Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD doesn’t come out till next Friday, August 18th, but I got to see it yesterday and I have to say that it was a nice, funny and fun, pleasant, late summer surprise. Earlier in Ryan Reynold’s career he was mostly hit and miss. Waiting, The Proposal, Safe House, Van Wilder, and Smokin’ Aces being his hits, and then everything else plus Green Lantern being huge misses. After Deadpool, I have a feeling he is being a little careful about picking his projects. Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Life but he was good for the little time he was in it. And now there is this film, which is like Smokin’ Aces mixed with Midnight Run mixed with about any buddy cop movie you have ever seen. And it works. It’s heavy on violence and language, but it is also light and very funny. August is sometimes considered a dumping ground for end of Summer movies, but sometimes we get a nice little treat snuck in there, and this is it.

The joke with Samuel L. Jackson being in every movie ever made is almost no longer a joke. How many movies has he been in this year alone? But you have to praise a movie that has Samuel L. Jackson say “motherfucker” more than any other movie he has ever been in combined. Make no mistake, the film uses its R rating to its advantage, throwing most of the punches except for nudity (which the film did not need). Obviously, the plot is simple to make way for the laughs. Samuel L. Jackson is a hit man that has some very damning evidence again a former Russian country president that is currently on trial for his wicked ways. So far all of the witnesses for this trial have been killed or discredited. They make a deal with Samuel L. Jackson that if he testifies they will free his wife, played by Salma Hayek (who steals every scene she’s in here). All Interpol has to do is get Jackson to the trial…with a bunch of bad guys/assassins/what have you in between them to stop them at any costs. Enter Ryan Reynolds as a former elite bodyguard trying to comeback from disgrace for a botched protection job a few years earlier…and hilarity, non stop action, and “motherfuckers” ensue.

This film is almost two hours, and some probably could’ve been shaved off, but I liked that the film took its time. We get to know the characters throughout the whole movie and they aren’t one dimensional and are well rounded. The way Ryan Reynolds enters the picture to protect Jackson is hilarious while still being a bit cliched obvious. But like I’ve said in some past reviews, sometimes it isn’t about the plot or destination. It is about the journey. And it is one hell of a journey. The director of this has certainly come back into my good graces, having previously directed the abysmal Expendables 3, with good hard hitting action, good direction, and earned laughs. Now while some of the action effects are a bit shaky, particularly towards the end, all is forgiven as it doesn’t lose the fun at the same time.

I could watch Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds argue in a room for two hours. Without them, the movie wouldn’t have been near that good. Selma Hayek hasn’t been this funny since Dogma. And for some reason Gary Oldman is in this (paycheck) but even with a limited amount to do (he is locked up the entire time) he still brings his A game. If you are looking for a complicated plot with this film, don’t, as you’ll be highly disappointed. It is very simple and very cliched. It has almost every action cliche in the book and uses the age old foreshadowing with dialogue and what not. But it doesn’t lose any fun. If you are looking for a “buddy cop hitman assassin bodyguard action packed road trip movie” to bask in at the end of summer, you can do no wrong going to see this.

Just Kylie by Monique Gooch

Just Kylie
by Monique Gooch
Genre: YA
Release Date: March 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

Kylie Bransford was all girl. She loved her long black hair that touched her lower back, and refused to cut it no matter how much her mother pleaded. She wore pink sneakers on the field when she cheered, her room was surrounded by mermaids, and her walls were decorated in pink and purple shades. She was “all” girl. Kylie loved to be on the go and in the know. The only thing that made not only her world, but her heart stop was Myles Russin. Myles was one of the cutest boys in the 8th grade. The night she invited him over to watch television was the night she knew for sure she’d receive her first kiss. Her tongue trailed the braces that shielded her teeth as Myles leaned forward with his eyes closed. With much disdain she pushed him away. Kylie had to come clean and reveal her secret. Kylie Bransford was biological born a boy, but lived as a girl. She just hoped Myles could see past her situation and like her for who she was and not what was in between her legs. 


Buy on Amazon
 
Chapter 1 Excerpt
Kylie
“Just so you
know, your friends are watching us,” Myles said with a meek smile, nodding
toward the gaggle of girls behind her. Kylie glanced over her
shoulder at her friends who were giggling. Kylie sank her teeth into
her bottom lip, but closed her mouth quickly, embarrassed by her pink and
silver braces. She couldn’t wait to get those things off, but that would be
another two years. Kylie raked manicured shaky fingers through her
thick raven locks that hung down her back.
She couldn’t believe
it. Myles was actually talking to her. Myles Russin, the cutest boy in the 8th grade. Was
this what flirting felt like
? Her palms began to sweat.
Kylie beamed,
practically melting into her locker. “No, they’re just being…goofy.
They uh…they think you’re like, really hot.”
Myles turned ten
shades of red and smiled a face-splitting grin. She grinned to herself. He
couldn’t hide his excitement if he wanted to. “Th-they do?” He glanced at her
friends again. They continued to snicker. “Wh-what do you think?”
Me? Well, I
think you’re…” Play it cool girl, play it cool. “Okay.”
“Just okay?”
Myles chortled.
Kylie suppressed
her laugh and glanced down at her pink high top Sketchers. She stole a quick
peek at him, and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, revealing her
mermaid stud earrings. Myles was one of the tallest boys in the 8th grade, much
taller than she was. His voice was starting to deepen, just like Mrs.
Vance taught them in sex-ed class last quarter. Kylie thought he
looked like a model or better yet, a movie star. The bell rang snatching her
from her trance. She realized she’d been gazing into his hazel eyes. Awkward.
“Um, maybe we can hang
out one day.” He cleared his throat as his voice squeaked slightly.
Kylie’s pulse
quickened. “Really?”
“Yeah really,” he
playfully nudged her shoulder. “I think you’re cool. We should hang out.”
“Okay um, well you
could always come to my house to watch TV or something. My mom won’t mind.”
    “Cool,” he responded
looking down at his feet. The blush in his cheeks gave him away. “Wh-what about
this afternoon?”
She immediately pulled
out her smartphone. The second bell rang, indicating they had two minutes to be
in their seats. “Er—let me text my mom.” She began typing furiously.
“Okay, just let
me know.” As he began his journey to class, her phone buzzed. The returning
text from her mother said, Absolutely not! I will not be home
until 6 o’clock. No boys unless I’m there.
She looked up from her
phone and stopped him, “Myles.”
“Yeah?” He turned. His
sneakers squeaked against the tile floor.
“My—my mom just texted
back.” Kylie stuttered.
“Is it cool?” He
looked hopeful and clutched his backpack tighter.
Kylie glanced at
her phone again. The words on the screen stared back at her, “Absolutely! It’s
totally cool.” She fired off her address and time to meet at her house.

***

 

About the Author
Monique grew up in the Bluegrass state and currently resides in Music City. She is the author of New Adult and Adult Commercial Fiction. Monique also hosts her own writer’s critique group in Hermitage, TN. She also offers editing services and serves as a beta reader and critique partner to other aspiring writing and established authors. She recently edited her first screenplay, “Sunset Unseen” written by Reynard Martin. “Sunset Unseen” went on to win an award at the Atlanta FIlm Festival. To learn more about Monique Gooch, please follow her on social media.
 
Author Links:

An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale

An Unstill Life
by Kate Larkindale
Genre: YA Contemporary (LGBT)
Release Date: July 12th 2017
Evernight Teen


Summary:



When your whole world is falling apart, what are the chances you’ll find love in the most unexpected of places?
 
Livvie feels like she’s losing everything: her two best friends have abandoned her for their boyfriends, her mother continues to ignore her, while her sister, Jules, is sick again and getting worse by the day. Add in the request Jules has made of her and Livvie feels like she’s losing her mind, too.
 
Her only escape is in the art room, where she discovers not only a refuge from her life, but also a kindred soul in Bianca, the school “freak”. Livvie’s always felt invisible, at school and at home, but with Bianca, she finally feels like someone sees the real Livvie. As the relationship deepens and it comes time to take the romance public, will Livvie be able to take that step?
 
Livvie’s about to find out if she has what it takes to make the tough decisions and stand up for herself—for the first time in her life. 
 
Available NOW!
 
Excerpt:
I
lolled against Bianca, aware of her distinctive raspberry scent enveloping me.
My laughter caught in my throat, and I had trouble breathing through it. I
looked up at her, watching the way the streetlights played across her features.
With her head thrown back, her throat was long and white, and I was overcome
with a sudden desire to touch it.
I
didn’t say a word, but she seemed to hear my thoughts. Her laughter quieted,
and she turned to look at me, her eyes glittering in the sodium glow. For a
long time we stood there, eyes locked, the warm breeze wafting across our skin.
Bianca
bent her head, and her lips settled upon mine. They were warm and soft,
slippery with lipstick. I shivered and pressed my own lips hungrily against
hers. Her mouth opened a little, and I followed, admitting her inquisitive
tongue. It tickled mine, darting in and out, waltzing across my taste buds. The
flavor of wine, exotic and sour at the same time, flooded my mouth.
My
heart beat a rapid tattoo through my chest. This was wrong. I should not be
doing this. But I remained mesmerized, nerves I’d never noticed before singing
songs of ecstasy along my spine. Kissing Jesse had been nothing like this.
She
pulled away, slowly, as if surfacing from a dive. She licked her lips, smiling
in satisfaction. Her lipstick, smeared now, blurred her mouth into something
unrecognizable. I ran my tongue across my lips and tasted her there, spikes of
electricity igniting in my belly. This was better than I could have imagined.
“Wow…”
she breathed. “You’re good.”
“Am
I?” I reached for her again, wanting nothing but her mouth on mine once more.
“Yeah,
you are.” She pushed me against the wall, and I lost myself in her kisses.
Time
held no meaning. It could have been seconds or forever before I drew back.
Nothing so good could be wrong, yet my stomach writhed with guilt. “I…I should
get home.” My voice was unsteady.
Bianca
glanced up at the star-speckled sky and nodded. “Yeah. Me too.”

It
felt completely natural when, as we walked toward the bus stop two blocks away,
she slipped her hand into mine.

 

About The Author
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand.  A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much.  As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.
Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musketand Residential Aliens, among others.
She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see.  She has also written one very bad historical romance which will likely never see the light of day. She is currently ghostwriting an autobiography while waiting to see which of her many YA novel ideas gels to the point it might become a new book.


Author Links:
  


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Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE DARK TOWER

**warning no spoilers will be given, but I have read all 8 books**

Let’s pretend this book adaptation is a fictional cake replica making contest. In front of Sony executives is two tables, one already has a beautiful, majestic, gorgeous, 8 tiered tower Dark Black Wedding Cake . The other table is empty but next to it is a kitchen filled with every single ingredient you need to try and replicate that cake to the best of your abilities. You have about a decade to replicate this cake. And go! Instead of even going into the kitchen, the Sony executives walk up to the empty table, take their dicks out, and flop them menacingly on the table, and shout, “Here is your cake assholes!” That, ladies and gentlemen, is THE DARK TOWER film adaptation.

I have read all 8 Stephen King novels that have The Dark Tower in the title or relates directly to it. I have read every single Stephen King novel in existence, all the ones that indirectly reference The Dark Tower in some way. So you may say there was no way to please me, especially since I know every nook and cranny of Stephen King’s fictional universe. That isn’t necessarily true. There are plenty of books that are very nice companions with their movies: Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings, Angels & Demons to name a few. Even the worst adaptations, like Percy Jackson, every single Twilight film, etc. have some light in the shitty mess of a darkness that plagues my mind to no end. With The Dark Tower film, there isn’t even a shred of light, it is completely devoid of soul.

And I even had half my mind set away to view the movie as a film lover who had never read any of the novels, let alone a Stephen King book, and even then I thought the film had no soul. The film is a 95 minute circle jerk where too many powers at be were arguing on what the adaptation should contain and should not contain. Should we cater to an audience who has never read any of the books or should this book be fan service? Even though I think The Dark Tower series is unfilmable and should just be a movie in a constant readers mind, I do feel that there was a way to do both. Nope, all that is tossed completely out the window for a new story that completely strips away most elements of the novels and takes only a handful of service thing to speak to a general audience in general terms.

Thinking like everyone else, this should’ve been a HBO or Showtime series, doing each book in a 8 to 10 episode arc, for seven to eight seasons, and then walk away. You can’t do The Dark Tower in 95 minutes. It is impossible. Even as a movie for a general audience, the film is soulless and rushed. There is no character development, no time to develop relationships. The journey is too compact, with no time to breathe. They say that this new film is supposed to be a sequel to the books (don’t worry, I don’t reveal much here just speak in briskly in code), with Roland possessing the Horn of Eld at the beginning of the film. Okay, that’s fine…WHERE IS THE FUCKING HORN? Oh, is that a horn on Roland’s backpack? Okay…thanks for barely showing it to us…

The only thing that is good about the film is the casting. Idris Elba (even though Roland is supposed to be white in the books, because his race is a plot point in later novels with a character that was not introduced here, but like Johnny Storm in rebooted Fantastic Four, I could honestly care less) is a good (could’ve been great if they dialogue was not shitty) Roland, Matthew McConahalright alright alright was a pretty good Men In Black (would’ve been great with a better screenplay) and the kid that plays Jake Chambers was good as well.  They aren’t even much of characters though, because like I said, the compacted 95 minutes lets no time for the movie to find any kind of footing. The acting is the best thing about the film, everything else is complete and utter garbage.

The film feels like a cheap Sci-Fi Channel made for television movie. The effects suck, the production design sucks, the direction and action sucks, just a big bowl of What The Fuck soup. I could nitpick the differences between series and film adaptations all day (such as the portal doors being too futuristic and not just a cool little wooden door in the middle of nowhere) but I’m not going to do that here because my review would be novel size long. But there is one thing that I want to talk about, because it effects my dislike for the film the most. The fact that they take the center of attention of the story away from Roland and put it on Jake Chambers. The Dark Tower is and was always supposed to be Roland’s story with supporting characters helping him along the way. Taking it away from him (Idris doesn’t even show up until 15 minutes into the film) is a crime beyond all imagination. They could’ve still told their new awful story with Jake still being a side character, but nope, general audience are likely to connect with a kid and not Roland (not true if you’ve read the books.)

Why am I still writing? What I really should be doing is starting to re read all 8 novels and form my own perfect movie in my mind and forget this abomination ever exists. I pray that Stephen King’s IT adaptation is better (the R rating and 2 hr 15 minutes runtime helps, and the fact that it is only part 1 of 2; Dark Tower is a shitty PG-13) but now I’m going to enter IT being cautiously optimistic after this apocalypse. This is literally a shit cake, with barely some sprinkles of fan service on top, where the sprinkles ultimately get sucked into the shit frosting, never to be seen again. The Dark Tower is one of the worst films of the year and the worst adaptation of Stephen King’s work, even Maximum Overdrive. Good riddance.

Just escape the cubicle already

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