Review by Paris Jade
After becoming recently widowed, Brenda (Queen Latifah) takes her family on a road trip across the country to move in with her mother. While on the road in the New Mexico desert, they suddenly become targets of a well-known killer and must fight to survive. Led by Queen Latifah and Ludacris, End of the Road is an exciting new thriller coming to Netflix.
The acting in this film is not very top-tier. It's all carried by Latifah and Ludacris. Anytime they are on screen, they deliver pure entertainment. However, other actors just aren't all that entertaining and believable in their characters. If Latifah and Ludacris weren't cast, this honestly would not be as good of a film. I'd say the only other actor who has some star potential is Shaun Dixon, who plays Latifah's son Cam. His acting was great, and he can move on to bigger roles. Maybe the acting felt awkward at some portions due to the script itself. Some pieces of dialogue just felt off and unnatural and most likely affected the feel of the film.
The plot itself was actually very entertaining: it's a bit slow in the beginning as it sets up the reason why they are going on the trip, but once you get past that point, it is a very thrilling experience. If it weren't for the awkward bits of dialogue, I guarantee your eyes would be glued to the screen, wondering what's going to happen next. This thriller isn't much of a mystery, but it does have the vibe of "never let them know your next move," especially when it comes to the actions taken by Brenda. She is hands down the film's best character and shows off how badass a mother can be. She goes to great lengths to protect her family and stops at nothing to ensure they are safe from the killer. Ludacris plays a more comedic character until things become serious and the stakes of their lives at risk come into play. The film's ending is a great payoff and worth every second of the frustration you might feel during certain suspenseful scenes.
If you want to see a thriller about family and all means of protecting it, then End of the Road is the film for you. It's entertaining the whole way through, and you'll be on the edge of your seat. It's got comedy, suspense, family, and heart. All things that can make a film good. It's an average watch for the casual Netflix viewer, and it won't disappoint.
See End of the Road on Netflix, September 9.
Review by Paris Jade
Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown star in a new satirical comedy: Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. After they go through a huge scandal, Trinitie Childs (Hall) helps her husband, Lee-Curtis Childs (Brown), bring their once thriving church back to life. Director Adamma Ebo takes a documentary-style approach to the film, making the characters feel more like real people.
This movie was a bit weird in pacing, and it was honestly a little boring. Ebo based the film on a short she had created, and it should have stayed that way. I don't think you are supposed to attach yourself to these characters as they are all bad people. When it comes to satire, it's difficult to find a good middle ground where you make terrible characters yet still enjoy them and be entertained. However, here they are all just a bit too much. They are not very entertaining or funny — just sort of bland. You need to have a very particular sense of humor to find this film even remotely funny. A casual moviegoer might not understand it and take the plot seriously, and some scenes might even make you uncomfortable, especially when they involve Lee-Curtis Childs being on screen. Back to the pacing of the film, it felt very odd. Some things happened very fast, while other moments dragged on for way too long. The entire scene based on the short film is the most entertaining part, which again makes you think: should this have been made into feature length?
Even though the film isn't very enjoyable, the performances given by Hall and Brown can be praised. They absolutely deliver when it comes to their characters, and they did a spectacular job. The supporting cast also made themselves memorable, specifically Nicole Beharie and Conphidance. They were definitely the best part of the film and had the best bits of comedy. Their characters, the Sumpters, ran a church competing with the Childs. Anytime they were on camera, they made sure to advertise their brand new church while still putting up a supportive front for the Childs' church. Anytime I actually laughed, it was always something to do with them. I'd love to see this duo again in another film where they may have the starring roles.
If you're the type of person with a dark sort of satirical sense of humor, you might enjoy Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. The characters have a lot of cult-like behavior due to their religion which plays a big part in why the film is satirical and enjoyable to see. However, I feel bad for any hardcore Christians that decide to see this film blindly. They'll be in for quite a shock, which might be a bit more entertaining to witness than the film itself.
See Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul in theaters and on Peacock September 2.
Review by Paris Jade
Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg bring you Netflix’s latest comedy film: Me Time. Sonny (Kevin Hart) is a stay-at-home father whose life revolves around his children. After years of spending time with them, he finally gets time alone while his wife, Maya (Regina Hall), goes on a trip with their kids. He reconnects with his childhood friend Huck (Mark Wahlberg) for a crazy and unforgettable weekend birthday bash.
A comedy starring Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg just seems right. Nothing could go wrong with it, and nothing did. It was absolutely entertaining the whole way through. It was hilarious, and the antics continued to grow as the movie went along. The plot itself is very simple. It’s not hard to grasp at all. The setup felt like it took just a little too long, as a good portion of the movie felt like you were watching Sonny be a good father. However, the fun begins when Maya and the kids go on their trip. There are several jaw-dropping, hilarious moments in the film that you will never see coming, which make it all even better.
One specific actress absolutely stole the show in the mere 20 minutes that she was in. Ilia Isorelýs Paulino’s character Thelma was incredibly hilarious, and the actress herself stole my attention anytime she was in a scene. She had the best lines and reactions to Sonny and Huck. She deserves praise for her performance, and everyone should be on the lookout for this up-and-coming actress. An honest shame she isn’t in the film for longer. Other than that, the performances given by our main stars were great, as if anyone would ever doubt their deliveries. Hart and Wahlberg are talented at what they do, and I expect nothing less than greatness from them. They will have you laughing for several minutes of the movie.
Me Time is your classic, simple, semi-raunchy comedy. If you like these types of films, you’ll find yourself enjoying it. However, it’s not something for the family, so maybe don’t sit your kids down for movie night with this one. It’s not my first choice when choosing a good comedy movie, but if you are looking for something new and are a casual Netflix user, go ahead and watch this. I guarantee you’ll laugh a few times with Me Time.
Watch Me Time only on Netflix, out August 26.
Review by Paris Jade
Pool cleaner by day, vampire hunter by night — Jamie Foxx returns to the big screen in this action comedy, Day Shift. Bud (Foxx) has a week to come up with the money to pay for his daughter's braces and school tuition. The very start of the film immediately grabs your attention, beginning with an extended action sequence of Bud fighting a vampire. It's an intense fight scene with bits and pieces of humor that keeps you engaged.
As the story continues, you meet our antagonist and supporting cast. As Bud fights vampires and does his own busts, he's joined by Seth (Dave Franco), who has never been on the "field" and is terrified every minute. Franco truly steals the show and has excellent comedic timing. His chemistry with Foxx makes them a great duo, and their time together in the film is truly enjoyable. As for the other cast members, Snoop Dogg, as always, is a legendary person to watch on screen, and you can't help but love whatever character he plays in any film he is in. He brings his Snoop flair and makes the movie just a little bit better. A character you don't really see until the end of the film is Heather (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who steals a bit of the spotlight in any scene she is in. Even with the few scenes she had in the film, I can't wait to see what she does next. You can tell she'll be an up-and-coming actress to look for.
The main issue with this film is its main antagonist Audrey (Karla Souza). She seems to be your stereotypical Latina who, for some reason, says one random Spanish word in every sentence. She's almost like a low-budget Sofia Vergara without the accent. The editors also decided to put weird flashing subtitles anytime she spoke Spanish. If it was supposed to be comical or not, it just looks plain stupid, and they should have gone with something more normal-looking. The action sequences are the best part of this film, as the plot itself and the dialogue gradually get worse the further you get into the film. The ending ends just fine like any other action film can, with a good resolution for our main characters. The fight scenes are really what hold the movie together. Without them, this Day Shift would be quite bad, especially with how long it lasts. At least you can keep yourself entertained with that.
See Day Shift on Netflix on August 12.
Review by Paris Jade
What do you get when you match a man who has trouble keeping a girlfriend with a girl with multiple personalities? Starring Tyler Johnson and Bonnie Piesse, My Perfect Girlfriend answers that question with some of the most awkward acting you've ever seen.
The film starts with narration from Conrad's best friend Will, played by Keston John. This is where the awkwardness immediately begins. Will is barely in this movie, and for some reason, the creators decided to have him narrate the love story of Conrad and Molly even though he only gets one or two interactions with the couple. Bonnie Piesse does a great job of playing multiple characters and is a good actress; however, Tyler Johnson feels way too awkward when it comes to playing opposite Piesse. It sometimes seemed like it was just the character, but a lot of it felt way too forced and made Johnson seem like a bad actor, and you can't really feel the chemistry between the two leads.
Other than the awkward interactions, the actual story itself is a cute one. As unnecessary as Will's narration feels, it brings you right into the story and immediately grabs your attention, primarily because you're questioning why there is narration in the first place. It throws you off, but after that, you start to get into the actual story. It seems this film does an okay job at its representation of people with dissociative identity disorder. They use the correct terminology and treat it normally in the movie instead of treating it like it's a terrible thing, and any person with it can be a killer like many Hollywood tries to depict. Showing how the real disorder could be and how Conrad deals with his partner having it was well executed, and hopefully, people with DID can appreciate it.
My Perfect Girlfriend isn't for everyone, but I believe the casual moviegoer could enjoy it if they like a simple romance with a bit of a twist. If it weren't for the lack of chemistry between the actors, you could genuinely see this as a real couple. They go through real issues and feel like real people, and at times you do feel like you could be watching an actual couple's journey through their relationship. They both go through mental struggles and learn to find their way around them. It's a cute film and will probably make you smile, but it's not a must-see. If you have the time and feel like seeing a nice romance, give it a gander.
My Perfect Girlfriend is now in theaters and hits VOD on August 9.
Review by Paris Jade
The HBO Max hit TV show Harley Quinn is back with a new season. Last we left off, Harley and Ivy were runaway brides, in love and ready to take on all of Gotham. This third season takes place two weeks after the events of the season two finale as the couple is on their honeymoon.
The best way to describe Harley Quinn as a whole is a big sapphic fanfiction. Sometimes that backfires, but when it comes to a show like this, it is pure entertainment. Each season seems to get gorier, more intense, and more erotic. This season is not for the faint of heart. If you could barely handle the other two seasons for their gory erotic scenes, be warned that it just worsens as the show continues.
For the show being named Harley Quinn, this season was not very focused on our famous anti-hero. There were a lot of different plots going on at one time, and many of them felt unnecessary, especially since the first two seasons didn't feel that way. This season had more to do with its supporting characters and their arcs as Harley focuses on her relationship with Ivy and tries to keep her girlfriend happy. No more vengeance against the Legion of Doom or Joker. Harley's plans from the start of the show were basically complete by the end of season two, so here she is just along for the ride and figuring out what she wants to do next.
This season felt a lot more like filler than actual story until you get to the last three episodes, which is where it really picks up. Episode 8 was the best episode by far. Before episode 8, you only get small things in each episode that build up to the bigger scheme of things for the end of the season, which is why it feels so much like filler. The great thing about these B-plot stories was getting to know the Bat Family more. You get a lot of them this season, along with getting to know Catwoman. One of this show's best features is its humor, and they do not lower the amount of comedy in this season. It's constantly funny, and you'll laugh almost every few minutes, especially with anything that has to do with the Joker's B-plots.
If you're in the mood for action, sex, and antics, watch season three of Harley Quinn on HBO Max July 28. All ten episodes reviewed.
Review by Paris Jade
The horror queen, Jenna Ortega, is back with another film in this scary comedy: American Carnage. After a new governor issues an executive order to capture and arrest all the children of undocumented immigrants, they are given a chance to have their charges dropped if they attend a program taking care of the elderly.
The budget for this film is very apparent. You can tell that it’s low due to the poor visual effects and simple settings. There is one scene in particular in which there is a turn in the plot involving an elderly person and Allen Maldonado’s character. Suddenly you know where their entire budget went. Besides the special effects, the set dressing and cinematography all look great, and they did a good job with however much they were working with.
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. gave an exceptional performance along with his costars Jenna Ortega and Allen Maldonado. Lendeborg was great as a lead and will keep you engaged in the story. However, Maldonado carried the movie with his comedic timing. His character will be an audience favorite and the most memorable. Ortega, for once, had a less memorable role, but like always, she played it to bits and continues to be a perfect actress, whether leading or supporting. She’ll keep climbing the ladder to success.
As for the plot itself, it honestly is a bit of a crazy movie. Try your best to go into the film as blind as you can — it makes the experience much better without knowing much. The horror elements don’t begin to reveal themselves until about 25 to 30 minutes in. The first time it happens, it feels a bit random since those first 30 minutes don’t have a horror-esque feel to the point that you’ll forget that it’s even horror. Once you do hit that first point of eerie events, it slowly goes down further into a pit of horror, and you don’t feel thrown off by it anymore. Besides that little blip, it is a thoroughly entertaining film filled with thrill, comedy, and excitement. There won’t be a moment where you’re bored, searching for how much time you might have left on the movie.
American Carnage is a simple horror-comedy that anyone could enjoy. This is a great film to see in the summer, and the casual horror fan or movie-goer will have a good time watching it. The cast is great, and even with a lower budget, the team pulled it off.
Watch American Carnage in theaters and on VOD on July 15.
Review by Paris Jade
After the triumphant success of the To All The Boys I've Loved Before trilogy, Lana Condor works with Netflix again to bring you the limited series Boo, Bitch. Lana Condor's character, Erika, discovers she is now a ghost after a terrible accident involving a moose. She and her best friend, Gia (Zoe Margaret Colletti), must complete her unfinished business for her to move on.
This comedy is not the worst of its kind. It had a unique plot with some interesting twists and turns, and it also comes with a great cast. However, some of the writing just seemed to be trying a little too hard. There were times when Erika and Gia would say entire sentences in abbreviations, which felt utterly absurd. You can tell this show was most likely created by millennials who think they know exactly how Gen Z acts and talks when indeed they don't. It's another show where they try so hard to appeal to their audience with lingo and comedy and sort of lose touch with the actual story. The setup is great and executed well, but once we get to the middle of the story, you start to feel a bit sour towards our main character, which makes you not want to finish the show. Another thing is that it's a very predictable show. Just from that first episode, you'll immediately know how it ends, and nothing will come as a shock.
Regarding the cinematography of the show, multiple scenes looked very pretty. In particular, there is one that involves a garden with fairy lights. It made the whole scene look a bit more magical and felt similar to scenes in big-time romantic films. The costume design, however, was not its finest, and again felt like they were trying a little too hard to appeal to their target audience without doing enough research. It seems that they probably scrolled around on TikTok for a few hours and assumed they understood what Gen Z is all about. A few looks felt very now, but then others seemed like the characters were taken back to the 1990s. If it weren't for the extreme use of phones, technology, and talks of social media, you would definitely have to question what year the show took place.
Boo, Bitch is an acquired taste and a show that could be someone's guilty pleasure watch. It's good to see once, but when you finish it, you're done and will never think about it again.
Watch Boo, Bitch on Netflix July 8. All eight episodes reviewed.
Review by Paris Jade
A Western murder mystery set in the late 1800s is a captivating tale if done right. Murder at Yellowstone City has great tones of mystery that set itself up perfectly for its plot. A local prospector strikes gold and is found murdered after a mysterious man enters the town. The sheriff arrests the man, but certain townsfolk think he may be innocent; it’s up to them to find the evidence.
This film is decently entertaining if you love a simple murder mystery. Certain key plot moments might feel a bit obvious, and the plot twists are definitely predictable, but it doesn’t make it a terrible movie. The characters are compelling enough to keep you entertained. You want to root for them and hope for the best, but you don’t need anymore or want more from them. Sometimes when you really like a character, you want more of them, but here, it’s all just enough. There are some characters that you could have less of or are just a bit boring but important to drive the plot further. Specifically, one little girl just runs around most scenes carrying a gun like she runs the world.
Cinematically, the best scenes are the shoot-out and murder scenes. Every scene is choreographed well and is seamlessly transferred onto the screen. The action sequences are really the only reason to watch this film. Everything else is just average. It’s all very simple. There is nothing that screams special about this movie. It follows simple rules and themes, and the filmmakers tried to go for a regular old “don’t judge a book by its cover” message. As quick as the movie is and as entertaining as those action sequences can be, it is a bit boring that there’s nothing more.
For the film being two hours long, it goes by very quickly. No scene is unimportant, and everything fits together perfectly. Murder at Yellowstone City has all of the simple elements that make a murder mystery. The only thing that differentiates this film from the others is that it’s set and made like a Western movie, which still doesn’t make it that different from others. If you are a person who, for some reason, has to watch every murder mystery movie ever made, go ahead and knock this one out. If you are just a casual movie watcher and want something good and entertaining, maybe skip out on watching this one — it’s not really worth it.
See Murder at Yellowstone City in theaters and on VOD June 24.
Review by Paris Jade
Lost Illusions, set in 1821, follows Lucien de Rubempré, a lower-class poet, as he decides to embark on a journey to achieve his dreams in Paris. In doing so, he finds the darker sides of the art business and tries his best not to stray away from his true goals.
This film does a great job of introducing you to the characters as quickly as possible and going straight into the actual plot. You aren't stuck watching meaningless exchanges and such — Lucien actually leaves for Paris after the first 10 minutes or so into the movie. They give you a quick setup, and you're in. Along with this, you still get to know the main character well enough to find a liking for him. You can tell he's serious about his goals, and you start rooting for him... until he gets to Paris. Once things take a turn in the film, there are a few scenes that are just honestly quite boring. You don't seem to care for any of what's happening. Skipping to the end and seeing if he makes it or not is better than spending your time actually watching it. It's too long of a movie.
The actors did a fine job with the script they were presented with. You can definitely sit down and watch it and enjoy yourself at certain points of the plot, but some scenes are one big snoozefest. It's not something you'd recommend to a friend unless they are very into that century, Paris, and literature. The casual moviegoer might not find this incredibly appealing or entertaining whatsoever. But if you are someone who does enjoy those types of things, then, by all means, watch the film — you will enjoy it. There's a great deal of drama and romance and all types of "behind the scenes" work in printing articles in 1821. It's also set in Paris, which gives the perfect and beautiful scenery to have magnificent shots. There are wonderfully directed shots of 1800s Paris. As you see everything through Lucien's eyes, the second he gets to Paris feels like a dream, but then it slowly turns sour as he finds more things out. It definitely draws in a certain type of crowd.
There's nothing better than watching a film of someone chasing their dreams. However, the type of dream they chase is what crowd you will bring in. Lost Illusions does a good job of portraying Paris in the 1800s and showing you its darker and more corrupt sides. The only thing is, would you be the type of person to watch that? It's a good film just for certain people.
You can watch Lost Illusions in select theaters now.