Re-Watch: Miss Congeniality (2000)

Miss Congeniality
Director: Donald Petrie
Writer: Marc Lawrence, Katie Ford, Caryn Lucas
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson, John DiResta, Steve Monroe, Heather Burns, Melissa De Sousa
Seen on: 19.1.2018
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Plot:
Gracie (Sandra Bullock) has always be a tomboy and feels more than comfortable in the guys’ club that is the FBI. But when there’s a threat that somebody wants to bomb the Miss USA pageant, her partner Eric (Benjamin Bratt) finds that Gracie really is the only FBI agent who could pull off going undercover as a contestant. She just needs a bit of refinement which shall be provided by old Miss USA coach Victor (Michael Caine). Gracie is not happy about it at all, but she’ll go through with it, causing a lot of confusion in the pageant with every step she takes.

When I saw the film the last time, probably around 10-15 years ago, I was still able to laugh about Miss Congeniality. But the film, unfortunately, didn’t age well.

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Coco (2017)

Coco
Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Writer: Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich
Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Edward James Olmos
Seen on: 9.12.2017
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Plot:
Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming a musician. But that career choice doesn’t go over well with his family who don’t like music. In fact, it’s banned in his family. But on Día de muertos when the borders between living and dead family blur, Miguel finds his chance to figure out where the music ban comes from in his family – and maybe get the blessing of a family member for his own career choices.

I heard a lot of good things about Coco before seeing it, so my expectations were quite high. But it turns out that I found Coco even better than I expected.

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Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange
Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Based on: the comic character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Cast: Benedict CumberbatchChiwetel EjioforRachel McAdamsBenedict WongMads MikkelsenTilda SwintonMichael StuhlbargBenjamin BrattScott Adkins, Stan Lee
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 8.11.2016

Plot:
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a great neurosurgeon, and he knows it. But after a car accident that leaves him severely injured, Strange loses control of his hands – a skill absolutely necessary for his delicate job. He tries everything he can to get back to his former abilities. He is so desperate that when he hears of Jonathan Pangborn’s (Benjamin Bratt) apparently miraculous recovery, he asks him for the secret to it. Pangborn tells him of an temple in Nepal where they know about magic. Strange makes his way there, hoping to regain what he lost – and more.

If you manage to disregard the blatant racism in the film and its casting (and I can understand if you can’t manage this), Doctor Strange is an entertaining film that offers a lot of fun.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Director: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn
Writer: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein, Erica Rivinoja
Based on: Judi Barrett‘s and Ron Barrett‘s characters
Sequel to: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal

Plot:
Flint (Bill Hader) and Sam (Anna Faris) have just gotten things under control with the FLDSMDFR, when The Live Corp, headed by Chester V (Will Forte) swoops in to take over the clean-up and to offer Flint a job. Since Chester V has been Flint’s idol since about forever, he accepts gladly. But it soon turns out that The Live Corp has nefarious plans for the FLDSMDFR and the foodimals it started producing.

I very much liked Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but this sequel was extremely disappointing. Aside from the (partly excellent) punning, there’s practically nothing to it.

cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2

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Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Despicable Me 2
Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Writer: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Sequel to: Despicable Me
Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Kristen Schaal

Plot:
Gru (Steve Carell), his girls and the minions are living the good (and honest) life. But when a new villain shows up, Gru is recruited by Lucy (Kristen Wiig), agent of the Anti-Villain-League. Together they start staking out the local mall, which not only prompts Gru’s girls to dream about a woman in his life, but also Gru himself.

I thought that I could maybe get more into Despicable Me 2 than I did into Despicable Me. Because it seems to have all the right ingredients for a movie that I would like. But somehow it ends up missing its mark with me. Or, to be more exact, it hits its mark and then it continues on and on until it’s so far past the mark it’s like it didn’t hit in the first place. (This might sound a little harsher than I mean it, but it’s still true.)

despicable-me-2

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Snitch (2013)

Snitch
Director:  Ric Roman Waugh
Writer: Justin Haythe, Ric Roman Waugh
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rafi GavronNadine Velazquez, Melina Kanakaredes, Benjamin Bratt, David Harbour, Harold Perrineau

Plot:
When Jason (Rafi Gavron) is arrested on drug charges that are not really called for, his father John (Dwayne Johnson) tries to bargain with the prosecution to get his sentence reduced. But the prosecution is quite unwilling to help. It’s only when John offers to basically go undercover for them and get some bigger fish arrested, that they agree to help. So John asks his employee and ex-con Daniel (Jon Bernthal) for an introduction into the drug world and soon finds himself a little in over his head.

Snitch isn’t a great movie. But it is quite ok and surprisingly full of social criticism.

snitch

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La mission [The Mission] (2009)

La mission
Director: Peter Bratt
Writer: Peter Bratt
Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Erika Alexander
Part of: identities Festival

Plot:
Che (Benjamin Bratt) has lived in Mission, a district of San Francisco, for all of his life and also raised his son Jesse (Jeremy Ray Valdez) there on his own, after Jesse’s mother died. Che is respected in the area and since he and Jesse bonded over building lowriders, they are very close. Until Che finds out that Jesse is gay and dating a white boy. Enraged and despite his neighbor Lena (Erika Alexander) trying to soothe things over, he kicks Jesse out after a beating. But Che loves Jesse too much to not at least try and find a solution, even though he can’t really accept him for what he is.

It’s been a couple of days that I finished my part of the identities Fesival. Out of the ten movies I saw in the regular program this year, nine were good (I haven’t reviewed all of them yet).  But somehow La mission is the one that I’ve been thinking about most since then. It’s an intense film, told from an unusual perspective. I loved it.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the movie adaptation of the book by the same name by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett. It was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and starring the voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris and Lauren Graham.

Plot:
Flint (Bill Hader) is an inventor. He’s brilliant but unfortunately his inventions have a tendency to go wrong. When he tries to make life better for the people living in his town (who are stuck eating sardines), he invents a machine that turns water into food. Unfortunately, the machine gets shot into the atmosphere and from then on, it rains food. But trouble only starts there.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is sweet and funny. Really funny. And it’s buzzing with creative ideas. But it could be that even though it tries to have something both for adults and kids, it falls more on the adult side of things. And I have to admit that aesthetically, I didn’t like it too much.

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