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Denise Jans

Knock at the Cabin (In movie theaters)

An M Night Shyamalan film based on the book “Knock at the end of the world” that stars Dave Bautista that some may recognize from his days in the WWE, or his time as a Marvel action hero in Guardians of the Galaxy.  It centers around a family (2 dads) and a daughter on vacation in a cabin.  They are visited by four strangers, who tell them that they must make a sacrifice or that the world will come to an end.  The sacrifice is that they basically would have to choose one of the three family members, and kill them, in order to save the world.  It’s a choice between saving the world or keeping their family intact.

Lots of religious undertones in the film. There’s some graphic violence, and lots of tense moments between the family and the four strangers.  There is not the usual surprise twist ending that Shyamalan normally incorporates into his films.  The movie is exactly what it looks like in the trailer.  But the ending feels like it didn’t pack the punch you expected that it would.   I’ll give the movie 2.5 of 5 stars, because even though there’s fine acting in the movie and lots of tension and violence, I came out of it feeling less than satisfied.

You People (Streaming on Netflix)

This movie explores interracial dating, and how it affects families.  It takes suspending your imagination to believe that Jonah Hill and Lauren London could get together and be a couple in real life, and their on screen chemistry leaves a bit to be desired, but the movie is not really about them.  What makes the movie is the interaction between Hill and Eddie Murphy who plays London’s father. Murphy takes the turn as a militant Muslim father that is not interested in seeing his daughter date a Jewish Man.  Julia Louis Dreyfus steals the show with her attempts to be an understanding and loving mother-in-law, but she stumbles and offends everyone along the way.  Lots of cross-cultural humor and some cringy moments when the families meet.  Overall despite the tough conversations being had that can be at times hard to watch, and the lack of chemistry between the main on screen couple, this movie is hilarious and well written.  Jonah Hill and Kenya Barris (Black-Ish) wrote the film together.  Four stars out of five for me.  Definitely a recommended watch.

Shotgun Wedding (Steaming on Amazon)

Jennifer Lopez has made a lane for herself keeping busy as an actress doing romantic comedies.  This movie is right in that lane but with a smattering of blood and gunfire.  Josh Duhamel has spent his career doing romantic comedies and action films so he was the perfect partner for this film for J Lo.  Duhamel and Lopez are away for a destination wedding in the South Pacific.  The groom is obsessed with making the wedding perfect, which goes against the wishes of the bride’s wishes for a simple and small wedding.  This causes tension in the relationship, but in the background pirates have shown up and taken the wedding guests hostage.  The doting but arguing couple have to figure out a way to save their families and thwart the plans of the pirates.  Lots of laughs, and gunfire ensued. Jennifer Coolidge, who plays the mother of Josh Duhamel, is a scene stealer.  We also get some laughs from J Lo’s father in the film played by Cheech Marin. Did I mention Lenny Kravitz is in the movie as Lopez’s ex who crashed the wedding?

I give this movie 4 stars out of five, it’s a ton of fun even if it’s completely unrealistic. I definitely recommend watching this on a chilly weekend this winter.

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