Tag Archives: Salma Hayek

Like A Boss

Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are best friends since middle school. They started a beauty company together in a garage and grew it into a beautiful storefront location. Mia is the creative one, hands-on with customers and bursting with ideas, but there’s no structure to her process and it can’t be rushed or quantified. Mel takes care of the books and the logistics. She makes sure things run smoothly so that Mia can continue to create. But they’ve yet to recoup their costs from the storefront opening and they’re running quite a deficit. Mel doesn’t like to be the bearer of bad news and Mia doesn’t like to hear it, so Mel’s been carrying that burden alone and is relieved to hear that beauty giant Claire Luna is considering investing in their company. It sounds like the lifeline they’ll need to survive.

But while Mel is relieved and excited by the offer, Mia disdains it. They started their own company so they’d never have to work for anyone else again, and Claire Luna (Salma Hayek) has been pretty clear that her influx of cash comes with plenty of strings. In fact, when Mia and Mel reluctantly accept having not much of a choice, we the audience know something they don’t: Claire intends to sow discord among them to ultimately break them up so she’ll have controlling share. She’s pretty ruthless.

She’s also the only thing worth watching in this hot mess, although not necessarily in a good way. Hayek’s character is so baffling she’s hard to look away from, her complete lack of grounding or humanity make her unpredictable but also uninteresting. Which is still better than Haddish, who is too much, and Byrne, who is far, far too little. I have confirmed that this was in fact intended as a comedy, possibly because there is no genre for “just a group of people doing stuff of no particular value to no discernible effect.” There are better movies about business partners. There are better movies about friendship. Heck, there are better movies about eating something way too spicy.

Like A Boss cannot live up to its own title. It’s a bottom of the barrel comedy and director Miguel Arteta couldn’t find a joke if his mummy put it in a brown paper back with his name on it.

Friday Fuckfest: Salma Hayek Edition

It’s Sean’s birthday so he got to pick today. Sean and I don’t normally have the same taste in women, but Salma Hayek is a rare but definitive exception. I mean, she’s Salma-Smokin-Hot-Hayek, she transcends type.

She’s an Oscar-nominated actress, a very successful producer, and a passionate humanitarian, but today we solute her for being an exceptionally beautiful woman.

The Hummingbird Project

Not that the world needed another ode to American greed, but here goes.

Vince and Anton are cousins who work in high-frequency trading for Eva Torres. Eva (Salma Hayek) is interested in finding an even higher frequency: on the stock market, traders who could get into the best deals even a fraction of a fraction of a second faster would ultimately have a huge cumulative advantage worth billions of dollars over time. Vince (Jesse Eisenberg) thinks he can one-up her, so he leaves, taking coder cousin Anton (Alexander Skarsgard) along with him.

Their scheme involves digging a fiber-optic line in a straight shot between Kansas and New Jersey. And I do mean straight: through mountains and rivers and Amish country if necessary. Their plan means buying land and thwarting government agencies and raising millions in funding from greedy investors. It also means staying one step ahead of ex-boss Eva, but don’t think for a second she’s going to let them get away with this.

Alexander Skarsgard is nearly unrecognizable as a socially inept, worrywart brainiac who must be micro-managed by his bolder cousin. Jesse Eisenberg continues his one-note symphony, bringing the same manic chipmunk energy he brings to everything because he literally can’t do anything else. And to be honest, not only am I over it, I don’t have room in my life for being bombarded by a neurotic asshole. It’s too much.

The script isn’t doing much for me either. It’s single-minded in its pursuit of success, and boring as hell. All this wheeling and dealing: haven’t we seen this a hundred times before? And it ain’t exactly subtle. For every shot of aggressive drilling and invasive construction, there are literal scenes of both amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties. You can practically feel an anthem swelling somewhere. But the characters are in fact caricatures: Vince is the hyper-achiever, Anton is the Beautiful Mind, and Eva is the Bond villain.

There is no such thing as cinematic drilling. Or fascinating drilling. Or interesting drilling. It’s just drilling. So unless you’re into some weird engineering porn, this movie is really not suitable for viewing. I think there might have been some potential for satirical commentary buried deep in there somewhere, but in this one case they didn’t drill deep enough. The Hummingbird Project is ultimately shallow, and you only wish its runtime was operating at a higher frequency so you could put this one to bed already.

Drunk Parents

Not long ago, Will Ferrell appeared with Amy Poehler in a movie called The House. They played parents with a dirty little secret: they couldn’t afford to send their only daughter to college. So instead of coming clean, or having her take out student loans, they started up an illegal casino.

Drunk Parents is a very similar premise, and could also have been called The House, although instead of a casino, Frank (Alec Baldwin) and Nancy (Salma Hayek) think smaller, and less effective. First it’s a yard sale, during which they lament their spendy ways and consume a lot of very expensive wine, but don’t actually sell anything because what would the neighbours think. And one neighbour in particular, Jason (Ben Platt) has a direct line to their daughter Rachel, who has only been at college for 24 hours or so at this point. So then they try to extort more money out of their neighbour Nigel, who has already been generous enough to pay them for watching his home while he’s away. But then their drunkenness inspires an even wackier scheme. They’re going to rent out Nigel’s house. On Craigslist. What could go wrong?

Well, aside from everything. First a sex offender (Jim Gaffigan) moves in. They “solve” that problem by trading with him: he moves into their home, and they into Nigel’s. How does that solve the problem you ask? Well, it doesn’t. But it does create some more! Next it’s an outright thief who empties the house from top to bottom, although his truck full of stolen furniture eventually becomes a nice place to crash when the couple faces homelessness. Which is where Will Ferrell comes in because yes, he’s in this one too, and he lights himself on fire. You may recall that in The House, it’s Jeremy Renner who gets set on fire. So there continue to be slight, slight differences.

Alec Baldwin was the weak link in the film – not that he was bad, but that the comedy came from everyone else. Jim Gaffigan is one of my favourite comedians ever, so it’s no surprise that even as a sexual deviant he had me laughing. I was, however, surprised by Salma Hayek. She does things in this movie I had no idea she could do. A grocery store scene with a $4 zucchini is a particular highlight. I think. Is it good or is it just surprising?

Which still doesn’t mean this movie is good. Neither the script nor the direction will impress. And obviously the story’s a little bit borrowed (well, sort of: The House came out in 2017; Drunk Parents came out this year but was filmed in 2016…which is never a good sign). It’s stale, and some of the actors are better at working with crusty material than others. And you can’t even watch it drunk and hope the beer goggles improve it: nothing can improve it. I paid to rent this thing, and even though that’s just $4, that might be a worse financial transgression than what led to this wealthy couple’s downfall in the first place (which is what, exactly – job loss? bad investments? too many espresso makers? – the script doesn’t even bother). If you’re prepared to navigate the bad in order to find a few funny landmarks, be my guest. But wait until it’s free on Netflix. At least that way you can still respect yourself in the morning.

Savages

I spent most of the movie trying to decipher Blake Lively’s pronunciation of a lead character’s name: was it Sean, or John? And I grew annoyed with director Oliver Stone who was clearly too enamoured with Lively to give her any direction. No, Blake, not every line of the narration should be delivered with life-or-death huskiness. Too much, Blake. Still, in the end, I must admit that the Sean-John conundrum’s fault does not lay with Lively but with either the script writer or the casting director. The character’s name is actually Chon, but he’s played by the very white and very ordinary Taylor Kitsch. Does that make sense to me? It does not. But this movie’s about to get way, way more problematic.

Chon (Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are two halves of a very successful weed business in Laguna, California. Ben is sweet and idealistic and travels the world to impoverished communities where he can spend his profits on the people who need it. Chon is the messed up vet returned from his tours of duty to provide the business with backbone and an intimidation factor. O (Blake Lively) fucks them both – though it’s more of a love circle than a love triangle, if you know what I mean.

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Their business grows just large enough to pique the interest of a real cartel, run by Elena (Salma Hayek). She makes them a business proposition which they are stupid enough to believe they can turn down, and when they do, Benicio Del Toro shows up to kidnap the one thing they both love (well, after weed). Technically I should say Benicio’s character shows up, and yet I think we’ve all seen him play the creepy, threatening bad guy so many times that I’m starting to wonder if perhaps Del Toro really is running a drug empire and acting is just a clever way to launder money and divert suspicion.

Anyway, then it’s a mess of torture porn and “interesting directing choices” to prove that Stone is still the master of mindless violence. Which is a nice way of saying the first half is sloppy as hell and the second half has no heft. The movie believes itself to be slick and subversive and goes to great lengths to convince you of it too, but stops just short of actually being good. Overwritten and under-acted, this is indeed a return to Oliver Stone’s past, but probably not in the way he intended. Savages came out in 2012 mind you, and the only other film Stone’s done in the ensuing years is Snowden so I think it’s more fair to say he’s “done” than “back”.

Beatriz At Dinner

Beatriz is a “healer” which is what people call themselves when they branch out from straight up massage. If you offer any two of the following in addition, you too are a practitioner of “holistic medicine”: meditation, yoga, reiki, consulting crystals, reading tea leaves, speaking to auras, tasting colours. Beatriz is all of the above (probably) and proud of it. And so when poor Kathy (Connie Britton) has had a long, stressful mid-afternoon of instructing servants on how to throw this evening’s dinner party, she of course calls her old pal Beatriz (Salma Hayek) to come cure her of tension and aching muscles by honouring the age-old method of rubbing them down with massage oil.

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The dinner party is to celebrate some recent success in business: Doug (John Lithgow) is a titan of business and Jeana (Amy Landecker) is his third or fourth wife; Alex (Jay Duplass) is the young lawyer seeing his first taste of real money with this deal, and Shannon (Chloe Sevigny) his wife who could get used to this; and Kathy’s husband Grant (David Warshofsky) is the guy who put them all together. Now, there are two reasons this dinner and therefore this movie is interesting to watch. First, Kathy and Beatriz are not really “friends” and they’re both going to discover that in highly awkward ways. Second, Kathy and her dinner guests are conservatives who maybe sometimes think of themselves as better than that but really aren’t. It’s business (by which I mean money) first. And Beatriz is no wallflower. She’s pretty much the opposite of the kind of seventh wheel you’d want crashing your party. She’s not only going to speak up, she’s going to scream and shout, and maybe even cry.

It’s a pretty timely movie for the Trump era but it IS not a guide on how to survive. Beatriz blows shit up. She’s incendiary. Salma Hayek is fantastic. John Lithgow is fantastic. The only thing that’s not fantastic is the end. You’ll see.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The following paragraphs will make you think I haven’t seen The Hitman’s Bodyguard; let me assure you, I have. But I will struggle to summarize its plot. Or even locate the plot from between all the gratuitous explosions. I think it goes like this: Ryan Reynolds was once the caviar of bodyguards, but he let some VIP get shot in the brains, and now he’s been downgraded to the spam of bodyguards, which is really, really embarrassing and he’d do just about anything to be caviar again.

Meanwhile: Samuel L. Jackson is a hitman who is safely in prison. BUT he’d also be an excellent witness in an international court of law against a crazed, genocidal Hitmans-Bodyguard-The-5-NewsBelorussian dictator (Gary Oldman). So he cuts a deal: if they let out his wife (Selma Hayek), he’ll give testimony. The only catch is that every other witness has been systematically murdered. Sam Jackson nearly is as well, but one of Ryan Reynolds’ disgruntled CIA exes calls him in at the last minute to try to get Jackson to the Hague in one piece.

I suspect that this movie is bad because it never slows down long enough for you to ask yourself whether you’re enjoying things. The thing feels like it’s been edited by a two year old high on 5 juice boxes. It relies HEAVILY on the odd couple banter between Ryan and Sam, but if this is a Deadpool wannabe, it should wannabe harder. I feel like I just ran an obstacle course and I’m just so grateful to have crossed the finish line I cannot recall a single event along the way. Bleeding eardrums, I think. Some tulips? A car that smells like ass. The Hitman’s Bodyguard may not be an actual movie but just a compilation video of Reynolds’ and Jackson’s greatest hits. Lots of motherfuckers. Lots of explodey explosions. I refuse to overthink this one.