My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Review

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By: Liam McGurl  @Liiiammm1996


If you ask Gus Portokalos, Windex can fix anything.  Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than Windex to fix My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

The sequel to the 2002 box office hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding stormed U.S. theaters on March 25, ringing in a smorgasbord of long-time Greek Wedding fans and newcomers to the Joel Zwick classic.

As expected, the Kirk Jones follow-up continued the larger-than-life Portokalo family’s story, resurrecting some of the first installment’s signature jokes—and deteriorating cast acting abilities.

Unfortunately, Greek Wedding 2‘s “comedy Bundt cake” tasted bland, juxtaposed to the original film, because of its commonplace, reunion movie set-up.

Not surprisingly, the film’s characters haven’t changed much coming into Greek Wedding 2: Toula’s still awkward (and regretfully working at Dancing Zorba’s), just as Ian’s suaveness hasn’t died down; Maria still runs the house—even if Gus doesn’t think so—and Aunt Voula is as sex-charged as ever. And there’s no shortage of prideful Greek history lessons on Gus’ behalf, too. In reality, there aren’t any jaw-droppers in the character’s 14-year progressions—with the exception of Angelo’s coming out.

The biggest, and possibly only, bombshell of the film was the elderly side of its dual, romance plot.

Greek Wedding 2 mainly focuses on Toula’s daughter, Paris, who’s landed herself in a similar situation to that of her pushover mother—grappling with her Greek identity and fighting against Gus’ persistence in helping her find a “nice, Greek boyfriend.”  Paris, an introverted high school senior, is beginning the college application process, trying to dream big while her family dreams of keeping her close to home.  Regardless, Paris’ prospect is New York University and she’s determined to push past her unavoidable familial embarrassment—which, as we saw in the first installment, turns into an appreciation for her Greek heritage.

On the other hand, though, a good chunk of the plot is focused on Gus and Maria’s relationship, troubled by differing opinions regarding the failed signing of their invalid, multi-decade-old marriage license. In typical Gus fashion, the family patriarch passes off their lacking marital status, but Maria demands that she gets a proper, Greek wedding experience. Needless to say, Maria—the “neck” to Gus’ “head”—gets her way.

Even if the elderly couple’s marriage was just a ploy to live out the film’s name, it was still the film creators’ most successful move; the couple’s marriage allowed for the introduction of Gus’ long-lost brother—no less hot-headed than he—and some familial wedding drama.  As her parents make their way to the altar, and the post-vow Baklava, Toula finally puts her own happiness first—adding some Voula-esque sex drive into her growingly monotonous relationship.

From the family’s elders’ attempts to understand modern technology—a sure headache on Toula’s part—to the recycling of Greek Wedding’s most-quoted-jokes, Greek Wedding 2 served an agreeable blend of modern nuances among traditional humor.  Even if it’s not a deservedly acclaimed addition to the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time, Greek Wedding 2 was a “good enough” follow-up, deserving of a muted “Opa!”

The Big Short shines through honest filmaking

By Josh Svetz  @Svetz17

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People will do anything to believe a movie is great—just ask any Star Wars fan after the release of The Phantom Menace. They say they like the action, it made them laugh and it had a heartwarming story. But, greatness in film comes down to one outcome: did it move you? At the film’s conclusion, did you sit in your chair just five seconds longer taking it all in? This feeling does not come after every film you see, however, when it happens, there’s nothing comparable; The Big Short accomplices this feat.

Director Adam McKay, the same man who brought us Anchorman, Step Brothers and many other Will Ferrell movies, decided to take on a serious matter, the housing crisis of 2007. To this day, people remain baffled by the event, but The Big Short clears up the ambiguity.

Every actor does a fantastic job including Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) who makes a comeback after being out of the limelight for a few years. Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell all live up to expectations and give performances worthy of Oscar buzz, especially Carell.

The film begins in a Wolf of Wall Street fashion showing four characters, loosely connected to each other through the idea of betting against the supposedly “rock-solid” housing market, deal with the naysayers and realize the gold mine they have stumbled upon; however, that alone does not make the movie great. In one word, The Big Short’s greatest strength comes from honesty.

Honesty shines through whether through certain scenes where a character breaks the fourth-wall and tells you the real story behind the scene, or from the characters slowly realizing what their profit means for Americans who were clueless to the corruption of these banks.

Many times in films based on true stories, events seem exaggerated, or filmmakers take liberty with their source material. It’s likely that still occurs in this film, but it feels more genuine, as if McKay only took liberties when absolutely necessary. In fact, the fourth-wall breaking and the overall style of shots used in the film gives it a documentary touch.

The film also finds a way to breakdown the complicated mess of the housing crisis, and why the economy failed, in an entertaining and easy to understand way while maintaining realism and showing the pain and impact of the crisis.

In the end, The Big Short shows a global audience how the economy failed. It gives information to the masses and for that alone it’s a must-see. Add in great performances by A-list actors coupled with smart and witty dialogue that keeps you invested, and you get a legitimate candidate for best picture.

It gives the audience all the information possible, but instead of pandering and telling people how they can stop the corruption, it stays honest and realistic, offering no solution.

A sad note no doubt, but an honest one, and in a world where the truth constantly gets ignored, it’s nice to see something that keeps things real.

Creed fights its way out of the shadow of Rocky Balboa

By Josh Svetz  @Svetz17


One of the main themes of Ryan Coogler’s (Fruitvale Station) latest film Creed shows how Apollo Creed’s son can carry the name of his father, but still build his own legacy, a notion that perfectly captures this film.

Creed, the newest boxing drama based off the popular “Rocky” series, comes to us at a time where most people just assumed the Rocky series had been put to rest.

While that’s still true, it’s hard to watch the film without thinking back to the classic series. Every so often you get reminded by the homages, passing conversations and overall the fact that eventually people begin to compare Creed’s son with his father, much like the film being compared to what it’s based off of.

But as the film progresses, it begins to break out of the classic’s shadow, becoming something all its own. The film, like Creed’s son, recognizes how it sits in the shadow of greatness, but still wants to carve out its own niche in the world.

Michael B. Jordan (The Wire) puts on a fantastic performance as Adonis Johnson, the young illegitimate child of the deceased Creed. Throughout the film, Johnson struggles with how to balance having the bloodline of one of the greatest boxers who ever lived, while also making his own name in the world of professional boxing.

The true star though is Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone. Looked at lately as more of a parody of himself than a serious actor, the former action star seemed to be losing credibility, until now.

Stallone gives one of his best performances since the original 1976 classic as the retired Rocky Balboa who is sought out by Johnson to train him to be a professional boxer.

In fact, Stallone’s performance has received wide-spread praise from critics and websites like Rotten Tomatoes causing some to even suggest that he should be nominated for an Oscar.

While that may be a bit reactionary, Stallone has a few moments in this film where he steals the scene, and it wouldn’t be surprising if his agent has a few new scripts stacked up in his office.

As for Coogler, despite being only his second feature-length film, his directing is superb. Coogler finds a way to stay true to the character of Rocky, while also creating his own spin and overall delivering a gripping, thoughtful film that likely will set him up for lucrative future projects.

For those thinking this will be a Rocky movie, you’ll be disappointed. But for those who crave an interesting drama that features beautiful cinematography, superb acting and an overall interesting story that pushes a message that should appeal to any underdog then you can’t go wrong with one of the best films of the year thus far.

St. Bonaventure students anticipate upcoming movie

By Josh Svetz  @Svetz17

After a couple months of sub-par movies, it is finally time for the world of cinema to release the best movies they can offer to the viewing public. Films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Creed, The Hunger Games Mocking Jay part 2 and many more have been generating buzz in the film community. Not surprisingly, many students at St. Bonaventure are anticipating a variety of movies.

One such film is the new entry in the popular Rocky series, Creed. The new film introduces Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) as Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) new pupil as Rocky attempts to train and mentor Johnson.

“I always loved the Rocky series, so that will be fun to watch,” said Steve Tomaino, a sophomore education major.

Paul Maurizio, a sophomore accounting major, is also intrigued by the film.

“I’m really interested to see how Rocky grooms Apollo Creed’s son,” said Maurizio.

Another film generating huge buzz is the final entry in the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 2.

“I’m excited to see Mockingjay Part 2,” said Christina Spezio, a sophomore strategic communications and digital media major.

Sophomore journalism and mass communications major Katie Tercek is also extremely excited for The Hunger Games.

“I’ve seen all the other ones and love them, and it’s just a fun thing to do with friends back at home!”

Of course, not every student is looking forward to the main releases. Actually, many students are anticipating a few of the films that could be in Oscar contention this year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Revenant,” said Emmy Kolbe, a sophomore journalism and mass communications major. “The cinematography looks absolutely incredible. I think this might be the movie [Leonardo] DiCaprio finally wins an Oscar for.”

“I’m very excited to see the new Steve Jobs movie,” said Liam Comerford, a junior journalism and mass communications major.” I feel like it will have a lot more depth than the first one that was made. It was amazing what that man was able to do.”

“There’s this movie called Spotlight that comes out in November that highlights the investigation into some scandals that took place in the Catholic Church around the Boston area,” said Matt Hoey, a senior strategic communications and digital media major. “It should be pretty cool.”

Outside of the possible Oscar contenders, some students are just looking forward to certain actors returning to the big screen.

“There’s a film about NFL concussion (issues) with Will Smith,” said Eli Morales, a sophomore strategic communications and digital media major. “He is one of my favorite actors, because he’s versatile and has a comedic side but can also be more dialed in for more emotional films.”

Some students are just interested in cool concepts finding their way onto the big screen.

Sarah Jupinka, a sophomore education major, is excited to see the new Peanuts movie, based on the popular cartoon.

“Growing up, I loved all those [cartoons], and I just thought they were the funniest (cartoons), and I’m sure that this one won’t disappoint.”

Kirk Windus, a senior journalism and mass communications major, is anticipating the new Macbeth adaptation.

“Michael Fassbender is going to be a badass version of Macbeth,” said Windus. “I can’t wait to see a super action movie version of a Shakespearean play.”

Despite the variety of movies students are excited for, one film in particular piques the interest of almost everyone. After a ten-year hiatus, Star Wars is back. The seventh entry in the series, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to premiere in late December and students are excited.

“Because it’s Star Wars,” said Windus. “Harrison Ford is back, and it had the best trailer I’ve ever seen.”

“My family and me always loved watching those movies growing up with my brothers,” said Caroline Power, a strategic communications major.

“I’ve always been a fan, and I’m pretty excited that they decided to continue on with the story,” said Ty Holmes, a sophomore undecided business major.

“J.J Abrams rarely has you leaving the theater wanting more,” said Will Tighe, a senior strategic communications and digital media major.

“The second trilogy was just coming out when we were kids, so it’s exciting to see this new trilogy kick off when our adult lives seem to be kicking off at the same time,” said AJ Loughry, a sophomore accounting major.

While students carry heavy anticipation for these films, we won’t know if they can deliver until they come out gradually this year. Until then, all we can do is speculate and hope that these films are everything we hope they will be.

Oscar Season Preview

By Josh Svetz @Svetz17

September symbolizes things to come. Whether it’s football kicking off or the Fall TV season gracing our televisions, the transition from summer to fall is an interesting time in the world of pop culture. In the movie world, it means Oscar season is upon us. Although the awards are not given out until late February, the majority of the movies in contention come out during the months of October, November and December. That said, let’s dissect the films with the most anticipation surrounding them.

The Danish Girl: Tom Hooper’s latest film about the real life pioneering sex-change of Lilli Elbe may have opened to mixed reviews, but strong performances by Ex-Machina’s Alicia Vikander and last year’s best actor award recipient Eddie Redmayne mean that this film could end up taking home a couple awards at least in the actor department.

The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s new western revenge film is generating a lot of Oscar buzz, especially in the supporting actor and actress category. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh are all in the conversation for supporting actor and actress nods.There’s a good chance that Tarantino could get nominations in the best picture and best director slots, but is unlikely to win, not necessarily based on the quality of the film, but more from his history with the academy.

Joy: At this point, if David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make a movie together, you should expect the film to be in the Oscar conversation. The trio seem to put out great movies annually, as evidenced by 2013’s American Hustle and 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. Other than an obvious Oscar nomination for Lawrence, O. Russell’s Joy could find the director in contention for the best director and best picture nominations.

Black Mass: Welcome back Mr. Depp, we missed you. Yes, it looks like the actor that captured our hearts with brilliant performances in films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands and Blow may be making his return to the elite. Depp’s latest film puts him in the role of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious gangster himself. While the film is getting mixed reviews, Depp’s performance is receiving universal praise. Don’t be surprised if the academy favors the comeback story this year and gives Depp the award

Room: You may have not heard of this one at all, because, its buzz is relatively new. The film based on Emma Donoghue’s novel has received high praise from the Toronto International Film Festival, most notably for the performance of Brie Larson. While it’s tough to envision the film taking home a lot of awards altogether, Larson’s performance is getting rave reviews, so don’t be surprised if she takes

Steve Jobs: You knew this was coming. We finally get the Steve Jobs movie we’ve been clamoring for— we aren’t going to talk about that abomination Ashton Kutcher did. Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender take the lead roles, the latter taking the role of Jobs himself. As much as I believe Depp and Larson could be winners this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if this film takes home a boatload, especially best actor and best actress.

Carol: Todd Haynes’ latest project has caught the attention of the Academy early, but not necessarily for the quality of the film. Actually, the Oscar buzz for this project comes from the excellent performances by the two lead actresses, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Both Mara and Blanchett should be up for the best actress award and, according to,  Mara is an early favorite to take it home in either the lead or supporting actress category.

Bridge of Spies: Two words: Steven Spielberg. One of the greatest directors of all time is returning to the director chair after a three year hiatus. Since Spielberg’s presidential biopic Lincoln, The acclaimed director has been linked to multiple projects, including Indiana Jones 5. However, with his Cold War inspired thriller Bridge of Spies, Spielberg actually has a legitimate product completed. While the film has not yet been released, the anticipation for it is growing, and I’d expect at least a best picture, and a best director nomination for Spielberg, as well as a best actor nomination for Tom Hanks.

Best of the Rest: Everest, Suffragette, Trumbo, Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Martian, Beasts of No Nation, Spotlight, Inside Out, Sicario

14 movies to match your Valentine’s Day mood

By Amber Williams

Valentine’s Day is approaching and love is the air! Well, some love is making its way while other love is already there; but nonetheless, hearts are pounding everywhere. The following are the Top 14 Valentine’s Day movies for the infatuated couples, the ones that are single, and the others who can’t decide where romance stands in their lives.

14. Failure to Launch: The 2006 movie proves that parents should not set-up their children- no matter how it turns out.


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  1. 27 Dresses: A romantic comedy many people can relate to. It can be heart breaking when a sibling is able to catch the guy the other always wanted. Sometimes, it’s what best in the end.


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  1. Love and Other Drugs: The fear of commitment and letting someone in is powerful. Love, being the ultimate drug, overpowers those fears.


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  1. The Wedding Date: Debra Messing’s character did what any one would do. Desperate times calls for desperate measures when it’s time to prove your ex wrong.


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  1. Think Like A Man: Act like a lady, think like a man. Thanks to Steve Harvey, it had women second-guessing their motives affecting their relationships.


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  1. Dear John: The effect long distance had on this couple was frustrating, but they were always brought back to each other somehow.


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8. He’s Just Not That Into You: Do I need to say more?


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  1. Love Actually: There were nine stories all related to one common emotion, love.


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  1. The Prince and Me: Who wouldn’t love a prince? For her, it was more than the prince in him.


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  1. Maid In Manhattan: Don’t change anyone. Someone will love you for who you truly are.


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  1. Letters To Juliet: A response to a letter led to this.


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  1. No Strings Attached: The worst thing to do is to have feelings for someone who you were in a “friends with benefits” agreement with. It will have you caught up in your feelings.


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  1. How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days: She wrote an article. He was upset. He said she “lost” him but…


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1.The Notebook: A classic. The Notebook is a love story we all want; boyfriends like Noah to fight with and to fight for and girlfriends like Allie whose parents don’t approve, but it doesn’t stop what’s in her heart. Their ups and downs made their love stronger. And although the memory of them falling in love left Allie, thank you to Noah for reminding her.


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