Release date:July 15, 2016
Studio:Broad Green Pictures
MPAA Rating:R (for strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material)
Starring:Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, John Leguizamo, Benjamin Bratt, Elena Anaya, Olympia Dukakis, Juliet Aubrey, Amy Ryan
[divider]This film definitely had some serious 180 degree turns and twists in it! It’s almost like an emotional bungee jump. There is the fun of the freefall and then ”SNAP” the cord flings you right back with the sound of a whip!
The story is based off of the true life events of Robert Mazur and his pursuit of the cartels in the 80’s, which is when this film takes place.
This film is one of the most intense movies I have seen in a while! Even with that being said, one of the things I liked about it was the almost stealthy quality of the way presented to us. It lulls you to this near safe place and then “Boom!” the shockwaves start.
From the very beginning we are thrown right into the deep end! We join Robert Mazur (brought to us wonderfully by Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame!) in a sting that almost goes horribly wrong and from that moment on we are shown the dangers of his everyday life. The hiding and keeping his family safe, the danger every element. He is working for the US Customs Department where he is working towards knocking out the cartels are practically walking their drugs into the US.
The interesting thing is that the beginning of the film I found myself laughing hysterically! There were several situations as well as fantastic banter that merited this reaction.
There is amazing attention to detail and plenty of time devoted to developing the characters. You definitely feel with them in these different scenarios. You can feel the tension, the joy, and the danger! You really grow to care about these people and the different scenarios that they have to face to do their jobs, whether that be Robert, his partner Emil (portrayed amazingly well by John Leguinzamo), his other partner Kathy (who is brought to us by Diane Kruger , or even his real wife!
We are shown early on the differences in the two lead characters personalities. Their relationship starts out very tenuously as John Leguizamo’s character, Emir is shown to be rather brash and very extroverted. Robert, on the other hand, is very straight-laced and does things, mostly, by the book. This is a very symbiotic relationship as they both need each other to accomplish their goals, which are to bring down the cartels.
The tension of this relationship is best shown when Emir makes an unannounced visit to the motel room where he, Robert, and his family are visiting his Aunt Vicki (played by the talented Olympia Dukakis). This was not a warm welcome on behalf of Robert. However by the end of the conversation there is a moment of trust that is established between them and we see that this is what leads to be a deeper level of infiltration.
One of the aspects of this film that I really enjoyed was the attention to detail regarding the clothes, hair, makeup, and the outside environment. I feel that there are so many areas in this film where they hit the nail on the head! One thing that I didn’t expect was the amount of humor in this movie!
In the beginning I found myself cracking up, but just when you thought you walked into the wrong movie “BAM!!!” You get slammed like a light cycle 90 degree angle wall on the game grid!
From this point on it’s headfirst into a pool of piranhas! He is up to his eyes encartele thugs, fake identities, and criss cross lies, and as Robert he he has to tango his way to the top of this drug fueled food chain.
Set in the 1980s we are in the middle of the Reagan Years War on Drugs and seeing that his office is falling short Robert comes up with the idea of chasing the money instead of chasing the drugs. This brings a whole new level to there endeavors. With the backing of his office and a very strong cover he dives right in, making contacts, and deals in this faced paced section of the film.
Emir handles the street Bangles with the assistance of a very high-priced informant. Aemir sets up the foundation for Robert to start meeting with the bankers, as well as other very important members of the cartels. One complication after another arises, but Robert handle them gracefully.
Like I said earlier the tension does not let up in this film! It’s a fast ball breaking through a police shield! And as I said in the beginning I felt exhausted after watching this film. The film even merited a round of applause from the whole theater!
Joy Ride Is An Extremely Raunchy And Hilarious Comedy
Joy Ride is an extremely raunchy and hilarious comedy that takes the mantle of ensemble risky
comedies that at times, leave your mouth on the floor. Joy Ride focuses on two best friends
Audrey and Lolo (Ashley Sullivan and Sherry Cola) end up getting roped up into a trip to Asia,
they end up on gals pal cross-continent trek to find Audrey’s long lost birth mother so she
doesn’t lose a huge business deal.
The chemistry in this movie is superb. Every character has their moment to shine and there’s
rarely a scene where you don’t get a belly laugh. I was shocked at how crazy and bold this
movie got, continually pushing the line to get a laugh. The movie does a good job of getting to
the point and getting to the scenes that really make you chuckle. There are some editing choices where the story flies by some stuff, and it feels a little incomplete, but never at the expense of really enjoying being around for the journey.
I thought that this was a sleeper for this year and certainly a movie worth watching with your
friends some weekend. It’s great to throw on if you want a laugh and really just enjoy some
great actors riffing off each other. The focus on culture was a nice touch and really elevated the movie to another level. While I would say if you’re easily offended, this movie is not for you – if you’re looking for a no holds barred comedy, Joy Ride is a trip worth taking.
Who Doesn’t Want To Wear The Ninja Suit Of Snake-Eyes Or Dress Like The Mandalorian?
Hasbro has had their pulse app out for a while now. It allows for access to items to buy, preorder, and a look into future projects and releases. It also allows for a very cool thing most nerds (a group of which I am a proud card-carrying member) have always wanted, the ability to make yourself into an action figure. I’ve contemplated making one for a time but, I finally got my chance to get my hands on one at Comic-Con this year. Now, of course, I had to wait in line as it was a pretty sought-after item. Who doesn’t want to have themselves wear the ninja suit of Snake-Eyes or dressed like a Mandalorian? I was approached by one of the booth staff as I was showing my nephew all the cool ways we could get him his own MIles Morales action figure with his face (as he’s a massive fan) and invited to take a seat and scan our faces into the Hasbro Pulse app with the help of their awesome team and make this dream a reality. My wife was with us, so of course she got in on the fun too. We scanned our faces in and it was very simple and quick. Then we all selected our figures to add our heads to. We all chose Power Rangers(Me as the Black Ranger, my wife chose the pink ranger and the nephew got the red ranger). Then we were told that we needed to wait about 4-6 weeks and we’d have our custom action figure team in our hands. This was a major part of our Comic-Con adventure and definitely, a memory my wife and nephew won’t forget (as it was both of their first Con ever). Thank you to Hasbro for being so generous(also getting me brownie points that home) and I highly suggest checking out Hasbro Pulse and all the cool stuff it has to offer.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter: Double-knock on wood!
Adapted and written largely from the Captain’s Log chapter of Bram Stoker’s magnum opus Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells the story of Dracula’s journey by ship from Carpathia to London, and what happened to her crew in the interim.
So here we are in Bulgaria, middle of 1897, and Captain Eliot (Liam Cunningham) of the Russian schooner Demeter is here to take on some strange cargo from some unknown client and transport it to Carfax Abbey in London. In need of some extra hands, the Captain sends out his capable Second Wojchek (David Dastmalchian) to scout for some, and initially the roving black doctor and aspiring philosopher Clemens (Corey Hawkins) is passed over in favor of more work-roughened men. The adorable cabin boy of the Demeter, Toby (Woody Norman), narrowly misses being crushed by the mysterious dragon-marked crates being loaded onto the ship, saved by Clemens himself and switched out with the superstitious sailors running from the Demeter like they had been poisoned by the sign of Dracul. And now, armed with some nine or so crewmen, Doc Clemens, and Captain Eliot himself, the twenty-four strange what looks like coffins adorned with dragon signs brought mostly safely aboard, the Demeter can make for open water and the Hell that awaits them there.
The duty of showing Clemens around the ship falls to a cheerful Toby, who proudly shows him the living areas, the Captain’s quarters, the very-large cargo hold, the galley and kitchen where the overly-devout Joseph (Jon Jon Briones) cooks the crews meals, the various above decks, even the sails, and the rigging are all at least touched on, and the livestock pens that Toby himself is in charge of, including the handsome good-boy doggy Huckleberry, or just Huck. We the audience get a very clear feeling of what it’s like to actually be aboard the Demeter, just how large she really is, and what living on a ship for months at sea is really like, the reality and practicality and the dangers of it.
Everyone more or less settles in for a hopefully uneventful voyage, taking mess around the common table and exchanging ideas or aspirations for when they arrive in London early thanks to the fair winds, and receive a handsome bonus for their troubles. But that involves being alive and making it to London to spend said bonus and pay, and the coffin crates spilling dark soil from the motherland and disgorging all sorts of other nasty secrets, have some serious plans to the contrary.
First, it’s the livestock, innocent and shrieking in their locked pens as a monster takes great furious bites out of their necks, and of course, the creature just straight up ruins poor doggy Huck. Then there’s the fully grown girl that gets dislodged from an open coffin-crate, covered in bite scars and as pale as death, she eventually starts interacting and talking after several blood transfusions from Doc Clemens, Toby learns her name is Anna (Aisling Franciosi). And then, as the weather turns foul and the winds begin to be a serious problem, the attacks turn toward the remaining humans onboard the Demeter.
Most people these days are familiar with Dracula, that gorgeous cunning vampire Elder who can supposedly transform into a bat or a wolf, seducing women to voluntarily offer up their veins like an unholy sacrament, a being at once beautiful and powerful, but also horrific and murderous if given half a heartbeat to smell your blood. This is not Dracula.
Instead, the creature that hunts the humans occupying the Demeter is an absolute monster, not a single human feature left to it, barely even recognizable as humanoid-shaped, instead boasting not just full-length bat wings but an entire exo-skin of bat membranes that can be used for feeding, a mouth full of needle-like teeth akin to a predator of the deepest darkest parts of the ocean, those yellowed Nosferatu eyes that will not tolerate light in any way, and of course giant pointy bat-ears. This is a thing, a grotesque straight from the depths of Hell, and no amount of glamor magic can make this Dracula (Javier Botet) seem like anything other than what he, is – a parasitic demon who only wants your blood. There is no reasoning with it, no trapping it, not even really any talking to it (kinda hard to talk when your throat has been ripped out), and, like the much more frightening Dracula stories of old, no amount of pure faith behind a symbol does anything other than give false hope.
Coming face to face with an actual abomination does different things to different people. The formerly delightfully foul-mouthed Abrams (Chris Walley) dissolves into a blubbering mess; poor Larsen (Martin Furulund) didn’t even get to see his own death coming; and it turns out Olgaren (Stefan Kapicic) wants to live so badly, he’ll suffer becoming a blank-eyed Renfield if that’s what it takes. All of Cook Joseph’s purported pure faith didn’t stop him from trying to take the coward’s way out and didn’t save him anyway when the sound of unnatural bat wings descended on him. I find that kind of irony delicious. Dear Anna, resigned to her fate to be eternal food for the horror that terrorized her village, nevertheless wants to try and save whoever is left of the Demeter with her own sacrifice, and there aren’t many. Wojchek of course wants to kill Dracula, but for all his logic and solid practical nature, has no experience whatsoever with this sort of thing, and sure doesn’t want to sacrifice the Demeter, the beloved ship he called home that was promised to him by Captain Eliot himself, in order to destroy that demon. Even poor sweet Toby isn’t safe from the creature’s clutches, and what happens to the cabin boy of the Demeter is what finally sends Captain Eliot over the blooming edge. And who could blame him? For this sort of thing to happen during the last voyage of such a proud, solid ship as the Demeter, is some serious bullsh*t.
To leave such a film open for a potential sequel, especially when called the last voyage of something, was a pretty hefty ask, and somehow the filmmakers managed it. I personally think a different version of Van Helsing, the infamous vampire hunter, teaming up with a certain black doctor who nurses a serious grudge against Dracula, could be a kickass sequel. Until then, experience the doomed final journey of the Demeter and her poor crew in all it’s bloodstained glory, in theaters now!