Posts Tagged ‘Vanessa Hudgens’

Machismo isn’t Dead

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Director: Ardil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Eric Dane, Paola Nunez, Tasha Smith, Jacob Scipio, Tiffany Haddish, Joe Pantoliano, Ioan Gruffudd

Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Belgian director duo Ardil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah return to the Bad Boys in the highly anticipated 4th instalment simply titled Bad Boys: Ride or Die and rest assured in this action packed buddy movie, machismo isn’t dead. In fact it is very much alive and has a strong sense of humour thanks for funny man Martin Lawrence as Mike Lowry’s hilarious partner Marcus Burnett.

In this instalment the dynamic duo investigate the death of their former Miami police chief Captain Howard, played in digital flashbacks by Joe Pantoliano who has consistently appeared in all four bad boys films starting with the original which was made back in 1995.

Consistency is the key to maintaining an entertaining and trustworthy franchise and having the same actors back including Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and Alexander Ludwig all part of the corruption riddled Miami PD. In this respect the Bad Boys franchise has always delivered to its fans.

The adrenalin fuelled franchise has always been flashy complete with fast cars, sleek skyscrapers crowding the Miami skyline, witty repartee and most importantly lots of action. Certainly in Bad Boys: Ride of Die all the elements are there to make a brilliant fourth film and the directing duo do just that exceptionally well.

Ardil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah deliver a slick fast paced action film with great heroes, strong messages of community and an evil villain, McGrath wonderfully played by TV actor Eric Dane, who is suitably menacing and deadly in this role.

Villains are as important in this franchise and luckily Eric Dane nails this part in this Miami set action film about drug deals, escaped convicts including Armando played by British actor Jacob Scipio and crooked politicians.

Audiences should watch out for a vibrant and bitchy cameo by Tiffany Haddish (The Card Counter) as a foul mouthed Florida brothel madam Tabitha.

Screenwriters Chris Bremner and Will Beall deliver a distinctly masculine formulaic action film filled with some brilliant sequences especially the helicopter crash scene in the Florida everglades and the final showdown in a not so abandoned alligator farm. Bad Boys: Ride or Die is an entertaining action film which ignites the American 2024 summer blockbuster season in a sense that George Miller’s Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga didn’t quite achieve. Unfortunately 2024 is still suffering the icy after effects of the Barbieheimer phenomenon which enthralled the 2023 summer blockbuster season.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is an enjoyable action film serving up two hours of escapism and pure adrenalin that will not disappoint.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die gets a film rating of 7 out of 10. Grab some buddies and watch this action film in cinemas everywhere. Recommended viewing.

Sundays at the Moondance Diner

tick, tick, BOOM!

Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Vanessa Hudgens, Judith Light, Bradley Whitford, Ben Levi-Ross, Robin de Jesus, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

This film is only available to watch on the Netflix streaming service

Oscar nominee Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) takes on the role of struggling theatrical composer Jonathan Larson in director Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fascinating portrayal of his brief but explosive career in the musical film tick, tick, Boom!

Jonathan Larson’s most successful musical was a contemporary rendition of Puccini’s 1896 Opera La Boheme which become famously known as Rent. Rent, the Musical explored all the struggles of a group of young artists in New York City in the mid 1990’s amidst the worst of the AIDS crisis, and become one of the longest Broadway hit musicals running before it finally closed in 2008, grossing over $280 million in ticket sales.

Unfortunately the young and extremely talented Jonathan Larson would not see the fruits of his labour and the dynamic success of the musical he created.

As a musical film, tick, tick, Boom! Is fascinating to watch and actor turned director Lin-Manuel Miranda focuses more on the musical genius of Jonathan Larson and less on his actual life. Many of the key scenes in the film, particularly the countless arguments between Larson expertly played with a frenetic energy by Andrew Garfield and his girlfriend Susan played by Alexandra Shipp (Love, Simon; X-Men: Apocalypse) are interrupted by Larson breaking out into song which detracts from the emotional core of the film.

It is only in the second half of tick, tick, Boom! that director Lin-Manuel Miranda finds his feet and grounds the chaotic first half in a heart wrenching reality of struggling artists living in New York City battling to make ends meet amidst rejection, high rents and busking at the Moondance Diner.

In between all their struggles is the omniscient threat of extinction as the looming 1980’s and 1990’s AIDS crisis threatened to kill off most of the artistic community in New York prior to the invention of life-saving medication at the beginning of the 21st century. 

As a biographical story, tick, tick, Boom! does suffer from an overemphasis on song and dance while neglecting the real struggles that both gay and straight artists went through to make it in America’s toughest city: New York during the early 1990’s.

Fortunately, Andrew Garfield’s brilliant performance as Jonathan Larson holds this film together balanced by some extraordinary supporting roles including Judith Light as his tough as nails theatrical agent Rosa Stevens and Larson’s best friend, the gay advertising executive Michael wonderfully played with a brittle flamboyance by Robin de Jesus (The Boys in the Band).

Viewers need to know the backstory of Rent, the musical and do some research on Jonathan Larson before watching tick, tick, Boom as this film does not operate as a conventional biography and might be confusing to those not familiar with the context.

Tick, tick, Boom! gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and is recommended for those that enjoy a historical slice of American musical theatre from over 30 years ago.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Larson

From Miami to Mexico City

Bad Boys for Life

Directors: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Charles Melton, Paola Nunez, Kate del Castillo, Joe Pantoliano, Jacob Scipio, Theresa Randle

Michael Bay directed the first Bad Boys back in 1995 and then there was a sequel Bad Boys II made in 2003 both featuring buddy cop duo Mike and Marcus played respectively by Oscar nominee Will Smith (Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness) and comedian Martin Lawrence.

So it’s been 17 years since this franchise had a glossy revamp with the new film Bad Boys for Life featuring the same actors as the same fast talking Miami cops who go after evil gangsters.

Fortunately, directing duo Ardi El Arbi and Bilall Fallah do justice in the 2020 reboot Bad Boys for Life as Mike and Marcus considerably much older and now assisted by an Ammo taskforce as they collectively take on the ruthless Mexican drug cartel when the vicious head of a Mexico City cartel Isabel Aretas played by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo orders her son Armando Aretas viciously played by Jacob Scipio to kill Mike in downtown Miami.

Both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have terrific screen chemistry as the cop duo and this is reinforced by the fantastic new additions to the cast of the Ammo crew: namely, Kelly played by Vanessa Hudgens (Second Act, Suckerpunch), Dorn played by Canadian hunky actor Alexander Ludwig best known for his pivotal role in the brilliant historical series Vikings and Rafe played by Charles Melton (The Sun is Also a Star). Ammo is headed up by the gorgeous Rita played by another Mexican actress Paola Nunez.

What is most impressive about Bad Boys for Life besides the glossy cinematography, the fantastic visual shots of Miami and Mexico City, is the fast-paced action and the surprisingly well written storyline.

This film is fun, funky and definitely worth seeing for those viewers that enjoyed the first two Bad Boys films and also for those viewers unfamiliar with the franchise. Most notable is the gripping Miami nightclub action sequence as well as the spectacularly gripping finale set in the Palacio di Hidalgo, a beautiful ruined Palace, in Mexico City.

If audiences want decent action, witty one-liners and superb plot twists, then go and see Bad Boys for Life as Mike and Marcus battle the cartel from Miami to Mexico City.

Bad Boys for Life gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is thoroughly entertaining. Judging by the audience popularity for this film, there will definitely be a Bad Boys 4.

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