Monday, May 08, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Action 2017)

I think this movie was better than the first one. I certainly enjoyed the banter much more than the original. The movie was just more of the same but that 'more' can be seen as a good, mindless fun. This is totally one of those films where you turn off your brain and just watch for some humor and silliness. The story itself probably wasn't as good as the first but the situational dialog made up for it.
Rating - B

Friday, April 28, 2017

Battle for Sevastopol (War Drama 2015)

So I started watching some Amazon Prime flicks lately and this one popped up as something that looked interesting. It's a Russian/Ukrainian war drama about a female sniper back in WWII. I've seen a few films from this era from the Russian side of the war and I'd say it was about average compared to all of the others.

One thing Russian filmmakers haven't gotten down, much like Chinese filmmakers, is how to make good transitions and how not to make it look like they are obviously trying to shove more plot within a very limited amount of time. When directors do this, movies seem to be rushed, choppy, and don't flow well.

As a story it was OK, but it had its downsides all over the place. I think with a different screenplay and director it could've been much better.
Rating - C

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast (Disney Musical 2017)

So this remake was OK. I liked how they added some scenes to add to the basis of the story, but the songs were better in the cartoon so it's a toss up as to which one was overall batter. I'm a nostalgic person so I'm still leaning towards the cartoon.

I suppose it's worth watching once but it's more of a airplane movie as there was nothing that really stood out. CG is nice but yeah it lacked a lot of spirit and character; too artificial I guess.
Rating - C

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Kong: Skull Island (Action 2017)

Eh, it was OK for a monster flick I suppose, but nothing really out of the ordinary. A lot of the characters were utterly worthless and were just filler, but the primaries sorta made it happen. Samuel L. Jackson seems to play the same crazy main character in all of his films, so it's hard to separate out movies from the actor. There was this crazy scene with a tree spider and yeah, no thanks, but that was well done.

Overall not really worth a theater watch, but I did so anyways.
Rating - C

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Collateral Beauty (Drama 2016)

This movie was fair but very predictable. The acting was top-notch as you can probably tell from the cast, but I think the story itself was lacking and didn't flow too well. The movie is a great candidate for one that would be shown on an airplane; that was the feel I got from it while watching it.

The pace was slow and a bit boring, but it wasn't a bad film. It could've been better if they did more to it, but I think the director wanted it to resonate in a specific way. Anyway it's renter if you're interested.
Rating - C

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Magnificent Seven (Action 2016)

This movie was entertaining enough for a Western action flick. I can always watch anything set in the West for some reason...dunno why. I don't like six shooters or horses or wearing dirty hats but yeah it's one of those things.

The film's plot was reminiscent of Seven Samurai which was a good old school flick, so you pretty much know what you're getting. 7 peeps helping out a town and taking out waves of baddies. Mindless shooting everywhere.
Rating - C

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Logan (Action Drama 2017)

Yeah this movie is not your run-of-the-mill X-Men film...it was raw, deep, and a bit depressing. The movie was a drama through and through although it had a lot of violence as well. It takes Wolverine and Xavier through a very focused timeline that I never read about; perhaps it was never in a comic...I'll research that later. It actually contained a lot of serious topics like immigration, science ethics, aging, and purpose. Hugh Jackman should get a friggin' award for his acting though; that man is Wolverine.

Anyhoo, not much else to say other than it was a really good movie, but I probably wouldn't want to see it a second time. Some deeper movies make it into this category; sorta like requiem.
Rating - A

Patriots Day (Drama 2016)

I'm not really sure why so many of these types of movies exist. They are merely dramatized versions of historical events of significance, but people seem to want to watch them? Do folks out there really need to watch a movie about an event in order to understand what happened? I think it would be more interesting to read the raw details vs watching a movie since it kinda goes into the area of entertainment, but evidently people do like the movie-version of things.

So this movie is just like Deepwater Horizon or United 93. I dunno how much pertaining to the characters is true, but yeah... Was it good for a movie? Sure it was ok, but the whole time I kept on thinking that I already watched it since I read about the whole thing when it happened.
Rating - C

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Moonlight (Drama 2016)

Best picture, really? Eh...I don't know about that. This movie was a slow one...very very slow. It followed around this kid through 3 major phases in his life and then the movie just ended.

The artistic style was there in terms of the storytelling but I didn't really feel it ya know? This kid had a hard time growing up and then he eventually became a man who was kinda damaged and closeted. OK that sucks. Anything else? No, here is an Oscar for you. Maybe I missed something but I don't think I did.

The film didn't invoke any emotions or deep conversation; it was just a drawn out story of a dude and his unfortunate life.
Rating - C

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Underworld: Blood Wars (Action 2016)

This one didn't feel like a real movie...it was just like how one would think of another Underworld film...fast, shiny, and barely any story. I remember the first one to be loads of fun but that was many years ago. I watched this a few weeks ago and yeah I can barely remember anything that happened.

They referenced the old movies, there was some Werewolf leader, some Vamp Council, and the cold North of Europe...that's pretty much about it. This is something that can play in the background while you're cleaning the house during the summer on the weekend; that's how much you don't need to be paying attention to it.

Sucks that Kate Beckinsale isn't getting better gigs.
Rating - D

Moana (Disney Animated 2016)

Well this Disney movie was OK. The animation was up to par and it still felt like a Disney flick so I'll give it that. I didn't like the moving tattoos on The Rock's character...too reminiscent of Disney animation back in the early 2000s when they sucked. The main character's nose was a little too pronounced as well..I don't think Pacific Islanders look like that. Music was OK but the main song won't catch on and sell well. Eh, not too impressed but still not that bad.
Rating - C

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hidden Figures (Drama 2016)

I got to get a TV or something since I didn't even know that this movie was a thing before hearing about it at work. This one followed the life of 3 NASA workers who so happened to be black women during the Civil Rights Era in the US. Interesting premise and base for a story...let's continue.

So everything you'd expect from a plot like this is exactly what you'll receive. Lots of racism, workplace issues, gender issues, etc. It does suck that peeps had to go through all of these hardships even though they were all educated and fairly smart in Math/Physics. The whole segregated bathroom thing would've drove me bonkers.

Although this movie was generally good, two scenes really stood out that sorta bothered me. In one scene Taraji P. Henson exploded to her super when questioned about her whereabouts. I thought this whole scene was poignant, yet way too overacted since a real person back in the day in this type of work environment wouldn't have done that and had gotten away with it. Hell nobody would get away with it these days even if the super was somehow in the wrong, so the fact that she did that and was able to keep her job was astounding and unbelievable.

The second scene was when another character was caught running jobs on a newly-installed IBM mainframe. This is a blatant breach of physical IT Security and I also don't think that would be tolerated in a government facility back in the day. I get how you gotta stretch a little to get things done, but no way should a person be rewarded for tinkering with, making punch cards, and running programs with Fortran without prior authorization. I get it...she would never have been given the chance to prove herself or display her skill because of the time/era and her race/gender, but still...it was the wrong move and would totally get you axed from a position in the real world.

I'm guessing those scenes can be categorized into Hollywood sensationalism in order to tell a story, but yeah I think they could've handled it a bit better and in a more believable fashion. Nevertheless, the movie was good and the end felt a bit like Apollo 13, minus the epic music.
Rating - B

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Passengers (Sci-Fi 2016)

You know, even though many reviews for this movie were less than stellar, I got to say that it really wasn't that bad. I actually liked it and I felt that it was fairly realistic with regards to the characters' emotions and actions in relation to the story.

I'm a sucker for Sci-Fi colonization films though, since there are so few of them as a genre, but and I'm glad it only had a handful of characters in it since you get more time to delve into the minds of primaries. The story wasn't deep though, it was kinda vanilla in what what did happen so nothing out of left field there. The special effects were good, but we've seen it all before for the past 15 years or so. The music and atmosphere were as expected, but yeah overall it was a fun film to watch.

I would totally pay money to have a room in my house that looked like one of the spaceship living quarters; the small, grey one not the fancy loft one...it looks so damn efficient and sterile. Anyway, I thought the movie was alright and it's worth a watch for any Sci-Fi fan.
Rating - B

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Great Wall (Fantasy Action 2016)

As anyone could've expected, this movie was super campy. The mobs reminded me of the baddies in Starship Troopers; numerous, uninteresting, and pure CG. The Chinese army part of the movie was what one could expect from anything coming from over there, think Hero. The sections with the three English speakers was as expected, but totally artificial as well. A weird combination to say the least.

The beginning of this movie (first 10 min) was kinda cool for an intro, setting up the characters, soldiers, and environment and such, but it quickly went downhill from there. It had almost zero character development, you didn't get to really know any of the primaries, Matt Damon had this weird accent that I still cannot place, and Pedro Pascal was just comic relief. It was totally like they wrote a Chinese movie, was later told that they had to integrate foreigners into it, then were told to cut down on the run-time, then decided to drop everything pertaining to development and redirect all remaining funds to CG.

When the film ended it wasn't as crappy as I thought it would be, but it still teetered on the lame end of things and was a 'not all that well' put together movie. One interesting fact is that this was the most expensive movie filmed over in China? Odd...I really don't know where all that money went since 90% was CG. Their workers can't get paid that well.
Rating - C

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Arrival (Sci-Fi Drama 2016)

So this movie was way more Contact-esque than your average Sci-Fi flick. It really tried to be deeper than I was expecting which is a good thing I suppose.

All the characters were pretty forgetful as was the story. I thought it was pretty plain for a plot, but it wasn't necessarily bad either. I just wasn't excited about what was happening and the ending was kinda a blur.
Rating - C

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Manchester by the Sea (Drama 2016)

This is one of those slower dramas that doesn't have too much plot, but instead it's all character based. That being said, I'm pretty impressed with this Casey Affleck person, as his acting stood out as being top-notch.

Besides that though the movie was slow...like something that you'd see on an airplane slow. Lots of long-shots, driving, waiting, silence, etc. You really have to be immersed in what's going on in order to fully enjoy it. Still a good movie though, but nothing super award winning. I think it got nominated for a few Oscars but yeah, besides the main actor one, it was just OK in the rest of the categories.
Rating - B

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Plantronics BackBeat Fit

So this Bluetooth headset is on sale at Costco right now. I think it was around $70, so I jumped on it since it seemed like a good deal. As you could've predicted, they've been returned.

So this is a run-of-the-mill Bluetooth headset. I didn't try the calling feature to test out the mic, but I did listen to music and work-out with them on. They're OK but nothing great. One side of the earbud things didn't fit too well and it only came with one size of nubs. After you take off the rubber piece you'll see the actual speaker and it seemed to be glued together haphazardly with no real quality in place. That pretty much did it for me right there. I'd rather get my money back. I did glance online that you can get different nubs for the ears and it will make for a better fit, but really, there are better quality brands out there if you spend a bit more scrilla. Who needs mediocre things if you can afford $20 more or so.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Huawei Honor 5x

So earlier this month I started having problems with my Galaxy S6 and incorrectly assumed that it was going bad. Long story short with that chestnut, there seems to be a pesky "Enhanced LTE Services" setting that appeared after a recent software update that will jack up regular calls and prevent you from hearing the other end. If you turn off the feature under "Mobile Data", all will go back to normal.

But anyways, I thought my phone was dying so I rush researched something cheap to get me by. I picked this Honor 5x since it had some good reviews online, but yeah...no bueno for me. I only owned the phone for 2 days before returning it but here are the things I noticed.

Pros
Cheap - For under $200 on Amazon it's a fairly good price, but after looking more, the newest OnePlus is only a bit more expensive and probably a lot faster.

Battery Life - During my use it did drain much slower than the S6. Still in the 70s-80s after a whole day at work.

Fingerprint Scanner - This was very quick and snappy, better than the S6.

Cons
Speed - If you're used to flagship phones and their speed, don't even bother. This phone is slow booting up and all the apps very slow; it's quite noticeable.

Push Notification - You have to turn "on" Push for some apps like Outlook under a totally different power-setting area since the software is dumb. The OS defaults to a power-saving setting which is almost unheard of.

Wifi Bands - It doesn't have the AC 5GHz wireless Wifi band, so you'll be stuck using the old school/slower connection.

Thoughts
The phone was OK but it was too putt putt for my tastes. It was also 5.5in and I discovered that I really didn't like the size. I'm a 5in screen type of guy. Not too big, not too small. I should just suck it up and pay for the extravagantly overpriced Pixel then switch over to Google Fi for service. But I still got a few more months left on my last AT&T contract. They're raising prices on the unlimited plan again as well so fuck 'em.