Tag Archives: movie review

A Closer Look into Kedi

Kedi was an absolutely beautiful movie. The soundtrack was so well-integrated with the content of the film that you barely even noticed it was there. The acting was delightful because it was all about people being genuine. What makes that so interesting is the fact that it was set in Istanbul, where many of the viewers of the film probably haven’t been. The camera work and editing highlighted the stunning visual prowess and character of the city and its inhabitants. The most important citizens of Istanbul were the human and feline populations that seem to get along so naturally.

Kedi makes you think about our relationship with what Americans would call stray cats. They probably wouldn’t identify them as feral or alley cats because it’s just not the most common terminology among the general public nowadays. There’s a very negative connotation and feeling in many parts of our country about cats being out and about in the streets, but after watching Kedi one might wonder, why?

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Creed Sequel in 2016

*Spoilers about Creed coming up*

Creed was extremely predictable, as it followed the patterns set forth in the original Rocky movie. By doing so, it was a successful film and almost unarguably the best since the first two. (I know some of you, myself included, have a certain love for the fourth.) Before the final match even began, we all knew that Pretty Ricky was going to secure a victory by decision, but Adonis would earn his respect and give him the fight of his life in the process. Rocky himself foreshadowed it by saying that Apollo was the better boxer during his lone victory over the GOAT, but his heart pulled him through. 

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First Reactions to the New Star Wars: The Force Awakens

As I sit in bed at 1:30 am after watching the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I am filled with many different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. As you know, I did my best to avoid trailers, billboards, or spoilers of any kind. Star Wars is a universe near and dear to my heart. I was very excited to see the movie (hype that was dramatized even more so due to our theater sucking and delaying the screening) and definitely want to see it again. Here I will share my very first, brief thoughts and feelings regarding the new film. There will be no spoilers beyond things you have already seen in trailers. My apologies for the disorganized scatter of thoughts below.

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Are You Ready for Star Wars?

Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, you KNOW that the new Star Wars movie is coming out this week. It’s all over the news, the face of any possible medium of advertisement, and if you have any friends, they’ve probably mentioned it. The world is buzzing. It’s a monumental week.

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Song of the Sea Review

Have you ever seen Secret of Kells? It’s a wonderful story told through brilliant animation unfolding Irish mythology. Its animation, graphics, music draw you in like little other animations do. Its rich story is told through an enchanting way that makes you love the characters and simply get lost in the “scenery.” The creators of Secret of Kells recently came out with a new movie: Song of the Sea, another story concerning Irish mythology, this time of a selky. As soon as I saw that GKIDS (the movie company) was coming out with another movie, I jumped on the opportunity to see it. With the same rich animation, I knew it would be worth seeing on the big screen. Luckily we have the Nuart theatre who is playing the movie all week. We ate at the Red Tiger and went to the theatre early for good seats and some popcorn. 

Our dinner and a movie!

Our dinner and a movie!

For me, the entertainment value was high. The animation, again like in Secret of Kells, was magical and enchanting. The voice actors and actresses were spot on in capturing a small family in a remote part of Ireland. I particularly loved Saoirse, the little girl who the movie focuses on. Her sweetness and pure wonder makes the world blossom for you as it does for her. You didn’t get to know the characters very well, but that is also how Secret of Kells is. It doesn’t draw too much away from the movie, but it would be nice to have a morsel more of information. However, the characters all have their quirks that make you smile because they are simply them. I didn’t like it as much as Secret of Kells, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

This movie deserves some Oscars. The layers and depths of the animation in this movie is hard to wrap the mind around, let alone describe in words. As the journey unfolds, there are multiple patterns of animation going on all around the screen. The animators use the graphics and drawings to reveal more about the story and the world without using characters to tell it. I find it absolutely remarkable. It is transfixing and your breath catches when you watch it. 

 

If there were two “X-Factors” of this movie, it would be the animation and the music. You know about the animation, seeing as I have gone on and on about it, but the music is also part of the enchantment. With the music and animation partnered hand-in-hand, you are transported into another world of mythology and wonder. The animation is incredibly unique in style. The music has roots in the Irish culture (which is already a winner for me). The music is full of song, melody, and rhythm. It sways you and brings you along for the journey. 

Hungry and Fit gives this movie a big thumbs up. If you’re in the Los Angeles area or in an area playing this movie, go see it on the big screen. The music and animation are worth it enough. Get ready to be transported into a world of Irish mythology and a child’s journey to discovering who she truly is. Enjoy Song of the Sea and prepare to have your breath taken away. And as always, stay hungry and fit!

Big Hero 6 Review

Today, for Veteran’s Day, I was lucky enough to have off. Plus, today was Chris’ late day which meant we had the entire first half of the day together which was nice. After a fun, sleepy arms workout, we went to a morning showing of Big Hero 6, a movie we’ve been eagerly looking forward to. The movie is based on of a Marvel comic of a team of superheroes. Although the movie diverts quite a bit from the comic, it still has its roots in the comic. I had never read the comic, so that didn’t affect my movie experience. Overall, we really enjoyed Big Hero 6 and would encourage anyone to see it! 

The movie starts out with a young teenager, Hiro (our leading character), his brother, and their aunt. The parents died when Hiro was three and we don’t learn much more than that. Hiro graduated high school when he was 13 (he’s a genius) and has done nothing since “bot-fighting” since then. Bot-fighting is an illegal gambling sport where two people put their small bots to fight each other for money, but Hiro is very good at it. His brother wants him to do more with his brains and takes him to his “nerd lab” where his brother and his colleagues are inventing amazing things. Hiro is inspired by all that he sees (from super-lasers to super-magnets to super-carbon and beyond), but especially so by his brother’s invention, Baymax. Baymax is an adorable health care robot trying to serve those who need help. Hiro wants to join the school so in order to be accepted, he needs to showcase something incredible. He creates an absolutely amazing invention (Chris and I don’t think people appreciated enough how epic and awesome it is) and skipping  a handful of scenes, his invention lands in the wrong hands. This leads to the necessity of gathering the Big Hero 6 team together and making things right.

I won’t spoil any more of the plot than that, but–trust me–it’s good. The cast is fantastic. Some big names include Alan Tudyk and Maya Rudolf (personal favorites) and everyone played their character so very well. I wasn’t expecting how “emotional” it was going to be. Not that I was tearing up every other minute, but that despite being a kid’s movie and a Marvel movie, it really told a true story of human attachment and loss. That was probably my favorite part of the movie and why I liked it so much. It made you understand and feel for the characters. That was a really great part of it and I’m glad they took the time to craft that delicately. The characters themselves are great (my favorite is the Aunt played by Maya Rudolf and Baymax played by Scott Adsit). Baymax is just the best–you want to squeeze him to death. The humor is spot on and you will find yourself grinning and laughing on the regular with this one. 

Another great component (though not necessarily major component) of the movie is the lesson it teaches. While I was watching the movie, I kept thinking “these people are so incredibly themselves.” I believe this movie teaches kids (and adults, for that matter) to be yourself whoever that may be and thrive doing so. If you’re a crazy-about-pink-talks-miles-a-second kind of person, be that person. If you love everyone around you and are not afraid to show what you love, do that. It really encouraged everyone to just be them and not hide the brilliant fact that they are them. 

The animation and effects were wonderful, but who would suspect anything less from Disney and Pixar. Everything was beautiful and crisp. You really felt as if you were with Hiro, running and flying around to save the day. It was interesting and fascinating that they combined San Francisco and Tokyo–made for a unique setting. The sounds were spot on and kept you reeled in as the adventure unfolded. There was a plot hole that bothered us, but in the end, it didn’t really matter. Hungry and Fit give a big thumbs up on this one. Never quit being yourself and put that brain to use! As always, stay hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: What did you think of Big Hero 6?

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Edge of Tomorrow: Book vs. Movie

Though it’s no longer in theatres in most places, this is a comparison of the “Edge of Tomorrow” movie and its All You Need is Kill counterpart. I only read the book because I liked the movie so much. Which is odd because Tom Cruise is in it, and I’m really not a fan of his. Before I even start the review, the movie and book are starkly different. Sure they hold the same general idea, but completely different events occur. Let’s get into it. 

I’ll start with the movie first, because that’s what we saw first. Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, is a dystopic future full of a world war against the Mimics–an alien species here to destroy the humans. All the world comes together to fight this threat, creating the United Defense Forces (UDF). The Mimics basically know how the battle will go, due to their ability to communicate-time travel in the past and let them know not to do certain tactics. This makes them almost unbeatable. Almost. Even though half the world is ravaged, there is still hope.

That hope is in the form of Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise. In separate occasions, they both have the ability to “restart.” This means that if they die, they’ll simply wake up on the day before. For Tom Cruise, it happens when he gets the “blood” of a server Mimic all over him. And then he gets stuck in the loop of being in training to going to battle to dying. Over and over and over. However, the movie does an excellent job with humor and relatability which made it truly enjoyable to watch. Eventually, Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise get together once they realize they’ve been through the same thing and do a final end-all mission to destroy the Mimics forever. But I won’t spoil any more for you. 

Now let’s move onto All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the book the movie is based on. And that’s not even the original. It’s originally Japanese that has been translated into English, which, of course, changes it. The book starts with a fresh recruit in the Japanese part of the UDF (Tom Cruise was a Col., and he was American). He’s green as can be, not ready for battle but without much of a choice. Just as in the movie, he goes into battle and gets killed. But…he wakes up on the previous day! At first, he thinks it’s  just a weird dream, but then it keeps going for another 160 days. The same problem still exists–Mimics are killing all humans on the planet so they can xenoform the planet. However, the book is much more crude–lots of swearing, all written in 1st person. There is a lot of focus on the loneliness that these “time-looped” people have to endure. The ending events in the book are completely different from the movie. I don’t want to say much more, but I was surprised. It was much more heavy, I guess would be the right word. 

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All in all, I would probably choose the movie over the book. You will rarely ever hear me say that, especially a movie with Tom Cruise in it, but I have to be honest. It could be part of the translation from Japanese to English, but the movie engaged me more. Though, I’m starting to like the book’s ending more and more as I dwell on it. There is a graphic novel of All You Need is Kill that I wish I got instead of the paperback. It would be more fitting, I think. 

The concept of both the book and the movie is great–it grabs onto you and keeps you there. It’s a nail-biter and it makes you laugh. And Emily Blunt was freaking awesome. I would absolutely see the movie again and would recommend the book to anyone. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

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GODZILLA Movie Review (2014)

A 29-film series that will not stop now! I think I got that number right. After all, I have seen them all countless times so that does make it easier to keep count. Oh no… wait a second, I only saw Godzilla (1998) one time and told myself I could never sit through it again. Not even the magnificent Jean Reno could save that movie for me. Oh well, let’s get back to what everyone wants to talk about… Godzilla (2014).

As a child whose Christmas List every year contained the entirety of the Godzilla franchise on VHS (I taped them off the television from a very young age), I was extremely cautious about this reboot. The initial trailer was not appealing… at all! There were no signs of other monsters and it seemed that Godzilla would again be a villain to America. My expectations were low and luckily I was wrong. I really enjoyed the movie and sharing the experience with Fit, who very kindly let me talk about the 1954 version and many of the sequels in detail for hours and hours. 

The acting was average to above average. Bryan Cranston has been on fire since Malcolm in the Middle (a little humor), Ken Watanabe is a legend in my books, and both Aaron-Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen weren’t… awful. Part of me wanted Sam Worthington to play the lead but I really do enjoy the casting of “no-name actors.” It allows them to be the main character of that one movie and not Jake Sully/Perseus/that guy from the Terminator I never saw. On top of that, the star of the movie… Godzilla, was depicted SO WELL! I was extremely relieved to see this after that AWFUL creature stepped on-screen in 1998. 

Now I did read a list that you can check out here and while I agree with almost everything mentioned, the first four are all aspects I really don’t care about since the star is… Godzilla! I came to watch him wreck other monsters and pile up some collateral damage and I got exactly that. If we get lucky, a crossover with Pacific Rim might happen in the near future. (Slattern was estimated to be 182 meters, compared to Godzilla’s 108 in his largest form, but don’t worry, the King of All Monsters wouldn’t lose.) SPOILER: He even used his ATOMIC BREATH. (Fit was like what the … at this point. Then I told her he can “fly.”)

The soundtrack was fitting, the scenes were diverse enough, the editing was clean, and the plot was exactly what it needed to be. It showcased the importance of Godzilla as a symbol for the abuse of nuclear technology (we will leave it at that) and his role on Earth. He has no interest in the affairs of humans; his goal is to assert himself as the King of All Monsters and humans are often caught in the colossal wrestling matches that his reign ensues. It might seem as if he is our savior, but that’s not really the case because we aren’t worth his time. King Kong, MechaGodzilla, Mothra, Gigan, Biollante, King Ghidorah, etc. are all worth his time. We can even throw Ebirah in the mix, the list never ends anyway. That point was made, along with the point that we need to “control” our use of nuclear energy, and the point that Godzilla owns this planet. 

I am looking forward to a sequel that continues to pay homage to Toho’s earlier work while wisely using our modern-day technology to make Godzilla look like he doesn’t have neck issues. Hopefully, the lead male and female can develop some more personality but it’s no necessary for me to enjoy something so close to my childhood heart. 

THE BOTTOM LINE: Whether a fan of the series or not, just go see it! These colossal monsters done right will keep most audiences entertained and are worth a $6 first show of the day ticket. 

As always…stay hungry and fit!

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Hi I'm cute

Hi I’m cute

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

As we near the end of Phase II in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron as the final two installment before beginning Phase III, Captain America: The Winter Soldier adds tons of new paths for the movies in Phase III. It gives you an insight into what Iron Man 4, Ant-Man, Thor 3, a possible Hulk with Mark Ruffalo, and most of all, Captain America 3 might have to offer. It presents tons of potential, which Marvel can take advantage of or just tie off easily. Before I talk about that and really get into some spoilers, let me say a few words about the movie.

The Winter Soldier was one of Marvel’s best movies since 2008. It had a little bit of everything that you want from a quality movie: good acting, some laughs, some tears, some nail-biting, some jaw dropping action scenes, a reliable soundtrack, some amazing effects and scenery, and some plot twists that kept you intrigued. It brought you some heroes you know and love and some new ones as well. It also introduced some anti-heroes, some villains, some super-villains (you could argue) and as I mentioned before, contributed a ton to the Marvel movie-verse. 

Overall, it lacked the romantic connection that the first Captain America created between Peggy and Cap. This is personal preference, but I care about story and I love a good romance. Therefore, what they did in Captain America 1 really worked well for me. I know this because it made me want a relationship between the two even though they never really had it. Sure, in House of M, they got married but they later divorced. That wasn’t satisfying and the closure with Peggy in this movie was as lively as a piece of cardboard, for me. He had cut all ties, she acted like she moved on, and I was not happy! But that’s a total aside, I can’t believe I went into so much depth about that so let me just cut that off now! (You can comment if you want to know how I feel about that whole situation.) 

SPOILER ALERT

Now for some spoilers, so turn away, or read even closer. The movie was filled with references to characters in the Marvel universe. Rumlow, the guy who was roasted in the end (but alive) is arguably the Cap’s most consistent super-villain. As Crossbones, he is Red Skull’s henchmen and he is the person who assassinated the Captain in Marvel’s Civil War. You get the idea he’ll make a comeback since they showed his battered body… alive. Also, there is a lot more to Batroc the Leaper than the movie shows. I loved the casting of my favorite mixed martial artist, GSP, as the role. He is sort of a funny villain as he has fought everyone with his huge ego and sense of honor, leaping around ridiculously and always getting beaten. He’s great.

GSP and Cap (Image source)

When Hydra was listing all their threats, there were a few names that appeared but one stood out. Bruce Banner, Anthony Stark, Maria Hill… Steven Strange. OH YEAH! Doctor Strange was mentioned so they have to bring him in soon! I think he might help the team out in Phase III when they finally go to take on the villain of the whole movie-verse (in my opinion), Thanos. Looking forward to that. Also, for those of you who saw it and don’t know who Agent 13 is… she is Sharon Carter, Peggy Carter’s “niece” and Cap’s main love interest, period. (There is hope for the Cap/Chris Evans in this movie-verse!) 

But let’s get to the real good stuff, the endings! One shows that Nick Fury has burned the secret stash of SHIELD and will chase Hydra members. (SHIELD really always comes back in the comics, so yeah.) The Winter Soldier checks out his exhibit in the Smithsonian… BUCKY! (We need him to take Cap’s place when he dies!) Cap is going with Falcon to find Bucky. Natasha is going to find herself a new identity. Agent Hill is working for Stark. Sharon is in the CIA. Oh wait, that’s all the boring stuff. Here is the good stuff!

Baron Strucker, a Hydra big boss, acknowledges that SHIELD and Hydra are no longer powerful, basically. But he is! He has Loki’s Staff that was given to him by Thanos. (Strucker, don’t steal anything from Thanos… maybe he is working for him now!) But even more amazingly, and this was one of the best parts of the whole movie, he has Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver, I think, is going to be in Days of Future Past. I don’t know what that means since X-Men hasn’t (unfortunately) been included in the Marvel movie-verse. And more importantly, Scarlet Witch is sort of awesome so between her and Dr. Strange being introduced, that’s just great.

END OF SPOILERS

So all in all, I think most casual movie-goers, Marvel nerds, and film critics will find enough points of greatness in this film to say it was worth the trip. And while I did not love the story, since they teased me with Cap/Peggy in the first one so much, it had enough extra laughs and references to make it worthwhile. Go see it! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

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On a walk

On a walk

Cinema Sunday: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

And so comes the second out of the three movies for The Hobbit movie trilogy. We were originally going to see the midnight release like we did last time, but we ended up having a work holiday party, so that was that. However, we went at an 8:30am showing yesterday at AMC Flatirons which has the comfy seats that turn into recliners. Awesome. PS-we are huge Tolkien fans so we have been looking forward to this for a while. We just love the world of Middle Earth. I was a bit anxious how this one was going to play out, as the Hobbit as a book isn’t long, so obviously Peter Jackson was going to have some license with the story. Turns out we enjoyed all 2 hours and 41 minutes of this outrageously fun, exciting, and witty movie. And I hope my mum and dad want to see it when we come home for Christmas because I’d love to see it again.

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Let’s start off by saying that Peter Jackson has an awesome cameo within the first 3 seconds of the film. Gotta love those. Let me add that we did not see this movie in 3D. Why? Because last time we did, it was a very uncomfortable experience. The faster frame rate and the Dolby sound gave us a headache. And it’s not necessary for the Hobbit, because it wasn’t filmed in 3D. The theatre we were in definitely had a good number of fans: gasps, laughs, and squeals of delight could be heard a number of times.

In our opinion, this movie is much more complex than the first. There are parts that are certainly heavier and parts that are lighter than the first. There is more tension due to the fact that our courageous Dwarven-led party has a deadline to reach their destination. Thus, everything is weighted because their whole quest relies on getting to the Lonely Mountain at this one point. That is always in the back of your mind as you watch them struggle their way there. It also seems that the Dwarves and company run into many more problems than before (though in the Hobbit they had their fair share of obstacles). A very large part of this movie was introducing the darkness (aka Sauron) coming back into power. This is obviously because the Lord of the Rings was already created and they want to do a big tie-in to that. For example, Gandalf is rarely with the party in this movie because he is so preoccupied with this up and coming darkness and war. Another dark element of this movie is the Ring’s influence on Bilbo. It is easy to see that he is becoming more and more affected by the Ring and its power, and it is obvious that Sauron has awoken.

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Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh definitely decided to create some fan fiction in the Hobbit, which we don’t mind. They simply delved into the characters and stories between them in the Hobbit that were more briefly introduced by Tolkien. There was the introduction of the elves which included an old favorite, Legolas, as well as Tauriel, and Thranduil. Tauriel, the “she-Elf,” is played by Evangeline Lily, known to “Lost” fans as “Kate.” They were a great addition, serving us with some kick-butt action, typical of Legolas as we know from the Lord of the Rings. Tauriel also performed amazing stunts and moves to get rid of some Orc filth. There is a light romance triangle between Legolas, Tauriel, and one of the dwarves which brings some weight to the Elves’ purpose in this whole thing. Thranduil was absolutely epic, acting was absolutely spot on.

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The introduction of the Men on Lake-town also added an interesting element. No longer are the Dwarves the only ones to suffer from Smaug, the Men on the Lake-town just near the Lonely Mountain have much to lose as well. This adds conflict for the Dwarves to actually make it to their destination as the lead Man, Bard (played by Luke Evans), wants to prevent their town from erupting into flames from the sleeping Smaug. Stephen Fry also makes a delightful appearance as the town’s corrupt mayor.

The action in this movie tops that of the last movie, at least for me. It is rip-roaring fun as in the scene of the barrels in the river or nail-biting in the fighting with “Oh Smaug the Stupendous” (as Bilbo says). Brilliant choreography, great witty lines in between, and Jackson kept up with the rivalry between Elves and Dwarves, which makes all fight scenes that much greater. Gandalf, too, gets his own action scenes which he shows the extent of his powers…pretty wicked.

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The acting is flawless in this second installment, for as far as I can see. Emotions are heavier as the quest nears its destination and the characters demand more from their actors in-depth of emotion, feeling, and consequence. The stars for me this time were the Dwarves, especially Balin (played by Ken Stott). They’ve come so far, have lost so much, and have so much more to lose. Balin really shined through for me. Ian McKellen rocks it as always, but no surprise there. Thranduil also killed it as the Elven King, concerned only for his own land. And how can we forget Benedict Cumberbatch, the seductive, destructive voice of Smaug. He gets underneath your skin with his creepy, all-powerful voice. It really is something else.

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Yes, it is a long review, but this movie is worthy of spending some time over. But if you want a summary: the second installment of the Hobbit plays with more complex themes, hilariously fun action scenes, develops relationships between all races, and sets the audience up for the third and final film where this quest will come to an end. The ending credits song is by Ed Sheeran and it is absolutely wonderful. A perfect guitar tribute to the Dwarves, watch it now (we have it on repeat) Hungry and Fit gives this film two thumbs up and is eagerly wanting to see it again ASAP. As always…stay hungry and fit!