Tag Archives: Hollywood

Top 10 Movie Braintrust & Honorable Mentions

We’ve made it to the (kind of) beginning of our great list–our top 10 movies of ALL time! Remember, for some of us, it’s our favorite movies, for others, it’s what they consider to be the best of the best. That’s what makes it fun–we basically didn’t set any rules and let the creators go wild. We collected a fun bunch of people for you to enjoy. Some you’ve seen before in our last Top Whatever list, but there will be new faces this time around! To start of this exciting Top 10 Movie series, we are going to introduce everyone (or have them introduce themselves) and have them state any honorable mention(s) they may have. Can’t wait to see the whole list!

Kai

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(guy on the right)

I’m Kai, Alana’s brother. I’m partially responsible for all the nerdy movies on Alana’s list due to all the Star Wars RPG and computer games we played as kids. I love imaginative cinematography, clever twists, and futuristic/sci-fi movies.

Honorable mention: Fight Club
I didn’t see Fight Club when it came out, but instead watched it at a friend’s house in high school.  The movie has beautiful, almost cartoon-y cinematography and wonderful pacing as it accelerates inevitably towards its fantastic twist ending.  It challenges the boring corporatism of the 90s with a dark, gritty world and anti-conformist message.  Is there a 90s teenager who didn’t love this movie? The movie’s prescription feels a little silly now, but the values it propagates still resonate.  It commands the audience to wake up and listen the small voice that wonders “is this it?”.
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Universal Studios: What to Do and Not to Do

I challenged myself to write ten Yelp reviews a day… until I have no more reviews to write. The suggestions are based on your activity history and I’ve stumbled upon a time that I decided to check-in to everything that I went to at Universal one day. Well, it’s a lot of rides and food stands, etc. and it got me into thinking, why don’t we give some tips for Universal because… everything is good if you play your cards right. BUT it can be one tough day if you don’t make the right moves.

Here are some tips to make the most out of your visit.

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A Brief Review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Separate Spoiler-Free and Spoiler Sections)

[THIS IS MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE UNTIL I SAY SPOILERS AHEAD]

The movie many of us have been anticipating has arrived–Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s already made a considerable amount at the box office (past 20 million before even the opening day) and people are lining up, waiting. Sure, it won’t make as much as Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, but it’s surely going to still make a dent. In fact, I think some people will like Rogue One more than Force Awakens. Rogue One is many things Force Awakens is not. Rogue One is a gritty war movienot a character arc like Force Awakens. It doesn’t follow the same story mechanics and motions of the typical episodic Star Wars movies. Some people will love that and some people will just be okay with it. I liked this movie a good deal, but I didn’t emotionally connect as strongly as I did in Force Awakens.

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Top 5 Movies of 2016 – A Year Full of Gold

As we get excited for our favorite part of the year (November and December) and look forward to upcoming movies and video games, we want to reflect on what we’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to so far this year. While there are certainly major challenges to living in LA, such as the traffic and rent prices, there are amazing benefits such as the exposure to cultural events and amazing cuisine. As a result, we have the ability to go to the movies and watch extremely limited releases. 

While you’ve seen a handful of movie reviews from us in the past, we missed some opportunities to review some of these films that you probably haven’t heard of, which is a shame! For that reason, we’re going to countdown our Top 5 movies that you probably haven’t seen this year. They’re all either on DVD or will be released so add them to your holiday wishlist or treat yourself to something special. You won’t regret it. 

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April and the Twisted World (2015)

It seems as if everyone in Los Angeles came or stayed in the area because of their dream to be in the industry. One of my colleagues at the gym is an actor and screenwriter, but when I told him that I was going to see April and the Twisted World, he claimed that animated films aren’t really his thing. Well, Hungry & Fit are fascinated with animated films, but our fascination rocketed to a whole new level with this somewhat dark and comical animated treasure. 

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The Loss of a Generation’s Guardian: Robin Williams

With a heavy heart, I share the news of Robin Williams’ passing. What else could I write besides this? It’s difficult to know where to start. The shock, the disbelief. Chris texted me what happened before it had really hit social media. I responded with a slew of “No, no no no, that can’t be right” and it got worse when the news confirmed it. It was that jolt in the stomach, that jarring that makes you disoriented. Was he just a celebrity? Couldn’t be because it’s hit so close. It cuts too deep. I must’ve known him. I’ve never cried over a death of a celebrity, and it seems trivial to call him that. I did cry over Robin Williams’ passing. It didn’t seem right or fair. He was just always there.

Robin Williams, of course, meant something different to my generation than it did to, say, my parents’. For me, he didn’t start as Mork, though he did make me laugh there. For me, he started as Mrs. Doubtfire, as the Genie, as Peter Pan. That’s what my generation holds him most closely as, I think. I keep searching for a word that represents him to me. Yes, a legend. Yes, a genius. For what word I want to say…is almost a guardian. A guardian over us kids to keep us laughing in the face of anything. To learn, as my friend Robyn noted, to have a sense of humor in the face of terrible times. He taught us to bravely be yourself no matter what. He was so genuinely himself that he didn’t even need to tell us to be ourselves, he simply set an example. 

His movies were always our go-to’s to make us laugh or smile when we needed it. Feeling down? Just YouTube a clip of him doing impressions, voices, anything. Your lips will turn up into a smile and soon after, a laugh. It’s as if he was always there for us when we were down. He would bring back the silly into ourselves. As if he were our nanny, making sure we were okay. I suppose that’s why I reach out for the word guardian more than anything else. 

He was human. And he showed his human self and his dramatic skills in movies like “Good Will Hunting” and “Good Morning Vietnam”–my favorites of his more “dramatic” pieces even though Vietnam had plenty of laughs. My friend and I will be doing a movie tribute to Robin Williams tonight. Our childhood entertainer, our guardian, our uncle. A man who would always be there despite everything. But now that is not so. Which is why I think it hurts us so badly. More than other celebrity deaths. It’s still unbelievable. I kept crossing my fingers and hoping that when I woke up this morning, it wouldn’t be so. It still was. It is part of life. Just not a part of life we want to accept so early from a generous, warm-hearted, incredibly talented man. Which is why we are all so in pain from this loss.

His heart. His warm, generous, reaching-to-all heart. It would always bleed through every performance. His most human quality was how he cared. How warmth emanated off him and surrounded us like the Genie’s hug. He taught us to use our hearts, to be vulnerable, to be ourselves. I’m still going to look at his face (which looks closest to my dad’s out of Hollywood, which doesn’t help any) and be in shock. When you close your eyes as tightly as you can, and then open them again, hoping that he will still be there. Declare it unfair and impossible. I know he will be remembered for all of these qualities listed. I know our generation will weep in his passing for losing such an amazing character, the warmest heart, and our silliest guardian. And as lines keep saying everywhere to make me cry again–Genie, you’re free. We love you

Hungry’s Movie Reviews: Disney’s The Lone Ranger (2013)

Johnny Depp. Jerry Bruckheimer. Hans Zimmer. Disney. $225 Million Budget. 149 minutes.

Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West.

None of my movie reviews are the same. I always pick something different to talk about before reaching my closing remarks that summarize what I felt and what I thought. In discussing Pacific Rim, a movie I saw the same day, I spoke very little of the director and nothing of the actors and actresses. I didn’t mention anything about that movie’s huge budget. This review is clearly different.

Pirates of the Caribbean was brilliant, whether you liked it or not. It is loved by people of all ages, it has grossed billions of dollars throughout its four films (fifth coming) and all of Disney’s “merchandise.” It was driven by one of Johnny Depp’s most influential characters. So why has The Lone Ranger received such poor reviews and had such a hard time in the box office? Simply put, it’s not as good as pirates.

The sad thing is that I can’t really tell you what makes The Lone Ranger worse than Pirates aside from the fact that The Curse of the Black Pearl has been followed up by three more movies to strengthen the story set in the first film. I can honestly say I think that it’s impossible for us to see three more Lone Ranger films from Disney, Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Hans Zimmer, and Jerry Bruckheimer. Nevertheless, let’s appreciate this movie for what it is and can be instead of what it’s not.

The highlights are clear to us. Johnny Depp’s performance as Tonto and Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack stand out against everything else. The movie discusses strong themes such as the importance of family, the greed of American corporations (funny, eh? I love Disney), the corruption of the government, a sense of true justice, and the ability to forgive individuals for what they’ve done. That last one doesn’t quite make it all the way to the end of the film. I also enjoyed the way the story was told, through the older Tanto talking to the young boy that represented the “American Dream.” Finally, I was laughing a lot and that is a good sign, plain and simple.

Here are the downsides: It was too long! There were a handful of scenes that just didn’t contribute to the plot or character development significantly enough to justify the amount of the time that they took. And I really do try to justify extra scenes going to the point of reaching into my super imaginative part of my brain to do so. The casting was not great. Many of the main performers were convincing but some just didn’t do it for me. It also had a Disney feeling but a few scenes made the movie a little bit too gory for young audiences. I wouldn’t mind but most parents would prefer to not let their child see a man cut out another man’s heart and eat it. Even if they didn’t show it directly, it is easy to see what was going on at that point.

The bottom line: For a prominent series in American pop culture to which I have no personal history or relationship with, the unstoppable team of Disney, Bruckheimer, Depp, and Zimmer brought us a slightly too long Wild West version of Pirates that might not have the magic of their first series, but still portrays important messages in American history while generally entertaining the audience through its sense of hope and outrageous stunts. Even if the movie under-performs and Disney cannot afford a sequel, I would be pleased to see what a second movie could deliver. The Lone Ranger gets a hungry thumbs up!

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Hungry’s Movie Reviews: Iron Man 3

Last Sunday, a few days after the grand opening, we decided to add a few extra dollars to the nearly $175 mil opening weekend that Iron Man 3 boasted by seeing it in 3D. Luckily it was an early showing at Century Boulder so it only ran us about $11 a ticket.  This review is a week late and it may prove to be better that way because it will contain spoilers. I repeat… SPOILERS follow. I will try to save them for the end and give another warning before they appear if you want to continue reading.

Marvel has done a good job lately creating The Avengers. Both DC and Marvel have gone through countless reboots of characters throughout all of the versions of their movies. Within the past decade Eric Bana, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo have all appeared as Hulk in major motion pictures. The X-Men have been consistent in casting but the only good movie has been First Class. The latest versions of Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man all have my seal of approval. Also, in my opinion,  The Avengers is Marvel’s best representation to date. I think I’ll save all this for another post as I continue to Iron Man 3.

Robert Downey Jr. has done an incredible job as Tony Stark and he is the reason that this series is so good. I would not have enjoyed any of the movies in the trilogy if not for him. The soundtrack is as bad as every other Marvel movie soundtrack and stories have not been up to par. The same holds true for this third film although I enjoyed the story the most with the exception of the predictable and disappointing ending. The rest of the movie was entertaining and engaging. I recommend it for anyone looking for a pre-Summer blockbuster and a good old time. Here comes the spoilers and my personal nerdy issues.

The changes made to Aldrich Killian and The Mandarin made for a good movie, but they could have made this trilogy so much better by doing the following. If you noticed in the first movie, there is a terrorist group ran by “The Mandarin” known as “The Ten Rings.” The Mandarin is Iron Man’s arch-nemesis and one of the super-villains of the Marvel universe. He is a highly skilled martial artist and intellectual being that has ten rings of power from an ancient civilization that grants him powers. Each of the ten rings gives a power and you can look those up if you care or don’t know them. Let’s say it would make for quite a fight scene on the big screen but they decided to throw The Mandarin away like he never existed in the comics.

Furthermore, Killian never was injected with Extremis. He helped develop it with Dr. Maya Hansen but the real enemy in that story was Mallen. Mallen was injected and later fought with Iron Man in some brutal fights before finally being blasted to death by repulsors to the head. Killian committed suicide sitting at his computer because of the monster he created. They essentially combined those two characters in this movie. It’s not a huge deal because no one read Earth 616 but this is how the trilogy would have been amazing. The second movie was so bad I stopped watching it. Maybe I’ll give it a second chance. Nevertheless, keep the first movie as is with the ties to the Mandarin. Next, make the third movie into the second and scrap Mickey Rourke. Lastly, bring Mandarin back in the third movie as an actual villain. You can keep the Ben Kingsley being an actor on drugs and everything, but then have him stumble across the ten rings and actually want to take over the universe. Okay, that’s enough ranting and maybe they can take me up on that idea for a reboot or a third Avengers movie.

All in all the movie was well worth the money and I look forward to Iron Man’s return in the upcoming Avengers 2. Dream to be a superhero and workout like them to be really hungry and fit!

Movie Review: The Imposssible

It’s been awhile since we hit the movie theatres with our busy schedules, work, and sickness. But today, we did. It was a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a while now: “The Impossible.” It’s a true story about a British (though in the credits of the actual family members, we think they are Spanish) family of 5 (parents and 3 boys) on a resort in Thailand when the 2004 Tsunami hit the Southeast Asian area. It was very gripping and intense.

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with t...

Countries most affected by the tsunami, with the earthquake’s epicenter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is an underlying tension from the beginning, seeing as the audience knows what’s going to happen as they show the date and time continually. The family is happy travelling to Thailand and having a blast on a beautiful resort, lots of love and joy. But we know what’s going to happen. We just don’t know how it specifically is going to happen to these people. So right from the start, there’s that gripping tension of waiting. 

Once it does happen, the movie becomes very intense and consequently emotional, family members trying to find their others. And in the midst of the tsunami actually passing through, a feeling of panic and terror rose up even in me as I was sitting safely in my cushioned movie theatre chair. The thing that made this harder to watch and comprehend was that it happened in real life, all of this occurred to real people and I kept remembering back to the catastrophic death toll of this event.

The Impossible (film)

The Impossible (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The family, split up, travels to different locations, sustaining horrific injuries and struggling to survive through it all. I won’t spoil it by telling you if they do or not. Despite the terrible event that triggered the horrors, there was something incredibly heartwarming about many parts. People, when they were significantly injured, stopping to help others in need when it could cause their own death. A village of Thai helping out two rich anglos, going completely out of their way just to save someone’s life. During these scenes, I felt an incredible warm feeling of hope and the beauty that still thrives in humanity, despite scenes of horror.

The acting of this movie was splendid–I mean, how could you go wrong with Naomi Watts and Ewan McGreggor. Also, the oldest son was an incredible actor and took up a big role of the movie. It really felt as if you were thrown into the situation with them. The only downside to this movie for me was that, at some parts, it was a little bit too dramatic. Sometimes you didn’t need the drama of Hollywood because you had the drama of nature–a real-life event.

English: Naomi Watts at the Cannes film festival

English: Naomi Watts at the Cannes film festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. It was tough to watch in some parts, but highlights what’s good in humanity in the worst of times. Take the time to go see it, or catch it on DVD when it comes out.

Cheers!