I missed a week! I know, I know, I know. So, here are my Six Random Thoughts from last week’s only so-so episode.

  1. I was not as taken with Carly and Serge’s performance as the rest of the judges were.
  2. Ricky is still hands down my favorite.
  3. Teddy is a definite character, but he won me over with his performance. He was hitting it so hard.
  4. The Marquet/Jordan routine. Ouch. It was so sloppy and frantic. And I really like Marquet!
  5. Zach may be my second favorite dancer. The African routine with him and Jacque was so great!
  6. I can’t believe Marlena went home over the other two! And Casey and Serge busted it out tonight, so Nick was the right choice even if Nigel kicking him had the same impact as if he had kicked a puppy on live TV. Nicks face may have brought tears to my eyes.

 

So You Think You Can Dance: Season 11

18 Perform, 2 Eliminated

Top 18 Perform
Song: “How It’s Done”/District 78
Choreographers: Christopher Jennings and Krystal Meraz
Performance: I have to say the performance is pretty amazing. The chess theme was super cool, the routine was intense and had a lot going on. It was also visually stunning. Bravo costume department! I’m also loving that it was done by fresh blood.
Bottom Six Dancers
Bridget, Emilio, Emily, Stanley, Jourdan, Teddy

My Thoughts
Um…I don’t understand this bottom 3. Really I don’t. Of this three, who do I want to go home? Jourdan, I guess for the ladies…but for the guys. I really like them all. I guess I would say Emilio? For the love of GOD Nigel, keep Stanley.

 

Who: Zach and Jacque
Choreographer/Style: Keone and Mari Madrid/Hip Hop
Song: “Stay With Me”/Sam Smith
Performance: First of all, the outfits — adorable. Second, starting on the floor with the hand tutts – adorable. Third, the dancers — adorable. Zach is amazing guys. He just hits everything so hard and puts his all into everything. He definitely out dances Emily. But the routine is super sweet, and the look on Zach’s face makes me swoon, even though he’s WAY too young for me. He reminds me of a less creepy Freddie Highmore.
Judges: The judges love it. Nigel loved the choreography and loved seeing them challenged. Nigel loves the way Zach commits to everything he does. Cat thinks this performance reminds her of the Mark/Chelsea routine, but I think it reminds me more of the Melanie/Marko routine.
Rating: B+

 

Who: Jourdan and Marquet
Choreographer/Style: Dee Caspary/Contemporary
Song: “Disappear (Demo Version)”/Mikky Ekko
Performance: This performance was almost perfect. There was just something off about it and I don’t know what. Maybe it’s chemistry. The song was beautiful. I am downloading it right NOW. The dangling umbrellas were super cool. It made the whole thing feel magical. The choreography was beautiful and I can see where Dee was taking it. It’s just something was missing. Feeling. Chemistry. Something. I also feel like the dancers could have been more graceful. I felt like they were dancing in mud. They need to be lighter on their feet.
Judges: Nigel feels like he’s not connecting with these two dancers. Misty also feels like something is missing from Marquet as well. He thinks it’s a lack of vulnerability. Mary basically repeats my judgment on the performance. I’m a genius.
Grade: C+

 

Who: Stanley and Jessica
Choreographer/Style: Tyce/Contemporary
Song: “Funkier Than A Mosquitos Tweeter”/Nikki Costa
Performance: This routine is really unique and it’s a lot like Tyce. It’s a little showy, a little strange, and really memorable. I like this couple. Though I think Stanley and Jessica need to build on their chemistry, if they get it right, they could be fantastic together. Jessica is so amazing; I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I have to say I really liked this routine. AND it came from Tyce. WEIRD!
Judging: Misty wants them to be aware of being TOO expressive. Mary thinks Stanley gives good air and has moments of brilliance. Mary says Jessica has everything so she doesn’t need to over sell it. Nigel wants Stanley to focus on his core.
Grade: B+

 

Who: Bridget and Emilio
Choreographer/Style: Anya and Pasha/Jive
Song: “Happy”/Pharrell Williams
Performance: My first thought, they’re in the bottom and they have the Jive. Someone wants them to go home. My second thought, the routine is so adorable. Bridget looks so great and she SOLD it. They looked like they were having a lot of fun and it was so bouncy and happy. Personally, I think they killed it. I really like Bridget, I hope she stays, her personality came out and I loved it.
Judging: Mary thinks Bridget captured the energy, and though Emilio has some work to do, he did a great job. Nigel thinks Emilio is growing and thinks Bridget is gorgeous. Misty loves their performance. She thinks Bridget was perfection.
Grade: A-

 

Who: Emily and Teddy
Choreographer/Style: Tyce DiOreo/Contemporary
Song:  “Ne Me Quitte Pas”/Nina Simone
Performance: Can I just say, I was totally into this piece, until I HEAR Tyce yell “YES” in a quiet moment and I suddenly become distracted. COME ON TYCE. Let the dancers just dance. Okay, moving on. The piece was actually really powerful. It wasn’t conventional. It was dirty and frustrating, and took me to another place. Everything was right about this piece. The song was perfect because it took me to another place. Like a French couple fighting in the streets trying to figure if they should stay together or not. Teddy was killing it. He just gets it and his movement is so beautiful. As for Emily, there were moments I didn’t think she was very strong, but then she pulled out some brilliant move or emotion that made me think twice. That ending was brutally gorgeous. I really liked this piece.
Judging: Nigel loved how ugly it was, because sometimes love is ugly. (Sometimes Nigel says very meaningful things.) Misty thinks Emily’s body speaks French. She thinks she was stunning. She thinks Teddy translates into any genre. Mary thinks Emily delivers and was mesmerized by Teddy.
Grade: A

 

Who: Brooklyn and Casey
Choreographer/Style: Bonnie Story/Jazz
Song: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”/Michael Buble
Performance: This piece was really cute, but Casey brought out way more personality than Brooklyn. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He’s really a great dancer. Brooklyn kind of disappears and you forget about her. I definitely loved the turn Casey did when he held his leg, I just wish that it wasn’t shown in the rehearsal footage because it’s a WOW moment. I also didn’t feel like Brooklyn and Casey had a lot of chemistry. Casey carried her through this piece, literally and figuratively.
Judging: Brooklyn had some issues, but Casey was on fire. Brooklyn was challenged really hard being out of her style. Brooklyn is going to have to keep up with how great Casey is.
Grade: B

 

Who: Valerie and Ricky
Choreographer/Style: Lacey Schwimmer/Viennese Waltz
Song: “I Won’t Give Up”/Jason Mraz
Performance: Ricky was definitely doing the hard work here, but the piece wasn’t as light as I felt it should have been. Ricky and that dress made Valerie look GOOD, but I felt the dance could have been more floaty. That being said, Ricky is AMAZING. Again a male dancer out dances his female partner. What I do like about this piece, however, is the choreography. It added a lot more technical things into it than just them spinning around the stage. And they had great chemistry. You could see how much Ricky was taking care of Valerie in every step.
Judging: Mary says there are a few technical things they both have to work out. Valerie showed perfect emotion but she has to watch her topline. Nigel loved their performance and felt Valerie came up to Ricky’s standard. Misty says technically Ricky is beyond what the show has seen.
Grade: B

 

Who: Serge and Carly
Choreographer/Style: Luther Brown/Hip Hop
Song: “Senile”/Young Money feat. Tyga, Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne
Performance: First of all, I gotta say the concept and the choreography were FANTASTIC. There were moments out there where they really looked like dancing skeletons and it was pretty great. Carly knocked it out of the park. She was hitting it hard, she got into character, and she was killing it. I just wished she brought out a little more personality. Serge, while he definitely struggled with “hitting it hard” and his ballroomy-ness came out, killed it in the personality department. He was creepy, he was focusing on being menacing to the camera. I just wished he focused a bit more on keeping the moves sharp. When he danced next to Carly you could definitely see what he was lacking in.
Judging: Nigel doesn’t think it’s a performance that will get votes, despite him knowing how hard they worked. Nigel gets all political in his remarks  – if you didn’t like it Nigel just say so. Misty is impressed with Serge despite his faults and thought Carly was great. Misty politically calls Nigel “old”. Ha! Mary saw how hard they worked and loved the piece.
Grade: B-

 

Who: Tanisha and Rudy
Choreographer/Style: Warren Carlyle/Broadway
Song: “Sing Sing Sing (Part 2)”/Fosse (Original Broadway Cast)
Performance:  I have to say Rudy is looking good in his gray vest and pants. He actually seems a lot more into the piece than Tanisha is. She has one look on her face, but he looks like he’s having a blast. The choreography is exciting and complicated and it brings out the post in their personality and skills. It’s actually pretty un-freakin’ believable what they do. Rudy is a rockstar! And you can see how excited he is about it. It’s so adorable.
Judging: Misty thinks this piece was Rudy. Mary calls the piece a show stopper. She thought Tanisha was on fire, and that Rudy has dance running through his veins. Nigel admires Tanisha’s technique, but loves Rudy’s spirit and thinks he’s magic.
Grade: A-

 

Elimination Time
So okay, after these performances, who is going to be going home is going to be a tough one. Out of these 6 who do I want to see go home? For the girls, it’s an easy choice, I would pick Jourdan. I just haven’t been able to connect with her this time and she’s too similar to the other girls. The guys whoever, it’s a more difficult though, sure Stanley had an off day last week. But he’s brilliant up there on stage. I’m a bit neutral to Emilio even though he has a fantastic personality; however his performance today was one of my favorites. If Teddy goes home, there is something wrong with those judges.

Nigel tells us he’s going with America’s vote as the bottom: Stanley and Jourdan are going home. I guess it was the right call. As hard as it is to say about Stanley, it was a tough choice, I guess I’m okay with it.

My Prediction
I think the bottom six for next week should be Tanisha, Brooklyn and Jacque, and for the guys as much as I like him Marquet, Serge, and Emilio. These 6 are the 6 I’d be okay with going home. Sorry to say.

 

Quotes:

Cat to Emilio – “I love how Serge just slapped your butt.”

“I’ve been taped to a tree before, but not another person.” – Valerie

 

Random Thoughts:

  • When Cat told the dancers to have chins up, immediately I thought of Sound of Music. Don’t know why.
  • When Cat says “duet with the dancers” I think it sounds like she said “do it with the dancers” and I’m twelve.
  • Emily looks like Hilary Duff.
  • Love the fact that Lacey taped Valerie and Ricky together in rehearsal, but girl, can we talk about that hair? No. Just no.

 

Overall Thoughts
This is shaping out to be a very difficult season to call for the guys. All of them are spectacular in their own ways and show a lot of personality. The girls need to step it up. I have a lot of hope for Jessica and Valerie but they both need a break out moment, Jessica peaked TOO SOON! See ya in a couple of days! I promise turn around on my reviews will be shorter!

 

 

One of my favorite things about So You Think You Can Dance is watching the other dancers get so excited about each other’s work and performance. There’s something really special about the way they support each other and Not Vegas, aka Pasadena, was a great reminder of just that fact. At the end of Pasadena, when the Top 20 was revealed, I had my favorites, tappers Valerie and Zack, Marcquet, and of course Jessica (I mean her solo was amazing). Did that remain with the Top 20 Performance? I guess we’ll find out!

 

So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Top 20 Performances

 

 

Who: Top 20
Choreographer/Style: Sonya Tayeh/Jazz
Song: “Stalker Ha” by Kingdom
My Thoughts: This piece definitely had Sonya’s signature all over it. It was energetic and it showed off everyone’s stomping skills. I will never understand her costume choices though. Is it weird to say one of my favorite parts of the performance as the end when the kids are just breathing heavily. There’s just something about them all breathing in as one that’s really beautiful.

I have already decided Ricky is my favorite. I think it’s the beard. I hope they don’t make him shave it. It really makes him stand out, well that and his crazy flexibility. I can’t wait to see more. My overall impression of this group, a lot of the girls and guys look really similar. SYTYCD definitely has a type.

Jason Derulo is the guest judge, which is, well strange because this show doesn’t seem like his thing. I know he’s a performer and all, but I enjoy the show a lot more when they hire other dancers to judge…you know…the dancing. Maybe he will surprise me.

 

Time for the Performances, each dancer will be dancing in their own style.

 

Who: Brooklyn and Serge
Choreographer/Style: Dimitry Chaplin/Cha Cha
Song: “Hell Yeah” by Midnight Red
The Routine: I’ve never been a big fan of Dimitry’s as a choreographer. As a shirtless ballroom dancer? Hell yeah. Choreographer, not so much. I’m not a fan of the use of contemporary music in ballroom music, it just doesn’t always work. And Dimirtry is a fan of using strange songs in his routines. I’m also just not a big fan of his choreography. That being said, the couple looks HOT. Serge is STRONG, and as for Brooklyn, she looks great, but I’m distracted by what seems like a label sticking out of the bottom part of her dress. Yes, I’m checking out her butt, I don’t know why. Serge definitely killed this one but Brooklyn needed more strength and control.
Judges: Mary felt that Brooklyn was nervous, but that Serge looked great. Jason thought the routine was steamy. Nigel thought they uplifted the group with their energy.
My Grade: C

 

Who: Emily and Casey
Choreographer/Style: Travis Wall/Contemporary
Song: “All of Me” by John LEgend
The Routine: This routine has me from the beginning with the help of the lighting, the costume choices and the amazing amazing song. But the dancers really bring it. Casey has incredible strength and I love the move where he lifts Emily by spreading his arms and standing on his toes and she clings to him like a monkey. Okay, that didn’t sound very lovely, but it LOOKED lovely. Casey also transforms when he dances. He has this “pretty boy”, “”well groomed thing about him, but when he dances, it all fades away. And his dancing really shines. As for Casey, I feel like she could be a bit more graceful, but then I forget all my critique with that great stretching balancing act. Girl uses every single muscle when she dances from the tippy tips to her toes and fingers. It’s very beautiful.
Judging: Jason is excited and uses great words to describe the dance. It was vivid! And they did tell a great story. I’m impressed Jason. Nigel loves how the choreography fit the music and loves the lengthening of their styles as the music went into falsetto.
My Grade: B+

 

Who: Valerie and Zack
Choreographer/Style: Anthony Morigerato/Tapping
Song: “Sing” by Ed Sheeran
The Routine: I’ll be honest guys, I can barely walk up (or down) a set of stairs without falling. Maybe it’s an inner ear thing, but I digress. What these kids did is so awe-inspiring. Nothing only were they tapping up and down, backwards and forwards, one leg and two legs, but they were keeping an intricate delicate rhythm. And they were in sync. It was quite thrilling. Plus they’re ADORABLE. Valerie has this Ashley Williams kind of thing about her and I‘m pretty sure I could fit Zack in my pocket (even if he is as tall as Cat). The routine was extremely difficult, but they made it look easy and fun.
Judging: Nigel thinks they are magnificent. He thinks their technique is great and they are very likeable. Mary loves the rhythmic conversation and felt like they were teaching her the song. Jason has a tap background (who knew) and appreciates how difficult that routine was.
My Grade: A

 

Who: Bridget and Stanley
Choreographer/Style: Bonnie Story/Contemporary
Song: “Doesn’t Mean Goodbye” by John McLaughlin
Routine: There’s something about Bridget that I really like. I think it’s just that she seems like a normal girl. She’s not over made, she’s just a normal, beautiful girl. She also has great chemistry with Stanley and when they dance side by side together I get goosebumps. It’s so beautiful. Though nothing special amazing happened, the routine was sweet, the dancing was graceful, and the story was compelling.
Judging: Mary loved the “love roll” where they held each other’s heads and rolled on the ground. She loves Stanley’s legs and leaps and loves Bridget’s lightness. Jason said they looked effortless, then asks Bridget to massage his feet…um…awkward. Nigel loved their classic technique.
My Grade: B

 

Who: Jacque and Jourdan
Choreographer/Style: Ballet
Song:  Pas de Deux from Black Swan
Routine: Is it weird I want to immediately dislike Jourdan because she spells her name with a u? Is it weird that the spelling of Jacque’s name frustrates me? Is it unreasonable? Does that make me s vindictive? Okay, just checking. Fortunately, Ilike them more when I realize they will be doing ballet on point. The routine is great, unfortunately they aren’t really together. They don’t have a connection. I know it’s hard and difficult and with time it could have been better but their mistakes were too distracting. Now I admit, I’d never in my life be able to do anything close to that, but I just wish they were a little more together, that would have made all the difference.
Judging: Jason gives us this jem, “That was beautiful, I loved to watch it.” Nigel can’t wait to see what else they can do, but you can tell he didn’t like it as much as he wanted too. Mary loves to see ballet on the stage.
My Grade: C

 

Who: Marcquet and Marlene
Choreographer/Style:  Louie Van Amstel/Brazilian Samba
Song: “Morning Drums” by Gregor Salto
Routine: Marcquet is even more my favorite now that I hear he’s afraid of ants. Why? I can’t really tell you. It just does. And after seeing them dance, I have to say I’m a fan of these too. They just looked like they were having so much fun out there. And that color looked amazing on Marlene. There was a nice build up into their shakes and shimmies and I couldn’t help but smile. The routine was so full of energy and even though I don’t know much about ballroom, their routine was better than any ballroom routine I’ve seeon on SYTYCD. They looked professional and showed great personality.
Judging: Nigel loved it and thought they had incredible passion. Mary loved their “hot rolls” and loved their intention.
My Grade: B

 

Who: Carly and Rudy
Choreographer/Style: Stacey Tookey/Contemporary
Song: “Take It Easy” by Jetta
Routine: Rudy seems like a big goofball and Stacey wonders if he can pull himself together. He knows he needs to get serious. As the routine starts, I can’t help thinking that Carly reminds me of Allison Holker. She just puts everything into her dancing. The routine is really quite beautiful, even though Rudy struggles a bit with the lifts, the windmachine is working really hard to make it all look effortless. And when they dance side by side in sync it is so beautiful. I really enjoyed it. They both put so much heart into it. Cat teases Rudy about how he’s a crier and that makes me like the both of them even more.
Judging: Mary thinks it was really beautiful. She notices that the lifts are a bit labored, but loves his heart. Jason felt that anything was possible watching them. Nigel loves Carly’s technique and thinks that Rudy has room to grow and that he wears his heart on his sleeve.
My Grade: B+

 

Who: Emilio and Teddy
Choreographer/Style: Christopher Scott/Hip Hop
Song: “Night Shift” by the Commodores
Routine: First impression, Teddy is a pretty boy, and he’s a bit strange. I think he’s trying too hard. I also can’t believe he’s a b-boy. That being said, the two boys have a lot of chemistry. The routine is light and fun, and the boys glide around the stage like it’s covered in wax. Emilio shows a lot more personality than Teddy…who I’m still not convinced is a hip hop dancer. He totally looks contemporary.
Judging: Jason runs his joke from the beginning of the show into the ground and beats the dead joke with a stick. He loves the routine and thought it was seamless even though they spent a lot of time dancing apart. Nigel loved the boys’ ability to connect and loved Emilio’s tricks. He also mentions Teddy is not all hip hop and it all makes much more sense to me. Mary loved Christopher Scott’s musicality.
My Grade: B-

 

Who: Jessica and Ricky
Choreographer/Style: Sonya Tayeh/Contemporary
Song: “Vow” Meredith Monk
Routine: Ricky and Jessica connected in more ways than one during rehearsal. Their heads, literally connected. Could they connect in this piece? The answer is yes. This performance was the definition of breathtaking. The music was so quiet, just a woman, singing acapella, a song that sounds similar to the Star Trek Theme, but it was so mesmerizing. It captivated you. It made the piece less noise, serene, subtle. Your focus was soley on the dancers and it was so captivating you couldn’t help but hold your breath. I frankly couldn’t take my eyes off of these two, they’re probably the shortest in the competition but Ricky with his beard had such strength and control, and Jessica’s legs are just crazy special. I do wish this couple was an actual pair because I agree with Nigel, they would have fun away with the competition.
Judges: Standing O. None of them could stop raving about the piece. Jason Derulo was holding his breath, just like I was. Also, you know a piece is good when the choreographer herself is taken aback by the performance and can’t help but say WOW.
My Grade: A+

 

Who: Tanisha and Nick
Choreographer/Style: Louie Van Amstel/Cha Cha
Song: “I’m A Freak” by Enrique Iglesias feat Pitbull
Routine: Tanisha reminds me of an actress who I can’t place right now, but when I do, you’ll totally get what I mean. Unfortunately she has zero chemistry with Nick. I think their high difference was really a detriment to him. He seemed to be struggling a bit and I really want to like him. They both had a lot of energy, but I wish they had more of a connection.
Judging: They don’t really have much to say, which makes me think they didn’t really like it all that much.
My Grade: C

 

 

My Prediction:
I think the bottom three girls will be Jourdan, Jacque, and Tanisha or Brooklyn and the bottom boys Nick, Casey and Serge. Right now, it’s hard to put those guys in the bottom three. I think the guys are really strong this season, but I need to see a bit more personality from the ones that I picked for the bottom. In fact all the bottom 6 I picked need to be able to seperate themselves from the pack. So, who will go home? My guess is either Jourdan or Jacque…and as for the boys? No idea. Nick, I guess?

 

Top 5 Routines:

1)      Jessica and Ricky – Contemporary
2)      Valerie and Zack – Tap
3)      Emily and Casey – Contemporary
4)      Marlene and Marcquet – Brazilian Samba
5)      Carly and Rudy – Contemporary

 

Overall Thoughts:
This is going to be a good season, and I ALREADY can’t wait for all stars. Who wants to see Ricky dance with Alison or Jessica dance with Alex Wong? This girl. My favorites are still the same, but I’ve added Ricky to the list. Oh Ricky…

 

 

Reviews in a Hurry

 

 

Angelina Jolie, MaleficentMaleficent
Directed By: Robert Stromberg
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Famming, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Juno Temple

Maleficent, by far, is one of the scariest villains in Disney history. As a child, she scared me to death. The dragon, the thorny branches surrounding the castle, the green smoke—she was just creepy and the impact of her evilness is something I always remember even now as an adult.

Now as for Angelina Jolie, I’ve never been a fan of hers. I can’t even tell you the last movie I really liked that she was in. That being said, her performance as Maleficent was the only thing that made this movie watchable. And while the story was well, lame, and the other characters were, well, one-dimensional and boring, Angelina had an over powering presence that was undeniable. She was absolutely mesmerizing as Maleficent, immersing herself into the role completely. She was committed. If only the rest of the movie lived up to her performance.

The movie needed to take more risks, but instead it fell back on the “no one is really bad if you take the time to get to know them” mentality Disney likes to adopt. I’m not saying that message is a bad thing, it’s just you can be evil with a heart and still have a tragic ending. (See Once Upon A Time’s Evil Queen.) Something deeper needed to happen, but instead I felt as if this story negated the entire way I felt about one of my favorite fairy tales Sleeping Beauty, and Maleficent herself.  Rating: D+

 

 

 

A-Million-WaysA Million Ways to Die In The West
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman

I like Seth MacFarlane, his dirty humor, his charming good looks, his self-deprecating dialogue…I guess I just understand the man. So his movie about a passive, cowardly sheep farmer, desperate to win his woman back after running from a gunfight, was a winner in my book.

The thing about Seth MacFarlane’s work is that no matter how much you hate the guy, you can’t help but admit that the people who work with him look like they’re having A LOT of fun. And this movie is no different. The cast looked like they were genuinely happy to be there, no matter what ridiculous, hilarious, crude things came out of their mouth. And I have to say Charlize Theron should do more comedy because she was surprisingly on her comedic game, while still managing to class up the movie.

Sure the jokes in this movie were hit or miss, but for every three bad jokes there was one joke that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t breathe. For every cringe worthy moment, there was a moment that literally made you think “yes!” A Million Ways to Die in the West isn’t a movie for the faint of heart. If you don’t like MacFarlane’s type of humor you won’t like this movie. But if you’re in the mood for a good time, jokes that will make you laugh, and a cast that looks like they are having a blast doing ridiculous things, then this movie is for you. And this movie was indeed, for me.  Rating: B

 

 

 

X-Men Days of Future Past
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters

I am a fan of the original X-Men series. And while the “reboot” movie was excellent and the cast exciting and new, there was a big part of me that longed for the return of the cast. Thus, when I heard Days of Future Past was going to combine the new with the old, or the “past” with the “future”, I was thoroughly excited. The only problem is, after watching the movie, I was more excited and concerned about the future (original) mutants than I was with this pack of newbies.

Wolverine’s present (technically future) consciousness is beamed into his past self in order to help stop the present/future mutants from being wiped out. He goes back in time to convince the younger Xavier that he needs to make changes in order to fix the future. Oh and also Mystique is the key to everything. While I love Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, the truth is, they aren’t Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. There’s just something about these two that makes me want more. Throw in two key “don’t-want-to-spoil-it” cameos from though-to- be-lost mutants, and all I really want is to see another X-Men movie with the original cast. Enough of this dual timeline crap.
That being said, this movie wasn’t bad, it’s just my focus shifted and I was left unsatisfied. I don’t know how you would make it better. Wait, I do. Continue with both the past and future time lines but as separate movies. More Quicksilver! More Shawn Ashmore! Bring Wolverine to the dark side and have an Avengers vs. X-Men kind of film….I could go on…but I won’t.  Rating: B-

 

 

 

 


In Your Eyes
Directed By: Brin Hill
Starring: Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David, Nikki Reed, Mark Feurestein, Jennifer Grey, Steve Howey, Steve Harris

in-your-eyes-poster

In Your Eyes is a supernatural kind of love story. While things in the movie didn’t quite go as how I wanted them to, the movie was fresh, original, and made believable by its good-looking, likeable leads.

Joss Whedon is the master of dialogue. There is just something about his words that suck you in and grab hold of you, and his characters are extremely memorable. In Your eyes is a love story about two people, in two completely different places who are able to see through each other eyes. Not only that, they can hear each other speak as clearing as if the person were in front of them, only they are miles apart. Rebecca is stuck in a marriage where her husband is more like her babysitter than her partner. He is constantly treating her like she could break at any moment and it’s all her fault. Dylan is struggling to make ends meet. He can’t keep a girlfriend or a real connection with anyone for that matter. Then a shot to the head brings Rebecca and Dylan into each other’s head, and they realized they had this connection all along.

Plot wise, the movie could have given us a little more. But story and dialogue wise the movie was on point and utterly relatable, you know, minus the supernatural stuff. In Your Eyes is creative, it’s sweet, it’s weird, and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Plus, in my eyes, Joss Whedon can do now wrong. (Pun not intended, but hey, it works!). Rating: B

 

 

Walk Of Shame
Directed By: Steven Brill
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright, Kevin Nealon

walk_of_shame

So I have a friend, who loves all movies. Seriously, every movie we see together we love. Even when I hate it, he loves it. So much so, when people ask him how a movie is, he usually replies (and I’m paraphrasing), “You know me, I liked it, but as her (her being me), because she’ll probably give you a better idea as to how it really is.” Anyway, he thought this movie was just okay, while SURPRISE! I actually liked it.

Elizabeth Banks is hilarious. She’s extremely likeable and you can tell she really enjoys the part she is playing. While the movie as a whole is well, ridiculous, Walk of Shame was entertaining, charming, and probably funnier than it really should have been.

TV personality, Megan Miles is having a bad day. She’s been dumped, she’s sad, and she’s just lost the one thing in her life that made her happy to her nemesis, her news reporter job. So she decides to let loose, dress like a slut, and get drunk with her friends, eventually having a one night stand with the hot bartender, who has irresistible blue eyes. The next morning, she wakes up in his apartment to a text that the job is hers if she can make it to the station by 5pm. But a chain of unfortunate events leaves her locked out of the bartenders place without her phone or wallet and her car being towed. Now, on foot, Megan must make it to the city to get her job and her life back on track. Rating: B-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Million Dollar Arm is your typical “from rags to riches” uplifting sports movie. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before: The Blindside, 42, Remember The Titans, Trouble With The Curve, I could go on…But just because we know how a story is going to end, doesn’t mean the journey can’t be enjoyable.

Million Dollar Arm
Directed By: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Madhur Mattal, Suraji Sharma, Pitobash, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin

Million-Dollar-Arm

 

5 Things You Need To Know

 

1. The movie is about J.B. Bernstein rather than Dinesh and Rinku, the athletes from India who become drafted in pro-baseball. J.B. Bernstein is an arrogant and ignorant, “Hollywood” sports agent. He’s used to luxury: big houses, flashy cars and expensive dinners. And to make matters worse, he’s desperate. He needs a win. And some people will do anything for a win. But even when he’s at his worst, he’s watchable because of the charismatic, Jon Hamm. Jon Hamm makes him someone to root for. We want him to be redeemed and when it happens it’ll be great.

2. Lake Bell takes on a more serious role as J.B’s “love” interest, Brenda…and I like it. Lake Bell has this funny awkward, rambly thing about her but sometimes she can be too over the top. In this movie, she was majorly toned down. She seemed down to earth, stable, and reasonable with her funny, nerdy personality still intact. This is the Lake Bell I like to see.

3. The movie could have benefited more from showing us more of Dinesh and Rinku’s culture. It touched upon it briefly, but I felt as if those moments were used more as comic relief as opposed to dramatic impact. Here’s this guy who’s pulling these two kids from the only small town life they’ve ever known and dropping them, by themselves into an unknown foreign country. I wish we could have seen more of Dinesh and Rinku’s home life or have seen J.B. be in uncomfortable situations as opposed to him bullying everyone. Yes, the turnaround came, but it almost came too late.

MILLION DOLLAR ARM

4.Pitobash does a hell of an acting job. Amit is by far one of my characters in this film. Pitobash plays him with such humility; you can’t help but love the guy and want him to succeed. And essentially he becomes the heart of the film. He does what J.B. cannot do. J.B. gave the guys the opportunity, Bill Paxton’s, Tom House gave them the skills, and Amit gave them the heart and the courage to go for the dreams. That is the story right there folks.

5. Dinesh and Rinku don’t have much character development. This movie is about J.B. Bernstein, the movie is Jon Hamm’s movie, but with taking this direction, the filmmakers do a great disservice to the triumphs of Dinesh and Rinku. I believe this story is just as much there’s as it is J.B.’s. What they did is just as important of a story as J.B.’s is. They uprooted their entire life, moved to a foreign country with no support system, were treated like crap by the guy they put all their faith in, and were put under immense pressure by being tasked with achieving something nearly impossible. They were scared, they were defeated, they were broken, but we never actually heard those things come from their mouth. They were always told to us by a third party. I wish this movie could have focused more on the tougher subjects.

 

Overall, this movie was an uplifting, compelling, heartfelt story. Though it could have taken bigger risks, we all knew how the story was going to end. It’s definitely a great movie to watch, but to shell out a lot of money to see it is unnecessary. It’ll be just as impactful spending less money and watching it on your couch with a pizza.

 

Rating: B-

 

 

Random Thoughts:

 

 

 

Godzilla is my kind of summer movie: creatively shot, stunning visuals, and heart-pounding action. This was a thrilling, creepy, monster disaster movie and I loved every moment of it.

Godzilla
Directed By: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Richard T. Jones, Sally Hawkins

Godzilla

 

I’ve read many reviews saying the movie doesn’t have much character development, well to be honest with you, you don’t see a movie like Godzilla for the character development. You see it for the monsters, and the destruction, and the mayhem. And after growing up in San Francisco, there was something exciting about seeing it destroyed. Is that a weird thing to say?

First of all, Godzilla was beautifully shot. There were so many memorable shots. (My friend tells me a lot of it was reminiscent of Spielberg.) There were two shots in particular that really blew my mind. I saw this movie in 3D and there’s a moment when we first saw Godzilla when the camera panned up with the flares, up Godzilla’s leg, then slowly moved back down and behind some people. For a moment I could have sworn someone was standing up in the theater. It was the first moment we saw Godzilla and it well, blew my mind. Then there’s was another shot, that’s actually shown in the trailer, when the guys jump out of the plane with the red stuff coming from their feet. In that moment, the movie had a striking and powerful color palate. And the shot was both beautiful and terrifying watching these men willingly jump into the flames of the burning city. And that soundtrack? It made the moment all the more dramatic.

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Next, Godzilla was a bad ass. His size alone was terrifying but those slow pans up his body somehow made him see much more monstrous than any other, well, monster that’s tried to destroy a city. While certain shots may have made him look comical (I swear it times he looked like a wolf, bear, and dinosaur had mated…how’s that for a disturbing image?) I found Godzilla looked scarier when he was coming up from the water showing his stegosaurus-like backside. Yes, Godzilla looked better from his backside. There’s a sentence I never knew I always wanted to write.

While Elizabeth Olsen was purely there just because most movies think the audience needs a romantic story line of some sort to keep us interested, I felt the most interesting characters were Joe (Bryan Cranston) and his estranged son Ford (a yummy looking Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Maybe it’s because Bryan Cranston’s delivery is genius, but I wish we could have spent more time with his character. His literally gave me chills. And watching a man (Taylor-Johnson) who just returned home from the military only to be caught up in a horrifying disaster at home was much more interesting than a watching father desperate to get back to his son and wife despite the city being ravaged by terrible, terrible things. Maybe that was the problem, the movie veered into cliché territory as opposed to sticking to the more complicated one. And that’s probably what people didn’t like about the story.

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So there’s room for improvement, and maybe they will touch upon this in the recently announced sequel…but as for THIS Godzilla, it’s a movie I want to see over and over again. If you’re a lover of movies, a lover of great filmmaking, a lover of Spielberg, a lover of dinosaurs, a lover of mass destruction, and a lover of Bryan Cranston, then this movie is definitely for you. So turn off your brain, grab the hand of the person sitting next to you, and enjoy the ride.

Rating: B+

 

Random Thought: Anyone notice that despite this movie taking place in Japan and San Francisco there was a serious lack of Asian representation in this movie? I mean what gives?

Neighbors
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco

I have to admit, penis jokes aside, Neighbors is a pretty funny movie. And while that sentence my not instill a lot of confidence those who dislike crude humor movies, the main characters and their stories were surprisingly the best part of the movie.

Mac and Kelly are married with a baby and struggling to figure out how to balance adulthood with still having fun and adventures. When a fraternity moves next door, the couple find themselves in the middle of a feud with the frats leaders Teddy and Pete. With a premise like this, you can almost guess what happens. But what I liked about this story was Mac and Kelly. Seth Rogan and Rose Bryne had great chemistry as a married couple. Their performances had this natural ease about them. As characters they loved each other, knew how to have fun together, worked well together, and didn’t fight over seemingly petty things. They were a team, each bringing hilarious things to the table.

And it was a breath of fresh air.

Neighbors

That being said, this movie was the strongest when it was focused on Mac and Kelly’s relationship and when the couple went “balls to the walls” with the prank retaliation against the frat. It was weakest when it focused purely on the frat and their drama. Maybe it’s just me getting older as a viewer, or more critical as a reviewer, I felt like a lot of the frat stuff just didn’t work. And it was, in fact, eye-rollingly lame. While the partying part was fine and made sense, the side story lines, “best friend” drama felt a little forced. Plus, I don’t know what it is about Dave Franco, but sometimes he can be a little much. But like brother like brother I guess.

The movie also had the right balance of emotional moments that didn’t veer too far into sappy territory. This kept the movie from being too cliché. Instead, it was consistently light and fun, turning crazy situations into hilarity instead of frustration. Some comedies often take scenarios too far where it’s not funny anymore and more taxing and frankly annoying (see: Due Date and Identify Thief). Most of the time this movie knew when to reign in the shenanigans. (Which could be a great title for a comedy, Reigning in the Shenanigans, don’t you think?)

Neighbors2

With many comedies, you have jokes and scenarios that are hit or miss. While this movie had one (or five) to many penis jokes for me overall I found it pretty funny. The last act had the entire theater going “oh!” It was like watching a bunch of youtube videos of epic wipeouts that make you laugh out loud. And if none of these things appeal to you…there’s always a shirtless Zac Efron to look forward to.

 

Rating: B

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it weird, that I’m…let’s say older than the average MTV viewer and I am still totally obsessed with MTV’s The Challenge. I mean I was watching it when it was still called Road Rules. Then it changed to Real World/Road Rules as they morphed the two shows together. And finally it’s The Challenge. Now even though I’ve (mostly) stopped watching Real World, and The Challenge has become oversaturated with new kids (or rookies) that I don’t know…is it weird that I still love it? I hate watching stupid juvenile TV drama, but when that drama stems off of incredible, death defying, stunts/challenges I can’t stop watching it’s like a train wreck. Now this season is a bit of a letdown as most of my favorites (Emily, Sarah, Evan, Evelyn, crazy Paula, Kenny, Adam, Darrell, and Jenn) are gone and replaced by people who don’t even seem to like challenges or have any athleticism at all…But I can’t stop (won’t stop) watching. It’s good you guys.

 

I mean where else can you see one grown man wear another grown man like a backpack?

 
So. Good.

 

 

 

 

It’s not very often you come out of a superhero movie talking about the acting. Sure you talk about the dazzling special effects or the heart pumping action, but when you leave the theater you’re not left thinking about the performances. That being said, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an almost perfect movie thanks to its actors who were, well, amazing.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Chris Cooper, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Felicity Jones, B.J.Novak, Colm Feore

 

**This review comes with a disclaimer: SPOILERS below, duh, so read at your own risk.**

You’ve been warned!!

 

This movie has a lot of great things going for it and it has a lot of memorable moments that will stick with you. It gets the emotional, vulnerable moments right and it gets the heart pumping action right. I love it when a movie gets you to feel something.

 

3 Amazing Things About The Amazing Spider-Man 2

 

The Special Effects
The special effects in this movie were really killer, especially what they did with Electro. Sometimes special effects can be distracting and sometimes the way they are used in a “look how cool we are” way instead of furthering the story. While in some instances the special effects did do the above things, when it worked it really worked. Most of the time the special effects enhanced what was going on and created tension within the movie. And that has a lot to do with the…

The Directing
Since The Matrix, the concept of slowing down time and going in super close has been used (and over used in many movies). It’s one of those concepts that can be really effective if used correctly. While Marc Webb may have used the effect one too many times there was one moment in particular where when it happened, it really worked. It was so smartly directed by Webb that I can’t even get that moment out of my mind. I was literally on the edge of my seat. Thinking a million different things, repeating “this can’t be happening” over and over in my head. It was as if things were going too slow and too fast all at the same time. And that’s a real feeling that exists. For Webb to be able to get that emotion out of an audience (okay, me) with a special effect I’ve seen time and time again is an incredible thing. And smart directing choices like this lead to a strong movie. He also knew just how good his actors were and was able to get some incredible performances out of them. Usually summer movies focus on the action, but with this movie I was completely overtaken by…

The Acting
Seriously, the acting was SO. GOOD. MVPs were of course Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, Sally Field, and surprisingly Jamie Foxx. It’s no wonder Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield found love together. Their chemistry is electric. Even when they are fighting you can feel the passion, the tension, the love, and the spark that everyone searches to find in a partner. Separately, Garfield has the charisma of a rebel, cocky, bad-boy combined with an adorable nerd and Stone has that same spark she has in all her movies. The one that tells you she really loves what she does. Jamie Foxx was convincing as insecure man turned villain. He seemed to shed all his “Jamie Foxx”-ness (you know what I’m talking about) and really embrace the character. I like all the unsettling details about him as well like the bare feet. I don’t know what it is about bare feet, but whenever you see them in a movie it means something bad is about to happen. There is one scene in particular that brought tears to my eyes between Andrew Garfield and Sally Field. It’s a “can’t miss”, have-to-watch, incredibly heartbreaking moment. And it’s amazing.

 

3 Not So Amazing Things About The Amazing Spider-Man 2

 

The Multiple Villians
Spider-Man 3 with Tobey Maguire had this problem as well. Too many villians. Electro, Green Goblin, The Shadow Man, The Rhino…it’s all just too much. At least Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man dared to fight them all. (Seriously, watch Spider-Man 3, Tobey Maguire just cries the entire movie. He doesn’t really defeat any villain. They all just defeat themselves.) I understand why there needed to be three because going back, which villain would you remove? They all need to be there. Especially the Green Goblin (but can we talk about Dane DeHaan’s look? Yikes. I may be partial to William Dafoe’s version.) The multiple villains were just too much too fast. It made the movie feel like it had…

Multiple Endings
The final moments of the movie definitely had a “The Incredibles” feel ending on a huge cliffhanger. But I was expecting something like that. But he fights Electro, then there’s a happy moment, then he fights the Green Goblin, then there’s a sad moment. Then he movies on with his life, and there’s a…cliff hanger. Dealing with a huge emotional rollercoaster just moments before, the final ending seemed almost unnecessary. It was unsatisfying and it left me wanting (not in a good way). The better ending, the riskier ending, would have been to end it with the big emotional, gut wrenching, heartbreaking…

Death of the Beloved Character
**MAJOR SPOILER, SPOILER, SPOILER**
We know it happens. You know it happens. It happens. Gwen Stacey dies. And the way it happens is utterly tragic. But with the loss of Gwen a smart, capable, witty character, we also have the loss of Emma Stone and the chemistry between her and Garfield. I was sure she would make it at least one more movie, but I guess if they want to introduce Mary Jane Watson, it wouldn’t be fair to do it simultaneously with Gwen’s death. We’ll need that time to get over her death. It’s just hard to believe we see any more of that amazing chemistry between her and Garfield at least in a Spider-Man capacity. (Can Gwen Stacey come back as a villain? Like maybe the Green Goblin raises her from the dead and she comes back as a zombie villain? That’s comic booky right? Marvel has zombies.)

I really enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a lot, and if you’re into superhero movies you’ll really enjoy it too. While the ending may leave you wanting, this is a must see movie for the performances alone. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone do not disappoint.

 

Rating: B+

Summer is Upon Us (That’s my version of Winter Is Coming) and you know what that means…sun, BBQ’s, and summer blockbusters. Here are the Top 10 movies I’m looking forward to this Summer (May-August).

 

10 Movies I’m Looking Forward to This Summer

 

Runners up: Chef, The Neighbors, and Maleficent

 

10. If I Stay

chloe-moretz-If-I-Stay-movie-screencaps-6
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2agNeovUjr0
Based off of a book by Gayle Forman, this movie has a lot of potential. I’m interested to see how they tackle the tricky concept without it seeming hokey. The book was great, it is very dramatic and Mia is complicated and not always likeable. I’m interested to see if Chloe Grace Moetz can pull her off, especially because I pictured Mia looking older.

 

9. Jupiter Ascending

jupiter-ascending-posters-channing-tatum-mila-kunis-dl
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOvITFK98gg
I have no idea what this movie is about. Channing Tatum with terrible blonde eye brows has to save Mila Kunis who’s name is Jupiter. That’s all I got. HOWEVER…the movie looks intriguing, weird, exciting, and sci fi. It has a Fifth Element vibe which could be a good thing…

 

8. Edge of Tomorrow

hr_Edge_of_Tomorrow_8
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUmSVcttXnI
I’m a Tom Cruise fan, okay? He just does action SO WELL even if he is crazy. The concept reminds me of a much grander scale / more sci-fi version of Ground Hog Day and Source Code, which isn’t a bad thing as I loved them both.

 

7. A Million Ways to Die in the West

A-Million-Ways-to-Die-in-the-West-1393578915
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXxqG4aqwY4
I don’t know what it is about Seth McFarlane, but I can’t resist him. This movie just looks like fun and that’s what I like in a movie. You don’t need to take it seriously, you just see a movie like this for some good and dirty fun.

 

6. The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0wP5ZkaUGg
Forget the fact that the trailer looks amazing, forget the fact that the first movie was fantastic, this movie is going to be GOOD. The stakes are higher in this movie. It’s not aliens attacking, it’s not monsters, it’s not Transformers, it’s Apes, trying to take over the world. I love it.

 

5. The Fault In Our Stars

fault-in-our-stars-landscape-poster
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIjVrin7FUQ
This book may be in one of my Top 5 Books of all time (Also on that list: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and It by Stephen King). The casting choices and the first trailer made me skeptical, but with this new trailer I think I’m sold. This is a movie you watch by yourself, in an ultra dark theater, so you can sob in peace. It’s going to be BRUTAL and I can’t wait.

 

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-banner
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsjtg7m1MMM
How I feel about this movie would probably be similar to how I’d feel about an Avengers and Spiderman Vs. X-Men Movie. (Okay, that’s a lie, I’d be speechless if this actually happened with the current cast.) That being said, Bryan Singers plan to meld the “past” X-Men with the “present” or I guess “future” X-Men is PURE genius. Only because the original cast is so fantastic. As great as James McAvoy is…Patrick Stewart is Professor X. I mean really. (I just hope James Marsden somehow makes an appearance in this, though it’s not likely.)

 

3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-2
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbp3Ra3Yp74
This is the movie where Andrew Garfield gets to break out of Tobey Maguire’s shadow. The first movie was too similar to the first/original Spiderman. So in this movie we get some new characters, some new plots, and some new action scenes (minus the whole Harry Osborne thing.) I’m excited to see Jamie Foxx as a villain and I’m excited to see more depth in our characters. Plus, I love Emma Stone.

 

2. The Guardians of the Galaxy


guardians_poster_via_marvel

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptUu7_j0JFE
One of the things I’ve always loved about Marvel Movies (vs. DC movies) is that they take a lighter approach when telling their stories. Sure the characters can be dark, and have dark paths, and make dark choices, but there are also comical even hilarious moments to lighten the mood and make it fun instead of well…dark. The first trailer to TGOTG demonstrates this. It’s frickin’ hilarious. I can’t wait to see how they incorporate strange characters into the MCU.

 

1. Godzilla

Godzilla 2014 Teaser Trailer Poster New Godzilla Poster: Welcome to Monster City

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64c6VLNJQiE
Ok, so I know this is a strange choice for #1, but as I’ve said before I am a SUCKER for alien/monster/disaster movies. Cloverfield, Pacific Rim, Independence Day, War Of The Words, Battle: Los Angeles…I eat this stuff up. And I don’t know if it’s the marketing or the way they laid out the trailer but it looks terrifying. And I love it. Words cannot express excited I am to see this film and I hope they do it right.

 

 

What films are you looking forward to this summer?