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FLY Review: ‘The First Purge’ Is A Scary Reminder What This Country Could Become

LEX SCOTT DAVIS as Nya in “The First Purge.” Behind every tradition lies a revolution. This Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness. Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment: “The First Purge.”

The fourth film in the wildly popular Purge franchise serves as a prequel to the previous three films. The Purge: Election Year was assumingly the end of the night of violence disguised as a way for people to “release the beast” but in reality was just a tool for the government to control the population.  As of late, these films feel as if they are right on time regarding the country’s current political climate.

2016’s The Purge: The Election Year dropped right in the middle of the 2016 Presidential Election that featured Donald Trump’s “deplorable” campaign stunningly winning. This year’s The First Purge drops conveniently on July, 4th and features a government scarily similar to the one in charge now but on steroids infused with racism. Franchise writer/director James DeMonaco takes over script duty while Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands) serves as director.

Thanks to the rise of an NRA backed extreme populist political party called the New Founding Fathers who ran on a very pro-America campaign. Sounds very familiar right? The annual night of lawlessness started off as a “simple sociological experiment,” and Staten Island was the testing ground. First introduced by psychologist Dr.Updale (Marisa Tomei) aka The Architect to help push the crime rate down below one percent. The test subjects for this experiment are none other than marginalized Staten Island residents who are offered money if they partake in and survive the night.

Y’LAN NOEL as Dmitri in “The First Purge.” Behind every tradition lies a revolution. This Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness. Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment: “The First Purge.”

There is a large contingent of people who do sign up for the irresistible offer, but there is a group of anti-purgers led by Nya (Lex Scott Davis) who believe the New Founding Fathers have ulterior motives. Insecure star, Y’lan Noel takes on the role of Dmitri a local drug kingpin who is forced to defend the hood he loves and the people in it when he discovers foul play going on during “social experiment.”

Chief of Staff Patch Darrgh (ARLO SABIAN, far left) alongside the Architect, Dr. Updale (MARISA TOMEI, far right), in “The First Purge.” Behind every tradition lies a revolution. This Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness. Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment: “The First Purge.”

The First Purge has a new director, but it stays true to the roots that have made the franchise a phenomenon among moviegoers. The action and visuals fans of the franchise have grown accustomed to seeing are all there. Where this film differs from the others is its blaxploitation spin on it. Noel, Davis and Jovian Wade who plays Nya’s immature brother Isaiah all shine in the movie. The movie will stoke emotions as hired militia dressed up in KKK costumes and donning Nazi S.S. uniforms stalk the hallways of Staten Island projects searching for people hiding from the night. But at the same time will get a rise out fans as the black heroes take on the oppressors who are terrorizing their neighborhood.

Final Verdict

Nya (LEX SCOTT DAVIS) and Isaiah (JOIVAN WADE) in “The First Purge.” Behind every tradition lies a revolution. This Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness. Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment: “The First Purge.”

The First Purge serves as a big middle finger to our current President and will more than like turn Trump supporters away. There are constant digs at Trump including one self-explanatory one that will surely get the crowd hollering. After watching this film, you will definitely walk out of theater impressed with Y’lan Noel who has the makings to be one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars. The First Purge isn’t perfect, there are some head-scratching moments but if you are a fan of this franchise it definitely serves as another solid entry. We definitely think you should add The Fist Purge into your plans for the 4th of July holiday weekend.

3.5 out 5

Photos: Universal Pictures

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FLY Review: ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ Is Nothing Like The First Film & That’s Perfectly Fine

The new Jaegers in action. Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Pacific Rim: Uprising is nothing like it’s predecessor Pacific Rim and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Guillermo Del Torro downgraded himself to a producer role to focus on The Shape of Water, giving the directing duty to Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus and Netflix’s Daredevil). Charlie Hunnam’s character Raleigh Becket is missing without a trace and there is no mention as to his whereabouts.Ron Perlman’s character Hannibal Chau, the Kaiju organ hoarder is also noticeably absent *shrug*.  Idris Elba is also no longer in the franchise physically and understandably so he gave his life “canceling the apocalypse” in the first film. 

So does anything carry over from the first film carry over into this sequel? Well yeah, sort of?

Rinko Kuri’s character Mako returns but her role has been reduced but it’s still very important to the story. Let’s just say she’s following in her adopted father’s footsteps.

Mako (Rinko Kuri) Photo: Universal Pictures/ Legendary Pictures

Our two favorite brilliant but bumbling scientists return to the film. The kaiju groupie Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and the uptight Gottlieb ( Burn Gorman) are back and add a very unique twist to the film’s story.

Gottlieb ( Burn Gorman) Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

The drift returns and is the mental link between two pilots, it’s also known as the Neural Handshake that helps the two pilots control their Jeagers fluidly returns in the film with some upgraded features.

L-R: Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Studios

The kaiju are back as well but in very limited numbers but there is a perfectly good reason for that.

Now before you gasp at the mere mention of that alone and wonder how in the hell is this film any good?  I will explain eventually.

In the film, it has been 10-years since the events of the first film. The underwater turnstile for the giant monsters known as the breach is still permanently sealed and most of the world has recovered from the damage they cause when they make landfall. Most of the Jaegers in the world have been decommissioned and left to rot sealed off Jaeger scrapyards. The new sci-fi king, John Boyega (The Force Awakens/The Last Jedi) plays Jake Pentecost son of the legendary deceased Jaeger pilot Stacker Pentecost. Instead of fulfilling his once-promising career as a Kaiju destroying Jaeger pilot he opts for a life in the world of the criminal underground. He makes his living off stealing Jaeger parts and selling them on the black market.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) rallying the troops’ Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

During one of his scavenger hunts, he encounters a 15-year-old hacker and Jaeger scrapper named Amara (Cailee Spaeny). When the two go for a joyride in an unauthorized Jaeger she built from all the parts she stole they get arrested. Jake’s adopted sister gives him an Amara a second chance by re-enlisting them in the Pan Pacific Defense Corps’ Jaeger program much to the dismay of the of the by the books no-nonsense ranger Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood).

Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

Jake reluctantly re-enlist but he takes the job to help Nate train the newest and very young Jaeger pilot recruits including his cellmate at one point Amara. He thinks this is gonna be a quick and easy job and he can be back to life as a scavenger living by his own rules. His plans are quickly changed when a rogue Jaeger makes an appearance by throwing a monkey wrench into plans and forcing him to take being a Jaeger pilot again seriously. Another thorn in the side of the Jaeger program is the introduction of manless drones being created by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) head of a powerful multinational company.

Now there are plenty of reviews panning this film because Toro is not behind this one but that is honestly also a good thing. Unlike Toro’s film, DeKnight’s sequel is much more fun. When Jake isn’t in a Jaeger he is very witty outside of it and his on-screen chemistry great. Boyega proves he can carry a film as the lead in the film and definitely knows how to squeeze in a joke or two. The other characters in the film do what they are supposed to do but it’s Amara who stands out from the rest of the newcomers easily.

L-R: Amara (Cailee Spaeny), Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

But make no mistake the stars of this film are the giant robots and monsters and they shine more than they ever did in the first film. They are even more tricked out than before and doing even more ridiculous things on screen that Jaeger fans dreamed off. From strapping Kaiju blood filled rockets on their back to taking on rogue Jeagers in the middle of the Antarctic, it’s mech vs monster overload and it’s glorious.

The Jaegers Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

This film isn’t intended to blow you away with dialogue or with a mind-blowing story, it’s intended to impress you with its action and it accomplishes that mission very easily. If this movie does well at the box office and all signs point to it doing so,don’t be shocked if there are more movies coming down the pipeline. John Boyega is a star and he deserves his own franchise to shine in, Pacific Rim: Uprising might be the catalyst for future films in this franchise with him leading the charge.

Verdict: Go see it!

Photo: Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures

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Justice League Review: The Real Dawn of Justice Is Here!

Justice League is here and the world and I have been holding our breath collectively in hopes that Zack Snyder delivers. With rumors of numerous reshoots, Joss Whedon taking over the film for Zack Snyder it honestly wasn’t sounding too good for DCEU’s epic team film.

It can’t be as bad as Suicide Squad or Batman V Superman, could it? That was the million dollar question as I walked into the theater for my screening of the film. Even though those two movies mentioned above left such a bad taste in my mouth, this past summer’s blockbuster Wonder Woman gave me hope that Justice League was going to be a much better film.

Well, I can say that yes indeed Justice League is not terrible like it’s set-up film but it’s still not the epic film it should have been. It’s still plagued by some of the same problems Batman V Superman had. The pacing of the film will drive you insane as it takes entirely too long to get to point. Some of the scenes seemed forced, for example, I feel they wanted to ride Wonder Woman’s (Gal Gadot) wave of success and gave her some unnecessary scenes just for the hell of it. Batman’s (Ben Affleck) presence in the squad was just pure hilarity being he was a man amongst gods. It also seemed at times he didn’t even want to be in the film.

Justice League Review

Another drag on the film is the main villain, Steppenwolf is very forgettable and just doesn’t bring it all. He’s completely CGI but is voiced by Ciarán Hinds and just fails to bring the pain a villain of such magnitude should bring.

Now for all of the negatives, there are some positive things to take away from this film. The newbies to the DCEU held their own. The Flash (Ezra Miller) has a breakout performance even though we don’t know much about his character. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) shocked the hell out of me and I’m probably sure others with his performance as well.  Fisher’s Cyborg fits in quite well with his new team and looks like he has a bright future in the DCEU.

Justice League Review

Aquaman (Jason Momoa) I was very worried about initially, Momoa actually manages to make arguably a very boring superhero a fun one. You even get over the numerous grunts and cheesy one-liners that he yells out during the battle.

Justice League Review

Now without spoiling it, the crown jewel of the universe is Superman (Henry Cavill) and I must say we finally get the Man of Steel we desperately wanted to see on the big screen. It takes a while but once the league gets together on the screen the movie is absolutely F U N.

Justice League Review

DC’s biggest issue when it comes to their films is that they just feel rushed with the exception of Wonder Woman and Man of Steel. Justice League is a movie that we could have lead into with the build-up of the team’s members. It almost seems that DC is doing it’s absolute best not to follow Marvel’s successful blueprint when it comes to building their films universe. But now we are here though.

VERDICT

Justice League is a fun movie when we finally get to the parts we want to see that being the action sequences. In essence, this movie should have been called Dawn of Justice because that’s exactly what it is. It’s the official kickoff of the universe and it’s still promising. It’s most definitely worth seeing especially if you are DC fan, I just hope they finally learn from their mistakes from this film as well as Justice League 2. All they gotta do is head to Twitter and take note of all the complaints. Or they could just take notes from Marvel, I’m just saying.

3.5 out 5

Photos: Warner Bros/Giphy

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FLY Review: Fate of the Furious Proves You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

Furious 7 left fans of the storied franchise saying there is no way they can top the action/insanity that they witnessed in the James Wan directed film. Director F.Gary Gray and producer/star Vin Diesel are up for the challenge with the latest installment The Fate of the Furious.

 

Letty (MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ) connects with Dom (VIN DIESEL) in “The Fate of the Furious.” On the heels of 2015’s “Furious 7,” one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide and the sixth-biggest global title in box-office history, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time.

F8 immediately sets the tone with Dom (Vin Diesel) and his new wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) celebrating their honeymoon in Havana, Cuba. You get the vibe of a Fast & Furious film immediately as bikini clad women grace the screen and loud music blares through the theater speakers. The action kicks in instantly when Dom’s cousin gets caught up with a local gangster who wants to repossess his rusty looking hot rod. Cousin Dom of course isn’t here for the strong picking on the weak and challenges his cousin’s bully to a street race.

VIN DIESEL stars as Dom in “The Fate of the Furious.” On the heels of 2015’s “Furious 7,” one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide and the sixth-biggest global title in box-office history, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time.

We are then treated to a heart racing, unbelievable race scene where Dom puts on full display his amazing driving skills while facing some ridiculous odds that will surely get a rise out Fast and Furious fans. To make the moment even more cheesy, we even get some classic “Domisms” after the race is over and he earns the gangsters respect. As rapidly as things pick up in the film they also go left pretty fast. Dom’s beautiful honeymoon gets weird when he is confronted by the beautiful yet very sinister hacker Cipher (Charlize Theron).

Dom (VIN DIESEL) is recruited by Cipher (CHARLIZE THERON) in “The Fate of the Furious.” On the heels of 2015’s “Furious 7,” one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide and the sixth-biggest global title in box-office history, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time.

She makes the fearless leader an offer he can’t refuse after she shows him some footage on a cellphone that leaves Dom looking like he just got punched in the gut. Dom is now left with a tough decision he has to make and at the same time is called back into action by his new friend Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson). La Familia reunites for a new mission when they have to retrieve an EMP device, which is light work for them. Things seem to be going according to plan until Dom pulls a fast one on his family and in my best *Dwayne Johnson voice* goes rogue.

La Familia now faces their biggest threat ever in their former leader teaming up with Cipher. Down two members with Brian (Paul Walker) now being strictly a family man and Dom now terrorizing them. With the help of Mr.Nobody (Kurt Russell) the gang gets a new boost from teammates, F7’s villain Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) and rookie to the Fast and Furious universe Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood) whom the team affectionately calls “Little Nobody”. The team must now race against time to prevent a worldwide catastrophe and stop/save their once fearless leader Dom.All the while they barely leave the driver seats of the cars. AMAZING!

VIN DIESEL stars as Dom in “The Fate of the Furious.” On the heels of 2015’s “Furious 7,” one of the fastest movies to reach $1 billion worldwide and the sixth-biggest global title in box-office history, comes the newest chapter in one of the most popular and enduring motion-picture serials of all time.

Final Verdict

Fate of the Furious is still the same old dog we have come to love with some new tricks. Fans of the franchise will love this film as the explosions and car stunts have been taken to another level. While some scenes are just ridiculous e.g. chasing down a Russian ambassador on the streets of NYC carefree or Hobbs pushing a torpedo with his bare hands you quickly understand that this comes with the territory.

You will also notice the scarcity of scenes involving both The Rock and Vin Diesel which also adds fuel to the whole feud rumor. BUT to make up for it, The Rock and Statham’s dynamic easily makes your forget all about that and have you asking for more of Hobbs and Shaw. Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) take their on-screen camaraderie to another level and bring in the comedic factor to the story. Tyrese does a lot more yelling this time around and even gets called out for in the film. Charlize Theron brings in some new flavor to the Fast & Furious universe as the new baddie on the block but is not as memorable as previous films antagonist sadly. Letty does her part as the wife who hasn’t given up hope on her husband and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) fits right in with the gang.

If you are looking for just pure entertainment and could care less about things making much sense then Fate of the Furious is for you. As far as action is concerned F8 surpasses it’s predecessor easily with the use of remote-controlled vehicles, amazing sets and locations, prison brawls, strategically placed wrecking balls, mega explosions and of course a nuclear submarine.

Dom’s reasoning for going rogue seems a bit forced but it still works, especially thanks to one scene with Statham’s character Ian Shaw (I won’t spoilt that for you). Fate of the Furious is still a fun ride and should go down as one of the franchise’s best films. Will this film bring in a billion like F7 though? Probably and I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. Still, Fate of the Furious deserves all the money that is coming its way and should definitely be on list of things to do this upcoming weekend.

3.5 out of 5

Fate of the Furious races into theaters April 14th!

PHOTOS: Universal Pictures

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Entertainment

FLY Review: Ouija: Origin of Evil Serves Up The Scares This Halloween Season.

Around this time of the year horror movies are a staple but you would be hard press to actually find a good one that successfully scare the living daylights out of you. Director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush and Before I Wake) looks to make things super spooky this Halloween season with Ouija: Origin of Evil.

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Oujia: Origin of Evil serves as a sequel (I say prequel) to the not so stellar film Ouija. Set in 1965 Los Angeles, we follow the Zander family, the mother Alice Zander (Elizabeth Reaser) and her two daughters Doris (Lulu Wilson) and Lina (Annalise Basso). They lost the patriarch of their family due to a drunk driver and to make ends meet run a séance scam.

Alice convinces her daughters that they are providing a service to the naive customers who only want to talk to dead relatives and family members. With the help of some clever parlor tricks and her daughters, Alice easily convinces her customers she possesses the ability to speak with the dead.

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Things start to get very interesting in the house when a Ouija Board is introduced into the act. Doris still affected by the loss of her father decides to use it to speak to her dad. What she doesn’t realize that in doing so she opens up a gateway to the other side allowing malevolent spirits in the house.

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The spirit in the guise of friendlier spirits uses the young girl as a medium between worlds. She even helps the family business out tremendously with her new scary and unique gifts. What the family doesn’t know that is that the spirit is slowly taking over young Doris and twisting her.The family is thrown into an intense battle to save young Doris from the evil spirit that’s inside her and at the same time stay alive themselves.

(L to R) ALICE REASER is set upon by LULU WILSON as her daughter Doris in "Ouija: Origin of Evil." Inviting audiences again into the lore of the spirit board, the supernatural thriller tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit that opened at No. 1. In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.
(L to R) ALICE REASER is set upon by LULU WILSON as her daughter Doris in “Ouija: Origin of Evil.”

Verdict:

When it comes to horror films it’s hard to garner scares out moviegoers today, well I’m happy to say that isn’t the case with Ouija:Origin of Evil. Mike Flanagan manages to encapsulate that fear with slow builds and well-timed shock scares. Michael Fimognari’s amazing cinematography for the film will have you staring at scenes you know good and well you want turn your eyes from. Each jump, shriek, gasp and scream are all well deserved and earned in the film. Each character does their part in the film but it’s Lulu Hanson’s portrayal of Doris that stands out especially after her possession.

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There’s just something insanely creepy about seeing this little girl just switch back and forth from being possessed. Don’t be surprised if Ouija becomes a Halloween tradition in theaters, lets just hope they don’t do too many of these movies.

4 out 5

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Ouija:Origin of Evil is theaters tomorrow!

PHOTO: UNIVERSAL PICTURES

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FLY Review: Kevin Hart Delivers An Unique Stand-Up Special/Film Experience With Kevin Hart:What Now?

What Now? is an appropriate title for Kevin Hart’s latest film covering his sold out comedy special of the same name. The film focuses on his show in his hometown of Philadelphia where he literally packed out Lincoln Financial Field.

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When it comes to comedy, Kevin Hart is pretty much a rock star and it’s pretty much clear as he gets a stadium of 53,000 people to laugh at his energetic brand of comedy. What Now? follows up Hart’s last stand-up special Let Me Explain and of course Hart being the visionary he is opted to something extraordinarily different with this stand up special/film.

We spoke to Kevin exclusively and asked him about returning to stand-up after being in so many blockbuster films and how did it feel?

For me it was a must. I never go away from standup comedy. Standup comedy is always first. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for standup comedy. It’s just about me doing it right. I think I’ve set quite a bar for myself when it comes to standup comedy, when it comes to be doing my standup comedy specials. From Grown Little Man, to Seriously Funny, to Laugh at My Pain, to Let Me Explain, and to now What Now? The goal is to get better. The goal is to grow and to always reach levels. The time comes in with me just not being content with the material at certain points. It took me about a good year and a half to two years to get the material as solid as it was for me to film What Now. Once I felt that it was seamless, that every joke hit hard then I said it’s time to not only tour but film the special.

Team SFPL got the opportunity to attend a special fan screening of the film at AMC Lincoln Square theater in NYC.To show his appreciation to the fans Kevin Hart surprised the crowded the theater by showing up and sharing a few words with the crowd about the film and thanking them.

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Now lets get into the film! Before we get to the actual stand up special we are treated to a short film featuring some big Hollywood names.

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Tim Story directs the James Bond inspired mini film where Kevin Hart plays himself as a spy with Halle Berry who also played a Bond Girl as his leading lady. The setting of course is the obligatory high stakes poker game we have grown accustomed to in all spy movies.Kevin goes all in battling the evil Russian villain (David Meunier), and Don Cheadle who plays himself and grows impatient with Kevin’s hilarious antics as he mocks him at the table. Ed Helms of The Hangover fame serves as the wacky bartender in the scene.

Things pick up in the mini film action wise and we get to see Kevin effortlessly pull off some fight choreography. It’s a relief from always seeing Kevin as the awkward funny guy in fight scenes always getting beat up. It all leads up to Kevin making it to the stadium to put on the biggest stand up special ever where Leslie Small takes over on the directorial side.

Backed by a huge big-board that successfully helped Kevin tell his over the top stories about his fiancé at the time now wife, children, his father and hilarious real-life experiences. Small manages to catch the multi-cultural crowd letting the laughs go as Kevin delivers his unique brand of comedy. Small successfully captures the 5’4″ but now larger than life comedian dishing out jokes to more than 50,000 for a unique comedy experience.

That still leaves the question of What Now? What can Kevin honestly do to top this? What continues to motivate him? Well a global tour for one as to what continues to drive the comedian to push the envelope he also added:

I think now just seeing me getting closer to the goal of becoming a mogul. I think that’s where a lot of this motivation comes from. I want to become the mogul that I set out to be. I want to be self-owned. I want Hart Beat Productions to stand on its own. I want Hart Beat Digital to do more. I want my network Laugh Out Loud Network to be successful. I still want to go on and do comedy at the highest level. I still want to go on and star in blockbuster movies. I mean it’s just constantly going and doing as much as I possibly can, but the motivation comes in knowing that I can reach that level.

Well said Kevin!

Final Verdict

If you were like me and didn’t get a chance to attend Hart’s stand up special live then this film will definitely show you what you missed. It will have you in the theater laughing out loud and repeating with the crowd in the movie as Kevin says “oh really” as he mimics the sarcasticness  of black woman who are reluctant to believe outrageous stories that Kevin jokingly tells. Looking for a good laugh on date night or movie night with the homies then by all means checkout this film.

4 out of 5

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Kevin Hart: What Now? is in theaters October 14th!

Stay Fly!

PHOTO: UNIVERSAL PICTURES

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FLY Review: Suicide Squad

B

atman V Superman was supposed to be the gem of the DC extended movie universe but it sadly didn’t live up to the hype. Fans and critics slammed the movie calling it a cinematic mess as DC is trying to get on pace or come relatively close to Marvel. DC fans and myself shifted all of our hope on Suicide Squad praying that this film about a rag-tag team of DC’s most vile villains will save the day. The million dollar question is, did it? Well step into this review shall we?

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Amanda Waller (Viola Davis)

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

Now here’s the basic run down of the film, Suicide Squad follows Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) a hardcore, ruthless and tough as nails patriot. With the emergence of Superman and other meta-humans she decides she wants to put together a team of “special” individuals who could give them a chance and take on missions that regular soldiers just can’t do. Plus if they failed they could just blame it on these special individuals cause they are the bad guys duuuh. Ladies and gentlemen I introduce to you the Suicide Squad!

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The Squad

The team is composed of The Joker’s (Jared Leto) psychotic girlfriend Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), half-man, half-crocodile Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), the boomerang throwing burglar Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), marksman/assassin Deadshot (Will Smith), the ancient witch Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) and the deadly assassin Slipknot (Adam Beach). Now you didn’t think Waller would just let this group of villains run around unsupervised did you? That’s where Wallers right hand man Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Katana (Karen Fukuhara) come into play.

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The Squad protecting Flag!

 

They are there to make sure the villains don’t go rogue and complete the mission, it also helps that each of them have bombs implanted them that can be detonated at the first sign of any trouble or if Flag somehow is killed during the mission. Now what’s their mission, well one of the gang goes rogue and it just happens to be the one with the magical powers. They must somehow find a way to unite and work together as a team to stop the world from ending. A job once tailor-made for Superman but we know what happened to him.

 

VERDICT

I went into Suicide Squad with extremely high hopes that this will be the film that would put DCEU on the right track. Unfortunately that was not completely the case in the end. David Ayer successfully managed to make a better movie than Snyder’s lackluster Batman V Superman film. To be honest that’s really not saying all that much though at all. Let’s point out the positives first shall we? I absolutely loved Viola Davis as Waller, she absolutely nails the character and will have you saying wow at some of her brutal actions in the film.

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Deadshot and Harley Quinn

Will Smith was very good as Deadshot and at times the film felt like it was his own standalone film, and his action scenes were absolutely on point. Margot Robbie shines as the psychotic Harley Quinn and absolutely nails Harley’s use of “puddin” and “Mr.J”. At times it’s absolutely ridiculous to see her hold her own against super natural forces with a baseball bat but she makes it work. Killer Croc, Katana and El Diablo manage to hold their own in the film each showcasing their skills and what they bring to the team. It takes sometime for DIablo to engage but when he does he owns his scenes.

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Katana

The pacing in this film was extremely better than the jumbled mess that was Batman V Superman. It immediately does a great job of gauging your interest in the film with the introductions to each of the characters. The brief cameos from Batman (Ben Affleck) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) in the beginning of the film were perfect and worked extremely well. Not to mention the score for this soundtrack is amazing and I guarantee will have you nodding your head a few times while watching the movie.

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Now here’s where the film starts to lose me, the characters on-screen chemistry just doesn’t click at all. At times it seems like the squad is painfully trying to show they can co-exist  but in the end they just fall flat. There is one particular moment where the squad worked perfectly. It’s a well written bar scene where they all just take break from saving the world to grab a drink and Harley hops behind the bar and starts serving drinks as they discuss among each other if they want to continue the mission or not. But that’s it unfortunately for the cohesiveness.

giphyAnother problem with the film is there is just not enough Joker.

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The movie will leave you feeling as if you were cheated out of Leto’s Joker whom he went to great lengths to get in character for.We get small doses of him in the film but it’s just not enough and will leave you wondering if in fact Leto can even hold a match to Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight.

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Harley Quinn and The Joker

The Joker is at his best when he is paired with Harley on-screen in the film as they put on display the chemistry these two can bring in future films.

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Cara’s Enchantress is supposed to be one of the most powerful characters in the movie but ends up being one of the most lackluster characters.

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lNot even the love story between June Moone/Enchantress and Flag can save her character in the film.

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Rick Flag and June Moone/Enchantress

Captain Boomerang and Slipknot are easily forgettable almost immediately in the movie and don’t truly show their potential.

While the film’s cast was made up mostly villains it wasn’t as dark as Batman V Superman which brings us to the humor aspect of the film. The one liners in the film were just flat and had more of punch in the film’s many trailers. The biggest disappointment this film shares with Batman V Superman is its main villain and climax. The final battle will have you asking more questions if anything trying to figure out exactly what you just witnessed.

 

Now don’t get me wrong Suicide Squad is enjoyable but that’s as far as my admiration goes for the film as whole. A film this big is supposed to great but it’s just barely good and continues DC’s current wave of mediocrity with their films. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but in the end I just really wanted this film to be absolutely amazing. We deserve it! Hopefully 2017’s Wonder Woman can help alleviate the disappointment from this film. We got a long time till that day comes though.

3 out 5 (Barely)

Suicide Squad hit’s theaters August 5th!

PHOTOS: Warner Brothers 

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Entertainment Fly Reviews

FLY Review: Jason Bourne Is Back Like He Never Left!

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att Damon is back as the reluctant, amnesiac super assassin Jason Bourne in the self titled fifth film in the popular movie franchise based of the Robert Ludlum novels. Damon is reunited with Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, United 93) for third time in the franchise and the two once again show why they just work well together.

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Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)

In Jason Bourne we are immediately reunited with Bourne, he’s aged and is just basically taking things day by day. Bourne is living off the grid, making money by participating in fight rings in Greece. Unfortunately his life of solitude is about to end when his former CIA contact Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) returns with some new information about his father and another government project like the ones he taken down in the previous films.

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Matt Damon (Jason Bourne) and Julia Stiles (Nicky Parsons)

Bourne is immediately thrown back into the world he wanted nothing to do with anymore when it is revealed he is still alive. Hollywood veteran Tommy Lee Jones is this installment’s main villain Robert Dewey director of the CIA who wants Bourne dead before he takes down and exposes his new asssassin program. In the film Dewey is assisted by his main agent Craig Jeffers (Ato Essandoh), eager agent who seems to have her own agenda in play.

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Alicia Vikander (Heather Lee) and Tommy Lee Jones (CIA Director Robert Dewey)

Like every other Bourne film there is of courser and “asset” tasked with the very difficult job of taking out Jason Bourne. Vincent Cassel is that guy, revenge is his fuel after his team was exposed and he was taken captive after Bourne helped bring to light the secret program he was in. Cassel looks to be Bourne’s biggest threat yet as he stops at nothing to see that he is dead and helps tie up all loose ends for Dewey. Bourne is now back in the game and searches for answers as new questions arise about the death of his father and why the government really targeted him in the first place and he is dead set on getting them.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne

FINAL VERDICT

It’s absolutely refreshing to see Matt Damon reprise the role of Jason Bourne. Not to take anything away from the underrated Matt Damonless last film The Bourne Legacy. Paul Greengrass manages to keep Jason Bourne fresh by sticking in the worlds current infatuation with social media and current obsession with worrying about privacy. Newcomers to the franchise, Tommy Lee Jones is stellar as Damon’s villain, Vincent Cassel is impressive as Damon’s nemesis, Ato Assandoh is shines as Jones right hand man and Alicia Vikander is good but could have been used more in the film. The action you have come to expect from a Bourne film is there and is taken up a notch especially with the chase scenes. Matt Damon hasn’t missed a step either and reminds people event though he’s older he still packs a mean punch and his assassin skills are still sharp. Jason Bourne is definitely one of the better films in the franchise and looks to inject life back into probably fostering more films to follow.

4 out 5

 

PHOTOS: Universal Pictures

 

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Entertainment Fly Reviews

Fly Review: Bryan Cranston Delivers The Goods In The Infiltrator!

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ryan Cranston immerses himself in the world of drugs and money again in his latest film The Infiltrator. The film directed by Brad Furman and written by his mother Ellen Brown Furman is based on true events from the book of the same name written by U.S. Customs Agent Robert Mazur.

The movie is a fictionalized portrayal of “Operation C-Chase” a massive undercover operation that is considered to this day one of the most successful drug-busting operations in U.S. history.

Cranston masterfully takes on the role of Mazur, a family man when he is home with his devoted wife Evelyn Mazur (Juliet Aubrey) and two kids (Lara Decaro and Niall Hayes) the definition of the American family.

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Evelyn Mazur and Robert Mazur

When it comes to work though, Bob goes all in and to nail the big fish he becomes Bob Musella money laundering extraordinaire. To help him, Robert is reluctantly paired up with fast talking Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo) who has all the right connections.

TI_D009_LD_00285_R_CROP (l to r) Bryan Cranston stars as undercover U.S. Customs agent Robert Mazur and John Leguizamo as his partner Emir Abreu in THE INFILTRATOR, a Broad Green Pictures release. Credit: Liam Daniel / Broad Green Pictures
(l to r) Bryan Cranston stars as undercover U.S. Customs agent Robert Mazur and John Leguizamo as his partner Emir Abreu in THE INFILTRATOR, a Broad Green Pictures release.
Credit: Liam Daniel / Broad Green Pictures

Robert goes deep, deep, deep undercover and becomes too involved in the case as the lines begin to blur between Bob and Rob. In order to sell Bob, Robert enlists the help of Dominic (Joe Gilgun) a psychopath he springs from prison to play his the role of his muscle.

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John Leguizamo as Emir Abreu, Bryan Cranston as Robert Mazur and Joseph Gilgun as Dominic.

During a night on the town celebrating with Escobar’s men, Bob makes the mistake of saying he’s engaged so he wouldn’t cheat on his wife. To help keep suspicions down, Robert’s supervisor Bonni Tischier (Amy Ryan) pairs Bob up with a rookie undercover agent Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) to take on the role of becoming his beautiful fiancée. Katy quickly adapts to her role and impresses Robert who is very particular about his assignments. She is so good in fact that Robert’s real wife thinks she is sleeping with her husband.

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Diane Kruger as Kathy Ertz and Bryan Cranston as Robert Mazur

With all the pieces in place, it all leads up to the epic take down scene that happens to be Bob and Kathy’s fake wedding.

FINAL VERDICT

Cranston shows why he is one of Hollywood’s got to guys as he puts his versatile acting skills on full display. Cranston completely owns the character and is totally believable in the role as Mazur the family man and Musello the money launderer. A good example of that would be the restaurant scene where Robert has to transform into Bob instantly in front of his wife when one of Escobar’s boys roll up on him during dinner.

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Leguizamo is perfect as his sidekick Abreu as the role was tailor-made for him. Both he and Cranston supply the twisted humor in the film and work well with each other.

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Bryan Cranston as Robert Mazur and John Leguizamo as Emir Abreu

Benjamin Bratt is absolutely stellar as Robert Alcaino, Bratt even manages to make you empathize for the character even though he’s not a good guy.

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Benjamin Bratt as Robert Alcaino

The Infiltrator is a great mix of perfectly timed humor, suspense, drama and action and will have you so engaged you won’t even really pay attention to the length of the film. It’s definitely one the best films Summer 2016 and will definitely find its way on the list of many fans these type of films.

5 out 5

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The Infiltrator is theaters now!

PHOTOS: Broad Green Pictures 

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The Infiltrator: 5 Actors We Loved Watching as Sarcastic Law Enforcement

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Entertainment

FLY Review: The Secret Life of Pets

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ou ever wonder what shenanigans your pets get into when you set off for work? Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions) tackle that idea with their new animation film The Secret Life of Pets.

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Co-directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney look to stir the imagination of children with their latest animated adventure. Next to toys the second best thing in the world to a young child is a pet. Pixar already handled that element and now Illumination successfully tackles the world of pets.

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The Secret Life of Pets  focuses around Max (Louis C.K.), a terrier who was taken in by his owner Katie (Ellen Kemper) when he was a puppy. Over the course of several years they form an unbreakable bond which becomes tested when Katie brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet).

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Of course being the territorial creature that he is, Max is not to fond of his new housemate, and they are immediately thrust into a rivalry. The canine beef eventually leads into acts of vandalism and even framing that somehow leads the two domesticated animals outside of their safe apartment. Now lost in the beautifully drawn city of New York, Max and Duke meet Snowball (Kevin Hart), a cute and maniacal bunny who leads a pack of sewer dwelling animals called “The Flushed Pets”. Clearly hurt over being abandoned,Snowball is hell-bent on ridding the world of humans and liberating domesticated pets. Hart’s very random gang of “liberators” includes Tattoo (Micael Beattie) a tattooed pig that was used for practice at a tattoo parlor,Ripper a muzzled bull-dog, Dragon (Brian T.Delaney) a lizard and a crocodile.

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Now missing, Max’s neighboring pet buddies go on a mission to find their friend Max. Led by Gidget (Jenny Slate) a cute but tough fluffy pomeranian and is also Max.s secret admirer, Buddy (Hannibal Buress) a dachshund,Norman (Chris Renaud) a guinea pig who can’t find his way back home and wanders the in the vents of the building, Mel (Bobby Moynihan) a super excitable pug, Sweetpea a super brave budgie, Chloe (Lake Bell) a fat cat who loves food and Tiberius (Albert Brooks) a sharp wit red-tailed hawk.

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Sweetpea, Chloe,Norman, Mel, Buddy, Gidget.

On their adventure to find Max, they take a detour to Brooklyn which brings them to Pops (Dana Carvey) a very old basset hound who knows his way around the city. With his help they navigate the the busy streets of New York in search of their friend Max and look to foil Snowball’s plans.

Final Verdict

The Secret Life of Pets isn’t anything groundbreaking as far as the story is concerned, but it definitely has the legs to become as popular as Pixar’s Toy Story franchise. All of the voice acting is done wonderfully, I was most impressed with Louis C.K.’s portrayal of Max, Lake Bell as Chloe and Kevin Hart as Snowball who was easily my favorite character.

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The Secret Life of Pets will definitely have you wondering what exactly goes in your pets life when you’re not around and believing that crazy situations the talking pets get themselves into are possible. Most importantly though the kids will love it as it will more than likely have them looking at their beloved pets in a whole new light after checking out the film. In a summer movie blockbuster season seemingly dominated by caped crusaders and super villains, The Secret Life of Pets is a perfect alternative for the kids and introduce them to characters that will be loved for years to come.

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4 out of 5

The Secret Life of Pets is in theaters July 8th!

PHOTOS: Illumination Entertainment

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