Hilariously Epic Celebrity Photobombs

     s1600_Selfie-StickIn today’s society people are obsessed with pictures. Now there is even an invention called a “selfie stick” yes, this is a real thing. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a damn stick with clamps on the end. I have heard of these things but never thought that anyone in their right mind would ever buy an expensive stick with clamps. But arriving at Disneyland negated my logical thoughts as there were a huge number of groups walking around using their “Selfie sticks.”  And let me tell you, that is a hilarious thing to watch. Continue reading Hilariously Epic Celebrity Photobombs

The Imitation Game: Too Good to Ignore

This week I was ready to post s1600_The-Imitation-Gameyour traditional holiday blog post. I had it almost entirely written and ready to go with lots of cheery feel-good moments to fit the season. This is until I saw a movie that made me scrap that entire post. I know that writing about a World War II period piece movie is not very fitting for the holiday season, but sometimes there are those things that are just so good, that they deserve to be written about and read, regardless of the time of the year.
The Imitation Game-     For those of you who have not heard of this movie, that is not a surprise. Films such as this one do not have big advertising budgets, epic battle scenes, big explosions or superheros. Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with the big budget- Marvel-esque films, quite the contrary, I usually enjoy them immensely. But we seem to then overlook the really well done, well acted, important true stories that some films talk about. The Imitation Game had a limited release because of this reason. We love our true stories that end in heroism. But what about the other, equally important stories? Even with big stars like Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly, the movie was not picked up by a large number of the major theater chains. This, to me, is very upsetting.

     Based on the unbelievably true story, s1600_Kiera-KnightlyBenedict Cumberbatch proves once again why he is Hollywood’s new golden boy as he portrays the brilliant Alan Turning. Turning is the unquestioned premier mathematician of the 20th century. In Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turning, he gives us a peak into a man who is painfully awkward, brilliant, arrogant, rude, lacking in patience and any semblance of understanding of social interaction but also managing, somehow, to be endearing and relatable.
     Alan Turning, was the key player in the cracking of the German Enigma code and it is estimated that his work ended WWII as much as two years earlier saving an estimated 12 million lives. The Imitation GameBenedict-Cumberbatch is a war movie where no battlefields are shown and no guns are fired. It illustrates the important concept that, even in the 1940’s, scientists, engineers, and mathematicians fought on a hidden front that eventually changed the tide of battle. However, Turning also faced moral predicaments associated with his major role in turning the tide of the allied forces. In the end, however, the genius behind all the innovations he made was destroyed by the pettiness of the society that didn’t understand him. The Imitation Game doesn’t hide this dark aspect and it makes the production enthralling, engrossing and sobering.
     In a day and age where we are trying so hard s1600_Alan-Turingto right the wrongs of our past as people and as nations– while still very much reminded by current events how far there is still to go — stories like these need to be seen, remembered and internalized so that we are not blinded by our own shortsightedness of the realities and fragility of  human life. By remembering that embracing our differences and individuality across ethnicity, cultures and genders, regardless of personal belief we could really make some much needed change in this world.five-stars.png
Final Thoughts
The Imitation Game is an extremely well done film. The acting and writing is superb. It has enough humor at appropriate moments to stop the film from being too weighty, but enough seriousness to drive home the important aspects of the movie. Even if you are not fond of history, I would highly recommend that you give this movie a chance. It’s message is important and I promise that if you give it a chance, you won’t regret it.

The Hobbit:The Battle of the Five Armies- The Last Film…Finally

  The-Hobbit For all you Lord of the Rings/Hobbit/J.R.R Tolkien fans out there, this is it. After this, there is nothing more anyone can make regarding this story. Four books and six movies later we have the very last installment of J.R.R Tolkien’s epic set in Middle Earth. This has been a highly anticipated film for me the last few months, but I will confess that I am very glad that I knew what to expect going in to the theaters.
For those fans out there who have read the book, I am sure you know by now that the first two movies have been very different from the original story. This last movie is no different. Though the movie stays true to the major plot points in the book, there has been a TON of subject matter that has been added to the film. My friends call this creative license… I say they just made shit up that they thought would go over well. My advice for this is to compartmentalize the two in your head. Separate the book from the movie completely. The book is a great story on its own, the movie is a great action film on its own, but the moment you try to compare the two, you will hate it. Just approach this film as a quality action movie and you wont have any issues with it.

The vast majority of the film The-Hobbit-Armyis a battle…. hence the name of the movie. If you do not like war movies, then this is not the movie for you! This movie is more battles, more creatures, more not-quite-comical asides, more stern speeches and more elaborate action set pieces. If you have been enjoying “The Hobbit” so far, you’re in for a treat. But if you were hoping for something extra or different this time around-like more plot- then ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ may leave you wanting.

The-Hobbit-Elf-Army   Luckily however, Jackson’s singular talent for massive-scale insanity hasn’t deserted him, and the hour long smackdown that crowns the film gives him ample opportunities to indulge in it. With what feels like a lot more than five armies involved — I counted elves, dwarves, men, orcs, trolls, goblins, eagles, evil bats and weird giant earthworms — it is one of the grandest sequences Jackson has ever shot. And if there is a hint that his imagination is, if possible, even bigger than his special-effects budget – some of the busier shots were a bit murky — that’s perhaps inevitable when you’re working on a bigger scale than any other director has ever attempted.three_half-stars_0.pngThere are flaws in this final film with some overly ambitious effects, being somewhat overwhelmed by its own spectacle. However, with Jackson’s six-film Middle Earth series finally coming to a close, it’s also a fitting tribute to his dedication and ambition as he managed something no other director would even attempt to tackle. The Battle of the Five Armies ends Peter Jackson’s second Middle-Earth trilogy on a satisfying note.

Two Jungle Book Movies to Be Released At the Same Time…Oops!

   Whoever plans films should be fired because things are going to get really confusing really fast. Two movies based on the same story, The Jungle Book, are going to be released less than a year apart from each other. This occasional occurrence is not unheard of to happen in Hollywood. The two separate instances that come to mind are- White House Down/ Olympus Has Fallen (both movies about terrorists taking over the White House. Both released at the same time). The second one- I distinctly remember that myself, along with friends and family were very confused by this one- The Prestige/ The Illusionist (both movies about magicians in the early 1900’s).
     These Jungle Book films are going to be far worse because it is the exact same story. The other movies I mentioned were distinctly similar- same plots-ish but at least they had different titles and had different characters. These Jungle Book films will have the exact same main characters and very similar stories no doubt. Imagine someone trying to talk about these movies…
 
     Person 1: Hey, do you want to go see the new Jungle Book movie?
     Person 2: Wait, which one?
     Person 1: Ya, know. The new one.
     Person 2: Which new one? Because I want to see the Warner Brothers one… Not the Disney one.
     Person 1: Wait… What?! Which one is that?

See how that could get confusing?
Apparently they are planning on clearing this up by naming the films completely different things. One is going to be called “The Jungle Book” and the other “The Jungle Book: Origins.” Aaaah, yes. That is all cleared up now. So instead what appears to be happening is that each movie is trying to “out star” the other one. It seems each film is trying to collect the biggest names in the business to distinguish their movie.

Disney:

Director: Jon Favreau, best known for the Iron Man films.
Mowgli: Neel Sethi, an adorable newbie.
Shere Khan: Idris Elba, best known for his roles in Thor and Pacific Rim.
Baloo: Bill Murray, best known for Ghostbusters, Ground Hog Day and crashing parties in Brooklyn (also if you don’t know who he is, we cannot be friends).
King Louie: Christopher Walken, best known for Deer Hunter, Catch Me if You Can and “more cowbell.”
Kaa: Scarlett Johansson, best known for kicking ass as Black Widow in various different Marvel films and We Bought a Zoo.
Bagheer: Ben Kingsley, who’s best known for being Gandhi in Gandhi, Enders Game and Iron Man3.
Raksha: Lupita Nyong’o, best known for 12 Years a Slave.

———————————————————————————————————
Warner Bros.
Director: Andy Serkis, best known for being Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and the new Planet of the Apes films, is making his directorial debut.
Mowgli: Rohan Chand, best known for his role in Bad Words.
Shere Khan: Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for playing Sherlock and making the internet go freaking crazy (including me, I feel not shame over this).
Baloo: Serkis, again.
Begheera: Christian Bale, best known for playing Batman.
Kaa: Cate Blanchett, best known for playing Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings and Elizabeth in Elizabeth.
Nisha: Naomie Harris, best known for playing Moneypenny in Skyfall and Winnie Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

So with all the big names both studios have collected it looks like a good ole fashioned show down between Disney and Warner Brothers. I guess we will just have to wait and see who comes out on top.

Obligatory Valentines Day Post

Initially I was not going to do a blog post related to this holiday but I was informed by a blogger friend that I would be remiss if I did not. Most people have pretty strong feelings about Valentines day; they either love it or they hate it. I do not fit into either one of these camps, I think it can be nice but I also do not care about it much. For this, my required blogpost about Valentines day, I saw a couple internet cards (dealing with entertainment) I thought would be worth sharing.

 —————————————————————————————————-

I Waited 2 Years For 3 Episodes…

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the season premiere of the BBC television show Sherlock. There were a few things I noticed that were a bit unusual for the precedent they had set in the previous seasons up to that point in the show, but I was not concerned for the episodes going forward. Now that I have seen all three episodes in the season (yes, there are only 3 episodes a season) I feel like I can give an accurate and true critique of the newest season.

I want to start out by saying that I enjoy this show and I thought the new season was good. It is well done with flawless acting. With that said (please Sherlock fandom do not jump down my throat, just let me explain myself) I thought this season was not as good as the previous 2. For those of you who have not seen the new season, never fear, I will not reveal anything about any of the episode plots, this is just an overall season critique.

In season three of Sherlock everything is bigger. The story-lines are bigger, the villains are bigger, even the cinematography is bigger and more in your face. The plots couldn’t be straight forward, everything had to be a trick or misleading or treacherous. Now, I am not trying to say that bigger is bad, a Chipotle burrito is better than a Taco Bell burrito cause it is bigger. But in this case, I thought the “bigger” aspect was very hit and miss. This season tried to be more “in your face” about most things, more so than it had been before. The humor and the action was more overt than previously. There were times where the writers rested on their laurels and depended too much on their built-in fan-base to pull them through some of the less than thought out scene sequences. This show got high viewership extremely quickly, with EXTREMELY dedicated fans. But with this season it felt like they didn’t repay the viewership with the same caliber of writing as with the previous 2 seasons. In this season, as opposed to before, the cinematography was big and flashy, every scene had something dramatic about it whether that is color distortion or a whole lot of slow motion. This ended up doing a disservice to themselves as in previous episodes the cinematic work is what made their show so beautiful and subtly brilliant.
 

  However, even disregarding everything I’ve written previously, the biggest irritation of mine from the recent three episodes is the sudden change in behavior from Sherlock and Watson. Sherlock and Watson’s basic characteristics are still the same apart from one. All of a sudden they are both very emotionally open with each other, sharing feelings and emotions several times an episode, and Sherlock has become very playful. Although most fans probably saw nothing wrong with this, in fact I know all the young teen girls just drooled about the feelings orgy going on,  it felt very off to me. Sherlock’s character is supposed to be someone who does not relate well with others, even Watson. He doesn’t have this sudden character development that makes him more relate-able. The other day a friend of mine argued with me that it was “off screen character development.” That is obviously what the show is trying to sell it as, but the big hitch with this argument is that Sherlock is unique, brilliant and hilarious because he doesn’t have this character development. He is a high functioning sociopath… he isn’t supposed to be related to (by most people).  
 
With all of that said, I want to reiterate the point that this show is still great. I enjoyed watching the episodes and I did appreciate what they were able to accomplish. The only difference is that I think the first two seasons are fantastic, but season three is still very good.

Some Seriously Messed Up Shit

Drugs, adultery, alcohol, incest, divorce, violence and death. No this isn’t the content of a rap song, it is all in the movie August: Osage County. This film is heavy from start to finish. If you have issues with hearing lots of swearing and racial slurs then you will not be able to handle this movie. August: Osage County is supposed to be ugly, gritty, rough and uncomfortable and it accomplishes all of these goals.
August: Osage County is about a family with more problems than any one person could possibly imagine happening at the same time in one family. The movie starts out by showing the audience that the matriarch of the family is addicted to prescription drugs and the patriarch is a (non-violent) alcoholic. From this starting point things go down hill from here.

The film gets rolling when Beverly (the father figure) goes missing and his three daughters return to their home in Oklahoma. What they discover when they all return are secrets, dysfunction, addiction and death. It is later discovered that Beverly (father) has killed himself. Normally when a funeral takes place, family usually bonds together in an attempt to get through the great loss. In this movie however, after the funeral is when the real fun begins. Meryl Streep (mother) starts what she calls “truth telling” that night after the funeral at the dinner table. It is at this time where she starts airing everyone’s dirty laundry at the table in the most venomous, malicious way possible. She is high at the time, as she is through most of the movie, as she goes down the line verbally attacking each person there, blood relation or not. In particular she has it out for her oldest daughter Barbara (played by Julia Roberts) as Violet (mother) has never gotten over the abandonment of Barbara moving away from home. The dinner is ended when Julia Roberts launches herself across the table, tackling her mother in an attempt to wrestle a bottle of prescription drugs out of her hands….. yep, this is the kind of movie this is.  
   

This film is dark, it’s heavy but it is also oddly funny as well. I know it sounds strange that a movie dealing with such big, tough topics would be funny, but it is. The humor is very dry and usually dark, but it is still fairly humorous a lot of the time. The acting in this movie is off the charts, hell, it broke the damn chart. I do not think any better cast could have been chosen to fill these roles. I saw a side of Julia Roberts that I have not seen in a movie in a long time and it was awesome. This movie delivered the raw look and feel that so many movies avoid today. These actors didn’t look or behave put together or fancy, it felt real, gritty and tough; and I believed it. The biggest issue I had with this production was the end. The movie gets to a critical point for every single character individually, there is this huge build up, then the movie ends. I absolutely HATE that! There is zero resolution for any of the characters. I got so involved and intrigued that I want to know what happened to them!!

This film is good, but only for an older audience. Do not take your kids. It is definitely worth seeing, but you might as well wait for the dollar theater.

Completely Superficial

Welcome back my beautiful angel faces. For this weeks blog I want to catch you up on a few things that have been happening in the world of actors/ movies. I am super stoked because tomorrow the film “August Osage County” comes out. Now, you may watch, or have seen, this trailer and think “This movie doesn’t seem like my kind of thing.” Now, that may be totally true, this film deals with some heavy stuff, but it accomplishes this in an oddly comical way. Family can be ugly and messy but funny at the same time, so I would qualify this as a “dark” comedy and something that I am sure we can all relate to. At this moment you may be wondering how I know what happens in this film before it has been released in theaters. The answer to this is that, I read. This movie is originally a play which I read a little while ago. Another reason that I am super stoked for this new film is the cast for it. Holy Crap is it an awesome cast! Only to name a few big names in this film, there is Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Durmot Mulroney and Abigail Breslin. So, within the next week if all goes according to plan I will have a write up of how the movie turned out.

On a heavy note, there was a very sad event that took place just over a week ago on New Years Eve. James Avery, best known for his role as “Uncle Phil” on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air passed away due to complications that arose from his open heart surgery. Avery can also be remembered (to those of us who are a little older) as the voice of “Shredder” on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

Crap You May Have Missed 
The 40th annual People’s Choice Awards took place tonight. In this semi-useless award show there seems to be awards and categories for just about everything. I am actually pretty surprised that the big nominated stars show up for this thing. Some of the notable winners tonight were Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Hudson and Sandra Bullock, who took home three People’s Choice awards. 

Deduce This: The Empty Hearse- BBC Sherlock’s Newest Season

(No Spoilers!)
     For those of you who have been living in a hole for the last 4 years, you may not have heard of a little BBC, British television program called ‘Sherlock’. This show is obviously about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (as can be deduced by the title of the show). Although there have been many versions and portrayals of Sherlock Holmes in recent years including brilliant performances by Robert Downey Jr. and an American Television show where Lucy Liu portrays a groundbreaking Watson. The BBC television show has captured the attention of the world and catapulted its two leading men into immediate fame and stardom. 

In case you are one of the few who have in fact been living in a hole (or if you are like my sister and
purposefully have not watched it just to say that she hasn’t) and haven’t seen Sherlock I will do my best to give a brief synopsis of what makes it so great. When I first watched this show I did not think I would like it, in fact I was sure that I wouldn’t because I am a big fan of the books and I had heard that the show had taken Sherlock and shifted the story into the modern world. Sherlock and Watson are texting and Googling stuff, I just did not think that the story could, or should be modernized. However, to my great surprise the show worked amazingly well being taken into the modern age and the writers had obviously done their homework, keeping each episode very true to the books that they were based on. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock, an unrepentant, snarky, fast talking, self proclaimed high functioning sociopath. Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit) is John Watson, the level headed and socially conscious one of the duo.

     For those lucky bastards in England who legally viewed the newest episode of Sherlock on Wednesday night, their American cousins had to find less savory methods of watching it. In one way or another I was able to see the first episode of the new season and I have to say that I have mixed feelings about it.
Audiences were left at the end of last season wondering how Sherlock was able to fake his death after jumping off the roof of Saint Bart’s Hospital. The episode starts out with Sherlock groupies trading theories as to how they hope he could still be alive after the jump. The audience is then showed some of what Sherlock has actually been up to before he returns to London. This episode deals with how John copes with Sherlock’s return, introducing John’s new woman as well as a new baddie.

     Although this episode does eventually explain how Sherlock survived the jump (at the very end) there were some aspects of this first installment of season 3 that felt off and out of character for the show. In this first episode it seemed as if the writers changed Sherlock’s personality a little, he was far more cheery and congenial to those around him even openly playful and smiley. Though this is not necessarily a bad thing it does feel very much out of place and out of character based on everything prior in the show. There were also moments where it seemed as if the show was playing directly to the fan-girls, giving them real image fodder to use in place of all the fan-art that has been created the last few years.
So What?!   
            This episode is a decent one. It serves its purpose in bringing back Sherlock and explaining his survival while setting up the baddie in the upcoming episodes. Though there were some odd inconsistencies with this particular one, I am not worried about the quality for the upcoming two.

Caffeine is Going to be the Death of Me- Dragon Fire and Ruin, The Desolation of Smaug


I drank so much caffeine today in my preparation for the midnight premiere of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, that it is now 4:40 in the morning after the movie and I am still wired. So I figured that while I am still up and have the movie fresh in my mind, I might as well write about it. 
 I would like to take a second to voice a quick warning. These movies are based on a very short book, meant for children, written by J.R.R Tolkien as somewhat of a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Because of the brevity of the actual book, Peter Jackson has added material into these movies that are not found in the book itself, The Hobbit. So if you are a Hobbit purist, brace yourself.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:
As most of you know this movie is part 2 of a three part movie series which covers (the very short book) The Hobbit. The first movie ended with the company of dwarves, a hobbit and a wizard getting near their end destination which is the Lonely Mountain where King Thorin hopes to take back his homeland from the dragon Smaug. It is at this point that the film picks up to start part 2. The movie begins fast, and keeps that same quick storytelling pace, pretty much, throughout the entire thing. 

The Second installment of Peter Jackson’s the Hobbit is long, over 2 1/2 hours, so if you are going to go see this movie, make sure you carve out the proper half day needed to do it. Though, as I mentioned earlier, there are changes in the movie, even the seemingly sacrilegious addition of the elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom) – a character from “The Lord of the Rings” – feels sinfully good. So does the outright invention of a female elf character named Tauriel. Though some may be upset with these additions, they certainly do not hurt and are actually pretty damn cool in the movie. I appreciate the She-Elf character addition by Peter Jackson, as a strong female character in this story was badly needed. Someone needed to break up this sausage fest a little!

This movie starts right off the bat with a pulse-pounding — and yes, always photogenic — chase scene. Mere seconds in, we watch a pack of bloodthirsty orcs pursue our hobbit hero and his dwarf companions over the Misty Mountains — where, as you will recall, we last left them. After that rousing curtain-raiser, the movie follows the protagonists through a number of obstacles standing between them and their assault on the Lonely Mountain, the dwarves’ ancestral home. First, the company must pass through the enchanted forest of Mirkwood, where they tussle with giant CGI spiders. Next, they’re imprisoned in the stronghold of the woodland elves before reaching the Lonely Mountain containing a surprisingly intelligent dragon. (Who know dragons were smart?) The voice (performed by Benedict Cumberbatch) and appearance of Smaug is very impressive. He looks and sounds pretty damn creepy, they did a great job on the dragon. Everyone prepare yourselves through, this movie ends on a MASSIVE cliffhanger.
SO WHAT?! — This film is far and away better than the first one, it is action packed, a little creepy at times, but also containing plenty of humor. The visual effects of this movie were very impressive and the actors in the film did an amazing job! If you like action movies (and you have seen the first installment of this series) I would definitely recommend this film as a must see!!