05 May 2017


November is an Estonian film about culture, magic, and love.

I truly had no clue what this film was about abut I am so glad I watched it.

The cinematography for one: is stunning. It's black and white, making it even more mesmerizing.

The story seemed to be confusing but surely came together as the film progressed.

There are interesting plot lines. Such as how Estonians are religious and also superstitious. They are able to get a "helper" called a "kratt" through the Devil.

The main plot line involved Hans (Jörgen Liik) and Liina (Rea Lest). Hans, a poor commoner, locked eyes with royalty and is heads over heels; whereas Liina lusts/loves Hans.

The things the characters do for love is sometimes a bit insane, but always with good intention and for love.

Towards the end of the film, an unexpected event happens. But it made the film that much more poetic and beautiful.
Writer: Rainer Sarnet
Director: Rainer Sarnet
Producer: Katrin Kissa
Main Cast: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser

Keep the Change

Keep the Change is a dramedy about a New Yorker who is required to attend a program for adults with disabilities in order to stay out of jail and meets another participant who changes his life.

David Cone (Brandon Polansky) first comes off as a somewhat pretentious, entitled man due to his family's wealth. Actually, he seems like that throughout the entirety of the film. However, there are some subtle hints that he is on the autistic spectrum, and as the story unfolds it becomes more apparent.

His co-star, Samantha Elisofon, plays Sarah. Sarah is one of the students/participants at the cent for adults with disabilities. She has a learning disability and autistic. Although that is a couple of her characteristics, her other personality attributes shined through. She likes to sing, perform, flirtatious, and very bold.

The film is a somewhat classic love story, but it is through a new perspective. Most people don't know much about autism or have only certain ideas of it, me included, which is why it's refreshing to see it love and life in a new way.

Keep the Change is a feel-good film with people who don't always have it so easy because not everyone understands them.

It was also the Founders Prize & Best New Narrative Director @ Tribeca Film Festival 2017.

Writers: Rachel Israel
Director: Rachel Israel
Producers: Summer Shelton, Todd Remis, Kurt Enger
Main Cast: Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, Nicky Gottlieb, Will Deaver, Jessica Walter, Tibor Feldman
Running Time: 94 minutes

03 May 2017


Jordan Ross’s Thumper premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival as a Spotlight Narrative. The film is listed as crime, drama, thriller on IMDb. Truthfully, I did not know much about the film before seeing it and expected it to be a somewhat foreseeable storyline about a young girl getting involved with the wrong people. 

Well, I was wrong.

Thumper’s main character is Kat Carter (Eliza Taylor) and within the first scenes of the film, the audience suspects that she is just a new, mysterious girl and the whole film will center on her. However, by the end of the film, I felt like this film made a deeper impression and strong statement about the youth portrayed.

Thumper is about the war on drugs and set in a community where kids are prone to getting involved in drugs and violence, with high possibilities of not reaching their full potential. Beaver (Daniel Webber) seems to be the embodiment of a teenager who is struggling with family, money, and the typical high school problems. His character represents the rebellious but thoughtful youth. He parties, drinks, smokes, but he cares. He cares about his brother, Jeff, his crush, Kat, and who he might become, making it a gritty, evocative coming-of-age film.

Writers: Jordan Ross
Directors: Jordan Ross
Producers: Fernando Loureiro, Roberto Vasconcellos
Main Cast: Eliza Taylor, Lena Headey, Pablo Schreiber, Ben Feldman, Daniel Webber, Grant Harvey
Running Time: 93 minutes

28 July 2015


As of right now I am on vacation in Hawaii and what do you know, I got to see an advance screening for the movie "Vacation"! :)

I am a millennial but I am somewhat familiar with National Lampoon. But I vaguely remember the films. The one I do remember most of is the Las Vegas one. Probably because they all won a car and that is my goal whenever I go on a Vegas trip, hah.

As soon as I received a pass to attend the screening, I wanted to see the original Vacation. Unfortunately, it is not on Netflix, Amazon Prime (didn't want to do digital rental for $4) or RedBox. So, I didn't get to watch it.

In the trailer, however, Ed Helms's character says "the new Vacation will stand on it's own", meaning even if you haven't seen the original films, it won't be confusing. That statement is true. Because even if you are unaware of the National Lampoon films, you won't miss any vital information.

However, there were multiple references to the original; which I've learned they are called "easter eggs".

The film is Rated-R which is appropriate because although the storyline is basically:

A modern family goes out to vacation in hopes of spending quality time.

The film had a very crude, explicit humor.

Story line was very basic, as you can see above.

Acting was OK. I didn't find Ed Helms nor Christina Applegate to fit the role well, Ed Helms did outperform Applegate (sorry girl, but that's my opinion). The sons of the film, James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins), did better. Gisondo actually does seem like an awkward teenage boy going through puberty as well as Kevin being a little troll and having a naughty mouth.

This film is a film not worth going out of your way to see. If it's on TV, sure.. watch it. Otherwise, no.

If you are extremely bored and need to just laugh at raunchy comedy, this would work.

Writers: John Hughes, Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Directors: Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley
Producers: Chris Bender, David Dobkin
Main Cast: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins
Running Time: 99 minutes

26 June 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey

The controversial book-to-film was released on Valentine's Day.

I've heard terrible reviews from my friends. I've heard things such as "it's not romantic at all" "it is an abusive story" "you minus well watch real porn" as well as "it depicts BDSM culture inaccurately." With everyone who has seen it having a strong and negative opinion on it, it made me want to see what this film is about. (and plus, Jamie Dornan is one good-looking man)

I wanted to read the book before seeing the film, but that didn't happen.

In addition, I have heard it was poorly written from multiple people. One of my friends said "it is partially due to the fact that it is a British woman trying to be a young American female" and proceeded to read me some excerpts that sounded off.

In brief, I didn't read the book before watching the film and I didn't watch it in theaters. I wasn't going to spend $10 when I can just wait for it to be released on RedBox and rent it for less than $2. So that's what I did.

If your friends have talked to you about the film, then you already know 97% of the film. The story line is simply this: a naive girl meets a rich, handsome guy who wants to have a dominant/submissive strictly sexual relationship with her.

The film's cinematography was up to film standard. Was it amazing? No. Was it mediocre? No.

Personally, acting was also up to par but not "wow, so much talent". Dornan and Johnson played their roles well. However, a dear friend of mine thought Dornan didn't do so hot and Johnson surpassed his talent.

One thing that I applaud this film for is: its soundtrack. A soundtrack can make a film for me. In this particular case, it helped a LOT. Even though I got sick of hearing Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" and the Weeknd's "Earned It" because it was on the radio non-stop, it fit the film perfectly. Kudos to Danny Elfman for a great score and all the musicians who had their song featured.

The film was a slow build-up and then a crash. Slow build-up because the start of the Anna/Christian relationship was definitely sparking interest. Crash because of the red room.

To me, this room that is for pleasure, honestly scared me. I get that the story is about eroticism and kinky sex with handcuffs and whips. But for me, it reminded me of bloody films like Hostel and Saw (I've probably seen too many films like that for my own good).

The establishing shots of the room did not present pleasure but just plain pain. It did give off a mysterious vibe, but also a murderous one.

Overall, this film was OK to me. I'm glad I saw it to be in the know. Would I optionally watch it again? Probably not unless I plan on watching the sequel. But in all honestly, I probably will watch the sequel because I am curious to see what happens in Anna and Christian's relationship and Jamie Dornan will still be attractive.
Writers: E.L James (author of book), Kelly Marcel
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Producers: Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, E.L James
Main Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle
Running Time: 125 minutes

06 April 2015

Furious 7

//It's been a while since I posted..//

In all honesty, if my uncle did not ask me if I wanted to join to watch the 12:40pm screening of Furious 7, I probably would not have seen it this past Saturday. But I'm glad I did.

I would have just waited to redbox the film because compared to previous years, I rarely visit the movie theater.

When I use to work at the local dine-in theater near my hometown, I remember Fast & Furious 6 was released and all my coworkers would joke and say: "it's the same thing over and over again" in regards to what to expect from the franchise. 

True. But if you have seen all the films or hell, even a few, and you have grown attached to the characters, I urge you to see this Furious 7.

In a span of 13 years, audiences have "enjoyed the ride" with  Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker).

The day before I saw Furious 7, I attended a roundtable held at my university and the topic was Toy Story. The panelists discussed how my generation "grew up" with Toy Story, throughout the years. (I.e Andy went off to college around the time I was about to leave for college too)

I found the same feeling with the Fast & Furious franchise. I mean, I do not drag race or have I been involved with heists and such but this series is more than just about fast cars. Family was always a recurring theme, which I related too as many others did.

The characters had amazing chemistry especially since off-screen it was seen that the whole cast did treat each other life family. After Paul Walker's tragic death in November of 2013, Furious 7 was decided to be the end of the  franchise and will be done "for Paul."

I am not going to go in to all the cool car scenes that were prevalent in all the previous films, but I want to point out the CGI effects that was used in the film. Using CGI on Paul's brothers, who served as stand-ins for the scenes Paul was not there for, I couldn't even notice that it wasn't actually him. So kudos to you, editors and special effects team.

And just like my Facebook feed, the last scene was one of the best because it was so bittersweet. Ending the series and paying tribute to Paul Walker, by allowing his character to live forever and remembering all his smiling moments throughout the years. It was beautifully shot and montaged and the choice of song, Wiz Khalifa's See You Again ft. Charlie Puth could not be beat.

All I could say about this film is: Paul Walker is definitely smiling from heaven because of Furious 7. 

(cheesy, I know. But hey bonus points for rhyming?)
EDIT - 18 May 2015

So Furious 7 is NOT the end of the franchise.. but the end for Paul Walker's character. Oops.

Writers: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Director: James Wan
Producers: Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell
Main Cast: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jodana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris
Running Time: 137 minutes

08 August 2014


I find mythology fascinating. I love the stories of gods, goddesses, and creatures such as centaurs and cyclopses. Growing up, one of my favorite movies that my family owns on VHS is: Disney's version of Hercules. In addition, in my Latin III class in high school, I had to do a presentation on Hercules, or shall I say: Heracles? Therefore, I know a thing or two about Hercules and I was pretty excited to see Brett Ratner's version. As a fan of Hercules, Ratner's portrayal of the Greek hero did not meet my standards. 

The background did stay congruent to the original myth. Hercules, played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, was introduced as the son of the mighty Zeus and a mortal Alcmene. He is known for his strength and his adventures of completing "12 Labors". 

The basis of the film was Hercules trying to protect the kingdom of Thrace by capturing Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann). Hercules initially accepted this task because he was promised to be paid double his weight in gold. Later he realizes that Thrace is corrupted and decides to fight for what is right.

Although the film is 98 minutes, I felt like it was shorter. Nothing really amazed me in the film. It was not a complex plot and it did not bring anything new to the table. The action scenes were standard. The acting was nothing spectacular. 

I did appreciate the script and the characters. Tydeus (Aksel Hennie) was one of my favorites. He is seen as savage, but loyal. He did not have any audible lines, but his actions made up for it. I also enjoyed Amphiarus's (Ian McShane) comical stunts, such as when he is predicting his death but survives each time.

Hercules is a film in which I would rather wait until RedBox. It was not terrible, but not amazing. It is okay. As of now, I find Troy (2004) to be a better film centering around Greek mythology than this film. I always prefer Hercules over Achilles, but not in the case of films.

Writers: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and Steve Moore
Director: Brett Ratner
Producers: Beau Flynn, Sarah Aubrey, and Barry Levine.
Main Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, and Rufus Sewell
Running Time: 98 minutes