Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Double Feature - Two Movie Reviews - Sun., July 19, 2015

Does anyone remember when movies used to be double features - two movies with an intermission in between them? When we were kids, it seemed most movies were double features; movies like "The Crawling Eye" and "It Came from Outer Space." We could spend a whole afternoon being scared out of our wits and we loved it.

Well, on this hot Texas day, Bob and I decided a cool movie theater would be the best place to hang out. So we went to see two movies, taking an hour between them to have dinner at Firehouse Subs.

Trainwreck with Amy Schumer, Bill Haden, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James:

Whoa! People are either going to love or hate this movie. It's about a trainwreck of a young woman writer whose dad taught her early on that monogamy doesn't work, then left the family.

The movie fast forwards many years. She lives her life single, drinking heavily, and then hooking up in one-night-stands with guys, never feeling any depth or closeness to them.

She looks with disdain on her younger sister who is married and having children. You can tell both girls have issues.

At work, Amy (Amy Schumer) writes articles for a men's magazine, S'nuff. She would love nothing better than to be promoted to editor. Dianna (Tilda Swinton--I didn't even recognize her!), her boss, tempts and teases by dangling the editorship in front of her while giving her an article she is loathe to write: the inside story on a doctor famous for working with A-list athletes (LeBron James included) and volunteering for Doctors without Borders. Amy absolutely hates sports, thinks people who watch sports are unintelligent idiots.

The most predictable part of this movie is that she falls for Aaron, the sports doctor. But in a role reversal of sorts (usually the man is the commitment-phobe), Amy has a hard time believing this man could really love her. Any time he tries to be romantic/sweet/adorable, she puts up walls as high as the Empire State Building.

LeBron James is exceptionally good. He plays Aaron's friend and confidante, giving Aaron advice on how to deal with Amy. Every scene with LeBron is awesome.

All that being said, Bob and I really enjoyed this movie. It's hilarious, witty, irreverent, and has some hot sex scenes (no children to this movie!). After the movie Bob asked me what I liked best about this movie. I told him I like how heartfelt it is. There is a depth to the main characters, how they discover who they really are, and how their lives must change. It's not easy and there are issues with self-sabotage and self-doubt.

Look for cameos by Daniel Radcliffe, Marissa Tomei, and Mathew Broderick, along with many others.

High props to Amy Schumer for writing an interesting story. I give it four-and-a-half stars. I want to see it again to see what I missed.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Max starring Josh Wiggins (looking and acting like a young Matt Damon), Thomas Haden Church, Lauren Graham, Dejon LaQuake (as Chuy) and Mia Xitlali (as Carmen): I have a confession to make. This is my second time seeing this movie but I never got around to writing about it the first time. Shame on me...this movie is worth five stars!

Max is a Belgian Malinois war dog. Kyle Wincott (Robbie Amell) is the soldier who trained Max as a war dog from the time he was a four-month-old puppy. A strong bond is formed between handler and dog.

The movie starts tensely in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, where a group of soldiers is advancing on a town. Max is in the lead making sure there are no ambushes around the corner. The goal of the mission is to find Soviet weapons which the Army believes are hidden in this particular town. Max is trained to sniff out munitions.

Once inside the town walls, Kyle sends Max on a search for weapons. Soon Max is pawing at the carpeted floor in someone's living room. A cache of weapons is located hidden underground. The weapons are confiscated.

We learn from a military inquiry that someone is stealing weapons from confiscated caches. Kyle knows who it is, and says so to that person's face. It's his best friend, Tyler.

Next, Kyle Skype's his family and talks to his mom and dad. He tries to talk to his younger brother, Justin, but obviously his younger brother wants nothing to do with Kyle. Justin continues playing his war games on the computer.

Later in Afghanistan, during an advance on a known enemy position in the mountains, Max is sent ahead, again to look for ambushers. Max stops, meaning he wants the soldiers to stop advancing. Kyle's friend, the one who is stealing the confiscated weapons, insists they are under orders to move forward. Kyle gives Max the sign to go ahead.

At this point, an ambusher sets off a bomb that hurls rocks toward Max. Kyle runs to save Max while Klye's "friend," Tyler, runs and hides behind rocks. When the dust settles we see Kyle sprawled on the ground, dead. Max is freaking out. Tyler runs up and Max goes nuts, snarling and snapping at Tyler. Tyler pulls out a gun meaning to kill Max, but the other soldiers stop him. Thank goodness!

Back stateside at the funeral, the soldiers bring Max to pay his last respects. Max cries by the coffin, then lies down on the floor. When the soldiers try to take Max out, he fights them until he sees Justin. Max calms down. The family volunteers to keep Max because "the family cares for its own." That decision is fraught with challenges as even war dogs can develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The young actress, Mia Xitlali, who plays cousin to Kyle's friend, Chuy, is fantastic in her role. We'll be seeing lots more from her! She teaches Kyle how to care for and train his dog, plus becomes his love interest.

The rest of the movie is about friendship, trust, thievery, loyalty, illegal weapon sales, and involves Justin's "friend" Tyler, who is a family friend. There are moments of edge-of-your-seat action, suspense, and some great mountain-bike-riding chase scenes.

For sure see it once, but if you're like me you'll probably want to see it again! As I said above: five stars!


  1. Thanks for the reviews, we will put these on our list!

  2. We are watching a lot of movies in the heat of the valley of the sun, appreciate the reviews.


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