How to be a Latin Lover (a movie blurt)

This isn’t an instructional video. It’s a comedy about an aging boy toy named Maximo, played by Mexican actor and comedian, Eugenio Derbez, who is tossed out by his much older sugar mama for a much younger man.  Although Maximo has a friend, another aging trophy boy played by Rob Lowe and who lives with his own sugar mama in a mansion, the friend can’t put him up there because every room is a make-out place at any given moment. Maximo then seeks out his younger sister, played by Salma Hayek, whom he hasn’t contacted for years. She is a widow and single mom of a 10-year-old boy. Maximo’s attempt to use his somewhat antiquated notion of sexy skills to educate his impressionable nephew and charm a replacement wealthy dowager played by Raquel Welch is hilarious. The party scene with Maximo in the swimming pool is alone worth the price of admission.  Get your sexy on and learn how to move those hips. Other stars joining this funny ensemble cast include Kristen Bell and Linda Lavin.

Logan Lucky (a movie blurt)

This is a heist movie directed by Steve Soderbergh, who also directed the well-known Ocean Trilogy heist films (Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen). Although there’s a formula to this genre, the characters, their situation, and the sprinklings of comedy are ingredients that make each one different. Set in West Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina, this story is about two down-on-their-luck brothers played by Channing Tatum and Adam Driver. Channing decides to plan a robbery soon after he is let go from his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway because his limp from an old football injury is considered a liability at work. They bring in their hairdresser sister to help. To round out their crew, they recruit an imprisoned explosive expert, Joe Bang, played by Daniel Craig, whose British accent is replaced by a good ‘ole boy twang. As a condition of Joe Bang joining the group, he asks to have his two hilarious hillbilly brothers join the heist team. The film is enjoyable to watch as we see how the colorful characters plot, ply, and plow through such a convoluted, but clever undertaking. Although there are underlying tones of injustice within our society—think haves vs. have-nots mixed in with a bit of Robin Hood–there is nothing preachy about the movie. Just grab a box of popcorn and watch the story unfold amidst the rural settings and classic American stock car action.

The Ugly Sweater Chronicles: Pilfered

[A trilogy of “seamy” stories about the lure of ugly sweaters. 2 of 3; See 1 of 3]

sweaters

Christmas music plays through the tinny speakers in the function room of the once popular downtown hotel. In spite of the worn carpet and faded drapes framing the bottle glass windows, the people getting ready for the Annual Ugly Sweater Convention are happily lining up chairs to create a stage. One of the highly anticipated events is the ugly sweater parade around the room and the judging. The grand prize winner receives an original, one-of-a-kind ugly sweater crocheted by one of the judges.

“I can hardly wait until you show us what you’ve crocheted, Henrietta,” Jody says to the petite woman helping her set up the chairs.

“Tell us the story behind what you’ve created.” Linda, another judge pipes in, as she joins them in getting their stage ready.

“Given that I had a whole year to think about it, I feel as if my hands connected well with my brain, because I just let them both go to town,” Henrietta says, smiling about the experience.

By this time, the rest of the judges have joined them. Henrietta beams at the attentiveness of her four colleagues toward her work. “The setting is classical–a wintry scene with a half-created snowman; that’s because Santa was interrupted by Rudolf the Red-nosed reindeer whose nose had fallen off. The elves are crawling about under a Christmas tree, which happens to be topped by Rudolf’s red nose.”

“How clever. It sounds intricate,” Donny, the only male judge says.

“Yes, I used a lot of different colors to make them all stand out.”

“We better get a move on. People are streaming in. Why, look at that ugly sweater.” The other judges look in the direction she’s gazing. Suitably impressed, they conclude all the sweaters are ugly. They disband and mingle with the crowd.

Soon after the end of the ugly sweater story telling event, the parade starts. About a hundred or so people walk around the room, proudly displaying their frontal artwork to the five judges, each absorbed and taking notes, some murmuring among themselves.

At long last, the judges come to their final decision. As the one who crocheted the prize, Henrietta announces the winner. She wheels in a clothes rack, which has a vinyl garment bag hanging from the top. Eagerly, she unzips the opaque casing. As she takes out the sweater, she gapes as she sees a plain red sweater without the swirls, pomp-poms, appliques, ribbons, and yards of yarn she has applied. She sputters, “This is not the sweater I made!”

One of the judges cries out, “Someone has stolen it!”

Never before in the history of the event has this ever happened. Without much experience in such matters, the Ugly Sweater Convention planners promise the good people that day that they will launch a full investigation. Leading the charge will be the famed Detective David LaFoote, well known in their town as the sharpest tool in the shed.

Man Up (a movie review)

A funny boy-meets-girl movie that primarily takes place over the course of a full day. Without giving too much away, it’s about two women striking up a conversation with one of them unwittingly becoming a matchmaker. The consequences are hilarious and lead to a bunch of amusing scenes. The movie stars Simon Pegg, who plays a 40-year-old man trying to reconcile his feelings of loss over his divorce, and Lake Bell, who plays a socially awkward 34-year-old woman. She’s become cynical about romance because of compounded past hurts.
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The Overnight (a movie review)

This is a comedy about friendship and marriage. A young family recently relocates from Seattle to L.A. The dad, played by Adam Scott, and the mom, played by Taylor Schilling, along with their little boy, are in their neighborhood playground. They acquaint themselves with another young father, played by Jason Schwartzman, and his son. Jason’s character invites the whole family over for pizza night, which turns out to be quite an extended event. Hence, the title, The Overnight. The whole family ends up staying all night long for an evening full of surprises and laughs.
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Hot Pursuit (a movie review)

This is one of those movies that is funny in some places, while not in most. Definitely not one of Reese Witherspoon’s better movies. She plays an earnest cop who becomes involved in transporting a key federal witness, played by Sofia Vergara, to safety. It’s your typical “partner movie” in which the two women distrust each other. Eventually, they bond and then become fond of each other during their attempt to run for safety and justice. It’s more a showcase of how good they both look than about the plot, which is predictable, but I won’t spoil any more of it. It’s a chase movie, hence called “Hot Pursuit.”