Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What's Next On My List? Roman Holiday

I was thinking about movies that I watch almost every summer and I wanted to write about a few of them because I have a couple of things I'd like to share.

Princess Ann escapes during her European tour so she can see some of the city without her guards and her men telling her what to do. She bumps into a reporter, Joe Bradley, who decides to stick around her in order to make sure he gets an interview out of it, or at least an article that will help him get back to the United States. He grows fond of her and they have a great time. He decides to not write about their day, but keep it a secret between them after he has to say goodbye to her.

Now, a lot of people I showed this movie to did not like the ending of the movie. And it kept coming up and I decided to share my version of it, or, to be honest, my sister's version, as I find it to be the best. At the end of the movie the Princess is given the photos taken of her and the reporter shakes her hand. She goes on and he, slowly, walks away with a smile. Every person I know was sad about this ending because they wished for them to get together. My sister's interpretation was, that they will, just not now. The reporter can follow her, write about her, be the one who will report on her. They might not be able to be together because she is royalty, but that sure doesn't mean that they will never cross path. She is just about to inherit the throne. She has responsibilities that she cannot say no to. However, she was just a little girl before escaping and her adventure in the city made her into a grown up. She will never forget him and I find that beautiful. We all have those people in our lives who come in, change the way we live, the way we feel, and they leave. They are not meant to stay. But you never forget them, and if enough time passes it will become an endearing memory, despite the pain one might have felt when they left. Ann became a better person thanks to her adventure with Joe and I think that is the lesson here.

Watch it? Sure, it is a classic. You might not agree with the ending but I think it is left open on purpose. You can add your own touch to the ending of this fairy tale and it is a unique fairy tale. All others end with the boy getting the princess and I don't think that is always the best. Sometimes the fairy tale might not happen, but you are allowed to fantasies.

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

Joe BradleyGregory Peck
Princess AnnAudrey Hepburn
Irving Radovich - Eddie Albert

Monday, June 19, 2017

What's Next On My List? High Fidelity

I decided to not set a theme for summer because there are a couple of movies I just want to have a chance to talk about before doing something big like #MusicalMay or #ApocalypticApril again. Here is one:

The story is about Rob Gordon, the owner of a record store, who loses his girlfriend, Laura, at the beginning of the story. He decides to examine his past relationships in order to see what went wrong with all of them, to understand how he ended up losing Laura. Through this journey he pokes one too many skeletons in his closet, but they all just assure him in the feeling that getting back his ex should be priority number one, as she is the one she wants to become a better person for.

Right off the bat I have to admit that I have not read the book this movie was made from. The reason for that is very simple: I don't need to. The movie uses narration and the main character keeps breaking the fourth wall ensuring that the viewer knows what is going on. The movie is, and I've been told by my best friend, a perfect adaptation. I only feel the need to read a book when I got curious where the movie comes from, but here, it was pretty self explanatory and I do not expect anything earth shattering from the book. That having been said, although made in 2000, the movie still has that 90's vibe to it that I like very much. Movies in the 90s were a lot better than they are today... This movie too was pretty awesome if it wasn't for one thing... One thing that I find was completely and utterly unnecessary: the sex.
Let me explain. There are a few sex scenes and I'm going to be picky here and actually critique something that goes beyond the movie. There is one scene where Rob imagines his girlfriend with someone else, and I'm not gonna lie, it is a pretty hilarious scene. Nothing wrong with that one! It was well positioned and it serves a purpose. Now... remember: purpose. Second, Rob is happy that he might have a chance at getting back his girlfriend and he is so filled with joy that he goes and has sex with someone else... WHO DOES THAT? I mean honestly, if I have a chance with someone I'm not gonna go screw around, and this was especially stupid because he had already cheated on her once... he was lucky enough to lot lose her then, so why risk it now? Not to mention, that I apologize, but the actors had absolutely no chemistry whatsoever in my opinion. It was needless. It served no purpose. Third, Laura's father dies and they have sex in the car because she wants to feel something other than grief. OK. Now. Seriously, what happened in American history that we accept unquestionably the fact that people have sex at funerals? Who the f*ck gets aroused by the thought of someone dying? I had family members die and you know what? It kills you inside. You feel lost and terrible and sometimes the guilt kicks in telling you that you are still alive and you should feel bad about it. Which is followed by the guilt of knowing that being alive you should seize the day but it doesn't work like that. It does not. Never have I ever in this situation felt the need to find someone to have sex with... it put off the story for me in more ways then one and I was sorry about that.
That having been said, do I have any other complaints? No. This movie was great. It is about a man becoming an adult. An that is hard, trust me, I know because I feel that this particular journey is ahead of me. I watched this movie because my best friend recommended it to me and I'm glad she did. Rob always makes lists of the Top 5 things in his life and that is something I do too. It was fun to see someone else do it too. I'm pretty sure that is why she recommended it to me. The cast is quite brilliant, I am always reminded of how much I love John Cusack, and well, his sister Joan is one of my favorite actresses. I just adore how they are always in each other's movies! Ultimately the movie is about a self-centered idiot who takes the time to realize what is wrong with him in order to make sure that never happens again. None of us will find the source of a problem if our first instinct is to blame others for our misfortunes. And many are yet to learn that lesson!

Watch it? Absolutely. I am thinking about re-cutting it without those two completely unnecessary scenes, I'm sorry, but they are just thrown in there... in a story about a guy who keeps messing up his relationships I have a hard time believing that he is just a playboy... Otherwise? Awesome film.

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

Rob Gordon - John Cusack
Laura - Iben Hjejle
Dick - Todd Louiso
Barry Judd - Jack Black
Charlie Nicholson - Catherine Zeta-Jones
Ian Raymond - Tim Robbins

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What's Next On My List? The Fate of the Furious

Well, it took me quite some time to get here, seeing that last year I just couldn't write for the life of me. Having overcome that block I have been slowly trying to get myself back onto the horse and trying my hardest to not let go. This year I tried to write a review almost every week and it was very therapeutic - as writing always is for me. I had 12 seminars, but I decided that I wouldn't set my blog aside any longer. Here we are today!

For this review I prepared something special. This movie series has been my favorite every since I saw the first one. I love all of them. I got goose bumps when the movie started and the first song came on. And, believe it or not, they do still manage to surprise me so many years later!

This time around Dom's hands are tied and he is forced to turn against his family in order to save someone irreplaceable. The others unite to stop him, or better yet, to understand why he would turn on them. The team, however, is not strong enough to stop him alone, as the ones behind Dom seem to be always a step ahead. Nonetheless, the fact that Dominic has gone completely rogue is not a certainty.

Honestly, I love this bunch and I love any movie they give me. However, I was personally surprised at how much I enjoyed it this movie. There is something new to all of them, you can't argue with that because starting from the set up of the group all the way to the villains there is always an extra element of surprise. What shocks me is that they always find something new, not to mention that from the start every movie played with the notion of hero vs. villain. When one is a hero in the next they are the villain and the next they are the hero again. This line is blurred on purpose. Many who are outlaws did not purposefully break the law, many times they were simply trying to get away from something far worse than themselves. 
Not to mention that despite all the bad one might do, they do have a moral code of their own. For some it is money, undoubtedly, but that is often or almost always overwritten by their love of family. Something that those who have no such connections often underestimate, which is a good mechanic to create bad guys. I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I would not mind breaking the law if it meant that I can secure the well being of someone I love. And when you think about it, this movie series begun with a story that made you root for the bad guy. You were on the side of the police but the whole story explained to you why you will care for the bad guy the same way the police will. Each movie deals with how hard it is to draw the line and I think it always fascinating to see each variation.

Not to mention that the celebrity cameos in this movie are by far the best ones :D I don't want to spoil anything, make sure to check it out yourself!

Watch it? If you haven't because you feel that this series has nothing new to offer, then you'll be surprised. I do suggest watching it because it fits into the narrative perfectly. Not to mention that they kept Paul Walker's character Brian alive, with a simple sentence, and to me that meant the world. The love this bunch of actors have for each other on and off the screen simply gives back my faith in humanity!

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

Dominic Toretto - Vin Diesel
Roman Pierce Tyrese Gibson
Agent Hobbs - Dwayne Johnson
Tej Ludacris
Elena - Elsa Pataky
Deckard Shaw - Jason Statham
Mr. Nobody - Kurt Russell
Ramsey - Nathalie Emmanuel
Cipher - Charlize Theron
Little Nobody - Scott Eastwood

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

FRESH FROM THE THEATER: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Let us take a closer look at the newest addition to the Marvel Universe a couple of weeks later after its debut in the theaters! (Will contain spoilers!)

The Guardians have to tackle an enemy far larger than before, as Peter Quill's father shows up unexpectedly and Peter finds out his heritage. The others are divided, Rocket and Groot end up with Yondu trying to find their way back to the rest of the gang, while Nebula seeks them too in order to get revenge on her sister. Peter, Drax and Gamora go to Ego, Peter's father's planet, to learn about his abilities and his plan for Peter.

I cried. I had to cry so hard and I held - some of it - in, because I couldn't sob loudly with all those people around us. I loved this movie very much. It kept all the elements that the first movie had and it enhanced the characters. Not only was it logical and well built but on top of being funny it had a seriousness to it that it very much needed.
I am going to spoil the main plot now, because I need it to add a few thoughts to this review. Peter finally meets his father, a man called Ego who is originally a planet that learned to harness its energy and created a human form for himself in order to then travel around the galaxy. He implants seeds on every planet in order to then be able to control them, however, he alone cannot do so and he needs Peter too, as he has the power within him as well. A friend of mine told me that he did not like this movie very much, or to be precise, it didn't catch him the way he thought it would. I have been thinking about that and well, I can see why for some it wasn't enough. The movie is a cliché, since, Peter's main story is learning that his friends are his family and he doesn't need to know his past to know his future. This story has been done and re-done a thousand times. Do I mind that?
No, and here is why: if they package it well then I am sold. I have not yet seen an inter-galactic father-son interaction that kept me glued to my seat for so long until now. The movie had obvious story lines that will be a good tie-in for Infinity War, second, this could not have worked in the first movie... it would have been such an obvious way to enforce something that was not needed yet. Here, time passed, they have learned to care for each other, to love the others and the lesson wasn't that they are forever bound now, but that they do not want to go on without the others. This unity is of extreme importance because to fight the ultimate bad guy, Thanos, they need to trust each other. This is something that can no longer be said about the Avengers... Another reason why the next movie will be incredibly exciting. And there is so much more I could say about this movie, but I don't want to drag it out.

Watch it? I laughed, I cried, I had goose bumps and I wanted more. I think that is by definition what a good movie is. This is an excellent sequel in a world where sequels are rarely 10/10. To me, personally, this is a good movie that shows the makers knew what they were doing. They know the audience and care for the characters. I'd re-watch it anytime!

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

Peter Quill / Star-Lord - Chris Pratt
Gamora - Zoe Saldana
Baby Groot - Vin Diesel
Rocket - Bradley Cooper
Nebula - Karen Gillan
Mantis - Pom Klementieff
Kraglin - Sean Gunn

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What's Next On My List? (Games) Assassin's Creed Revelations

As you know this is my favorite series and even if it took me years to get ahold of this game (legally!) so I can play it (shamelessly), after having gotten around to it I decided to share my thoughts as I have done before with the Assassin's Creed games.

The story: Desmond is stuck inside the Animus as the machine is unstable. Within it he goes back to Ezio, who, in order to finish his quest in Istanbul keeps reading Altair's journals, in order to be able to give up the mantle once his finishes what he started. Desmond, however, cannot get out of the Animus until he completes the quests at hand. Ezio is also guided by the ghost of Altair, which makes this a game within a game, as you are no longer the only one going back in time to a former self. This is of course the problem with the Animus. In Istanbul you and the Creed are entrusted with helping the sultan Suleiman's rise to power, as his life is in danger by those seeking the throne.
Game play: Well, I loved this game to the point of going crazy for it. It was everything that drew me in when I first played with it and well, less Desmond... I feel that this game was created after the company heard all the complaints of the people. Brotherhood let you discover a city, get to know the surrounding, care for your recruits, so on. Whilst in ACIII (click here to read my review) I've found myself running from conflict to just go ahead with the main story, here, I just loved discovering the open world. Every AC game has an open world, however, it is important how you set it up for me to care. Here I did and I was doing more side quests as possible and that shows that the game really knows what it's doing! Not to mention, that the side characters were simply brilliant. Yusuf was the head of the Istanbul Creed, and there was a gentle lady Ezio befriended, Sofia, someone from Italy, and well both characters were charismatic and we got enough from them for me to want more. The person who thought them up did a fine job!
And not to be too hard on ACIII, the colonies were historically and geographically accurate, and the forests were beautiful, but way too big for it to not become boring after a while...
Mini-Bosses: Not much to say here, if you have played these games you know already that most mini-bosses come at the end of each sequence and sometimes you have to re-fight some of them. They were alright, none of them was too difficult or too impossible. Some took longer than others but not in a dragged out way.
The Boss fight: well, ultimately there were two major fights, one for Ezio and one for Altair. Now, the first and the second where both connected by the idea of being men to whom power was the only thing worth doing anything for. Others were turned and believed that those who would have given their lives to the Creed were the bad guys. In Ezio's present we have to rescue Sofia as well as uncover the plan to kill Suleiman before he becomes the sultan. In Altair's story, he must infiltrate the Creed and get rid of an old friend who betrayed him and made others think he was dangerous. After doing so you will get the Apple, the same used in Brotherhood, and you'll find it in Altair's library, the same place Sofia helps you uncover during the game play. Ezio is quite old in this game, and well, there is a sense of closure having helped him reach the library and having come to the conclusion, the end, of his journey. He was a wonderful character!

What didn't work? There was a new combat scene, in which the Creed headquarters were being attacked and you had to defend it. This was one of the hardest things in the game. It was enjoyable, don't get me wrong, I liked the setup and how I had to control people and try to think ahead. The tactics of it was pretty smart. However, it was super hard... most of my men died and I had to recruit them again, and again, and well that is something I got bored of quickly because I wanted to use my time the best I could, but I was just sending my men back and forth while not really advancing...
What worked? In its format the game is very similar to Brotherhood (click here to read my review!) , as in, you recruit people to the Creed and rebuild the city around you and there are several side quests. The music was great, as always, maybe this one is the best to date. Many other AC games tried to copy this formula but changed up the business side, or the battalion guiding to ships, and so on. Well, not all of them succeeded in it, to be 100% honest with you... this one, however, is a great example of what makes these games so wonderful.

This is gonna go down as one of my favorite games of all time. I highly recommend it!

Until the next item on my list!