Sunday, February 21, 2016

I'm sorry...

Dear all, I am currently not available to write my reviews. Family matters, sad ones, unfortunately. As a result #StalloneMonth is extended to March, because I do have reviews lined up I just can't get around to posting them.

Forgive me for keeping you waiting, still, let's watch the Oscars together and root for Mr Stallone! I really hope he wins!

Until the next item on my list!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What's Next On My List? Rocky

Growing up I was a big fan of Sylvester Stallone. I still am and last year I decided to write about his movies for a whole month! And now, I decided to try and make that a yearly tradition. And why wouldn't I? Stallone movies are awesome: even the silly ones have charm to them. Seeing that Mr Stallone is nominated for an Oscar this year, I think that spending this month to talk about him is really the very least. So please enjoy the second installment of #StalloneMonth

Rocky Balboa was a fighter, but he never made the big leagues, but he now has the chance to get his name known. The world champion, Apollo Creed, decides to fight a nobody to give people a show as real fighters keep pulling out of the fight. Rocky trains like crazy, but he knows he is not good enough to win, he does, however, wish to go the distance. The two fight through all of the 15 rounds, in the end Creed wins, but Rocky didn't lose as far as he is concerned.

It took me three hundred years to watch this movie. I just put it off. I'm not sure why, and well, I have encountered a lot of parodies, so I knew the story very well to begin with. The movie was a bit slow, to my taste, but not boring. That's important, because a lot of times I feel like I'm just watching and watching and watching and nothing happens really. And well, movies that are nominated nowadays for an Oscar never sit well with me. They are too artsy and they all have a thousand deeper meanings that they want people to explore and well... I just don't care. I'm sorry, but sometimes I just want the movie to give me the answers.
Here you have an underdog, someone who got it bad, simply because we can't control where we come from, but he sure does everything he can to change where he is going. He cares for a shy girl, he works to put food on the table and he fights. He was told all his life that he needs to be an athlete, because he is not the sharpest tool in the shed and he did make the best of that. He is also a realist. He sees what happens around him and he takes notice, from the people at the gym, to everyone in his neighborhood. And I really liked that he was aware of his capabilities and he didn't go to the fight like "I'm gonna be the next champ!". 
Every movie of this kind reflects that the main character is sure of himself, otherwise they won't win. Rocky weighs his options and makes the best of it. He is actually a lot smarter than people gave him credit for and I think that is a very smart twist. And I especially loved Adrian, his girlfriend's outburst. There is a scene where she confronts her brother Paulie, pointing out that because he treated her as if she was a weirdo she grew to believe it over the years. Having someone like Rocky who could only see the beauty in her made her open up. That is something beautiful in my mind. The only thing that drove me insane about the movie is that nobody washed his work-out clothes... not even after the girl moved in with him! I mean that huge stain on his behind was simply disgusting!

Watch it? Yes, I recommend it. It still holds up as a good movie after all these years and there are little gems in it. Sure, you can critique Rocky's fighting style in the end, I know I did, and there a few WTFs here and there (like why was that dude watching TV in the office with his shirt open when people around him where working?), but overall I think it's an innocent movie with a great morale.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ 

Rocky Balboa - Sylvester Stallone
Adrian - Talia Shire
Apollo Creed - Carl Weathers
Paulie - Burt Young

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What's Next On My List? Grease: Live

I remember about a month ago I came across the photo shoot of this project and my jaw dropped. I had no idea this was in plan, and maybe it is better. I am one of those people who is not into remakes very much and well, a simply Grease remake would've made me insane. Why? Because if they want to force it down my throat again then give it something extra (I'm still not OK with the Dirty Dancing remake...). And well, making a televised version of the musical? Now that is indeed something extra. I waited anxiously to see it and wow...

I'll summarize the story, although I doubt I can find anyone out there who doesn't know it yet. Danny and Sandy have a summer romance, but they are very much different in high school, than in private. Fallen trap to the roles they play at school, Danny tries to win Sandy back by having to show his real sweet side, while at the same time Sandy wishes to change for him. It is senior year at Rydell High and their group of friends all feel that an era is coming to an end, but they won't give up on being friends just because school is over.

As I said before, I didn't know this was happening and well, it's a good thing for a simple reason: the cast. I realized that when they make remakes and I have to assist actor by actor to see who will play my favorite characters I just go insane. It is usually never the people I would like to. Here, instead, I just saw the poster and was immediately taken back into the magical world that is Grease. And well I knew that I would never enjoy a simply remake, and at the same time I would never get to see the Broadway show live, and well, this might be the closest I came to it and I was not disappointed!
That said, I know this movie by heart. And my favorite couple are not the main characters, but Rizzo and Kenickie and well the bar was really high for me. And I was blown away by Hudgens' performance. This version actually gave a bit more attention to her feelings and relationship with Kenickie and although for some she wasn't the best character, however, to me her struggle is real... much real than the love between two people who care too much about their appearance than the one they are in love with... I'm sorry, yes, I went there. The whole story is really about kids trying very hard to adhere to the status quo instead of being their true self. And it is a fine story, it made a classic and people keep watching and re-watching it. But for this very reason I never really cared about Danny and Sandy. But that changed too.
Hough and Tveit simply took me on a journey with them. I fell in love with the songs again. I felt that Danny actually wanted to change, not just behind his friends' back or just to appear cute and nice in front of Sandy again. Although, in so many years I still don't understand the lyrics "Sandy my darling, you hurt me real bad, you know it's true" ... like what was he referring to? Danny was rude once, then again, then he let Sandy leave and just danced with Cha-cha and I never really got why he wanted to 'force' himself onto her in the car, I mean... it was just weird. And then she hurt him? With what exactly? There is an extra line here, when we find out that Sandy lied to her parents to be with him, and lied to him as well in a way. So I guess it kinda makes sense, but not really. It's just weird to me. Perhaps she hit the car door harder than I thought... Still, I think that she changing for him in the end was major and Danny did try to change, he got into sports and so on, but people never remember that... they only remember the leather pants Sandy wore... and I can't blame them!
My last criticism is a simple change in the story that I don't get honestly, and that was the Thunder road race. In the movie Kenickie gets and accident by mistake, while here Danny does it to him on purpose. I didn't see that point of that, to be honest. I liked that Danny had to be the hero to win the race by chance. He was the main character, but it wasn't his beef that got them there, but the one between Kenickie and the head of the Scorpions, but there is something satisfying about seeing him win. Here, well... I just found it a bit forced, but maybe for the ones who converted the movie into the musical this seemed more logical. Perhaps this is just me nit-picking.

That said, the musical itself was magnificent. The dances brought to life simple songs that were - before - just part of a movie soundtrack to me. A lot of these songs simply got a new meaning and became favorites again. I adored Tveit's Danny and Hough's Sandy, and as I said before Hudgens' hit it out of the park, and she was incredibly cute with PenaVega's Kenickie. Among the rest of the cast, well, I was very happy to see Ana Gasteyer, she's simply awesome! And our original Frenchy, Didi Conn and Doody, Barry Pearl appear as other iconic characters and in the end put on their original costumes from the movie just made my heart skip a beat! And one person in particular blew me away: Mario Lopez. This guy is a born performer I tell you! And it just makes me extra sad that he isn't acting more... instead of being a talk show host. And, in the end, hats off to directors Thomas Kail and Alex Rudnizsky! These guys know what they are doing!

So watch it? Yes! Why haven't you yet? Grease is the word, for crying out loud! Off you pop and let me know what you thought in the comments!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Danny - Aaron Tveit
Kenickie - Carlos PenaVega
Marty - Keke Palmer
Doody - Jordan Fisher
Putzie - David Del Rio
Sonny - Andrew Call
Mrs. Murdock - Eve Plumb
Principal McGee - Ana Gasteyer
Coach Calhoun - Wendell Pierce
Vince Fontaine - Mario Lopez

Monday, February 1, 2016

What's Next On My List? Demolition Man

Growing up I was a big fan of Sylvester Stallone. I still am and last year I decided to write about his movies for a whole month! And now, I decided to try and make that a yearly tradition. And why wouldn't I? Stallone movies are awesome: even the silly ones have charm to them. Seeing that Mr Stallone is nominated for an Oscar this year, I think that spending this month to talk about him is really the very least. So please enjoy the second installment of #StalloneMonth

Officer John Spartan is on a man hunt, to get a criminal - a bomber-man - Simon Phoenix in custody. His hunt makes him break the law as well, and it results in negligence and the death of several hundred people. Once apprehended Phoenix is frozen and due to his actions, Spartan is frozen as well as part of their rehabilitation program. Once awaken for parole, several years later, Phoenix escapes and wreaks havoc onto the peaceful planet that has come to be since their arrest. Spartan is then awoken as well, as he is the only one who can stop him. The world is a peaceful place and the police is not equipped to handle a mass murderer, nor do they actually train officers to handle violence. It is up to Spartan again to put Phoenix behind bars.

This movie is incredibly stupid, but in a good way. By that I mean that the idea behind it is very smart. It shows that what seems perfect on the surface, might just be rotten on the inside. In the movie there is a whole scene directed to showcase homeless people living in the sewers. It perfectly shows that sometimes we don't solve problems, we just push them aside. And that is essentially what the movie is about: freezing someone will not rehabilitate them as although they are literally prisoners, they are not actually in prison. Time stops for them, life stops for them. The bad guy never learned his lesson and people had to pay the prize for that. So as far as the message of the movie is concerned, I think it is brilliant and quite ahead of its time, as it doesn't want to shove a moral down your throat but it leaves you thinking.
So why is it a stupid movie? Well, because it also tries to emphasize a lot of things that it shouldn't. The police force are portrayed as complete idiots... just because you live in a peaceful world that doesn't mean you should hire dumb people or that you don't need schooling anymore. Second point is that the villain is really just insane and the whole idea of him being freed while the cop who got him isn't - simply due to negligence -, is a big question mark over the movie. Last, but not least... the future stinks. It tries to give you a variation of many futuristic movies you have seen but it lacks logic. You won't give up meat and sex, America, you are not fooling anyone.

Is it a good movie? It has a good message and the action scenes are really fun. It has an overall good cast, but it is clumsy here and there and unfortunately many believe that the good doesn't make up for the bad parts. Is it still enjoyable? Yes, very much, as it is a good 90's movie. And if you are a Stallone fan you should see it, just to be able to appreciate Wesley Snipes' presence in The Expendables (click here to read my review!).

Until the next item on my list.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

John Spartan - Sylvester Stallone
Simon Phoenix - Wesley Snipes
Lenina Huxley - Sandra Bullock
Edgar Friendly - Denis Leary