About this Movie… Again

tumblr_mz7r3gTo9E1siksceo1_1280About Last Night (ALN) was an extra special treat for my Valentine’s weekend. Not only did I get to look at Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy for two hours, but I loved the soundtrack, AND I laughed my ass off! I wondered how this remake was going to go. I reviewed the 1986 ALN last year for our ’80s Valentine’s Love Fest. This version is so much raunchier, but so was the play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which both films are adapted from. Well, I am very impressed.

I don’t want to do a compare/contrast review, so I will get it out now. I like that they kept the names and characteristics of best friends Bernie (Kevin Hart) & Danny (Michael Ealy), and best friends/roommates Joan (Regina Hall) & Debbie (Joy Bryant). I also liked the modernizing of the movie. I am an ’80s girl! I usually dislike remakes. But this remake kind of paid homage to the 1986 ALN. The new film kept Danny’s love of softball; they just changed the team to the L.A. Dodgers. I also like the details about Danny’s relationship with bar owner Casey (Christopher McDonald).

About the falling in love…
The movie opened up with a funky song, Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine by James Brown, which was appropriate for the opening dialogue between best friends, Bernie and Danny. They were waiting for the ladies, Debbie and Joan (Bernie’s previous night’s hook up) to show up for drinks. There is simultaneous dialogue happening on the way to the club by the ladies and inside the club (with the guys). I was laughing so hard as Bernie told Danny that he had “whiskey dick” last night. He had drunk so much that it was hard for him to get an erection. I love that the two couples had equal screen time. Bernie and Joan were the wild ones, while Debbie and Danny were calm and laid back, not really interested. They were too busy watching Bernie and Joan getting drunk and acting obnoxious. It wasn’t until Bernie and Joan went to the restroom (to bump and grind) that Debbie and Danny actually spoke each other. It was this conversation that led to a passionate night of making love, but an awkward morning after. The film shows the conflicts that arise when the individuals try to make a one-night stand into a love affair. Both couples struggle to communicate what being in love means to them.

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About Last Night (2014)

aboutlastnight_1Starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald, Adam Rodriguez, Joe Lo Truglio, Paula Patton

Directed by Steve Pink

Expectations: Moderate.

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I don’t even know what to write about About Last Night. The film was very entertaining, and offered up just about everything you could want in a romantic comedy/drama. It’s also one of the few worthy remakes, spicing up the original enough to justify its existence as a separate film. Many of the story beats are the same, but the 1986 About Last Night wishes it was as funny as this new film. The sexually frank dialogue of the original is pushed to the wall in new and hilarious ways, and there’s a cluckin’ hilarious sex scene that you won’t soon forget (or if you do, you’ve explored the depths of the Internet far too long and too often).

About Last Night opens with Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Danny (Michael Ealy) walking down the street to the Broadway Bar. Bernie is describing his previous night’s sexual escapades with a girl he just met, Joan (Regina Hall). This scene crosscuts with Joan telling her friend Debbie (Joy Bryant) about her experience with Bernie. We don’t hear either side of the story completely, but as the audience we get the full picture by hearing both sides. This opening is a good microcosm of the movie overall, as even though Danny is the main character and the film is almost always from his perspective, there’s always a feeling that the audience is peering into these people’s lives in something of an objective way. We see the good, the bad and the steamy, for better or worse.

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Mini-Review: Think Like a Man (2012)

Think-Like-A-Man-poster-1Starring Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Jenkins, Jenifer Lewis, Romany Malco, Gary Owen, Gabrielle Union, La La Anthony

Directed by Tim Story

Expectations: High. I have it on good authority that this is funny.

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I don’t have much to say about Think Like a Man. It’s well-made, funny and engaging. It’s easily one of the best and most interesting modern romantic comedies I’ve seen in a while (not that I make it a habit to see that many). This could be that the male focus of the film led me to care more about the relationships at hand, but I think it’s more to do with the structure of the film. Instead of one relationship getting all the screen-time, Think Like a Man charts the course of several relationships at once, so at all times there is something new happening with our fun, interesting characters.

Due to this wide focus, the film’s relationships aren’t that complex and they’re somewhat unbelievable, but it’s a romantic comedy so whatever. It’s not about depth and believability, it’s about making you laugh and making you feel a swell of romance in the key moments. And Think Like a Man does that really, really well. The writing is especially snappy, and the entire cast performs admirably. It’s a shame that I don’t really know who many of the actors and actresses in this movie are, and hopefully that will change going forward. It was a treat to see so many positive black characters in one movie, complete with a token white guy! I loved that. It’s a total reversal of traditional Hollywood film casting, and I wish more mainstream films would echo that. The US is rather multiracial, doncha know.

Like all romantic comedies, it does fall into the formulaic trap of being obvious and ending just as you guessed it would at its outset. But where that might usually bother me, I was so taken with the characters and the quality of the comedy that I didn’t mind one bit. I think I finally understand how all the similar romantic comedies continue to do so well: if you connect with the film’s journey then its formula doesn’t matter. I guess that’s the same for all genre films, but for some reason I never considered it an option with romantic comedies. You learn something new every day.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to change the focus of Silver Emulsion to a chronological examination of the romantic comedy (although I have to admit, that does sound rather enticing to me), but I will definitely go into future romantic comedy films with a different mindset. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a big fan of them yet.

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Starring Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James, India Eisley, Sandrine Holt, Charles Dance, Kris Holden-Ried, Jacob Blair, Adam Greydon Reid, Catlin Adams

Directed by Måns Mårlind & Björn Stein

Expectations: Moderate. These are usually fun.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


Before I jump into the review proper, a bit of background on my history with the series. I don’t intend to review them all, so this short paragraph will have to suffice. I saw the first Underworld in the theater when it dropped and kind of hated it, but still enjoyed it in a guilty pleasure sort of way. When the sequels came out, I laughed and turned up my nose. This was during my transitional phase from film snob to the cultured gentleman that loves all cinema you know and love today. A few years later as my tastes had started to descend into B-movies a bit more, I decided to run through all three of the Underworld films that precede this one. I was surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed the first two, but the third one was definitely a sub-par entry. This leads me to Underworld: Awakening, the newest but definitely not the final entry into the series. You wouldn’t expect a centuries-long war between the vampire and the lycan to end with only four movies, would you?

They open the film with something of a “Last week on Underworld…” bringing everyone up to speed on the events of the first two films that this one sort of builds upon (in a clean slate sort of way). The humans have become aware of the monsters living among them, and as you’d expect humans to do, they immediately seek to wipe them out. Selene tries to steal away into the night with Michael, but instead an underwater grenade rips them apart and leads us into the film proper. Twelve years have passed and we are reunited with Selene in a cryo-tank; she has become a test subject for the human’s experimental monster vaccine program. It doesn’t take her long to bust out (thanks to some help from the mysterious Subject 2) and the action to begin.

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