Resident Evil: The Final Chapter & Retrospective

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter hit theaters last week and Joy and I took a Friday afternoon off to complete the series. This movies has all sorts of problems between trying to have it make sense in respect to the movies that came before it, having it work as a stand alone movie, and trying to tie up any questions that might have been left out in the previous movies. To find out more of what i think of the movie, and see how i rank all the movies in the series, read on.


Captain America – The Winter Soldier

Sunday evening we had an unexpected opportunity to get out when we visited Joy’s cousins and they were more than happy to watch Alice for us. We were a little hesitant but they insisted, so we went out to Burbank 16 to watch Captain America – The Winter Soldier. The last movie we were able to watch in theaters was The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug back in December, so being out by ourselves was a nice change of pace.

To sum up the movie without giving anything away i thought it was the best Marvel Universe movie out so far. The plot held up on its own without necessarily watching any other Marvel movies, the characters and villains of the movies didn’t come out of left field, and the flow of the movie was consistent.


Frozen – Two Too Many Songs

Tuesday was a hectic day. The previous days the kid had been crying and spitting up more than usual so joy made an appointment in the afternoon for her to see her pediatrician, but i also had a eye exam in the early afternoon, and of course had to go to work to take care of some things. We ended up at my parents house where i finished up my work and my mom offered to watch Alice so we could get away and catch a movie for Discount Tuesdays at the mall.

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I heard good things about Frozen, and wasn’t in the right mood to watch Hunger Games. I wasn’t really sure what the premise of the movie was, and i was pleasantly surprised about the story arc and conclusion of the movie. I couldn’t place a name to the voices of the characters, and was surprised that it was Kristen Bell was actually the voice of Anna and did her singing as well. The side kicks of the movie, Sven and Olaf, were your typical lovable comedy relief, which helped lighten the mood between the more intense scenes of the movie.

It wouldn’t be a Disney movie without a bunch of musical pieces, but as much as i liked the first half of the movie’s songs, the second half really took away from the flow of the movie.


The Wolverine

The Wolverine is the last of the summer super hero blockbuster movies. Visually this movie was very well done, but the story line was a bit lacking in my opinion. I can imagine that it would be difficult to follow if you haven’t watched a plethora of different movies considering that The Wolverine is not a sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), but a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).

 

Spoilers from here on out

 

What did i like?

Wolverine_yukioI liked the actress/model that they casted to play Yukio (). She was actually able to stand on her own acting/fighting next to Hugh Jackman.

What didn’t i like?

Wolverine-ViperAs much as i liked Yukio, i didn’t care for the Viper character (). She felt dry, and didn’t seem to impart any character into the character. The outfit that she wore at the end of the movie really didn’t make sense for me either, and as much as i like my share of cleavage, it actually took away from the scene.

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Just like in Iron Man 3, I think they did a disservice by re-imagining the Silver Samurai they way they did. They basically took away everything that originally made the character special and turned into cgi character added to be killed too quickly.

 


Despicable Me 2

Its very rare when i’m actually excited about a sequel to a movie than the original, but somehow Despicable Me 2 did it. Its one of those rare “cute” movies where i didn’t feel like it was going to be full of cringe worthy moments and for the most part i was correct on my assumptions. It was definitely moving towards the top of the best movies for this summer and i would recommend to go see it even as an adult.

Spoilers from here on out

 

What did i like?

Despicable-Me-2-despicable-me-minions

Minions. Minions. Minions. It makes perfect sense that they’re getting their own movie next year. Even if you don’t understand them, the animators did a great job getting the point across with the non-verbal cues.

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I liked the progression of Gru, and the girls developed, and especially the scenes where his neighbor tries to set him up with her girl friends.

Despicable-Me-2-minions-2

I finally understood the movie previews that included the minions in the pre-show messaging about being quiet, and turning off your phone.

What didn’t i like?

Despicable-Me-2-El-Macho3Really the only part that i didn’t like in the movie was the last 10 minutes of the movie after they stop El Macho evil minions that he injects himself with the same purple serum to become a super powerful bad guy. This has been the same plot for all super hero movies as The Incredible Hulk or even Iron Man.

 


The Heat

Its been a busy summer for movies, and we’ve seen a lot so far, so i’m happy that Joy found out that all Regal Cinemas have Discount Tuesdays at all locations so last week we went to the Rolling Hills Promenade Regal 13 for an early evening showing of the Heat. Joy is a new Melissa McCarthy fan, and a long time Sandra Bullock fan so she really wanted to watch this movie, while i was only so so about it. I’m going to keep this review short, because its one of those movies where you’ll find on TV randomly and just end up watching it over and over again.

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Overall i enjoyed the movie, it has a pretty traditional plot line, with two opposite types coming together to solve a problem, fail, and come back to succeed with jokes about each other the whole way through.

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Sandra obviously plays the straight laced FBI agent, and Melissa the rough and street wise Boston PD officer, and their conflict of styles don’t mix until the end where they learn valuable lessons from each other. Basically if you liked Sandra in The Proposal, then you’ll enjoy this movie, because its the same movie, just in a different setting.


A Movie and a Cemetery

Last month Tiffany and Ben invited us to Cinespia showing of The Princess Bride. If you don’t know Cinespia uses the Hollywood Cemetery as a backdrop to show classic movies. I thinks its a bit morbid, but at the same time its a thing to do in Los Angeles now a days.

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Its was a fun experience and amazing how many people they get in there to watch next to someone’s headstone. We arrived about 30 minutes before they opened the gate and still ended up sitting all the way back and slightly to the left of the screen. You can see how many people showed up before we did in the picture above.

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You’re allowed to bring in your own food, and drinks so its kind of like the Hollywood bowl, and you can see how serious some people take it as they would bring tables, electric candles and lots of wine. We on the other hand brought some Godmother sandwiches from Bay Cities, Fried chicken, and not enough blankets. By the time the movie gets going the temperature dropped below 70° and if you’re sitting still can get really cold.

hollywood-forever-movie-4I was afraid that i was going to struggle to see the screen from where we were sitting, but i actually thought it was fine, and didn’t even doze off for a second like i probably would’ve any other time.

10 Tips for Movies at the Hollywood Cemetery:

  1. Buy your tickets ahead of time because they will sell out
  2. Bring blankets to mark your space and for warmth, you never know how cold it will get
  3. People love smoking pot in a cemetery
  4. Bring wet-naps to clean up if you don’t want to head to the port-o-potties
  5. Get there early because traffic can be a nightmare
  6. Don’t forget your bottle opener
  7. Bring a flashlight so you can walk in the dark after the movie is over
  8. Parking in the cemetery is the closest, but parking at the Paramount structure is probably faster
  9. You have to wait until it gets completely dark before the show starts so bring stuff to kill time if you bring kids
  10. You’ll be blanket to blanket to people sitting next to you so relax and have fun

World War Z – the movie

World War Z is still one of my favorite books that i pick up to read random chapters at any time. When i heard they were making a movie out of it, i was initially excited for it, then scared that they would mess it up. I found hope again when I found out that Brad Pitt is one of my favorite actors and i’m usually pretty happy in any movie that he’s in.

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The biggest worry is that the actual book doesn’t have a storyline but more individual accounts by different people around the world to highlight the progression of the Zombie Apocalypse so i knew that the flow of the movie wouldn’t mirror the book, but i only hoped that they took the basic elements that Max Brooks forms about Zombies and applied them to the movie.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. I thought the flow of the movie was continuous and cycled through the tense parts along with the story telling quite evenly. The surprising factor was the lack of gore and all the attack scenes are done from afar. The only real cringe factor is when they’re scene from the other side of a fence or window. The other funny parts were those awkward moments that everyone in the audience knew was about to happen and everyone gasps or quietly says No! to themselves.

 

Time for the spoilers!

So what worked?

world-war-z-family

I thought the direction that they went with how they got from point A to point B was a pretty good way to get around having to back track to the very beginning. The point of getting into a movie like this is having to imagine yourself in a normal day’s situation when all of the sudden hell breaks loose. Then transitioning from a normal situation to going on a quest to solve the problem is the tricky part. I’m glad Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) wasn’t a retired military man or someone with extensive training but a UN representative who had some knowledge of survival.

world-war-z-redroom

 

Life in World War Z is pretty tough right in the get go, so being able to improvise was a key factor that I thought got pulled off really well. This goes back to the Zombie Survival Guide that started off my Zombie genre fascination and this movie actual brought in things that i’ve never read about but thought, thats really interesting.

Going into the movie i knew there were going to be jumpy moments, but i’m glad the whole movie wasn’t one big fright fest where they would focus more on the Zombies than on the storyline.

So what didn’t work?

world-war-z-segen

I know that most movies need a happy ending to succeed because people hate watching failure, but somethings just happened all too conveniently  that just made yourself say “yeah right!”

world-war-z-wallThe zombies in the beginning of the movie were very individualistic in terms of their actions, but towards the end of the movie became a little too pack animal like. It seemed like their movements got sped up to create more drama, and their instincts became a little too thoughtful to really go along with theory of movement from hunger.

 


Monsters University

The original Monsters Inc. ranks in the top 3 of Pixar movies so i was pretty excited last year when i saw preview images of MU, Monsters University. Now a days if things are on the internet are for reals or just some fan fiction or a real prequel. The movie did not disappoint even though i began to hear rumblings that it wasn’t going to be a good movie. It was definitely better than Cars 2, with a plot that didn’t feel stretched out just to make the movie to be longer.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITYSpoilers Ahead!

 

So what worked?

monsters-univ-randall

I liked seeing Mike and Sully back again, especially as nemesis. It was also interesting to see how they worked Randall into the story to flow into Monsters Inc. I was interested in seeing how they would move him from being a nerdy kid into the evil genius that he eventually becomes.

monsters-univ-rorThe movie’s main plot is a basic underdog type of movie, with a bunch of lovable yet uniquely skilled cast of misfits. I liked though at the end it wasn’t a revenge of the nerds type ending where they overcome the big bad frats and become champions per se.

So what didn’t work?

monsters-university-prank
I wish they did make more of a point of them being in college because it was only really shown through fast paced transition scenes. I know they wanted to keep the flow of the movie to the plot but for once i wish there were a few more side scenes to mimic college life.

That was really just about it, with a run time of 1 hr. 35 min. it was one of the shorter movies we’ve seen this summer (my bladder appreciated it) and it was a good movie for the entire time where i didn’t feel like i needed to slap my forehead in frustration.


Man of Steel – Again

For Father’s Day i pre-bought tickets for the Beach Cities Arclight to take my dad in the afternoon. He was pretty happy with going to such a nice theater since he’s used to going to the UA Los Cerritos Galaxy $5 Tuesday  special. I bought the tickets early enough to get dead center middle seats and didn’t have to stress about getting to the theater early.

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Overall the movie was good and if you enjoyed Batman Begins then you’ll enjoy the Man of Steel. I’ve never been much of a Superman fan, i think he just has way too many powers and really struggles way more then he should. Besides my own biases i did think they did a good job of exploring Superman’s upbringing and discoveries of his super powers nicely.

Spoilers ahead!


The Hangover Part III – The Revenge of Chow

The Revenge of Chow is was what the sub-heading of the movie title should have been. The movie has been panned by critics and i was worried it was going to be a duplicate of the second movie, all about memory loss and recollecting those into some sort of half baked storyline. To my surprise, it didn’t play out like that at all and it think I enjoyed it. Its a very heavy Chow centric movie with the guys having to travel from LA to Tijuana and back to Vegas to end the series.

Bradley-Cooper-Zach-Galifianakis-Ken-Jeong-Ed-Helms-the-hangover-part-3

The movie is kind of like Olive Garden where when you go as a teenager you’re amazed by the unlimited soup, salad & breadsticks , but as you enter your 20s you find that the food is corporate and unimaginative, and finally later on in life you realize that you really do enjoy their soup, salad and breadsticks and thats enough for you to go back.

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The same thing goes for this movie where in the first movie you find the characters charming, hilarious and compassionate. The second movie tries for the big laughs via its physical humor, and sense that the writers aren’t even trying. In this movie as the finale you realize that the story line really doesn’t matter, and its the characters that you should be enjoying the whole time. Plus it doesn’t hurt to add in Melissa McCarthy to the gang.

Spoilers ahead!