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…

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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! 🙂

My Weekly Adventures: My First 5KM!

Welcome to February! We just passed through Valentine’s Day yesterday which I spent with my mom for dinner and then went to do some errands and wrapped up the night preparing for a podcast recording and writing and gaming. Suffice to say that I didn’t celebrate but then I’m hoping that you did enjoy the ongoing Valentine’s double feature celebrations going on here. Its been a packed first half of February whether its personal stuff to settle or working (yay to overtime) or trying to get everyone to join into Ultimate 2000s Blogathon and much more. Its been a packed 15 days!

Let’s see what went on!

MY FIRST 5KM – MONTREAL SOUTERRAIN

While I did get forced into doing the 5km and it was a painful experience especially afterwards because I hadn’t trained for it. However, I did a pretty awesome time, coming in 10 minutes faster than I initially expected. Time was: 35:21.9 . Not too shabby,right? Anyways, I’ll be getting back to working out soon since I need to fit into dresses for two upcoming weddings in 2019. And I’m sure that after my good time without training, my friend is going to try to get me to do more 5km runs. I’m not opposed to them because it was quite fun but then running inside through the underground and running outside are two different things completely.

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2019 – YEAR OF THE PIG

February 5th was Chinese New Year and we did some nice decorations different from last year and went crazy looking for flowers to decorate. 5 flower shops but at least now, we know where to buy some flowers near-ish to our neighborhood. Yay to discovering new things, right? Its the year of the pig so Piglet and Pua made its appearance onto the shelf outside of my office as piggy decorations. I also picked up some new fake flowers from Michael’s for the tall floor vase to give it some color.

VALENTINE’S MARATHON

Valentine's Marathon

For the first time in all the years that I’ve done the Valentine’s Marathon, this is the first time its extending past the 14th. Because of the theme this year with the Netflix alphabet, I am going to continue through this until the end of February to finish out the alphabet. There are some fun changes due to lack of choices. Anyways, point is, I have a nice little tentative schedule to pair up with the blogathon as they overlap and be able to finish off the Valentine’s Marathon with the entire full alphabet runthrough. I’m pretty excited. I’ve picked a nice variety of subgenres so it still feels very fun.

ULTIMATE 2000s BLOGATHON

Sign up has ended as of last Monday. If you are just seeing this and want to join, you can drop me and email and we can see if we can get it arranged. However, we will be emailing out notices to participants on their posting date. It starts on the coming Monday! Time flies, right? I believe we have over 3 weeks of posts so its going to be a fun time because there are some nice additions this year, some new blogs that haven’t joined in before and then returning ones and some other pieces aside from written reviews. I love seeing our participants getting creative! As usual, I will have a page ready to go on the menu so you can catch up on any posts you missed on either here or Drew’s Movie Reviews.

If you haven’t followed Drew yet, then you definitely should HERE. My blogathon co-host is absolutely fantastic!

MONTREAL SNOWSTORM

We are currently in the aftermath of the snowstorm which means sitting here waiting for the city and boroughs to clear out the snow. The day after the snowstorm in the morning to work was when this photo was snapped. As you can see, not much as been clear and well, walking on the streets is because the sidewalks were pretty much non-existent or just snow-covered ice which is almost more dangerous. The city whether Montreal or suburbs have been doing a pretty slow job in general this year. As I’m writing this post, its raining outside so bye-bye to snow but welcome rain on ice and giant slush puddles at all corners of the street. You know…the fun stuff, right? 😉

However, I can’t complain too much because we are incredibly lucky at our home. I went out to shovel at 11:30pm and the city was clearing their second round of snow and the very nice guy plowing saw me, the crazy lady that shovels in the middle of the night, and decided to move his plow up my driveway and cleared it all including the path. Its the first time its happened to me so I was pretty shocked in a really happy way. Although, when we woke up in the morning, it was so very tall that I had to climb the mountain at the foot of the driveway to head to the bus stop. But we are also super lucky because my neighbor has a snow-blower and he does our driveway when we get storms or lends it to my husband.

Cute Kitty Easter Gnome Pic

**Pictures taken at Winners Homesense at Quartier Dix30**

Thats it for this Weekly Adventures!
What have you been up to?

2nd Reminder: Ultimate 2000s Blogathon

Hey everyone! We are only days away from the Ultimate 2000s Blogathon deadline for submission of your review to us. Here is a friendly reminder that it is due on February 11th (the coming Monday)! All submissions go to either/or me or my fantastic co-host Drew at our emails kim.tranquildreams@gmail.com and drewt510@gmail.com respectively.

If you are just seeing this blogathon and would like to join, here are the details at the announcement post. Drop us an email and tell us that you’d like to join and if you need more time and we would love to have you so we can work it all out. The more the merrier!

If you have already notified us, we are looking forward to your submission in our inboxes. If you need an extension, it is absolutely not a problem. Tell us and we will work something out.

Sign up is still open so if you know anyone else interested, help us spread the word. Share the announcement or this reminder post on social media. It’ll be great to see everyone’s review on their choice for their Ultimate 2000s movie selections!

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!

Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon: Joe versus the Volcano (1990)

Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon

This review is a part of The Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon. You can see all the details HERE.

Joe vs. the Volcano (1990)

joe versus the volcano

Director (and writer): John Patrick Shanley

Cast: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Abe Vigoda, Dan Hedaya

When a hypochondriac learns that he is dying, he accepts an offer to throw himself in a volcano at a tropical island, and along the way there, learns to truly live. – IMDB

Joe versus the Volcano

There’s always a special spark to watching Meg Ryan in any movies. Joe Versus the Volcano gives us three awesome helpings of this wonderful actress as she takes on three roles. In her first collaboration with Tom Hanks, which follows through a few years later with Sleepless in Seattle and then a few years after that You’ve Got Mail, its nice to see where it all started. While I can’t say that Joe versus the Volcano is especially better than her later works, its definitely one that has quite a fun little vibe to it. Tom Hanks, of course, delivers a fairly funny man role as he plays a hypochondriac. Right from the get-go, its kind of refreshing to see Tom Hanks in an earlier role especially since I have to admit that I’m not one that has followed his movies as closely as others have, despite thinking that he is a talented actor. In this one, its a side of Tom Hanks that I rarely see as he starts off in this gloomy character but still manages in all his unfortunate events to make it pretty funny to watch just through his expressions and reactions. In fact, with Joe being the title of this film, there is no doubt that anyone other than Joe, played by Tom Hanks is just a supporting character even if this film is considered a romantic comedy.

Joe versus the volcano

However, seeing as I am reviewing this for the Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon, its hard to ignore Meg Ryan who goes through three characters and three transformations for each. The way the character dresses and the vibe that the character delivers all differ and are unique. In fact, when she firsts enters the movie as an office worker or secretary of sorts called Dede, she sports this fantastic accent and is almost hard to recognize. However, there is this fun character wrapped in this role that we see right before she leaves that role and the movie moves into the next part when we see her show up again in her second role as Angelica, the daughter of the rich man who asks Joe to jump into the volcano. This character is conflicted in her own way and is somewhat quirky because of her artistic nature or so we think she is until she shares some of her work and has this odd delivery. However, the final role as Angelica’s half sister, Patricia who ends up taking Joe to the island is the one that is the Meg Ryan that we all know as her elegant, fun and charming self but yet so very competent and beautiful. You can’t say that Meg Ryan doesn’t show off some great acting skills just through this one film. Impressive as always.

Joe Versus the Volcano

Overall, Joe versus the Volcano is a fun little romantic comedy. I’m not sure there’s so much romance as its a comedy and something of an adventure for Tom Hanks character Joe to embrace life more unafraid. However, as fun as Tom Hanks is, Meg Ryan is the reason I watched this movie and she definitely does an outstanding job, impressive as she always is as she takes on multiple roles in one movie. I can’t say its my favorite Meg Ryan film but its one that I’m happy that I finally caught up with. You can see my Meg Ryan Roles Ranked List HERE.

Dog Day Blogathon & Sunday Lists: My Favorite On-Screen Dogs

Today is the International Dog Day and Allie at Often Off Topic decided that it was a fine opportunity for everyone to share in a blogathon about dogs in movies. You find all the details of the blogathon when you click on the banner above or HERE. Its Sunday so why not get back to those long-awaited Sunday Lists as its the best opportunity to share My Favorite On-Screen Dogs.

This is in no particular order and will be updated if I remember or find other dogs to add to the list in the future! For the sake of the blogathon though, the initial batch is the 10 selections that I thought of (and yes, I cheated with some of these).

Balto – Balto (1995)

Balto

Review

Balto is a half wolf half dog and because of this, in the small town of Alaska, he is criticized for being wild in nature and untameable, even dangerous. However, when the town gets in trouble, Balto is the dog that goes out and brings the dog sled teams back in a snowstorm to deliver stranded urgent medicine for the infected.

Lady & Tramp – Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Lady & the Tramp

Review

One of my favorite Disney films goes to Lady and the Tramp. It may be one of the first Disney films that I saw because I remember it the most and it had the most lasting effect when I was younger (until Aladdin or other films came along). The story between Lady and Tramp is super awesome. It also happens to be one of my favorite Disney films as well so what more can I say?

Shadow & Chance – Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)

Homeward Bound

Its been years since I’ve seen Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey but its always been one that I think about every once in a while. The bond between Sassy the cat and the two dogs, Shadow and Chance are incredible. Its nice to see two different types of dogs also because in reality (while they don’t talk), dogs tend to be the excited and not so obedient type and the smart and obedient type but in the end, they still care a lot about their owners and are loyal in their own way.

Toby – The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

The Great Mouse Detective

The Great Mouse Detective is one of those films that are rarely referred to in everyday conversation however, I like it a whole lot. One of my fave moments are between Toby and the various characters. This dog is  a hound dog who has quite a bit of character and just so dutiful. He’s just a fun and odd character in a story about mouse detective and the mouse world.

Copper – The Fox and the Hound (1981)

The Fox and the Hound

Its an obvious choice to have on the list is The Hound in the The Fox and the Hound called Copper. Copper is one of those memorable characters when I was younger because you know, animals in movies are always such a heartstring tugging thing because of pets, right?  Copper is just so adorable, and the cutest puppy you know. Just look at him.

Snoopy – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
(or any other Peanuts movie)

Snoopy

Review

Snoopy is an iconic Peantus character so while I use A Charlie Brown Christmas because that is the one I rewatch the most, he’s in a ton of other ones like the Great Pumpkin or Snoopy Comes Home or something. I watched a ton.

Rex & Fly – Babe (1995)

Babe

Babe is one of those films that when you tell someone who knows nothing about it, they kind of look at you weird because its about a talking pig and a farm of talking animals. But then, one of the best parts of the films is how these two dogs become of the parents of Babe in a certain way. Rex and Fly are fantastic parents both being great sheep dogs on this farm.

Goofy – A Goofy Movie (1995)

Goofy

Another Disney choice and probably not limited to just A Goofy Movie, however Goofy made the most impressions to me as A Goofy Movie. It was a movie that initially my mom and my aunt had bought so my cousin and I could share and we used to watch it on repeat whenever we were together so at a certain point, I remembered know all the songs and how can you watch Goofy and not mimick his hyuck and his over the top screams. Memoriable as I said. Its why he still is a family favorite.

Quill – Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog (2004)

Quill

A little out of the left field with this choice as it is the only foreign movie selection here. A lot of people probably would have seen Hachi but I haven’t. My first sad dog movie was Quill: The Life  of a Guide Dog which is a Japanese film about exactly what the title says. We see him from birth to being selected to be a guide dog and then the bond he makes with his owner and his responsibilities and of course, to the departure. Thinking about it makes me want to cry. Its a sad and touching story and if you haven’t seen it, well, Quill is going to tug on some those heartstrings. Just remember that you will need your tissue box…like the entire box.

Dug – Up (2009)

Up

Who can forget about Dug, right? The talking dog in Up. I would have used the “squirrel” moment also because I do that a lot when I’m anxious about something. Dug is just so hilarious and because he talks, its his words that just crack me up every single time as he interacts with every single character in Dug.

And one of the things for the blogathon was to talk about pets and well, I choose to share something about my dog who has passed away since 2010. Here’s a picture of him below. Isn’t he just like a fluffy bear? I miss him all the time. He was so awesome.

Chow Chow

That’s it for this blogathon and Sunday Lists.
Thanks so much for Often Off Topic for putting together this blogathon. 

What are your favorite dogs in movies?