Top Gun Maverick

Since its release in 1986, Top Gun has become a classic that is beloved by many. Thirty six years later, the sequel fans have been waiting for finally hits theatres this weekend. Now a captain, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is called back to Top Gun to train a new crop of the best aviators in the country for their most dangerous mission yet. But with his late friend Goose’s son Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw (Miles Teller) in the line up, Maverick has no choice but to confront the ghosts of his past.

I’m going to be completely transparent here. The only reason I went to see this movie was because my husband wanted to go. Neither one of us had watched the original until two days ago when we realized we probably should educate ourselves. He enjoyed it thoroughly whereas I found myself on my phone most of the time. Sure I was able to follow along with the story and knew more or less what happened, but it didn’t captivate me as much as I had been hoping. Going into my showing last night, I had no idea what to expect.

Slowly but surely, I found myself completely and totally engrossed in the story. I wanted to learn more about these new characters and I wanted them to succeed. A lot of that was due to the incredible cast that came together to make this happen. Tom Cruise proves once again that he is a king when it comes to action movies. He’s not one of my favorites, but even I have to admit that there is no one else like him.

Other stand outs for me include Miles Teller. As Rooster, his arc with Maverick tugged at the heartstrings and really made you feel for him. Glen Powell, who portrayed Hangman brought the good looks and cockiness whereas Monica Barbaro as Phoenix represented females everywhere. Additionally, I enjoyed watching Maverick’s love story with Penny (Jennifer Connelly) unfold. She was feisty and certainly no pushover which I appreciated.

Seeing this film in AVX was such a good choice. The sounds of the jets mixed with the score and special effects are really on a whole other level. Combined with a great soundtrack, it really adds to the overall experience. I’ve had Danger Zone in my head ever since.

I’m surprised as to how much I liked Top Gun Maverick. Seeing it on opening night certainly heightened my experience as the audience kept breaking out into applause. It was rather emotional now that I think about it to be able to experience something like this. It proves just how special film really is. This movie is going to be the talk of the summer. Don’t miss it!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

The Valet

Famous movie star Olivia (Samara Weaving) finds herself in a PR disaster when photos of her and her married boyfriend Vincent (Max Greenfield) hit every news outlet in the city. Needing to do damage control before her upcoming premiere, they enlist the help of humble, hardworking valet Antonio (Eugenio Derbez) to pretend to be Olivia’s new boyfriend.

Based on the 2006 French movie La Doublure, The Valet took me by surprise. While it was yet another story featuring a mismatched couple, it struck me in ways that I was not expecting it to and I only wish more people knew about it.

The chemistry between our two leads Eugenio Derbez and Samara Weaving shouldn’t seem like it would work, but it totally does. I have never seen the former in anything before and found his Antonio charming and funny. Samara Weaving has slowly been working her way up my favorites list having starred in TV shows Hollywood and Nine Perfect Strangers. Her comedic role here was something I never knew I needed.

It was fun to see Max Greenfield portray such a slimy character – something very different than the roles we are used to seeing him in. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much of a douchebag his character Vincent was. Betsy Brandt who stars as Vincent’s wife Kathryn was certainly no pushover which was refreshing to see. I loved that she wanted to take him down.

I must give a special shoutout to the latino representation that was depicted throughout the movie. Getting to know Antonio’s colleagues, friends and family was such a joy. I really felt the authenticity in those relationships and I loved the incorporation of Spanish whenever these scenes were happening.

What I liked the most about The Valet was while I thought I knew where it was going, I ended up being very wrong (in the best possible way). There were some twists thrown in that hit me like a ton of bricks and made me feel all the emotions. It’s an off beat romantic comedy that teaches you the importance of family and being true to yourself. If this was your first time hearing about it, I highly recommend adding it to your weekend viewing. You won’t be sorry.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Senior Year

Everyone knows Stephanie Conway (Angourie Rice). Popular, smart, head of the cheerleading squad and dating the hottest guy in school, she is a shoe in for Prom Queen. But when a cheerleading stunt goes terribly wrong at the school pep rally, she falls into a coma. Twenty years later, Steph (Rebel Wilson) wakes up to a whole new world. Believing she cannot move on with her life, she decides to go back to high school to claim that prom title once and for all.

Like many of the films Netflix puts out, my expectations are never very high. I had to learn that the hard way. Maybe that’s why I ended up liking Senior Year as much as I did. It was exactly the type of movie I needed to indulge in this weekend.

The best part of the whole thing was the soundtrack. I was immediately transported back to the early 2000s with all the songs I used to love listening to on repeat. Who else still remembers the lyrics to Sk8er Boi and Candy? Each scene was perfectly paired with a nostalgic throwback that, paired together with the timeless butterfly clips and bell bottoms, made my heart soar.

Another positive came about with the movie’s humor. Rebel Wilson is known for her comedic chops and this was no different. After discussing it with my husband, we decided that she is the female Ryan Reynolds as she tends to play herself, but that’s all part of her charm. Thanks to the rest of the cast, the laughs kept coming.

I had no idea there would be so many familiar faces here. Mary Holland as Steph’s best friend Martha was a great addition whereas Sam Richardson as Seth and Zoë Chao as Tiffany threw me back to when they starred in The After Party together. There was also heartthrob Justin Hartley who portrayed Steph’s ex boyfriend Blaine and Chris Parnell who starred as her dad Jim.

Senior Year is one of those movies where you know exactly what you are signing up for. You may also know how it is going to end. That still doesn’t stand in the way of you smiling, laughing and enjoying yourself anyway.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Along For The Ride

Based on the novel by Sarah Dessen, Along For The Ride is a coming of age story. It’s the summer before college and Auden (Emma Pasarow) has moved in with her father (Dermot Mulroney), his trophy wife (Kate Bosworth) and their new baby in the quaint beach town of Colby. When Auden finds that she can’t sleep, she stumbles upon Eli (Belmont Cameli), a fellow insomniac. The two decide to embark on a nightly quest filled with all the things Auden missed out on growing up.

Having never read the book, I was curious about the movie from the moment I saw it on Netflix. I liked the idea of two people who are seemingly complete opposites coming together in the dead of the night to knock off items from a bucket list while falling in love in the process.

A big sell for me here was it’s cast. Although I wasn’t familiar with either Pasarow or Cameli, I thought they did a good job in their roles of Auden and Eli. They brought great chemistry to their characters’ relationship. Dermot Mulroney has always been easy on the eyes and it was a pleasant surprise to see Kate Bosworth in something again. I used to be a big fan of hers back in the early 2000s. With Andie MacDowell as Auden’s mother, it was pretty well rounded.

Another aspect I loved was the portrayal of female friendships. Auden becoming close with Maggie (Laura Kariuki), Leah (Genevieve Hannelius) and Esther (Samia Finnerty) was a joy to watch. We need more of this! I also loved the relationship between Auden, her mother and her stepmother. And how could I leave out the aesthetically pleasing pastel colored beach vibes?

Overall, Along For The Ride was a cute film that fans of the teenage romance genre will enjoy. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking and pretty predictable, but it serves as a great summer flick.

Rating: ♥♥.5

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is back in the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange. Following the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Strange is dealing with the repercussions of opening the multiverse. Leaning on Wong (Benedict Wong), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and newcomer America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), he soon realizes these alternate universes are stronger than anybody could have imagined.

My expectations going into the Multiverse of Madness were low. I wasn’t a fan of Strange’s origin movie and therefore wasn’t too sure how I’d feel this time around. But when I found out that Wanda had a large role, I had a feeling it would be well worth it for me.

This instalment of the MCU is different than the others. It felt darker, gorier and like the stakes were a million times higher. I really appreciated the direction in which Sam Raimi took the movie in. At times, I forgot I was watching Marvel as I was so engrossed with what was unfolding on the screen.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange was more charming than I remembered him to be. He further grew on me as the titular character this time around. Although her introduction was rushed, I liked the addition of America. Her chemistry with Strange and Wong was enjoyable to watch and I hope we see more of her in the future. It was also a pleasure to have more of Rachel McAdams as Christine. She’s always a joy to watch and I feel like we don’t see her enough. However, Wanda aka Scarlet Witch was the standout. Already captivated by her story in WandaVision, we saw her in a completely new light that was both terrifying and heartbreaking at the same time. Just give Elizabeth Olsen all the awards already.

I have to say that I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It allowed me to embark on a journey full of crazy twists and turns that, quite frankly, I never wanted it to end. I can only imagine where this phase will go next!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥