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