Rio 2

Rio 2 (1)

The rare Brazilian birds, Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) are back for Blue Sky Studios’ Rio 2. Since the first Rio (2011), the birds that were once at odds, now have a family together and possibly a flock of similar friends in the Amazon rainforest. Blu’s former owner and friend, Linda (Leslie Mann), and her husband, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro), are still on a journey to save the wildlife in the South American country and find themselves needing saved after they stumbled across a surprise during travels.

For a kids’ movie, there were too many irrelevant elements to the plot and there were a lot of characters to keep up with. If the movie was multi-dimensional and complicated for a capable adult like myself, I am confident a few children left the theater confused. The core elements of any family animated movie should be attractive yet simple, silly yet predictable. Rio 2 was the opposite.

Rio 2 introduced a great deal of new characters. The most memorable feathered friend is voiced by superstar Bruno Mars, Roberto, Jewel’s childhood friend. Bruno Mars sings the entire movie and I am convinced that movie creators made Roberto just for him. As if Bruno Mars has not already dominated the music industry with hits like “When I Was Your Man”, “Just the Way You Are”, and “Grenade”, the Pop star blew me away in Rio 2. From the first utter, you recognize Bruno Mars’ soft voice and instantly connect with his character. He was charming, cunning and comical.

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The movie has its share of entertainers. In addition to Bruno Mars, R&B singer Jamie Foxx and Black Eyed Peas leader will.i.am rejoined the cast to lend their talents. All are featured on the movies soundtrack, except for will.i.am (I guess he was too busy!). Bruno sings “Welcome Back” and Jamie Foxx jumps on two tracks, “Batucada Familia” and “What Is Love”, with other cast members. The Rio 2 soundtrack also includes vocals from Janelle Monáe, Ester Dean, Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, and Andy Garcia.

According to Box Office Mojo, Rio 2 made an estimated $39.3 million its opening weekend in the box office. I imagine the film would have made more if it were not up against the highly-anticipated spooky thriller, Oculus, and Marvel’s Captain America, which is the #1 movie in America for 3 consecutive weeks. The Easter holiday season was an aid in ticket sales boost for the animated movie, raking in over $22 million.

2.5 Stars: Despite its intricate storytelling, Rio 2 is an ideal movie for all ages. Although I was not too thrilled for the finished product, little children all over the world will adore the sequel. It’s something about talking birds that make children gravitate. (Tweety Bird, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Road Runner, Chicken Little, and Woody Woodpecker)

Neighbors Passes

What would you do if your family moved next doors to the neighbors from hell?

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A couple with a newborn baby face unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house. Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) must figure out a way to subdue the intensive conflict between the two parties. Neighbors is in theaters May 9th.

To watch the movie’s official trailer, CLICK HERE!

This Wednesday, April 23rd, Movie Scene Queen will host a special, super advance screening of Seth Rogen’s new comedy, Neighbors. The showing will be held at AMC Waterfront 22, beginning at 7:30 PM. If you’d like tickets, please comment with your first AND last name. Your name will be placed onto a RSVP list for you and one guest. (When all the passes have been redeemed, I will mark the film poster above with a CLOSED sign)

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Ladies’ Night Out: The Other Woman Passes

Ladies Night Out

Ladies (Sorry Fellas),

If you are in the Greater Pittsburgh area, please join Blonde Girl Nok and the Movie Scene Queen tomorrow at the Waterfront for Ladies’ Night Out. The two female bloggers have acquired an entire movie theater to get together, socialize and watch Cameron Diaz’s new movie, The Other Woman.

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After discovering her boyfriend is married, a woman (Cameron Diaz) tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on (Leslie Mann), she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered (Kate Upton), all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB.

If you are down for Ladies’ Night Out, just comment below with your first and last name and how many guests you plan to bring. REMEMBER, NO GUYS!

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Brick Mansions Passes

In one of Paul Walker’s last cinematic performances…

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In a dystopian Detroit, abandoned brick mansions left from better times now house only the most dangerous criminals. Unable to control the crime, the police constructed a colossal containment wall around this area to protect the rest of the city. For undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker), every day is a battle against corruption. For Lino (David Belle), every day is a fight to live an honest life. Their paths never should have crossed, but when drug kingpin Tremaine (RZA) kidnaps Lino’s girlfriend, Damien reluctantly accepts the help of the fearless ex-convict, and together they must stop a sinister plot to devastate the entire city. With stylized action featuring thrilling Parkour stunts (David Belle is the co-founder of this physical training discipline), Brick Mansions puts an entertaining twist on the action genre. The film is opening on Friday, April 25th.

The Movie Scene Queen is hosting a special screening of the movie on Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30PM at the South Side Works theater. For two tickets, please comment below with your favorite Paul Walker moment.

To redeem two tickets, please visit: http://www.relativityscreenings.com/PITTMSQ

Code: PITTMSQ

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Draft Day

“Sometimes the correct path is the tortured one!” –Ali Parker (Jennifer Garner)

Draft Day

Although the Pittsburgh Steelers reign as the only NFL team with six Super Bowl championships, one of our biggest rivalries, the Cleveland Browns, cleaned up nicely for Draft Day. The sport comedy stars Kevin Costner as Sonny Weaver, Jr., General Manager for the Browns who makes the 2014 Draft Day a crazy once when he makes a few risky deals. Draft Day’s other first round acting picks are Frank Langella, Sam Elliott, Terry Crews, Denis Leary, Josh Pence, with a special appearance from Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Die hard Steelers fans please do not fret because there were a few Steel City plugs. And yes, the movie production company could have easily made the movie about Blitzburgh. But according to many reports, even the Buffalo Bills were kicked to the curb because Ohio has cheaper production costs, so it was either the Browns or the Bengals.

Draft Day’s imagery was on point; clear, crisp, and colorful. If the deep, bright orange from the Browns franchise did not stand out, the cool spilt screens whenever two characters were talking would have done it. Of course Draft Day for NFL team executives means that you are constantly on the phone bartering and sweet-talking. So when these phone conversations occur the actors spill over into the other set or screen. Granting, it’s difficult to describe, but it was pretty impressive and innovative.

Draft Day Spilt Screen

If you were not truly inspired last year with Chadwick Boseman’s performance legendary baseballer Jackie Robinson in 42, then you are delusional. Nonetheless, Boseman inspiringly plays another athlete, Vontae Mack, in Draft Day. Mack is a humble yet effective Southern defensive football player who is fighting for his spot on the Browns’ roster. Boseman, along with other young Black actors like Michael B. Jordan, Jaden Smith, and Tristan Wilds, have hit the movie scene with a vengeance, displaying strength and great appeal.

I love Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner together. They were like the underdog couple. Rightfully, women are supposed to meet a nice guy, get to know him, get married, have children, and live happily ever after. Realistically, it does not always work out like that. In Draft Day that is exactly what happened with Sonny Weaver and Ali Parker. Between work ethics around fraternizing and personal grief, the biggest task is for the two to come to a common understanding about their relationship. Costner is a charming as he was in The Bodyguard (1992), and Garner has proven herself as the adorable girl from around the corner.

4 STARS: An awesome football and family story about a smaller city built on tradition and sports similar to Pittsburgh.

Draft Day 2

Oculus

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After a 10 year bid in a mental facility for killing his father, Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) reunites with his sister, Kaylie (Karen Gilliam). With a decade long promise to fulfill, Kaylie recreates the tragic events of their childhood for closure. An ancient, haunted mirror is the only thing in the way. The siblings find themselves trapped in their childhood home battling this ghostly mirror and the many spirits that it possesses.

Oculus’ storyline was beyond creepy and the repetition was that of a skipped record. Scenes were played over and over again, making the understanding of the movie even more complex. The highly anticipated horror film left me disappointed and confused. I fully comprehend the idea or concept of the frightful moments, it just took a long time to get there. And there were not as many scary moments compared to the gut-wrenching parts; the parts were you cringed from the nastiness and not from the actual terror.

The lack of diversity in the movie is almost laughable. The 10-person cast did not include not one person of color. Yes, I know we are normally the first character killed in your typical horror film, but Oculus could have expanded the racial representation. The doctor, the friend, somebody could have been of color.

WWE Studios, formerly WWF Films, has a hand in creating this bloodcurdling project. Although the wrestling based film company is fairly new, starting in 2002, the number of movies have increased since they started 12 years ago. WWE Studio is responsible for some greats flicks like The Scorpion King (2002) and The Call (2013). Hopefully, Oculus will give WWE Studios the same box office success despite its own horror.

Earlier in the year, WWE Studios announced the making of Jingle All The Way 2. I was filled with great excitement until I found out that no one from the orginal cast like Sinbad or Arnold Schwarzenegger is slated to be on the movies’ ballot. Childhood classics should be left alone when there are plans to make drastic changes. Don’t ruin my childhood with cheesy sequels. It did not work for Home Alone 3 (1997) or The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998), so just leave it be!

2 Stars: There’s a thin line between horror and gruesome. I blame the Saw movie series on the heigtened levels of dramatic ghastliness. Oculus was no different, creating difficult moments to watch in the movie. The elements of suspense and surprise, huge factors in any horrow movie, are minimal.

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Heaven is For Real

This Easter holiday break enjoy this movie about a family’s miraculous event…

Heaven is for Real

Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, Heaven Is For Real, brings to the screen the true story of a small-town father, Todd Burpo (Gred Kinnear), who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. His son, Colton (Connor Corum), claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth… things he couldn’t possibly know. Todd and his family are then challenged to examine the meaning from this remarkable event.

Heaven Is For Real (PG) is in theaters April 16, 2014.

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