Monthly Archives: May 2013

Desensitized Moviegoers: The Need for “Bigger Stakes”

*******This post contains Star Trek Into Darkness spoilers*******

After reading other bloggers’ points of view on Star Trek Into Darkness, I wanted to write this post because I wholeheartedly and good-naturedly disagree.

First to sum up what’s been said:

Star Trek Into Darkness fell short of Star Trek  (2009) due to lower stakes. Star Trek had a time-traveling, planet-imploding villain and Star Trek Into Darkness had a guy who could punch. Hard.

Let me preface all of the following by saying that I understand the need for “big stakes” in a film. I really do. It drives the character to do things he or she normally wouldn’t do, helps them grow, drives the plot, and creates drama. All good stuff. And sometimes, yes, you can (and should) push your story further by “upping the stakes.” However, this is my gripe with the general sentiment above expressed by others…

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The List: Fallon’s Favorite Foreign Films (say that 10 times fast)

Ten of my favorite foreign films made within the last decade, listed in no particular order…

LifeisBeautiful“This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.”

1 Life is Beautiful-La vita è bella (Italy, 1997)

I’ve read a lot of criticism about how this film flippantly deals with the Holocaust, but I disagree. The film speaks to the preservation of innocence and the human spirit, even in the darkest of times. I laughed; I cried. Life is beautiful. So is the movie. I recommend it without reservation.

castle“This isn’t a house, it’s our home!”

2 The Castle (Australia, 1997)

A David vs. Goliath set up of Darryl Kerrigan, the story’s hero, against the airport that wants to take his home for expansion purposes. This movie is hilarious and you’ll be rooting for Darryl and his family all the way. With dialogue like, “He know friend, I know friend… My friend come to your house, put bomb under your car and BLOW YOU TO F***ING SKY!!!… I do not really have friend like this, but you know I’m Arab, and people think Arab have bomb” (-Darryl’s neighbor, Farouk) you can’t help but laugh out loud.

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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend: An Arrested Development Season 4 Review

*Spoilers Abound*

Seven years. Seven long years. Seven long-ass years. Safe to say, it’s been awhile since the Bluth Family has graced our television screens. This past Sunday, May 26th at 12:01am PST (3:00AM where I’m from) the Bluths came back into our lives via Netflix, and it’s safe to say that the wait was…well…we’ll get to that.

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Season 4 of Arrested Development is an enigma, something the likes of which we are unlikely to ever experience again. In fact, it is not hyperbole to state that it’s the single most ambitious season of television comedy to ever exist. After seven years off the air, it’s clear creator Mitch Hurwitz wanted to create something different and boy did he ever. Continue reading

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Cars Go Boom! A Fast & Furious 6 Review

Hello. My name is Andrew and I have a problem. For as long I have lived, I haven’t given a damn about cars. I don’t care how fast they go. I don’t care how cool they look. For me, if a car runs, that’s good enough. Now when it comes to cars on the big-screen, they don’t get much faster or more visually stunning than in the Fast & Furious franchise. Now up until this point, I wouldn’t say any of the films inparticular have been any good. Well, that is until now. Yes. My name is Andrew and I liked Furious 6 (That’s the title in the credits. Yes, we’re going through this again).

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Furious 6 is Taiwanese filmmaker Justin Lin’s fourth straight directing gig in the franchise and although 2011’s Fast Five was the first to truly receive overall positive critical notice, it still left a lot to be desired. Sure the action sequences were spectacular, but it still lacked a compelling narrative nor did it provide anything by the way of an emotional connection. With Furious 6 however, it seems Lin along with his screenwriter Chris Morgan have finally cracked the code in making the Fast franchise more than just about things going boom.

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The Hangover Part III: A Quick Review

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I was pretty leery of watching the last installment of The Hangover saga. After the second film, I had my fill of the wolf pack. After leaving the theatre on Thursday, I was proud of Todd Phillips for clearing up a few of my concerns (SPOILER: Stu does not have AIDS.). I also admire him for letting PETA know that he doesn’t care how much they protest his films. Now, did he take the animal cruelty too far? I’ll leave that to the discussion boards. I grinned through most of the film and laughed out loud a couple of times (real LOLs). Overall, it was better than Part 2 but still nowhere near as good as the original.

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The List: Television’s Best Comedies

This Sunday, May 26th, marks the return of Arrested Development, the cult FOX comedy that initially ran from 2003 to 2006. This is not however, television in its typical format. Yes, these are episodes centered around everyone’s favorite spoiled Bluth family, but they are not airing on network or even cable television. The entirety of the new fifteen-episode run is being dropped all at once on the internet-streaming service Netflix. I for one can’t wait to jump right back into the pop culture-heavy world of Mitchell Hurwitz’s insanely clever sitcom, mostly because there’s never been anything quite like it on television. My love for it also got me to thinking about my all-time favorite television comedies and of course, the way my mind works, ranking them in some fashion.

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This list was extremely hard to compile. Picking and choosing between television shows that brought me so many different kinds of laughs and functioned in extremely different manners is like me trying to rank my all-time favorite breakfast meals (it’s impossible, but I’m sure all of them involve bacon is some form or the other). Nonetheless, I did my best to rank them according to how I feel at this moment in time. Tomorrow I may even feel differently, but regardless, these are all shows I love and that I couldn’t recommend more highly. And now, onto The List.

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The Miserables Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Fallon: Everyone did their movie homework this weekend- and aren’t we glad that we did! Below we discuss Star Trek Into Darkness.

******* This review may contain spoilers*******

Ashley: If J.J. Abrams directs every movie I see for the rest of my life, it will be just fine with me. I really enjoyed Star Trek: Into Darkness. It was action packed, funny, and full of heart. Each character’s arc was right on. You know the story, their weakness ended up actually being their strengths, and what saves the Enterprise. This sequel seemed to be more of a bromance than the first. There was a time or two that I thought Kirk and Spock might actually kiss! So did this movie make me want to become a better person? No, but I still recommend seeing at some point this summer.

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Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox: Why am I Doing this Again?

I am a carnivore (my friends tag me in anything bacon related). So, when I tell you that I attempted a detox where I was essentially vegan for three days, you can be assured that it was no small feat. I followed Dr. Oz’s 3-Day detox (with some liberties) and went through the looking glass.

For anyone who’s interested in trying it themselves, here’s a look at what you’re in for…

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Day 1: The (H)Angry Day

My body was none too pleased with this abrupt change…
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The Miserables Review: The Great Gatsby (2013)

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Fallon: Continuing our summer blockbuster reviews, next up- The Great Gatsby.  It’s 11th grade all over again and one of us didn’t do our homework (*cough* Hillari *cough*). So, this post will feature opinions from Andrew, Ashley, and moi. Enjoy!

*******This review may contain spoilers.*******

Andrew: The Great Gatsby has a story to tell; Baz Luhrmann apparently just has no interest in telling it. He places the story of Nick Carraway’s mysterious affluent neighbor in a house and asks you to view it from outside the window. The window may be stunning and nice to look at, but the story itself is too far away for you to even grasp. The first half of the film is a visually stunning fever dream. It’s entertaining and Luhrmann truly embraces his excess at all cost approach. Eventually though, he has to actually direct the characters of this story and fails on arrival.

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The List: Ashley and Hillari Reminisce about The Office

Hillari: So, let’s face it, The Office has not been the same for a while (since Michael Scott headed for Colorado), but the show has continued to air without him. However, that will change this Thursday, when his co-workers tell us goodbye forever.

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Ashley: It has been said that “all good things must come to an end.” It saddens me to say goodbye to all of the characters that I have come to know and love at Dunder Mifflin.

Hillari: I can’t believe that my September will never include another new season, or that Jim is done playing pranks on Dwight. These characters have become family — not only to each other, but to me.

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Ashley and Hillari: Thus, we each give you five of our favorite episodes…

Hillari: Season 2 – The Client – The thing I love most about this episode, is that Michael’s worth is finally discovered, and we, the audience, get to see how the heck he landed the title of Office Manager in the first place– and Jan does too.

Ashley: Season 2 “Casino Night”- This is the episode where Jim tells Pam how he feels and they finally kiss! A lot of other things are revealed that night also… Jan has feelings for Michael and Kevin has a gambling problem.

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Hillari: Season 2 – The Injury – I mean, can it get any better? Michael accidentally cooks his foot in a George Foreman Grill, while trying to wake up to the smell of bacon. It makes me laugh out loud just typing it.

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Hillari: Season 2 – Michael’s Birthday – Michael always finds a way to make every day about him…. And now it’s his birthday. Unfortunately for him, this is also a life-changing day for Kevin in Accounting. The poor guy is fighting anxiety about possibly having skin cancer. Does Michael offer support and encouragement during this stressful time? No. He’s furious that Kevin couldn’t have picked a better day to have cancer.

Ashley: Season 3: “The Convention”- Michael plays the role of enthusiastic host as he tries to throw a party in his hotel room (while wearing his promotional floral print shirt might I add).

Hillari: Season 3 – Product Recall – I love how this episode starts, Michael in his “Oval Office,” addressing a major paper crisis: Dunder Mifflin’s top-selling paper has been sabotaged by an image of a cartoon duck doing unspeakable acts to a beloved cartoon mouse.

Ashley: Season 3: “A Benihana Christmas”- During the rival office parties, a heartbroken Michael brings two waitresses from lunch back to join in on the fun. One problem, he can’t tell them apart! He tries to mark the girls’ hands to know who’s who.

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