Ultimate 2000s Blogathon Kick-Off: EuroTrip (2004)

Head over to check out my fantastic co-host’s kick-off review as he takes a look at 2004’s EuroTrip!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends! Welcome to the fourth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon! This year’s spotlight decade is the 2000s. Over the next few weeks, my wonderful co-host Kim from Tranquil Dreams and I will be posting reviews from our fellow bloggers highlighting their favorite films from the decade. Kim kicked off the blogathon on her site with her review of SPL: Kill Zone, which you should definitely go check out. Now it’s my turn to get things started! Here is my review of EuroTrip.


Synopsis
After Scott (Scott Mechlowicz) is dumped by his girlfriend at high school graduation, he decides to take a trip to Europe, accompanied by his best friend, Cooper (Jacob Pitts), to meet his pen pal, Mieke (Jessica Boehrs).

Review
As per usual for my opening entry of an Ultimate Decades Blogathon, here are several reasons why I think EuroTrip is an excellent snapshot of the first…

View original post 638 more words

Advertisements

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon Kick-off: SPL: Kill Zone 殺破狼 (2005)

Today is a very special day! Ultimate 2000s Blogathon officially kicks off today! Like previous years, both myself and my amazing co-host Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews will both be sharing our kick-off movie on our respective blogs. To start things off, it only makes sense to kick off with a Hong Kong action crime thriller called SPL: Kill Zone. Hong Kong movies have always been a big part of my life and while its struggled through some of its content, Kill Zone breaths new life into this genre with its fantastic cast and its surprising how I haven’t reviewed it here yet.

SPL: Kill Zone 殺破狼 (2005)

SPL: Kill Zone

Director (& co-writer): Wilson Yip

Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Sammo Hung, Jing Wu, Kai Chi Liu, Danny Summer, Ken Chang, Austin Wai

A near retired inspector and his unit are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with his replacement, who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss sends his top henchmen to put an end to their dirty schemes. – IMDB

2000s Hong Kong films was a bit of a mixed bag full of some dumb humor, recycled ideas and predictable plot lines. But in between all this, they had some great films with great casts that stood out, maybe even call it a decade of great crime thrillers from Infernal Affairs to Election to this film. Call this something of a comeback film that brought together some big stars as well as welcoming Donnie Yen back to the Hong Kong scene showing that his martial arts has not lost one bit of speed. The starting scene changes the pace of the entire film whether it is with its main inspector, Inspector Chan who takes in the orphaned child and realizes his days are limited or crime boss Wong Po’s release after insufficient evidence which sets off the pressing time limit for Inspector’s team to catch him.

spl kill zone

Right in the opening moments, we get a good idea of the personality of everyone here. Be it Donnie Yen‘s character Inspector Ma’s first appearance on scene going head to head in the car with Inspector Chan’s team and then their conversation of his past events. While we’ve already seen Inspector Chan and the bond with his team and the quick introduction of each member as Ma Kwan looks at his desk of the team. It shows their character and their role in the movie which brings them to what starts off this film and the vengeful events that start. Kai Chi Liu, Danny Summer and Ken Chang play the three members of this team who are all capable in their own manner and create a balance. The first two of these names are seasoned actors in the business already. Its this bond between the team of five that builds up during the film that makes this film even more valuable as they make us care for each of them.

spl kill zone

With a competent team, there has to be the other side of the spectrum and Sammo Hung‘s Wong Po does exactly that. Call him the mastermind throughout most of it with each scene very much making his presence known. Sammo Hung, despite his age, also flaunts some impressive martial arts move as he goes head to head in some fast-paced fighting scenes up against Donnie Yen.It helps that his top henchman is a white clad martial arts powerhouse, Jack played by Jing Wu, in one of his first roles. Jing Wu truly shows off his skills especially when his scenes are not a lot of talking but a lot of brutal “execution” for our characters leading into a fantastically shot alleyway fighting scene with Donnie Yen.

Qi sha (Seven Killings) is the Power Star; Po Jun (Army Breaker) is the Ruinous Star; Tan Lang (Greed Wolf) is the Flirting Star. According to Chinese astology, these three stars, with their changes, could create or destroy that beautiful life of yours. – SPL: KillZone

Nothing beats a crime thriller like having a nice background story to investigate. There is a lot going on here with parallel storylines and investigations that intertwine each other gradually. There is a lot of style here as well. While it embeds its foundation in Chinese astrology, the script itself embeds all these things just like how Seven uses its seven sins. It also has the brutality of films like Election. The fighting scenes are meticulously shot as well as the chase scenes. There is this real sense of what is the limit of ethics and morals of being a police officer when faced with the triad and its ruthless crime boss. Between the team and Donnie Yen’s addition that shows a friction between injecting himself and being accepted. A different person and a different approach gives Inspector Chan’s long time team and Inspector Ma the division that makes this an extra layer to explore in the story.  At the same time, Kill Zone also adds in a heavy dose of Chinese belief in karma.

spl kill zone

SPL: Kill Zone is a one of a kind action crime thriller. It defines its genre so well in what makes Hong Kong films so worth watching. 2000s brought about a new wave of crime thrillers that gave itself a lot of twists and intertwined plots that gave it so much more depth. Whether its for Donnie Yen or Sammo Hung or Simon Yam, no doubt the more known actors here, this film gives it a nice blend of impressive fight scenes, brutal almost execution moments, and a thought-provoking themes about morals and ethics as well as choices and karma. Its fast-paced and ramps up its intensity with each scene and its frictional moment between its characters making it such a joy to watch over and over again.


Remember to head over to my co-host Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews to check out his kick-off review and give him a follow to not miss any posts from the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! We have a little hashtag set for this blogathon #ultimate00sblogathon if you want to give us a mention or share some of the posts! 🙂

Announcement: Ultimate 2000s Blogathon! Sign up now!

Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

WELCOME TO THE 4TH ANNUAL ULTIMATE DECADES BLOGATHON HOSTED BY MYSELF AND DREW’S MOVIE REVIEWS!

We’ve gone through the 70s, 80s and 90s in the past three years. For our 4th year, we jump forward to the 2000s. This blogathon is all about your ULTIMATE, Favorite films released between 2000 to 2009.

Like any other year, you ask why 2000s, right? Other than the fact that you might have noticed our pattern at this point. The millennium brought some fantastic films. It might not be any choices that quite classify themselves as classics yet for you but there are definitely some signature movies that not only define the decade but also brought to light some great directors, intriguing stories and brilliant actors and actresses. We sure have a few in mind. For example, if you like teen movies, Mean Girls is one that is great. In terms of foreign directors, Guillermo Del Toro landed on everyone’s map with Pan’s Labyrinth and Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli began highlighted with Spirited Away being part of the Oscar game joined by Ang Lee coming on the scene with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

spirited away

The Lord of the Rings franchise also was released throughout this decade and of course, James Cameron came around and delivered us the innnovative 3D experience that has kicked off a whole new 3D phase with Avatar. We also can’t neglect to look at some memorable Pixar titles that came to light: Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Up, The Incredibles. Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino also released so great films like Memento which kicked off the decade and Kill Bill Vol. 1 respectively. Before we go away, let’s give some more variety from outstanding zombie films like 28 Days Later to wonderful indie films like Juno and Little Miss Sunshine.

Look at all those great titles! Suffice to say, its really only scratching the surface. There are a ton of choices other than these ones that I’ve probably not mentioned and available for everyone to choose from. What 2000s film is one that you can watch over and over again? Which made an impression on you? Or maybe for some of you younger bloggers out there, you  might have even grown up with the 2000s film.

The details of the blogathon:

  • Any movie released from 2000 to 2009 is a valid choice
  • You can choose to do more than one review (just give us a head up in advance)
  • We are posting up the reviews on our blogs so it has to be submitted to us (notify us if you want to post on your blog also and we will work our the release date)
  • Submission Deadline: Entries sent in to us by February 11th (if you need more time, don’t be afraid to email us)
  • Blogathon kicks off on February 18th!
  • Email me at kim.tranquildreams@gmail.com and/or Drew at drewt510@gmail.com to notify us of your participation and your selection(s). (we’d like to keep your choice a surprise)

Welcome all to join in! We’re looking forward to your choice and submissions. Feel free to use the banner above to show off on your sites. Also, if you know anyone that you think would be interested in joining into the blogathon, please do spread the word. The more the merrier!

Ultimate 70s Blogathon Conclusion

Its time to say goodbye to the Ultimate 70s Blogathon. Drew took care of the conclusion post where he recapped all the entries we had and the participants who joined us. Head over to check it out at Drew’s Movie Reviews!

Drew's Movie Reviews

Hello, friends! I hope you’ve enjoyed the last three weeks as much as I have. Kim and I have had a blast sharing everyone’s reviews of their favorite 70s flicks. There have been a wide range of films reviewed and if you missed any of them, here they are:

Tranquil Dreams – Alien

Drew’s Movie Reviews – Saturday Night Fever

Box Office BuzzStar Wars: A New Hope

Movie Reviews 101Kramer vs. Kramer

MovieRobThe Exorcist

Ten Stars or LessSlapshot

Riley on FilmWestworld

Emma K Wall (Explains It All)The Exorcist

Plain, Simple Tom ReviewsOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

MovieRob – 5 Easy Pieces

Film and TV 101The Godfather

Starry Traveler’s RoadSnoopy, Come Home

Rhyme and ReasonFor Pete’s Sake

From the Depths of DVD HellIsland of Death

Drew’s Movie Reviews…

View original post 389 more words

Ultimate 70s Blogathon Wrap-Up: Disney Double Feature by Tranquil Dreams

Its time for the finale posts for myself and Drew. Earlier today, I posted up Drew’s final review of Dirty Harry. Meanwhile, he posted my final post which was a Disney double feature for The Aristocats (1970) and Pete’s Dragon (1977). Head over to Drew’s to check it out!

Drew's Movie Reviews

I come bearing some sad news: today is the final day of the Ultimate 70s Blogathon. But don’t fret, we had a good run. Earlier, Kim shared my review of Dirty Harry, my second and final review of the blogathon. Now it’s my turn to share Kim’s closing reviews. Every Ultimate Decades Blogathon we’ve hosted, Kim has included some sort of look at some of the Disney feature films to come out that decade. This blogathon is no different. She’s wrapping up this blogathon with reviews of The Aristocats and Pete’s Dragon.


The 1970s for Disney was a pretty solid decade filled with titles like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Robin Hood and The Rescuers along with today’s double feature, The Aristocats and Pete’s Dragon. To celebrate the 70s, I decided to choose one of my favorite Disney films, The Aristocats which I’ve seen many times over and might explain…

View original post 866 more words

Ultimate 70s Blogathon Finale: Dirty Harry (1971) by Drew’s Movie Reviews

Time sure flies by when we’re having fun! After 3 weeks of entries, we have reached the final day of the blogathon. We always swap things around for the final wrap-up day so today, over here, I’ll be sharing my darling co-host Drew‘s final review with his thoughts on 1971’s action thriller Dirty Harry which brings in a much needed mention of Clint Eastwood. Of course, you will find my review over on his blog some time today. First, let’s check out what makes Dirty Harry his choice for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon!

dirty harry

Synopsis
When a killer calling himself ‘Scorpio’ (Andrew Robinson) begins terrorizing San Francisco, Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) must bring him to justice.

Review
Clint Eastwood is a household name. To older audiences, he’s an action star. To younger audiences, he’s an award-winning director. In either case, it is hard to find an actor whose career is as prolific or diverse as Eastwood’s. In the early 1970s, he was transitioning from his western roles to more modern day ones. That transition began with Dirty Harry.

Many action movies tend to forego character development to instead focus on the big action pieces. Dirty Harry isn’t much of an exception but just barely. Throughout the film, we learn little bits and pieces about Harry’s past and character traits. We get just enough character development to get a deeper understanding of who Harry is. This was a great move on the writers’ part because since this is the first installment with Harry, there shouldn’t be too much focus on what’s beneath the surface. But at the same time, the small bits that were laid out can be picked up in future sequels without taking away from this film.

For most of the movie, Harry spends his time hunting down the killer going by ‘Scorpio.’ However, Scorpio is not Harry’s greatest adversary of the film: it’s the law. Throughout the movie, Harry tries to bring Scorpio to justice. However, Harry learns that ‘the law’ and ‘justice’ are not always the same thing. It’s an interesting concept to think about and one that frustrates Harry continuously throughout the film.

Eastwood’s background in westerns transfers well into a modern setting. Harry could be seen as a Man with No Name or Josey Wales in an urban setting; An urban cowboy, if you will. Harry’s introduction is one of my favorites in cinema. When he casually walks up to a bank robbery, takes out several of the robbers and delivers his famous lines is absolutely spin-tingling. You know right away the kind of character Harry is.

This also leads into one of the flaws I see in the film. For an action movie, it is unevenly paced. The ends carry the brunt of the action, with the middle doing the little character exploring I mentioned above and follows Harry searching for Scorpio and dealing with bureaucrats. I appreciate the development and smaller moments among the action but this film would have benefited from a better balance of those elements.

As enjoyable as Dirty Harry is, there are better 70s movies. Nevertheless, I chose this as my entry for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon for a different reason: it’s influence on the action film genre. This movie laid the groundwork for a no-nonsense hero, like John McClain, John Rambo, or Paul Kersey. Harry Callahan was the type of character who took matters into his own hands, regardless of the rules. This approach to the action hero showed that audiences would, and could, enjoy grittier action films, fundamentally changing the genre’s landscape.

I thought Dirty Harry was GOOD 🙂 Revolutionizing the action genre, it was grittier and had a different hero than seen in films past. With a cool character introduction and classic action hero one-liners, Harry Callahan is a stylish and memorable character. If there had been a better balance between the action sequences and other scenes, I probably would consider this a great movie instead of just a good one.

Favorite Quote
Harry: I know what you’re thinking: Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Don Siegel – Director
Harry Julian Fink – Screenplay / Story
Rita M. Fink – Screenplay / Story
Dean Riesner – Screenplay
Lalo Schifrin – Composer

Clint Eastwood – Harry Harry Guardino – Bressler
Reni Santoni – Chico
John Vernon – The Mayor
Andrew Robinson – Killer
John Larch – Chief
John Mitchum – De Giorg

Ultimate 70s Blogathon: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) by The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other Stuff

Its time for the final non-host entry of the Ultimate 70s Blogathon by Curt of The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other Stuff joining us with a review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Head over to Drew’s Movie Reviews to check it out!

Remember to drop by to both of our blogs tomorrow to check our final reviews for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon!

Drew's Movie Reviews

We’re almost finished! Today’s Ultimate 70s Blogathon review is the last non-host review of the blogathon and comes from Curt from The Hypersonic55’s Realm of Reviews and Other Stuff. Curt’s passion for film and all the aspects that make films enjoyable easily comes through in his writing. He also hosts the Film Focus podcast that I have been luckily enough to be a guest on several times. I highly recommend you go give his site a look. But before that, Curt brings with him the second and final review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.


Good day to you ladies and gents, today I get to talk to you about one of my all-time favourite films; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Now I first saw this film in college I think back in 2009 and after that, it became a film I had to own, and…

View original post 867 more words