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!”

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.

“If I Stay” Review

By Alexandria Acacia

If you liked The Lovely Bones, The Giver or even The Fault in our Stars, then you’ll love If I Stay.

If I Stay is a captivating, suspenseful drama which tells the life story of Mia who balances a special musical talent and active social life, but soon is faced with a comatose experience caused by a brutal accident, including flashbacks and a race against time. Instantly, she is forced to deal with the transformation from living a normal life to a lone spirit, as she is faced with the challenge to figure out how to save herself.

The movie received many positive reviews and viewers enjoyed the movie overall. Many fans agreed that the book has a lot of parts related to the movie, but did not portray the story as well as the book. The way the story was portrayed in the book contained more detail and illustration of the events that occurred.

Those same people agreed that the movie did not contain as much emotion and thought that was put into the book. What many fans agreed on was the other characters, and the portrayal of them being spot on. I thought that some parts did not have to be included, while other parts should have been elaborated on.

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