Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – Spoiler free –

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Plot: The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Well. I knew I had to get to cinema to watch Infinity War immediately after its release or else risk this film being spoiled by the internet for me. We’ve been waiting ages since the slightly lacklustre Age of Ultron for another instalment of the all powerful Marvel ensemble cast to once again fight some massive celestial being. Finally reunited, the Avengers and all their new superhero friends are forced to take on Thanos, the biggest and baddest of them all, who is also in running for the worst dad of all time to Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Thanos (voiced by Josh Brolin), is collecting the Infinity Stones, very powerful stones (obviously), and you don’t need a comic book background to know that it will be really bad when this genocidal maniac gets hold of all six stones. It’s no spoiler that some of the stones are in the possession of a few Avengers, and they do an ultimately dismal job in protecting them. You will have to watch it if you want to know what happens at the end, but it was neither comfortable nor a quietly satisfying end.

Infinity War takes an age to get their superheroes together, which is not surprising, since they decided to include a massive amount of their star power in the film. Since Age of Ultron the original Avengers have scattered and hidden, and they aren’t all super happy with each other. Tony (Robert Downey Jnr.) is still happy by being managed by Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still dealing with the devastating destruction that happened in Thor: Ragnarok. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson, this time blonde), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, with deliciously longer hair) and Sam Wilson (Anthonie Mackie) are still (I think) in hiding. They all fall in at different stages of the film, and my sold out cinema was cheering as each original Avengers cast member was reintroduced.

It’s impossible to write a short and concise review of the movie and to discuss the stars, because (nearly) the entire Marvel universe is in the film. However, here are a few thoughts on some of the characters:

Vision (Paul Bettany) comes across as awfully wimpy and I don’t know how he was intended as a superhero in this film. He seems to just be there, and his moments of action aren’t all that action packed.

If I could have had more of Danai Gurira as Okoye I would have, because she just has the best attitude and lines. Also good seeing T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), but after the enormous success of Black Panther I would have loved to see more of the man.

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It is the first film where the Three Chris-es are combined – Pratt, Evans and Hemsworth have so much charm between them it is a wonder that they aren’t combined an Infinity stone themselves. There is delightful moments full of humour when Starlord meets Thor and needs to deal with all that muscle. I’ll just say that there is a moment when Thor arrives that made me very, very thankful.

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Thanos has character depth, and that is something that hasn’t always been present with Marvel villains. He has layers and there are times when he actually almost makes sense, his reasoning behind his warlord status. There were a few moments where I legitimately felt sorry for him, and then had to remember what he had done.

I have some issues with the ending (really, who doesn’t at this stage?). I don’t want to say too much, but I really hope that they are planning to address some… events… in the next Infinity War instalment (there better be one), because they can not just do what they did. I am REALLY excited for the post credits scene, and I am optimistic that that will mean something overall for the drama levels in the last ten minutes of the film.

I liked Infinity War, except that ending. Thee CGI is insane and everywhere again, and that as well comes as no surprise – I mean, Josh Brolin doesn’t really look like that, does he now? It is really long, again though, expected, and full of emotional upheaval. If you haven’t watched it yet and you really dislike spoilers, I suggest getting to a cinema soon. It’s a bit off the normal route for Marvel, and they’ve taken big risks, but if you look at the crowd response rate you can rest assured that Marvel has another hit on their hands.

Rating: 7/10

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Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

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Plot:When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

I am quite the big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I reviewed the entire series a while ago, and naturally the mere mention of the return of Dominic Toretto and his family was enough to get me excited. These movies have become progressively bigger and more extreme as the series developed, and the Fate of The Furious makes no exception.

To be honest, this is the first film that I felt was overly ridiculous. It has always been very ridiculous with this franchise, but this one went very extra. The “banter” between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham made my toes curl with embarrassment. Seriously – the testosterone these two emit in each other’s presence was nothing short of hilarious. Dwayne Johnson had some pretty funny lines as a school soccer coach, and his desperation in having his girls win the game to avoid a Tay-Tay concert was quite funny and understandable. Fast 8 tries to market Jason Statham now as one of the team, as a Shaw brother it is quite confusing as he was a main villain about fifteen seconds ago.

Dominic Toretto abandoning his family seems crazy, and that is exactly what he does. Villian Cypher (Charlize Theron) shows Dom something on a screen and it is enough to make him drop his wife Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) and his team. What could make him do this? What does Cypher want? That’s never too clear, because I don’t think the plot is the primary point of this film, and we are left in the dark more than once.

I won’t say why Dom did what he did, but there WAS a BIG reason. Naturally Brian (Paul Walker) must be mentioned loudly at least once, and that he can’t come help because they decided he needs to be away. I don’t really agree with the decision on that, because Brian O’Connor in the Law of the Furious would never drop Dominic Toretto – however sad Paul Walker’s death may be, I think the character would have died too instead of abandoning his family.

Charlize Theron’s Cypher has a very blurry reason for the things she does. The chemistry between her and Vin Diesel is less than zero, and that kiss they share is cold and plain weird (despite Diesel’s strange comments about it). There is a lot of explosions and more bad dialogue, and when Diesel, Johnson and Statham appear together onscreen the manly manliness is almost too much to witness. The rest of the crew – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Megan (Nathalie Emmanuel) and  Ludacris (Tej) get laughably terrible lines. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is still cool AF, and he’s joined by tough guy Scott Eastwood as a new recruit. The awesome Kristofer Hiviju is Cypher’s henchman, and I still love Tormund even though he’s a baddy in here.

The last few scenes of the film is naturally very dramatic and highly unlikely, and the end is  mushy but manly-still. This formulaic fan festival of epic proportions is outrageous, crazy and very similar to the last couple of Fast films. I found it slightly less engaging with a little worse dialogue, but I’m not even fooling myself – if there is a Fast 9, I will still watch it.

Rating: 6/10

Watched, Read, Loved: September 2017

Yay! Spring is here in South-Africa and I couldn’t be more excited. When the weather is so much better I am so much better. Getting to work while the sun is actually up makes me a much nicer colleague.

I’ve been doing a couple of Parkruns. My work gave us all the opportunity in taking part in the Discovery Pulse challenge, which made me realize (again) how little steps I take each day. I’ve been trying to average it at 5000 steps, but that is already a challenge. The challenge officially began on the 27th of September 2017, and I really am working hard to do everything healthier – eating, sleeping, more exercise, less stress (HA!). It runs for three months and I will definitely let you know how it progresses.

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The Fate of The Furious: Continuing the ridicule of series that is the Fast Franchise, Dominic Toretto this time abandons his family for some obscure reason. I really enjoy these films because they are so brain dead and is just easy entertainment, but this one was particularly ridiculous.

Hidden Figures: So.Much.Love. It is heartwarming and beautiful with excellent performances, and I am so happy the film was released in such an important time in history. Not only is it about racial prejudice, it is about female empowerment, determination, love, courage and there are also great scenes of the early days of NASA.

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Walk The Line: I was SO proud when I finally watched this – I’ve had the DVD on my shelf for many years now, and I remember hearing people rave about it but I never really made the effort to see for myself. Well, it was great, and a great Blindspot choice for me.

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The Girl on the Train: It was okay. I enjoyed Blunt (I always do), and her supporting female co-stars where all very strong. I also really do like Luke Evans. The big plot twist – I caught it half right so I was marginally impressed. Definitely not as good as Gone Girl, but interesting all the same.

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Easy A (2010): Emma Stone is one of my favourite young Hollywood stars. She’s just so incredibly talented and really funny. Easy A is some of her earlier work and she’s hilarious as Olive Pendergast. If I ever have daughters I hope they are like Olive – not willing to take bad behaviour from friends, loyal, hilarious, inventive and wildly inappropriate.

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Wild Child (2008): Many people wouldn’t necessarily like this film, but I really do. It is one of my favourite teen movies, and although it isn’t as sharp as Easy A, Mean Girls, Heathers or Clueless (other favourites), it still remains one of the nicest things to watch, reminiscent of a time where Emma Roberts and Alex Pettyfer were clean cut, sweet individuals (probably not that sweet).

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Australia (2008): One of Baz Luhrman’s work I have had the least exposure to, Australia is a tribute to the wild and terrifying glory that is the continent of Australia. Hugh Jackman is ridiculously attractive, wildly blown out of proportion delicious, and the dainty and unexpectedly hilarious Nicole Kidman impressed me with some of the humour she injected into her character. This was definitely a great watch and I will watch it more in the future

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Clueless: Clueless is one of my favorite “high-school” films. It is so silly and sweet and Paul Rudd is so adorable and Alicia Silverstone is so friggin adorable. You can’t feel bad after watching something like this, you just can’t.

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Books:

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Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn I actually started reading this after The Girl on The Train, because it made me want to explore more thrillers. I am really enjoying so far and finding the writer pretty good at telling a story.

Hot Rocks: Nora Roberts I can’t decide whether it will be worth my time actually reviewing this. I’ve now successfully proven to bestie that I can actually read and review a book and then just not remember it, and it might very well happen with this novel. It wasn’t bad and I actually had a pretty great time, but it feels superfluous reviewing every single Nora Roberts book I read

Read, Watched, Loved: May 2017

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Hey everybody! This post is going up super late this month – I was happily scheduling away on here and didn’t notice that I still hadn’t put this guy up. So as usual, here’s my monthly rundown (but for May). Let me know what you’ve seen and haven’t seen, and just generally how you are 🙂

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017) I don’t think anyone was able to hate this film. It was buckets of fun, and I really have such a soft spot for Baby Groot (who doesn’t?). It is similar to the first film but bigger and more of the formula that worked. The plot wasn’t as solid as the first, but I was able to have a fantastic time regardless of that.

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Pride and Prejudice (2005)I liked this movie so much that when I wanted to initially write a quick blurb for here I ended up writing out the review. It is a wonderful film. I am now convinced I need a Mr. Darcy. He’s difficult and worth it. The adaption is fantastic and the chemistry between the leads is amazing.

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Sweet home Alabama (2002) – I watched this as a young person – maybe at around 21 years or so, and really enjoyed it. I have such love for Reese Witherspoon, she truly is a beautiful and talented woman. Her character has the terrible task of choosing between Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey, and this movie has humor and heart to it.

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Jackie Brown (1997) I watched this for Tom and Mark’s Decades Blogathon.It is one of the few Tarantino films I hadn’t seen as yet, and found it a great pleasure to watch.

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The Host (2013) – I just had to watch this film again to compare source material to it. It is not as unforgivably bad as the internet make it out to be, and I had a rather enjoyable time watching it.

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice is a slow read, that is no lie, but I enjoyed it so much. It is a wonderful, wonderful book with many events and excellent character development. It also gave me yet another book hero to attach strongly to.

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Three Fates – Nora Roberts: I reviewed this before and seemed to have a good thing to say about it. Strange, because I don’t remember loving it so much. I am having a really good time rereading it again though, it is truly Nora Roberts and some good and light reading.

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The Host – Stephanie Meyer: I’m not sure whether the I was a masochist or just seeking enjoyment without thinking too much about it, but I decided to pick up The Host again. It is okay and certainly better than Meyer’s previous novels. It raises some moral questions and has interesting theories despite some slow parts.

What did you do this month?

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

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The Original Guardians of the Galaxy was celebrated far and wide as original, refreshing and pretty much different from any normal Marvel film. I mean we love them, but they aren’t necessarily ground breaking in the stories they tell. I agreed mostly, but I also still felt that everyone and their grannies took the hype too far. Regardless of my opinion, the first film was a runaway success and since it is Marvel, a second one was inevitable.

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The sequel is in many ways an equal to original. Chris Pratt is Chris Pratt and the lovable and very attractive goofball. He is still surrounded by his team – Gamora (Zoë Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). They acquire more recruits this time – Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). It is starting to feel like the Space Avengers with such a large cast going on here, but I very much doubt that the majority of the audience worries about that too much.

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Plenty of things work – Dave Bautista’s literal minded Drax gets more dialogue and the things he says is what we think without saying it, making the situations he’s placed in quite hilarious. Telling the creepy Mantis she’s probably beautiful on the inside was quite funny and painfully blunt. Baby Groot is emotional manipulation – he’s so cute he could have danced the duration of the film and I would have liked the movie. Chris Pratt loses his shirt and I couldn’t complain about it. The directing is colorful and bright and suits the upbeat tone of the film. The dialogue is relatable and funny, the banter between the team easy and seemingly sincere. The soundtrack is a lot of fun and a continuation of the first film. Sylvester Stallone shows his face and boggles the mind that he’s still looking smoking when he is six hundred years old now.

What lacks is an actual plot. The writers focused on the one thing left unanswered in Volume 1 – Starlord’s patronage. Enter Kurt Russel, cool old-dude extraordinaire, as Ego the Living Planet. He’s not much of a villain with a lot of ego and little grey areas, and it is pretty clear quite quickly that he doesn’t want the best for his son. There are also gold people, led by Elizabeht Debicki’s Kismet, who are angry that Rocket stole shit from them and are now determined to wipe out the team. It’s a pretty weak story, sloppy in places and lazy writing. It doesn’t particularly fit into the Marvel Universe that has so carefully been crafted. Some redemption is provided by the presence of Baby Groot, the fights between Starlord and Rocket and the chemistry between Starlord and Gamora. I also didn’t particularly appreciate how every bad guy last time was sympathized with this time around – Nebula (Karen Gillan), the conflicted sibling of Gamora, is the grayest character of the lot. Her hatred towards her sister is based on her robotic punishment as a child, and we don’t really blame her, but was it necessary to include it so much again into the second film? Yondu remains damn cool and everything for a blue guy, and Michael Rooker is cool enough to be him, but again, so much unnecessary things in this film piled it up to one long watch. I appreciated the cameo by Sylvester Stallone, but really, was it necessary?

I enjoyed GoTG II. It is not a particularly strong film but it is fun and really funny. Marvel took a chance changing so much from their usual formula, and despite following some of their renowned plot moves, it is still the most original work they’ve done in a while.

A 7.5/10 for me

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2? What did you think of it?

Movie Review: Furious 7 (2015)

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Plot: Dominic and his crew thought they’d left the criminal mercenary life behind. They’d defeated international terrorist Owen Shaw and went their separate ways. But now, Shaw’s brother, Deckard Shaw, is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde and a shady government official called “Mr. Nobody” are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called “God’s Eye,” that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God’s Eye program while caught in a power struggle between the terrorist and the United States government.

Rating: 7/10

I’m finally through the franchise! I’ve really had a blast, despite some of those first few movies that made me legitimately wonder how they ever got more movies approved.

Furious 7’s production was initially halted when Paul Walker tragically died in a car crash. The world was horrified – both by the death of this well-loved actor and the way that he passed away. Walker has always been a car fanatic, and the car he drove in 2Fast 2Furious was actually his own car. His brothers helped out with filming the remaining scenes, which ensured that Brian O’Connor got the end he deserved.

As for the film? There are numerous mentions for the need for Brian to stop and properly commit to his pregnant wife and son. He struggles with being a standard dad and not an adrenaline seeking ex-cop turned car thief turned assisting the FBI, and wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) notices these struggles. She urges him on one last mission to avenge the death of Han (Sung Kang). Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) is still struggling to regain her memory and Dominic is struggling with impatience because there are obvious things he wants her to remember. Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson) returns to make bad jokes and Tej (Ludacris) returns to being geeky and cool. The most recent permanent instalment returns as Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who seems to have found even more muscles since the last film.

Furious 7 is as expected over the top, this time with Lamborghinis crashing through sky towers in Dubai. Brian O’Connor escapes a few certain deaths himself, and I couldn’t help but think the writers really wanted to leave clues everywhere. In terms of insanity, the airdrop scene came only second to the Dubai scene. Okay, there was the final collapse in Los Angeles was very crazy too.

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Djimon Hounsou is some form of African warlord and he is basically ignored only when he’s really needed. Jason Statham replaces Luke Evans as the Shaw brother to sort out, and for all his capabilities in dealing with action sequences, I have never thought him to be the most solid villain. Elsa Pataky returns as Elena, and I am not really sure why, except (hopefully) that she and Hobbs end up together – a girl can dream! Kurt Russel also has some role, and I was surprised when he was the good guy to the end, it seemed shot in a way that he would have ulterior motives.

But is the film good? Well, it’s not bad. I thought it was a bit loose at the ends and it didn’t gel as it should have. Overall, as part of the franchise, the film didn’t feel like the best. I am glad it ended like it did, but I also thought that Brian O’Connor would never leave Dom behind – ever. It’s pretty much that feeling that Mark Darcy should rather be dead (like in the books) than leave Bridget Jones – I can’t believe I just compared the Fast franchise to Bridget Jones, but there we go.

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What are your thoughts? How do you feel about what happened in the last film? Do you agree with the arc regarding Brian O’Connor? Share, share!

Movie Review: Furious 6 (2013)

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Plot: Hobbs has Dominic and Brian reassemble their crew to take down a team of mercenaries: Dominic unexpectedly gets convoluted also facing his presumed deceased girlfriend, Letty.

Rating: 7/10

This movie is so big for a lot of reasons. The end finally ties in with where Tokyo drift finishes, and the sad death of our beloved Han. It is also where we say bye to beautiful Gisele who dies to (ironically) save Han’s life. It is such a useless way to go, but she couldn’t have known her boyfriend would die only months later. It is also the movie that reintroduces Lettie, which probably needed to be done. The relationship between Elena and Dom felt just way too forced, like something the writers wanted but no one really thought it through. I did find it funny how nice Elena and Lettie were to each other in the end. If Vin was my honey and his dead girlfriend pitched, man, I would not have been that smiley. I thought that Brian and Mia’s baby was expected and has been a long time coming, but I also once again had to laugh at how she basically chased him away because “family needs help”. Agent Luke Hobbs is also back in the picture, and I still think The Rock was a great addition to the cast. Luke is starting to see more of who Dominic is, and realizes that this particular criminal is quite decent under it all. (I think, and it may be too touchy feely for this franchise, that Hobbs is starting to question what he has always believed in). The best scene in the entire film has to be the square off fight between Hobbs, Toretto, (Luke Evans) and his sidekick, played by Kim Kold. The way everyone automatically aims for the guy with the same body type makes me laugh without fail. Luke Evans is probably the best villain yet. Evans does everything with a quiet, dedicated intensity that makes any role he takes on a success. Could they have fleshed out his motives more? Definitely, but this series isn’t interested in doing that. I also thought it was a generally good idea to tie the villain to the villain in 4, which made Lettie’s sudden reappearance more believable. The cars and races are as impressive as always, and grounding that plane so dramatically is as completely possible as that vault scene in 5, if ya know what I mean. I also love how Hobbs is suddenly also capable of racing muscle cars. The man’s talents knows no bounds. It was very cheesy in the end when Hobbs and Toretto finally acknowledged each others’ worth, but I loved it. There is a lot of other things I’ve come to expect and enjoy – Roman Pearce’s makes the worst jokes ever as usual, Han being all calm and collected, Ludacris being his cool self. The crew in this franchise has always been its’ strongest point, and as always brings the feeling of family across. I’m a little bit apprehensive to move on to the 7th film, because I have no idea how they addressed Paul Walker’s death in there.

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Fast & Furious 6 (2013) (L to R) Hobbs (DWAYNE JOHNSON), Dom (VIN DIESEL) and Brian (PAUL WALKER)

Movie review: Fast Five (2011) – AND THINGS THAT MOVED THE FAULT

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Plot:Dominic Toretto and his crew of street racers plan a massive heist to buy their freedom while in the sights of a powerful Brazilian drug lord and a dangerous federal agent.

Rating: 7.5/10

As we move through the franchise to approach the final (released) movie, we all know what happens – more unlikely, death defying stunts. This 2011 movie features the scene absolutely everyone remembers and absolutely everyone references when talking about the franchise – that vault crashing through Rio attached to two muscle cars by the strongest ties in the universe.

But before we come to that, let’s talk a bit about what else happens. Mia (Jordana Brewster) is pregnant, and it is a very big celebration. I would personally be quite upset being pregnant while on the run from the FBI, but she’s happy and Brian’s happy and I’m happy for them.

Dom is dealing with Lettie’s death still, being a badass and still not able to get his arms through a T-shirt. It’s a really hard life. He decides it would be a great idea to steal from the Brazilian mafia, because when last did such a plan ever go wrong?

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He calls in a crew to come and assist – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), who is still really strange, Tej (Ludacris), who thankfully dropped the afro and is now really quite handsome, Han (Sung Kan), our favorite Asian, gorgeous Gisele(Gal Gadot), Tego (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) the last two who still acts in their capacity of attaching moving things to other moving things. Dom’s friend Vince (Matt Schulze) from the first movie is now living in Brazil, he has a girl and a child, and is still shady as fuck and still really hates Brian.

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New on the scene is FBI special agent Luke Hobbs, who has flown to Brazil to find and imprison Toretto and his gang. We obviously hate him because how dare he wish to enforce the law? He specifically asks for Elena (Elsa Pataky) to help him with his Brazilian mission, presumably because her smile is pretty, but we eventually learn that her husband was killed while on duty and she is working to avenge his death.

So I enjoyed the film, but that is not much of a surprise – I’m a fan, I love a good dose of cheese once in a while and the last part of the franchise has been exemplary. However I’m not quite sure whether I’ve enjoyed Fast Five or Fast Four more – I was so happy that they reverted back to the old gang that I loved the fourth film.

The death defying antics start with a jail break where a bus is flipped – and no one dies. I might add that breaking your friend out and seriously endangering his life at the same time might not be the best idea.

Rio is then full of gangsters with guns, and a very smart villain who realizes that if people have something to lose, they will fight very hard to protect it. Brian decides to take on a contract for stealing vehicles and through some more gravity defying maneuvers, they escape with a car that contains a chip with the mafia’s data on. Hence the massive scheme is devised to be rich forever and hopefully being cop free for quite some time.

Luke Hobbs, however, really wants to catch Brian and Dominic. His passion for doing this is purely because it is his job, and I liked it. No over the top agenda or massive secret that is kept from us – he is a special agent and he likes to get done what he is paid for. I thoroughly enjoyed Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs. He was convincing and intimidating, and those muscles must be manufactured somewhere. He is so not ready to let any criminal slide, no matter what sorry excuse they think of. I really liked that, making the quick difference between him and Brian quite obvious.

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I thought Elsa Pataky was quite cool as Elena. I don’t see the necessity of making her a love interest of Dominic, who obviously still mourns for Lettie, but I could see why they would find something to bond over, having both lost partners.

The masculinity is on another level in this film, especially when Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel is on screen. The flashing red lights screaming TESTOSTERONE is ever present, and I couldn’t help but laugh when they finally fought it out. It was like GRRR everywhere.

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THINGS THAT HELPED MOVE THE CARS WITH THE VAULT ATTACHED:

  • VIN DIESEL’S MUSCLES
  • DWAYNE JOHNSON’S SWEAT
  • (AND MUSCLES)
  • BROTHERHOOD
  • MAGIC

Movie Review: The Fast and the Furious (2001)

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Plot: Los Angeles police officer Brian O’Connor must decide where his loyalties really lie when he becomes enamored with the street racing world he has been sent undercover to destroy.

Rating: 6/10

Mini blog run alert! I will be reviewing the entire Fast and the Furious franchise each Friday for the next seven weeks, starting today. It is one of the most longstanding franchises and one of the most successful ones. It is also the largest case of audiences repeatedly flipping the bird at critics, because the first couple of films have terrible ratings online and yet the films just kept on rolling till everybody couldn’t help but to love and accept them. Today I am reviewing the film that starting everything, the 2001 installment titled The Fast and the Furious.

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  • Before we start anything, can we just discuss Lettie’s clothes (especially the shoes?) Life. Changed. Her attitude is also so bad. She doesn’t care what anybody think! I’ve never been a huge fan of Michelle Rodriguez, but she is tailor made for this role – that bad attitude transcends screen and into real life.

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  • Oh gosh, Paul Walker, so young and sweet and fresh. His acting is still a bit flaky in this film, but I enjoyed his undercover cop story and falling in love not only with Mia but the whole underground car scene and the strong family ties Dom so obviously believes in.

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  • Dom is so sexy. And feisty and family orientated and badass. That scene where he is introduced he is so impressive looking.
  • I can’t reconcile Dom and Mia (Jordana Brewster) being related. They look nothing alike.
  • I enjoyed Mia’s pretty and clean look in this movie, but not the acting of Jordana Brewster.
  • They try so hard to be ghetto. It is the best. The racial stereotyping is pretty bad in the first few films and I know for sure it would have gotten a lot of flak in today’s hyper sensitive everyone-needs-to-feel-included climate.
  • The cars are ridiculous. I thoroughly laugh and enjoy that you can solve everything in this franchise with a car race!

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I’m beginning to realize that I’ve probably only seen four movies at most in this franchise. This certainly felt like the first time I saw this particular movie, but I’m sure I must have seen it as a teenager. The Fast and the Furious is without a doubt really corny, very predictable and sometimes ridiculous, but the franchise has managed to become one of my favorite because it spans so many years and has managed to improve with time

The first installment to this franchise is ridiculously bad. I enjoyed it because I am so fond of Dominic Toretto and his band of misfits, but it is no secret that the series only got much better later on. This movie is still clearly low budget and was probably constructed as a once off event, but it clawed into our hearts and remained there forever.

Marvellous Mondays: Guardians of the Galaxy by the Review Club

Woohoo! Here is another fantastic post from Troy who blogs over at The Review Club. Go check him out, follow him, and enjoy this epic post! (PS: The list is here if you want to take part)

GOG poster

Awesomely spectacular in sci-fi visuals, battle-tastic sequences and high class comedy.The tenth installment in the Marvel cinematic universe and 100% one of the best. James Gunn the director and co-writer of this penultimate Phase Two feature has mastered a wise cracking, zippy futuristic barnstormer to once again keep the threat of stale superhero movies well away.

‘GOTG’ kicks things off with a simple enough back story into Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) past of 1988 and from there he’s whisked away into the land of space and the unknown. This movie revolves around him 26 years later as his space pirating ways lead him to grab a much sought after orb. Having this item however is more dangerous than expected and in the process of keeping it he stumbles upon a motley crew of bandits who become friends. (Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper) They all must try and stop the orb falling into the wrong hands, i.e the paws of one mighty villain named Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).

*very mild spoilers may follow in this write up*

This is such a damn good movie, the movie keeps shuffling along at a speedy pace but never in a way that you feel it’s over before anything has begun. The story is suitably told even if it is predominantly a item for sale kind of shtick. It might be basic but it never feels dull with interesting character interactions to keep the story amusing and fresh. The book-ended Earthy quality to reflect Quill’s background help add that grounded touch to bring us back to more level standings after flying high in the future. The mum, present and Star-Lord aspects all get their time and help make the arrogant, witty dude in charge more three dimensional, which I believe was needed, even if skidding across an empty cave and singing into weird creatures is epic cool. The main likable story focus is centering on them as a gang, a unit, friends and possible a family because of them working together, all their rapports are scripted brilliantly with comedic one liners, miscommunications and personality divides all adding to the hilarity of this odd bunch coming as one. James Gunn and Nicole Perlman have done a top notch thing in writing this film, mixing funny with feels, whizz with calm.

The science fiction is like something wholly and delightfully different to the Marvel films to come so far. Each planet and scene is detailed with futuristic eyes for design and wonder that it’s a treat to see each place appear on the big screen, especially when captured on an IMAX screen. They all work with the unraveling plot and suit the impending darkness of Ronan’s influence. Though Xandar always seems clean, white and like some new Colgate commercial or a Jetson’s city. The sci-fi gizmos are fun and Star-Lord, you know….Star-Lord, oh forget it, he has a Batman like utility belt of gadgetry to deploy; from a handy helmet to some jet-packed boots. It’s all stamped with an assured extreme modern look that gives this film the fun identity you hoped it would have.

‘GOTG’ has a soundtrack of insanely great proportions that relate nicely to Quill as a human with his travelling mixtape, appropriately titled Awesome Mix Vol. 1 that gifts us the sounds of the 70’s and each song ties in with the action it’s played over. Of course there’s the great ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ by Blue Swede but other gems come from David Bowie, Marvin Gaye &Tammi Terrell, The Jackson 5 and The Runaways who have one of the best song-to-scene moments with ‘Cherry Bomb’. It’s a very musically felt film even when a song isn’t blasting through the cinema speakers like some phatboombox-esque disco tune. Peter Quill utilises on the moods of ‘Footloose’, he twinkle toes…quite a fair bit and even uses this knack for such a great way to deal with the enemy, very Han Solo tapping on a Stormtrooper to distract jobby.

Chris Pratt is a great leading man and shines as Star-Lord, seriously no idea? Okay, nevermind, the cockiness is just right, never leaning into proper douchebag territory, he has a great sense of comedic timing clearly picked up from his time in ‘Parks and Recreation’, but there’s a sensibility lurking under the leather and helmet of Quill and Pratt showcases this human emotional side when needed to settle the soaring visuals with hearty story, maybe not huge hearty story mind but hearty enough. Zoe Saldana is a great kick-ass assassin and plays green Gamora with the hit-girl precision, she also keeps Quill in check and turns a corner for him without even meaning to. Bradley Cooper is never seen but is utterly fantastic as the voice of the violent Rocket Raccoon, the furball is cute and somewhat softened by the end but he comes out with insults and lines to crack you up constantly, the funniest thing in the film by far. Stan Lee has a cameo, as per. Karen Gillan has black eyes and blue skin in her most evil role yet and she carries that baddie role well giving long stares into shots to convince you she can do harm, underused as a character and I was saddened that after hype of a great female fight between Saldana and her it feels cut short and not that impressive when it comes down to it. Lee Pace is bulky and very bad as Ronan and booms as the central villain, it’s a great play but this film does side more with the journey of the Guardians leaving the villains with less time to breathe.

The best thing about this film is you can tell the makers had a blast getting this made and so you have a blast watching it. It’s zany and piled to the stars with silly and smart comedy, shining special effects and grand fun. A Jackson Pollack comment says it all for some of the greatly scripted one-liners and the dazzling lights and kindness of Groot’s heart tell you how sweet and sad the film can sometimes be. It succeeds it making you care about the good guys an awful lot and each one gets enough screentime to warrant you liking them all, they’re the new Avengers in a way, more weird but just as easily to get attached to. Heck this film even bangs out a final act more impressive and neatly wrapped up than ‘The Avengers’ managed to achieve.

Mad fun, great sounds and sights can be found in this action filled space adventure. An exhilarating ride that makes you want to go round again and again.

8.5/10