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Hate movie spoilers? Good! You'll get straight to the point, quick, and spoiler-free movie reviews to help you spend your time and money wisely on movies. I'll give you the Good, the Bad, the Reason, and the Rating about each movie. ***Please disable any popup blockers***

Friday, December 25, 2015

Concussion Movie Review (2015)

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The Trailer:

The Good

Will Smith delivers a very good performance. He may even have you believing that he's really South African with the way he nails the accent. The only competition Will had was probably the story of the film itself. If you're not an big football fan then a lot of the information presented in this film will probably be new to you. It's definitely interesting to see this controversial depiction of the issue of concussions in football. Also there's a good supporting cast surrounding Smith. While Alec Baldwin does a nice job, Albert Brooks' dry humor is perfectly timed and a welcome addition to the film. 

The Bad:
There's nothing really that bad about this film. It is slowly paced, and it's probably not the best movie to watch late at night.

The Reason

Overall, Concussion was a good movie. The main goal of this film is to spread awareness of the danger of concussions in football. Forgive me for not jumping on the "This was Will Smith's best performance" bandwagon. I think that Smith did a great job, but he didn't do anything that was beyond normal expectations for him. His performance in Pursuit of Happiness was better, in my opinion. As for seeing Concussion in the theaters, I don't think that's a must. It's perfectly fine to be seen as a matinee or just wait to watch it at home.

The Rating: 7/10

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Movie Review (2015)

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The Trailer:

The Good:
Director J. J. Abrams was able to bring to life the visual aspects of the movie that simply wasn’t possible in the late 70s or 80s.  Everything about the film brought about a sense of nostalgia from the original films. The cast especially was a delight to watch on screen. 

Harrison Ford remained the iconic “Han Solo” that we’ve all come to know, and his performance will probably meet expectations. John Boyega (“Finn”) and Daisy Ridley (“Rey”) both possessed great onscreen chemistry, and will do well in being the new lead characters.  I also appreciated Adam Driver bringing to life a more complex and layered villain in the character of "Kylo-Ren". His use of the force was simply amazing! It may be safe to say that the little droid, BB-8, almost stole the show.

Overall, the actions scenes were visually great. The 3D aspect really made many of the battle scenes that much better in my opinion. The plot was also effective in continuing the ongoing saga of good vs evil. It was refreshing to see a nice blend of bits of humor, suspenseful action, and even some sentimental/emotional moments.

The Bad:
You can take this with a HUGE grain of salt (and maybe this is because I re-watched the original trilogy two days before watching Force Awakens) but this movie came off as very predictable. There was rarely a moment, or scene, or a revel that you didn’t have some sense was going to happen. The film borrowed a lot of themes from the previous movies, so in a sense, it almost feels like history repeating itself.

Beyond that one of the characters, whom I will not name, came off a little unbelievable. Certain things happened with this character that simply felt rushed and underdeveloped. You'll know it when you see it. 

Another issue is that while this film does a great job of paying homage to the older Star Wars films, I think that it may have spent a little too much time being nostalgic. I’m afraid that a newcomer to the series will simply miss out on maybe 60% of the references and fail to make a connection with the characters. The connection to the characters is probably the biggest source of success for this film.

The Reason:
 J. J. Abrams just gets it. He clearly knows how to remaster and remix an old franchise to successfully transition a film into a more modern rendition. If you enjoyed how he remade Star Trek, then it may be safe to say that he outdid himself this time around with Star Wars.

The story is filled with funny, sad, and breath-taking moments that make this a great movie watching experience. I’ll be the first to admit that every movie doesn’t have to be seen in 3D. However, I highly recommend watching this in 3D or even IMAX 3D. I think you’ll be robbed of the visual experience if you see it any other way. 

For those of you who were wondering if it’s necessary to re-watch the older movies, I’d probably say that re-watching them will give you a deeper appreciation for what the movie was trying to do. It’s bridging a generational gap while also creating a path into a new story for a new generation. If you’ve seen all of the Star Wars films, then just re-watching episodes 4-6 will be suffice if you haven’t seen them in the last 10 years. If you’re completely new to this, then it may be best to watch in the “Machete order” which is Episodes 4-5, 2-3, and then 6. Either way, I think you’ll have a great time watching this movie, and hopefully you don’t run into any spoilers on the internet. May the Force be with you! :)

The Rating: 9/10

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Star Wars Force Awakens Movie Ticket GIVEAWAY!

How it works: Fill out the form above. The more entries you qualify for, the higher your chances of winning. This specific giveaway begins 12/15/2015 9:00am (CST) ends 12/17/2015 11:59 pm CST. 

The Prize: FOUR randomly selected winners will win 2 Free movie tickets, compliments of Fandango.com. The tickets are good for any movie (where Fandango can be accepted), each ticket has a value of $20, and they expire 12/31/2016. Winners will be announced either on our Facebook Fan Page, one of our other social media pages, and/or directly via email. The tickets will be in the form a promotional code that will be sent directly to the winner(s) upon replying to the winner notification email. Winner has 1 week to claim their prize (by responding to the winner notification email) or else another winner will be selected at random.

Eligibility: Prize is available to U.S. residents only. Direct family members of Eman's Movie Reviews are ineligible for any giveaways. Winners should first check with their local theaters first seeing as though all theaters do not use Fandango for ticket purchases.

Click here for other Official Rules.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Chi-Raq Movie Review 2015

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YouTube Review:

The Good

Director Spike Lee manages to find some creative ways to deliver important messages throughout the film. What's great about the messages is that they're far from being politically correct. Whether you agree with them or not, you can at the very least respect its sincerity given the gravity of the issues being discussed.

It was somewhat surreal to see that many of the people in the film were actual victims of the violence that plagues Chicago. We were shown former gang members who shared their experiences, and also some of the actual mothers that have lost their children to gun violence.

Across the board, there were some solid performances given. Angela Bassett portrayed a strong force and presence in her role as Miss. Helen. John Cusack excelled in his character as a fiery, activist, Chicago preacher. Jennifer Hudson captured a small portion of what it may look like to be a parent of a victim to gun violence. Teyonah Parris (who plays Lysistrata) does a nice job in leading the film as well.

The Bad:

Unfortunately for Chi-Raq, despite the many moments when this movie takes on a serious tone towards violence, the sex-related scenes will be a bit of a distraction for some viewers. I don't believe that it's the movie's fault. Rather, for whatever reason,  some viewers expected Chi-Raq to be in the format of a serious documentary. (Which it obviously isn't) Given that assumption, some viewers may completely neglect the underlying message about violence. Which unfortunately undermines the intent of this film.

Another knock on this film will probably one of the final scenes between Nick Cannon and Teyonah Parris' characters. Their "confrontation" seemed a little prolonged, and probably could've been cut shorter by a minute or two. It just made that particular scene a tad bit awkward to watch in a dark room full of strangers. :-/

I suppose you can take this "Bad" how you wish; but anyone from Chicago knows that one of the biggest problems are the incidents that involve the youth killing their peers. The unimaginable horror of hearing about kids killing other kids is something that not even this film could tackle, and unfortunately isn't really addressed.

The Reason:

Let's begin with this...this is a Spike Lee film. If you're familiar with Lee's work, then you already know it's in a class of its own. So, given all of the controversy surrounding this movie, I'd like to take a moment to address some of the concerns by critics of the film...who have yet to even see the movie.

Uninformed Critic: ("That trailer really bothered me") 

There apparently seemed to be a great deal of criticism for this movie before it was even viewed by the general public. Not only that, but people didn't take kindly to the first trailer that was released believing that this movie was somehow going to make light of the serious issue of gun violence in Chicago. Click Here to read what Spike Lee said in a recent interview about how this film DOES NOT do such a thing. You can also Click Here to view the 2nd trailer (that has a more serious tone).

Critic: ("Okay, I liked the 2nd trailer, but why couldn't Spike just release that one instead?")

Did you happen to see When the Levees Broke? You know that seriously toned Spike Lee documentary about the events of Hurricane Katrina? It won a 2006 Peabody Award. No? So what makes you think that the general public would run into theaters to watch a serious documentary about the deaths of inner city black children, gangs and gun violence?

Uninformed Critic: "I can't believe that Spike would make fun of or make light of the violence in Chicago!" 

I'd like to remind everyone that Spike Lee is the same man who has brought us Malcolm X, Get on the Bus, and Do the Right Thing. The same man who has made the majority of his life's work centered on the plight of the African American struggle in America. Do we honestly believe, for one second, that out of nowhere he's going to simply start making fun of the deaths of innocent black children? Do we honestly believe that Jennifer Hudson, who tragically lost THREE  family members to the same violence in Chicago, would really sign up to play a prominent role in this film? Father Michael Pfleger, a Catholic priest in Chicago of St. Sabina Church, with a predominantly black congregation, who has been incredibly instrumental in leading the charge against violence and injustice, has also supported this film.  Do we really believe that Father Pfleger, would partner up with Spike Lee in the production of this film if it was making light of the situation?

Uninformed Critic
Uninformed Critic: "Chi-Raq is just an exploitation of the problem for profit." 
Well I think Jennifer Hudson said it all here:
Click the image or click here: https://goo.gl/BRv1GF

Now if that's not enough to dispel some of the unwarranted and ignorant criticism (yes, "ignorant", because if you haven't seen it you're literally speaking on something you don't know) I'd like to actually break down some key points about this film before you decide to see it.

As you can tell from the trailer, this movie does have a decent amount of humor in it. That is because this movie is a satire. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, a satire is the use of humor, irony, ridicule or exaggeration to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices (especially in political matters). If you've ever watched and enjoyed shows like The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, Family Guy, or even The Boondocks, then you've watched a satire. It is vitally important to understand before going in that this movie NEVER makes fun of the violence and deaths in Chicago. The only time you'll see most of the humor is when it's focused on the sex or sometimes portrayal of the gangs. The film does a really good job of separating the serious moments from the humorous moments.

As a parent of two daughters who have friends and family in Chicago, I found it almost impossible not to connect with this film on some level. I think that this movie will touch the hearts of any parent even if you have no ties to Chicago. Reason being is that Chi-Raq's message isn't even directed to only Chicago. The message in this film brings about a greater sense of awareness of the gun violence that's rapidly becoming a national problem.

In my opinion, Chi-Raq remains respectful to the situation in Chicago, and more importantly, brings about a greater sense of awareness to gun violence. If you're wondering why I gave it the rating I did below, it's for that very reason. It's not because this movie is the best of all time. I gave it the rating that I did because it is a movie that should be watched by all in the hopes that SOMETHING...ANYTHING can hopefully bring about some change in the problem of gun violence in general.

So, yes, I do encourage you all to watch and support this movie. And you know what, some of you will come back and may completely…and respectfully… disagree with my opinion. The beauty of it all, is that it’s okay. Because I don’t believe that this is the type of movie that needs to be liked or disliked. It’s a movie that’s supposed to get us talking about violence, and hopefully work together in finding a solution.

With that said, I'll leave you with this: Again, the goal of this movie is to bring about awareness about gun violence. If you choose not to support this movie, then my hope is that you're at least doing something to help stop the violence in a constructive and positive way. However, if you choose to ignore this movie, discourage others from seeing it, or just going out and bootlegging it, then in my opinion, you're equally a part of the problem. *Kanye Shrug*

The Rating:  10/10

Special thanks to Father Pfleger for giving me the opportunity to attend the world premiere so that I could review it.

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