THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD (2021)

 Directed By: Patrick Hughes 
Written By: Brandon Murphy & Phillip Murphy 
Based On Characters Created By & Story By: Tom O’Connor 
Cinematography: Terry Stacey 
Editor: Jack Hutchings & Michael J. Duthie

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Frank Grillo, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman, Alice McMillan 

The bodyguard, Michael Bryce, continues his friendship with assassin, Darius Kincaid, as they try to save Darius’ wife Sonia


This is a movie that seems rushed to make money off the surprise hit of the first film and this time offers more Salma Hayek that the first film. Where she was a memorable supporting character.

This film offers a lot more of her including in her low-cut outfits and even a sex scene that is more comedic than sexy. Though the film gives her a chance to shine. 

The film is more aimed at being a comedy with action in it rather than the other way around and as hilarious as the film is you never take it seriously and just try to have fun. As much as the cast seems to be having.

This film offers up recognizable cast members new to the franchise in surprising supporting roles. Though luckily it seems as soon as they wear out their welcome they either disappear or are dispatched. 

They try to sideline Ryan Reynolds a little. as once again his character is going through confidence problems and here he has decided to not be violent throughout. He is involved in the action sequences. As more the straight man who keeps getting punished violently while all around him kill and fight. Which might be to make room for Salma Hayek to have more to do and be part of the action. He for the most part is abused throughout 

What works for these films is that while they are silly and quite stupid. They stay entertaining and are never boring and come off as guilty pleasures more than anything else. Especially by the end which is just ridiculous.

These films feel like the CRANK movies only not as over the top, campy or low brow. They are dirty And they all feel like they have the energy of an energized bunny or play out like violent love action cartoons more than anything anyone can really identify with. 

Grade: C+

HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021)

Directed By: Ridley Scott
Written By: Becky Johnston & Roberto Bentivenga
Based on the Book By: Sara Gay Forden 
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski
Editor: Claire Simpson 

Cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Salma Hayek, Camille Cottin, Reeve Carney 

When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately…murder.


This should be a movie that could almost guarantee an audience. It has a strong true life story of an emotive that is successful and slowly crumbles. The infighting amongst the family for control of this empire. An outsider who comes in and manipulates everyone and then later a true crime aspect. 

For such an established and pedigree cast this film should be much better. It is grand in style though strangely considering the story should feel epic. Never achieves the heights and power that it should. It never feels rich or full-bodied. 

Now, this is Lady Gaga’s first big starring role after A STAR IS BORN. All eyes are on her as she has the showiest role and while she does ok. It might have been much stronger with a more experienced actress. Who could captivate the audience.

Jared Leto acts like he is in a totally different film. His performance comes off as more comedic but will admit he is the most entertaining part of the film. As with him In Scenes. The film either feels uneven or that it is slipping more into camp at times. 

The film at least allows for other cast members to shine but they rarely come close to being as interesting or captivating. Other than gaga Adam driver has the character who shows the most range in terms of emotions and situations. 

The script fails at times also. As gaga’s character at first seems In love and humble and then all of a sudden seems to desire money and success manipulating her husband and the rest of the family. It might have been a little more understandable if the film showed she was a girl who came from much more humble beginnings and once around. Wealth and success she got spoiled and wanted to stay in that environment. Instead of making. It seems like she was a power mad gold digger all of a sudden.

The film feels like it is going through the motions of telling the story rather than being invested in it or the characters. It feels to a matter of fact or more reporting. Even in the good times, you don’t feel heights of joy or happiness. Though Can only go so far as Based ona true story

The film feels like it lacks the glamour and indulgence. It’s pretty much a television movie with a star name cast and more of a budget and even has scenes to help individualize the characters

It might be that wanting to show her more rags to riches we see glimpses  of the power and fortune and are left with more the gaudy and rather basic indulgences and keep i everything smaller with lesser volumes as far as size of story making it feel more personal 

As far as star casting she is in the middle of it all and does fine but needs a bigger star for us to indulge in. Went to tell a mroe realistic story instead of letting it either go to camp or makign it more about the Star than the story ala evita and with lady Gaga can see it as that kind of film where it could be but here the peers that be were more interested in story and details 

Which might disappoint her audience but for fans wanting to learn the story or look for this to be a mroe all around film night prefer it

When dealing with a film about a known empire of fashion. Most expect a film More of style than substance. Maybe the thinking of the filmmakers was to be more restrained as style would be expected. As the story itself was so wild in the first place.

In the end it ends up not only a true crime drama that only showcases that aspect in the last third. As the first third is a romance and rags to riches story and the middle is indulgence but after all is said and done it is ultimately a tragedy. Where the new element brought the house down, but also everyone’s individual greed is their own worst enemies that becomes personified in the end 

The film Works on many different levels for the audience star power as she has a best actress nomination. She has to be jsit as good as her cast memebers making her bring more of an a game as most of these actors are good even on their worst days

Her power of celebrity brings most of they punter audience even if not for die hard fans there is that element for others to see if she is up to par with her co-stars 

It would only be more heightened if she had performed a song for the soundtrack which might have helped the film financially but then would have come over even more as a vanity project 

Having Al Pacino in a movie set in Italy and with a crime drama background already poses sea the stereotype of somehow involving the mob. Luckily when it comes to him and his pedigree he is associated only with illustrious films about the mob that are mroe legendary

The film looks good but never quite as sharp as it should and never achieves the dramatic depth it should. Making it feel like it is constantly missing an ingredient. As it is definitely missing a sense of glamour.

Grade: C+

MI VIDA LOCA (1993)

Written & Directed By: Allison Anders  Cinematography: Rodrigo Garcia  Editor: Richard Chew, Tracy Granger & Kathryn Himoff

Cast: Angel Aviles, Seidy Lopez, Jacob Vargas, Christina Solis, Neilda Lopez, Arthur Esquar, Jesse Borrego, Monica Lutton, Salma Hayek, Eddie Perez, Guy Boyd, Spike Jonze, Jason Lee, Kurt Voss, Nicole Holfcener 

Mousie and Sad Girl are childhood best friends in a contemporary Los Angeles poor Hispanic neighborhood. But when Sad Girl becomes pregnant by Mousie’s boyfriend, a drug dealer named Ernesto, the two become bitter enemies. While their dispute escalates towards violence, the violence of the world around them soon also impacts their lives.


This is not The movie I expected. I give Alison Anders a lot of love and props for This film. As it is not what one would expect as a follow-up to her debut GAS, FOOD, AND LODGING. 

This film takes a look at gang life in California more from a female point of view. Taken from anecdotes of real female gang members.

The film Humanizes the characters more about personal lives. Not so sensationalistic in depicting crime and violence. Whereas when it does happen more treated as tragic and surprising than everyday 

The film is more a slice of life looking at the characters and their culture. As it works as an ensemble where we see different points of view of those in that life. But we also see different stories.

More of a look at a culture and community. Where you want to see more of the stories continue. An ensemble plus more from a female point of view. 

The film offers Hispanic/Mexican representation though focused on gang life. It doesn’t speak down to the audience or the characters. Doesn’t make any judgments. Not so much stereotypical gang life, it is more in the background. Not so much matter of fact. It explores the neighborhood and might not be the film some are looking for 

Even if the first half revolves mainly around two characters who are best friends and the troubles in their friendship and how it gets destroyed over a guy. Where it almost comes to them killing one another.

The characters aren’t Painted as one. Not as usually shown in cinematic depictions. Here they are more nuanced, recognizable, and identifiable. 

Some might be disappointed the true film isn’t your typical life in the streets gang film. Choosing instead to focus on characters and emotions. It might even seem a bit melodramatic at first like a soap opera. 

You have characters like Whisper who you want to see more of and learn more about. As she is used more as a connection and a recurring character. Who is more in the lifestyle as it is more natural and part of survival

More on the female sides of the fence was raised in this environment.  It is exactly cut out for the normal 9 – 5. 

The film does focus a bit on characters, not in the life, more related to the main characters but unfortunately still violence and the streets affect them. The film offers some cinema verite. As some of the actors and extras are real gang members.

What is remarkable about the film is that it’s not a film that aims to be downtrodden or condemn the life of the characters. It more humanizes them and shows their trials and tribulations. Just as any other.

There is no overarching narrative about saving anyone or trying to get themselves out of their life. They are dealing with what they have always known and will always be around as at this point it is more comfortable than anything else.

It might not be the film you are looking for but it is the film you need. 

GRADE: B-

BANDIDAS (2006)

BandidasFeatured

Directed By: Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg
Written By: Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen
Cinematography By: Thierry Arbogast
Editor: Frederic Thoraval

Cast: Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Steve Zahn, Dwight Yoakam, Sam Shepard, Denis Arndt

In 1848, a New York bank wants to put a railroad across Mexico, so it buys up small banks around Santa Rita, Durango, and evicts farmers on the proposed rail line who owe money. The bank’s henchman is the murderous Jackson. He runs afoul of two women, María, the tough but uneducated daughter of a farmer, and Sara, the European-educated daughter of the owner of one of these banks. To feed the now landless people and to seek revenge, María and Sara become bank robbers, veritable Robin Hoods. But Jackson and his hired guns are after them. What are the women’s options?

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AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT (2011)

asluckwouldhaveit

Directed By: Alex De La Iglesia
Written By: Randy Feldman
Cinematography By: Kiko De La Rica
Editor: Pablo Blanco 


Cast: Jose Mota, Salma Hayek, Blanca Portillo, Carolina Bang, Santiago Segura, Nacho Vigalando

An out-of-work publicist who suffers an accident looks to sell the exclusive interview rights to the highest bidder in an attempt to provide for his family.

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LIKE A BOSS (2020)

like-a-boss

Directed By: Miguel Arteta
Written By: Sam Pitman & Adam Cole-Kelly
Story By: Danielle Sanchez-Witzel
Cinematography: Jas Shelton
Editor: Jay Deuby 


Cast: Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne, Salma Hayek, Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Jessica St. Clair, Ari Graynor, Ryan Hansen, Jimmy O. Yang, Karan Soni, Jacob Latimore, Natasha Rothwell  


Two friends with very different ideals start a beauty company together. One is more practical while the other wants to earn her fortune and live a lavish lifestyle.


This is a film that feels like a let down as it has a good cast but where as the trailers looked hilarious and fun. The film doesn’t rise to the occasion and really the only thing that keeps the film afloat is the cast.

As this film is the equivalent of a buddy comedy. Where there is an Intimacy between the two friends that isn’t romantic but are life partners in a way.

Tiffany Haddish again plays her familiar comedic type. Blunt sex crazed and honest with an attitude. Once you get used to her she doesn’t offer many surprises.

Rose Byrne plays her best friend and business partner and she seems to try to play more the emotional parts of her character and her problems but can be counted on to be funny when needed. This is kind of her out of her range. Even though over the years she has done the odd comedy.

The problem is that the film leaves plenty of set up’s for certain scenes that never seem to rise to the occasion of how funny they can be. Not are they as funny as they can be. Only in one scene does it rise to that level and that is due to Billy Porter then anyone else.

The film just feels haphazard and lazy. As it stays so plot oriented yet wants to have comedic highlights and just when those scenes seem to get started they either end or deflate. Which is disappointing especially when you have such a dependable cast.

Though it is nice to see a mostly female cast comedy where they actors are actually funny they just needed a better or stronger script.

Just as the side characters need more to do as they are quite funny but really are given nothing to do and you wonder why they are there at times. Especially their three other best friends who provide good laughs but anytime we see them it seems only to set up a comedic set piece.

It’s disappointing as the film has a lot of comedic energy and players but seems to falter giving them not as much to do as they could. As the cast tries to salvage the material.

Grade: D+

TALE OF TALES (2016)

taleoftales

Directed By: Matteo Garrone
Written By: Matteo Garrone, Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti & Massimo Gaudioso
Based On The Book By: Giambatista Basile
Cinematography By: Peter Suschitzky
Editor: Marco Spoletini 


Cast: Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Stacy Martin, Vincent Cassel, Shirley Henderson, Toby Jones, Hayley Carmichael, Jessie Cave

From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of Highhills obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile.

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THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (2017)

hitmans

Directed By: Patrick Hughes
Written By: Tom O’Connor
Cinematography By: Jules O’Loughlin
Editor: Jake Roberts 


Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Gary Oldman, Elodie Yung, Joaquim De Almeida Richard E. Grant 


With his reputation in tatters after a painfully unsuccessful delivery of a distinguished Japanese client, former triple-A executive protection agent, Michael Bryce, two long years after the disgraceful incident, is now reduced to a mere second-class bodyguard for hire. Under those circumstances, Bryce would do anything to prove his worth once again, and as a result, it won’t be long before he accepts an offer from Interpol to escort the renowned international assassin Darius Kincaid from Manchester to the Hague. The task seems simple: Bryce only needs to transport the contract killer from point A to point B, nevertheless, Kincaid, as the only one with the guts and enough hard evidence to testify against a tyrannical Belarusian dictator, is an obvious target, while the trip to the Netherlands is long and hazardous. Without a doubt, this a race against the clock as the mismatched duo will have to put aside their grudges, in a non-stop concerto for bullets.

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