Hustlers (2019) Review

Hustlers (2019)

Directed by Lorene Scafaria

Based on “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler

Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, Cardi B

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a crew of strippers in New York City who begin to steal money by drugging stock traders and CEOs who visit their club, then running up their credit cards.

My Opinion:

Wow. I was NOT expecting to like this one as much as I did. In fact, I had no intention of even going to it until it started getting great reviews. For one thing, Cardi B annoys the shit out of me. But she only has a really small role and, to be honest, she was perfect for it. Also, I’m just really not a chick flick girly girl. However, I do like Jennifer Lopez so figured I’d give this one a chance after all. Good god J-Lo is sexy!!! She’s 50! That BODY! How does she keep that body like that? How can I have a body like that?? I want it. Do I have to stop eating Doritos?!

This turned out to not be a silly “chick flick”, although I suppose it is aimed more at women than men. What I liked is that these characters felt very real. I mean, it IS based on a true story but the character development was very good for Constance Wu’s & Jennifer Lopez’s characters. We didn’t learn anything about the other girls but that didn’t matter as they weren’t the focus of the story. Their friendship felt genuine and Lopez was absolutely brilliant in this role. I’d actually love to see her get a nomination for this role but The Academy is very unlikely to give out awards to a “stripper movie”. Then again, it would be good for their image since everyone thinks the Oscars are all about old white men these days… Nominate J-Lo! She should get an Oscar for her performance and an Oscar for that body.

This movie got the right balance in not demonizing these characters but also not making them into some sort of heroes. You’ll like the main two characters while at the same time thinking “Okay – you need to stop doing this”. What they did was wrong and they knew it was wrong but they were desperate, especially in Wu’s case. It became addicting and they took it too far. I think there was some slight backlash at first as people thought this movie was celebrating stealing from these men but this is not some “Men are evil! Fuck them! Girl power! Woohoo!” movie. Okay, yes – it’s hard to have sympathy for very rich men who visit strippers so it’s hard to see them as true victims here. It still doesn’t make what these girls did okay but the movie doesn’t force an opinion on you – It just presents the story and focuses on the two main characters and their motivations. It’s up to you to decide what you think of them. I just really enjoyed seeing a movie with such strong characters, great pacing & storytelling, and an awesome performance from Jennifer Lopez.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Home (2015) Review

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Home (2015)

Directed by Tim Johnson

Based on The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Starring:
Rihanna
Jim Parsons
Jennifer Lopez
Steve Martin

Production company: DreamWorks Animation

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.

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My Opinion:

I’ve said it a million times here so I won’t go into it too much but I’m a big Pixar & Disney fan and feel that nothing from DreamWorks has ever come close to being as good. DreamWorks make okay movies for kids of very specific ages but not timeless classics for the whole family. Home is no exception. However, it’s “good for a DreamWorks film”.

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What I liked most about Home was the lead being a strong, young, not white!, FEMALE character in a sci-fi movie aimed at kids. Is that a first?? Feels like it… Maybe they’ll actually sell toys of her unlike Princess Leia toys for all the young girls who are Star Wars fans. Yes, there are girls who like Star Wars – why is it pretty much impossible to find any Princess Leia toys other than “slave Leia” toys for adult males? Pisses me off! I’ve had words with Disney Store, who don’t even sell toys of or clothing with the two females who are both MAIN characters in Star Wars Rebels. Seriously – they sell items with the male characters only. Sorry I just went off on one of my tangents! What I’m saying is that the choice of main character is a refreshing change & hopefully boys will still give it a chance as having a lead female character doesn’t make it a “girl’s movie” – there’s plenty here that both boys & girls will enjoy. Oh! I also liked the single mother with daughter situation here – another thing we don’t see a lot. It was also kind of funny that J-Lo plays Rihanna’s mother… Bet she hated that! 😉

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Whether or not kids will like this movie will probably depend more on if they like the character of alien Oh. The aliens in this (the Boov) are very silly & not very bright, making them do a lot of stupid things that I think kids will find hilarious. Steve Martin voices the idiotic leader of the Boov (Captain Smek), which I enjoyed since I’m old (I’m afraid I’m much closer to Steve Martin’s age than Rihanna’s). Oh wait – I just did the math & I’m much closer to Rihanna’s age… YES! I mean, I’m a fan of Steve Martin but not of Rihanna (except We Found Love – I love that song). Am I going off on a tangent again?! The aliens in this are funny & Oh is silly and likeable. Home is very much aimed at kids & there’s nothing I’d consider inappropriate or too scary for the very young so you’d probably be fine taking your whole family to it. As an adult, I’d have to say I found some enjoyment from Home & didn’t end up thoroughly bored or annoyed like I do with some kids’ movies.

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Summary:

Home: “Good for a DreamWorks movie”. Yeah – I’ll go with that. Sorry to any DreamWorks fans out there but their movies never end up being all-time favorite films of mine whereas things like WALL-E & Toy Story are (and Despicable Me! an anomaly from Illumination Entertainment). I suppose the How To Train Your Dragon movies are still the best from DreamWorks but those are aimed at a higher age than Home. I’d have to say that I personally preferred Home to the majority of the other films from this studio (including Shrek) but I’m not sure that everyone will feel the same way. The story is a bit “odd” compared to other kids’ films but I’m a big fan of sci-fi & strong female characters who are good role models for young girls so I think they’ve done a good job with this movie. They’ve tried something different here – Home is somewhat unique & I like that, even if some of the aliens & animation reminded me of that silly Eiffel 65 video. That’s okay – I love that song! (Did I just admit that in public?!)

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Maid In Manhattan (2002) Review

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Maid In Manhattan (2002)

Directed by Wayne Wang

Story by John Hughes

Starring:
Jennifer Lopez
Ralph Fiennes
Natasha Richardson
Stanley Tucci (TUCCI!)
Tyler Posey
Frances Conroy
Chris Eigeman
Amy Sedaris
Marissa Matrone
Priscilla Lopez
Bob Hoskins
Lisa Roberts Gillan
Maddie Corman (Hey! It’s the middle sister in Some Kind Of Wonderful!)

Running time: 105 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Rich politician guy falls in love with a maid when he mistakes her for a guest at the hotel where she works. Blah blah. You’ve seen this before. No surprises here.

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My Opinion:

I actually went to see this when it came out back in 2002. It was needing a review for this blogathon so I gave it a quick, half-assed re-watch the other day (only one or two Hughes movies will end up not being reviewed. That’s an AMAZING turnout. Thank you everyone!). So… What can I say about Maid In Manhattan?

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Is it predictable? Oh HELL yeah! Every step of the way! Is it romantic? Meh – as much as any girly rom-com is these days. Are the characters likeable? Luckily, they actually are pretty likeable in this one, which is about all you can ask for from a lot of rom-coms. Does it feel like a John Hughes movie? Not in the slightest. The story is by him – I don’t know if there was much involvement from him beyond that. Probably not. So there’s none of the old John Hughes classic lines & characters in this movie. Don’t watch this one expecting any Hughes-ness – there’s not a trace of it to be found.

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However, it’s not a horrible movie. I am NOT a “rom-com” girl. I’m a movie lover and will watch most anything, though, so I’ve seen my fair share of this genre. This is a respectable enough entry. If you DO love this genre, I think you’d like Maid In Manhattan just fine. It’s not “smart” like something like The Devil Wears Prada (I like that one. And, hey – Stanley Tucci is in that AND this! Love my Tucci! Hmm… That sounds kinky….). BUT it’s not as dumb as, say, a Kate Hudson rom-com.

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Ralph Fiennes & especially Jennifer Lopez do just fine in this one – you like their characters & want them to live “happily every after”. I didn’t fully buy a romance between the two of them but, whatever. I really liked the boy playing J-Lo’s son – he’s smart and sweet & the two of them have a good relationship. There are a lot of good supporting characters and it’s a shame we don’t actually get to see more of them (including Stanley Tucci & Bob Hoskins). The only complaint would be that they made Natasha Richardson’s character a little TOO annoying (but you’re not meant to like her). The best thing about this movie is that it DOES manage to give the audience plenty of characters they’ll like and, as I said, that’s about all you can ask for from a rom-com. It’s really not too much to ask yet plenty movies in this genre don’t manage it (for instance – those damn Kate Hudson movies. Ugh!). Maid In Manhattan won’t change your life but it won’t exactly ruin your day either. I think this is one time where people have judged this movie too harshly (the IMDB rating is very low. 4.9? Too harsh). Chill, people! It’s a bit of light entertainment.

My Rating: 6/10

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