous two movies in this blockbuster series, Rise of the Machines and Salvation, have been major letdowns. 
However, the 1984 original is a complete sci-fi classic, while its sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is easily in my top five favorite movies of all time and in my opinion, is the best action movie ever made. Having said that, I wasn’t expecting Genisys to be even close to as good as the originals, but I was certainly hoping that it would top the last two movies in the series.

Starting off in the year 2029, John Connor (Jason Clarke) leads the Resistance in the war against Skynet. Soon, he decides to send Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to the year 1984 in order to prepare his young mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) for her future and therefore ensure his own existence…if that makes any sense. However, when Reese arrives, things get even more complicated and a fractured timeline is created, as nothing is as he expected it to be. Now, Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor must team up with “the Guardian” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to fight off new enemies and protect the future. 

In all honesty, the plot for this movie is just as confusing as I described it, becoming even more so as the film progresses. That is one of my major issues with the movie, along with all of the miscast characters, particularly Kyle Reese, portrayed by Jai Courtney. He just felt so emotionless, similarly to his performance in the abomination that was A Good Day to Die Hard. Putting my complaints aside, this movie does have a few redeeming qualities, including the exceptional performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played the film’s best character by a landslide. There was also plenty of action to keep the movie going and the action sequences were pretty entertaining. As a huge fan of the originals, I simply can’t say that I was impressed, but if you can put aside a few glaring issues, Terminator Genisys is a solid summer action flick.

Movie Review of Ted 2 - By Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 115 min

Ted 2 is a new comedy movie written and directed by Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, A Million Ways to Die in the West). This is a sequel to the 2012 film Ted and once again stars MacFarlane as the voice of the title role alongside “Marky Mark” Wahlberg (The Departed, The Fighter). Some other members of the supporting cast include: Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Givoanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and yes, Tom Brady. As a big fan of Seth MacFarlane’s animated work and two previous live action films, I was really looking forward to this movie. However, I think that most comedy sequels are extremely disappointing, so I couldn’t help being just a little bit skeptical heading into the theater. 

The film opens up with the wedding of Ted (MacFarlane) and Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). Meanwhile, John Bennet (Mark Wahlberg) is six months divorced from his wife from the previous movie. 

One year after Ted’s wedding, he and Tami-Lynn continue to fight constantly, eventually deciding to have a child to try to fix their marriage. However, in order to qualify as a legal guardian, Ted must prove that he is a human being (not property) in a court of law. John and Ted decide to team up with a young lawyer named Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) in order to bring Ted justice. 

As I mentioned earlier, I am a big fan of Seth MacFarlane’s work, so his distinct style of humor that some people may find offensive doesn’t really bother me. Having said that, if you can say the same for yourself and enjoyed the first Ted movie, I can all but guarantee that you will enjoy this film as well. The plot for this sequel is just as ridiculous and predictable as the original, but personally I find that funny in it’s own right. 

Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane once again have great chemistry as the two main characters and Amanda Seyfried actually fit in nicely to form a new trio. For the most part, although many were offensive, all of the jokes worked and only a few fell flat for me. In the end, I think that Seth MacFarlane delivered once again with  Ted 2, and even though it didn’t quite live up to the original, I can honestly say that this movie is that rare comedy sequel that basically had me laughing out loud from start to finish.