Frontlaven

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Lion King (Animated 2019)

Did you see the first one? Yes? Then you've already seen this movie. It was exactly the same except with 1000% better CGI such that you think you're watching the Discovery channel. Yeah technology advancement has certainly reached a different level since the early 90s.

That synopsis both helps and hurts the film though. It's hard to screw up something good, but since they didn't do anything different it was kinda weird re-watching a movie for close to $15 per person. The last time I did this was the re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy in the late 90s and boy was that a silly time.
Rating - B

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Amazon Returns

Did you know that Amazon now has a program where your returns can be processed at a UPS store? I'm not sure if it's with all returns or only special ones, but I literally only had to click a push a button to initiate the return and get a QR code. Afterward I just needed to bring the item to a UPS store, have the code scanned, then boom! All done. No finding a box, packing, taping, printing, etc. The UPS store took over handing all of that jazz. Nuts man, if that's the direction Amazon is going with their returns and their relationship with UPS, it really does change the game towards more convenience for the buyer.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Quiet Place (Suspense Drama 2018)

This movie wasn't all too bad. It was mostly silent, as per the trailers, but it did have a good plot and enough development to keep it going. They never went into any details regarding the monsters or their origins, so that was unfortunate, but it was one of those movies that sorta reminded me of a Shyamalan flick. Slow scenes, slow build-up, and a torrent of action at the end.
Rating - B

Sunday, July 14, 2019

High Interest Savings Accounts

So I've always been on the hunt for good places to park liquid cash. Many years back, online banks started creating these high interest savings accounts where you would deposit money into and the cash would generate an elevated amount of interest per month. These savings accounts had a few limitations being that you could only have less than 4-6 transactions per month and you could only transfer money to and from a real checking account.

The first one I used was ING Direct back in the 2000s but that company has since been bought out by Capital One and I jumped ship. Next I used American Express Personal Savings for more than half-a-decade. It used to generate a higher interest rate of 2.20% but it has since dropped down to 2.10%. The service was good. I was able to create the account, connect it to a checking account, and deposit/withdraw within 2-3 days with no issues. When it came time to close out the account, I performed all tasks online and it really was flawless.

The next one I used was Marcus from Goldman Sachs. This one used to pay out 2.25% but it has since dropped it down to 2.15% since the Fed was hinting at an interest rate drop. This is lame for savers. I was only with Marcus with a few months but it essentially worked as flawlessly as my experience with American Express. The only caveat is that when I went to close the account, they made my call into their 1800 number and talk to a real person.

This next one is purely a gutsy experiment, but I can't turn down such a high interest rate: Wealthfront. This is an online investment company that has this Cash fund that is marketed as a high interest liquid account, but instead of decreasing the interest rate like other firms have been doing recently, they've gone up to 2.57% to try to attract more peeps to their service. I just transferred my emergency cash into this account so we shall see how the company and interest rate pans out. From my initial on-boarding experience, it does seem to be seamless with regards to setting up an account, connecting it to a checking account, and making the initial deposit. It also has MFA with Google Authenticator and a robust phone app. Thumbs up to higher monthly interest!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Most Wanted Man (Thriller 2014)

This was a slower thriller movie with lots of talking so be prepared. The plot was pretty developed as were the characters. Philip Seymour Hoffman was pretty good especially if you remember him in Capote. You can tell how much skill he has to play such different characters.

It's an interesting thing with some of these slower films. They are well written and directed but in a few days I would've forgotten 90% of what I just watched. Good and memorable are different things it seems.
Rating - B

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Upside (Drama 2017)

So this movie was pretty much as expected. The story and stuff were OK, but there's definitely something wrong with Kevin Hart's actual acting skills. I don't think he much. He generally plays the same type of character in all of his films and he just doesn't have much talent outside his regular comedic act. As a standalone comedian he's quite funny, but in a drama film or any other type of film I've seen in him, there just isn't a lot of substance there.

The movie's plot wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There isn't a huge level of depth, but there was enough going on to push it through. Cranston's acting was solid and Kidman was good as well.

This film falls into the category of an airplane film. Okay to watch when you're on the start of a vacation.
Rating - C

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Always Be My Maybe (Romantic Comedy 2019)

So this was a Netflix film that was recently released and lightly marketed. It had two comedic Asian Americans as the primaries, so that's something I haven't seen too often in my lifetime. The reviews were kinda half and half so I didn't know what to expect. That's the thing with Netflix films. Their source material can come from all different kinds of places such that you really don't know what you're getting into. Luckily, this movie was pretty good for a rom-com.

So the main positives are that the writers dropped in quite a few jokes and topics that totally cater to other Asian Americans from this generation. That = funny. Additionally, Ali Wong is pretty funny all on her own and she doesn't "over do it" like she does in her comedy specials. I'd say her acting is actually pretty good when compared to her co-start Randall Park, who isn't as good but still decent.

Some scenes didn't need to be there and others felt like filler, so some more polishing would've helped, but overall it was an entertaining film.
Rating - B