Ocean’s Eight (2018)

Before we start this review, perhaps a few things need to laid out. If you watched my What’s Up, you will know that I already talked about this. While I’ve seen Ocean’s 11 and that trilogy (or maybe I haven’t seen Ocean’s 13 because I can’t remember), I honestly can’t remember a whole lot of what goes on except that Ocean’s 11 was pretty fun and had some big stars in it. With that said, Ocean’s 8 is kind of a new slate for me which works because it turns out that its a standalone story with a few nods in terms of characters and such. I usually don’t go to watch films like this at theatres but one of my good friends took me so who am I to argue with time with friends, right? Plus, would you look at the cast here? A ton of my faves all in one movie sounds like a ton of fun. Let’s hope it is!

Ocean’s 8 (2018)

ocean's 8

Director: Gary Ross

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sara Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Rhianna, Richard Armitage, James Corden

Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala. – IMDB

Judging from my above comment, you could say that I enjoyed the Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve heist movies but then I’m not exactly remembering a ton from it so maybe not exactly my favorite movies ever. With that said, my appreciation for Ocean’s 8 draws exactly from the little things I remember from the male centric ones and that is the cast. Ocean’s 8 hook is its fantastic ladies. Everyone delivers in absolutely glory.

The movie starts off with quite a few comedic moments as we see Debbie Ocean, played by Sandra Bullock be released from prison. There is this sarcastic and fun humor as Debbie and Lou (Cate Blanchett) go to find the other members for this epic heist she has in mind which leads to some comedic moments of knowing a little more about each of them as we get a glimpse of their life and their pressures but also their fortes that make them an asset to the group. Rhianna, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Sara Paulson and Awkwafina as well as Anne Hathaway all fall into place for this plan to work out. And they all deliver so well. I have only heard of Awkwafina and haven’t seen Mindy Kaling before so I don’t know what to say much but Rhianna has grown so much as an actress. I am not a big fan of her music but she gets involved in some great movies now. Helena Bonham Carter also has some awkward movies before but in this one, she fits well in it. At the same time, I am telling you that I have a huge lady crush on Sara Paulson. She always delivers so well and I just love her.

In terms of the heist, I have always been a fan on seeing the movie magic happen because it is both entertaining and fun when it is thought out well and puts all the pieces into motion and there is always a twist and some tension. With Ocean’s 8, it delivers a lot of these fronts. While the setup had a lot of comedic moments, the heist actually had a fair amount of tensions. The heist also stands out in not only watching the plan roll out with whichever snag it hits because what movie would it be without (I guess some might say that its a tad formulaic) but also these ladies and their beautiful outfits. Its impossible to not feel this beauty and intelligence in one package as well as triumph. These ladies are what makes the heist happen and I think the biggest accomplishment is that we see them as a unit because of their differences and connect to them so we care about what happens.

These movies are all about the star power and while these all female casts cause so much talk, I’d like to stray away and just talk about how fantastic these star-powered casts bring to the table. Hence, the long chat about. However, Ocean’s Eight did bring in some humor from the men as well. For one, we have Richard Armitage which I haven’t seen in anything for a long time. The man is super charming and well, he got what he deserves. Let’s just put it that way. While small, it still had its significance. We had  cameo of sorts by James Corden and I’m telling you that lately I’ve started watching those Carpool Karaoke videos and this guy is pretty hilarious and I think he pulls off some great comedic moments as well here.

Overall, Ocean’s Eight is a fun and entertaining time. There’s a lot of comedic moments and my fave sarcastic humor. There is a slew of beautiful and talented cast here who work so well with each other. That is the true star plus the outfits are so pretty and lovely. The heist itself works fairly well and had its tense moments. There’s a lot of like about Ocean’s Eight and while I might not remember from Ocean’s Eleven in terms of specifics, I remember that fun feeling I had when the film ended and we get the same thing here.

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Aren’t we feeling like the youngsters? Haha! It seems Jigsaw was given up and Les Affames was also given up for this month’s movie at the theatres and I ended up heading out to see Thor: Ragnarok with my friend. I’ve mostly been on track with the MCU films with a few exceptions like Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Let’s check it out!

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

thor ragnarok

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins

Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization. – IMDB

The MCU timeline has only gone through 2 years since the last we’ve seen Thor however, the previous movie, Thor: The Dark World has been four years. It is perhaps one of the first Marvel movies that I’ve gone in very blind. While Thor movies aren’t exactly very strong to the Marvel films, its always a fun time and its a very important factor of why I feel Marvel has been successful. Finding humor and blending it with a right amount of action helps form these characters and in Thor: Ragnarok, it is no different. The humor is fantastic especially with a lot of familiar faces and a few new ones. These blockbuster superhero movies have grown to be a norm to have incredibly long run times and it still is one of the criticisms I tend to have because it drags on in some parts however, Thor is also full of laugh out loud moments that it never falls flat for too long before it gets you immersed or simply having fun again.

Thor: Ragnarok

One of the best things about Marvel is that it knows that the fun in the movie, particularly in a blockbuster superhero film is simplicity. Sure, it takes a few turns here and there but everything works when its straightforward. There’s an issue then a dilemma then the superhero hits a snag that he or she needs to come back from and figure out a saving the planet or world or city solution. Nothing wrong with a little formula when you can get the tone right and the characters to be charming and engaging to watch. Thor: Ragnarok does all of that right and part it goes to having those engaging characters. Thor is always a joy to watch and with Loki being there as well, its always a fun time to watch their brotherly bickering even as they mock each other on their predictable characters. Being self aware is so important sometimes and that is the charm of it all.

Thor: Ragnarok

With that said, aside from Thor and Loki that Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are so fantastic as, the other characters all have their parts. Familiar faces go to Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Idris Elba as Heimdall. Making an appearance here and some very odd funny moments is The Hulk and of course, his human counterpart, Mark Ruffalo. All delivering on their roles very well. However, its great to see some other faces here as we learn a little more about Thor and Asgard’s history and of course the little sidetrack they make into The Grandmaster’s wastelands. The Grandmaster is played by Jeff Goldblum. Its been so long since I’ve seen Goldblum in anything but he takes on The Grandmaster with so much character in the most eccentric way. The awkward moments were the centre of a lot of the comedy here. A little younger in the cast was Tessa Thompson joining into the cast as Valkyrie who was a very different type of role than what she’s done in the past and I mean it in the best way. She’s a bad-ass lady and can definitely carry her own.

Thor Ragnarok

Its impossible to get through superhero movies without a mention of the villain. Except, Marvel movies have the fault of making incompetent villains who lack depth. Point exactly is that I can’t remember for the life of me what the name of the villain in The Dark World is. I think it starts with a “M” but all I remember was that he wasn’t really key to anything. Thor: Ragnarok is a little better mostly because Hella is the sister of Thor. She’s the secret of Asgard when Odin was much more ruthless. Nothing like sibling rivalry to get things heated up. Hella is played by Cate Blanchett and while a lot of her scenes were truly just amplifying how incredibly powerful she is, leaving it a little empty, its still Cate Blanchett and she is a fantastic actress that adds a little something to the role. Now, I’d be lying if her get-up didn’t remind me a little of Maleficent however, Hella is a dangerous villain all on her own, especially with a right hand man played by Karl Urban who never quite gets the depth in his character.

Overall, I have my criticisms about this movie but they feel a little like I’m nitpicking because Thor: Ragnarok is downright fun and packed with some cool action and awkward humor. Its villain is more competent and its humor is spot on and the characters are versatile and awesome. Thor: Ragnarok has its little issues and a lengthy runtime but it is my favorite Thor movie so far.

Have you seen Thor: Ragnarok?
Talking about lists, I’m definitely thinking of putting together a list of best to worst for the Marvel movies. Good idea?

Recap: Oscars 2016!

Following tradition of the last two years, here’s a little recap! I wasn’t sure if I’d end up catching Oscars but we changed up our plans and ended up joining my mom for sit down and dinner together to enjoy the ceremony. My conclusion is that I make better guesses when I haven’t seen any of the movies than when I do.  I guess bias comes into play at that point and it affects my judgement.

I am glad that Mad Max: Fury Road did so well because it was well deserved.  I gave a personal standing ovation in my mom’s dining room to Ex Machina for winning Visual Effects.  There was a bit of cringing when I felt like Sam Smith was about to go off-tune and he looked nervous as heck to be up there but his speech was inspiring and he looked genuinely enthused to win it even if probably Lady Gaga’s song would have been the win that was deserved but I don’t care much for the “Original Song” category.  The only one I was genuinely a little angry at was Mad Max winning Costume Design because Cinderella may not have been a great movie but it was all about costumes while I mean how many costumes were there for Mad Max.  On a happier note, I am happy that Mark Rylance won for supporting actor.  Even if I didn’t see The Revenant, I was fairly certain Innaritu would win for Best Director and Leo for Best Actor because just from the trailers, it looked like the sort of movie that had the calibre and achievement to rightfully earn it. However, I did end up catching Spotlight over the weekend right before Oscars and even posted my review for it and I’m telling you that to me, it was a justified Best Picture winner.  I don’t think I’ve agreed much to these winners in the last few years but then I haven’t caught up with the majority of them either but Spotlight really connected with me in presenting their story and the content.  Out of all those movies, as wonderful and fantastic as they were, Brooklyn didn’t stand a chance in my book and even The Revenant probably wouldn’t have the depth of telling a story that reflected an issue that is maybe probably unfortunately still present today. For none of the other movies I saw in the Best Picture did have as much of a discussion at my home than Spotlight either and we finished that movie at 2am on Saturday night or something (just to give you an idea).

This year I decided to do my Oscars recap of the winners in advance and now, let’s check out the Top 5 Best Dresses.

Oscars 2016

Cate Blanchett

Oscars 2016

Charlize Theron

Oscars 2016

Alicia Vikander

Oscars 2016

Saoirse Ronan

Oscars 2016

Priyanka Chopra

Elegant, beauty, grace: These ladies all had it.  Not to mention, Cate Blanchett picked the perfect dress for the category she was presenting for: Costume Design. Just look at the intricate flowers on her dress! Its amazing! And kudos for Charlize Theron pulling off that style because normally, I’m not a fan of that cut of the deep V plunge (or whatever you call it) but she accessorized well and made it look very nice.

And then for some great moments that I liked quite a bit.

Jacob Tremblay & Star Wars

Oscars 2016

Mark Ruffalo Winking for his Nomination

Oscars 2016

Michael Keaton Fist Pump for Spotlight Win

Oscars 2016

I was equally as happy as Michael Keaton was when I heard that Spotlight won.  This reaction is just priceless!

Brie Larson in Awe

Oscars 2016

And her speech thanking everyone including the movie-goers! It warms my heart even if I didn’t see it in theatres and bought it on the Play store 😉

Leonardio diCaprio Winning Speech

Oscars 2016

Leonardo diCaprio winning was *almost* set in stone.  I was pretty sure he made a solid performance even if I only saw trailers.  However, he didn’t just win an Oscar.  He also delivered a meaningful speech and the best part was his final line about not taking the planet for granted, he wouldn’t take his Oscar win for granted.

I think to wrap it up this year, Lady Gaga’s song deserved more recognition.  I haven’t found the time to watch The Hunting Ground but it does intrigue me. While I can’t find the video for the Oscars performance she made and I only saw a snippet as I left my mom’s at that point and only had snippets online.  The song holds true meaning that deserves to be heard.

That’s it for Oscars 2016! It was a great year with some outstanding movies this year! 🙂
Did you watch the Oscars 2016? What were your fave moments? Did any winners surprise you? Any disappointments?

Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella is the best girls night out movie and that’s exactly what we planned weeks in advance.  We all rushed out of work and met up at the theatres on Tuesday night. Its felt like its been a while since I’ve been to the theatres and I’m wondering if I’m actually on track with my one monthly theatre visit goal.  I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter. If you missed my anticipated list for 2015, this is one of them 🙂

Lets check out Cinderella!

Cinderella (2015)

cinderella 2015

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Cast: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Stellan Skarsgard, Helena Bonham Carter

When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger.- IMDB

Does Cinderella still have its magic after so many years? How about after turning it (like many other fairy tales) into a live action? I went into this movie pretty much with those two questions lingering in my mind.  I’ve skipped out on a lot of live reimaginings of fairy tales and all that sort of stuff but Cinderella is possibly one of the most popular and has a ton of movies inspired by them.  Even the not so at par ones tend to make me fall in love one way or another. So how does this 2015 version fair?

This live version Cinderella is almost an exact imagining of the Disney animated version that I love a lot.  It has the fairy godmother, the glass slippers, a gorgeous blue gown, mice, pumpkins, evil stepmother and two untalented and not very appealing stepsisters and of course, the Prince.  The only thing that;s different might be that Cinderella starts out as Ella and that we see her parents and living out her mother’s wishes to “have courage and be kind.” Even though you probably know exactly what is going to happen next, the magical appeal of Cinderella is still as apparent as ever, infecting me with lots of laughter and love and all those awesome feelings.

Cinderella 2015

This Cinderella may not have the songs in the animated version, but the soundtrack and sweeping score was absolutely beautiful. I’d buy it in a heartbeat and listen to it all the time.  It added to the magic.  While we are on the magic, the CGI was gorgeous, enforcing the whole enchanting experience.  That was a huge part in making this as wonderful as it was.  Just the whole fairy godmother sequence, transforming and preparing Cinderella for the Royal Ball was maybe THE best part ever! I’m sure a ton of you caught this but Cinderella keeps singing Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly and that is also a song from a 1940s Disney film.  I’ve never actually heard the whole song but it was kind of nice to see it here.

Cinderella 2015

Live action also means we can talk about the acting.  We already are well familiar with Cinderella’s characters.  First of all, no Disney princess story is memorable without the right villain.  In this one, the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, played by Cate Blanchett was stunning and so mean.  Those expressions and tones for her dialogue was so convincing. At the same time, this one also added a little extra for her character as to why she’s the way she is.  As small as it is, I like this version of the evil stepmother.  Nothing made me laugh more than how the stepsisters are actually just extremely spoilt and untalented. The idea of bringing back the singing off tune and saying stupid things really works for Drizella and Anastasia because thats the character we know, simply shallow and undesirable.  Oh, and their outfits don’t make you laugh and cringe at the same time.  I loved it!

Cinderella 2015

My last point to talk about are the couple: Ella and the Prince.  That is the essence of the story.  Before the movie, one of my girl friends was telling me how she didn’t find Richard Madden handsome.  In fact, sometimes the Prince isn’t that handsome, the person himself maybe, but its the character the he embodies that we fall in love with.  I’m not going to discuss whether I find Richard Madden handsome but I guess I’m simple as well but that man has a lovely accent in his voice and the way he captured the Prince stole my heart from the first time him and Ella met.  Suffice to say, I bought his Prince very much.  To be honest, I’ve never watched either Richard Madden or Lily James before this.  No, I haven’t seen Game of Thrones and no, I haven’t gotten to Season 5 of Downton Abbey (before you ask). Lily James as Ella kind of bothered me when I was watching the trailer.  I wasn’t completely sold on it but as the movie went along, she grew on me.  It may be because she’s so simple and pure-hearted yet courageous and strong.

cinderella 2015

And these glass slippers! OMG! 🙂

Regardless of the reasons, Cinderella is a simple love story and this version remembers to keep the elements of the original animated version except giving us a live version full of wonderful performances from cast.  It introduces lots of sharp colors, breathtaking location/set, beautiful CGI and an enchanting score to enforce the magic.  Sure, its not exactly as memorable as the animated Disney Classic but there’s still a lot to love about this. I’d gladly watch this again and get the Blu-ray when it comes out.  My suggestion, if fairy tales are your cup of tea, head out to the theatres to see it because its worth your time and money just to capture the true beauty of it.

Fun fact (paraphrased from the Cineplex magazine, March/April 2015): More than 250 metres of fabric was used in the making of the blue gown worn by Lily James.  Three time Oscar winning costume designer Sandy Powell also used more than 10,000 Swarovski crystals and three miles of stitching to complete the dress.  Impressed? Multiply those numbers by nine.  Nine copies of the ball gown were created for the shoot.

Have you seen Cinderella? Are you planning to? Just out of the blue, which Disney princess do you like best? 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

I’m super behind on writing reviews mostly because I’m being mega lazy after tiring and long days at work.  But, I’m not slacking off.  I did try to entertain you all with food reviews and we all love to look at delicious food, right? Enough of the silliness…back to business.

I told you that I had wanted to go to a bundle of summer movies.  Two Sundays ago (I know I’m super late), my friend and I went off after dinner to go see How To Train Your Dragon 2.  I’m a HUGE fan of How to Train Your Dragon.  I mean, if I could have a room full of dragons especially Toothless, I’d do it.

Umm…okay, let me tuck away my crazy for a second and just go straight for the review 😉

how to train your dragon 2 posterDirector: Dean DeBlois

Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harington

Its been five years since Berk has welcomed dragons into their lives as friends and companions.  Hiccup’s father, Stoick (Gerard Butler) is now trying to put on the Chief responsibilities on his shoulders much to his reluctance.  He doesn’t feel like he’s fit to take on the job when all he wants is to discover new places with Toothless. However, on one of their discoveries, they land on a iced island where they meet Eret (Kit Harington) who is a part of dragon catcher crew who helps complete the dragon army for the deadly Drago Bludvist. Drago is bad news and everyone will soon learn just how bad.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a pretty great sequel.  It doesn’t quite match up to the first one but its pretty damn close to it.  The animation is beautiful as before and the story carries on with lots of heart and even tugs at some heartstrings.  The voices are the same as before and still with lots of enthusiasm.  With the additional voices of Cate Blanchett, she never disappoints. Plus, this time around, with the dragons as part of the life in Berk, there are more dragons to see.

Valka

Its an adventurous journey for Hiccup and his group and a lot of  comedic moments as always.  The whole venturing into the new lands and discovering more plus bringing back Hiccup’s mom in the process gave it a more emotional aspect.  Cate Blanchett does a great job as Hiccup’s mom, Valka.  We understand a bit more of Hiccup in the process while this whole journey also helps him learn about himself. In the end, isn’t that really what Hiccup’s story in How to Train Your Dragon is about? On a simple level, its about finding a balance and peace between the dragons and Berk but the relationship of Toothless and Hiccup really bring a lot of heartwarming and heartbreaking moments.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Whats great about animations is that the villain is usually really well laid out for its audiences, young and old.  This one’s was Drago Bludvist, a crazy man trying to build a dragon army.  He has a secret weapon and he’s a tough guy to beat that even Stoick is a tad intimidated by him.  Drago is a great villain for this series. He’s not only dangerous to the Vikings but also the dragons.  There wasn’t one moment where I cheered for him.  I guess thats why he’s done so well, right?

dragon 2 eret

In this sequel, the other characters from the first get a little bit more time also.  They haven’t quite developed much on the characters but they work great as the comic relief to make the more intense moments softer for the audience.  The addition of Kit Harrington as Eret and he sparks the flame of Ruffnut who makes for some pretty hilarious scenes and dialogue.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a great sequel that almost matches to the first.  Its beautifully animated for one.  Plus, the story never has any lingering dull moments with its excitement of discovery and surprises while also having an emotional ride as it tugs at our heartstrings to watch the familiar characters we’ve grown to love in the first one go through hardships.  Especially when Toothless and Hiccup’s relationship is put to the ultimate test.

Dreamworks has been putting out hit after hit with such surprising enjoyable animations.  It makes me hopeful for what they could possibly think up next 😉

What did you think of How To Train Your Dragon 2? Is it worthy sequel? Did you like the new characters? 

Oscars 2014!

Wow! Two years in a row I watch this! Sometimes, I wonder why I do it since I saw 3 movies that was nominated through all the categories.  Shameful as I’m building a blog that getting more and more focused in that area.  I’m going to try harder this year, thats all I can promise!

Back to the biggest night of Hollywood! My boyfriend was finishing up a movie so I lost a bit of the red carpet action, still, I caught most of the outfits as I did watch the whole Oscars and even used commercial breaks to check out tweets! I have to say that I’m a huge fan of Ellen so I loved her quite a bit! I mean, she crashed Twitter with that crazily retweeted selfie? Did that actually happen? AND she ordered pizza, which was super hilarious! 🙂

Moving along…I did it last year and I’ll do it again!

My favorite dresses at the Oscars last night! (Top 5 because I couldn’t pick 3 *ahem*)

Cate Blanchette

Cate Blanchette

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Cate Blanchett oozes elegance, at least to me, she’s the symbol of it.  No one quite does it like her! And I’m totally loving the blue shades on Lupita Nyong’o and Sandra Bullock along with the design, simple but so pretty 🙂 Charlize Theron was just stunning (especially when she was presenting next to Chris Hemsworth). And Emma Watson knows how to choose her clothes.  I’d love to mention Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Kendrick’s dresses. They were super beautiful too!!

Last year I didn’t do the men but they were so handsome!

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

chris hemsworth oscars

Chris Hemsworth

Will Smith

Will Smith

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper

Matthew McConaughey was totally charming in his suit. Chris Hemsworth was hot in his burgundy.  Will Smith was looking pretty good and Bradley Cooper surprisingly took my breath away in his suit 🙂

The best speeches of the night goes out to these two awesome people!

matthew mcconaughey speech

Matthew McConaughey’s speech was really meaningful and encouraging. He thanked his belief and faith, his family and his future self.  That blew my mind! This man was already awesome in my book and think he just went even higher!

lupita nyong'o speech

Before Matthew McConaughey got his award, her award seemed like the absolute best.  It was completely heartfelt and so meaningful.  I mean reminding children from everywhere that their dreams are valid (paraphrasing her words, of course), is just beautiful!

Aside from actual on-spot live speeches, I feel the Governor Awards is worth a mention because I was totally happy about Angela Lansbury getting it.

angela lansbury

Bedknobs and Broomsticks was so fun! She’s awesome! I was very happy to see this!

angelina jolie humanitarian award

Aside from her, we have Angelina Jolie that I have to give a mention because I was never a huge fan of hers but her speech was very touching and she’s done some pretty awesome work.  Impressive, right?

Last thing I’m going to talk about is for the songs.  They were all pretty good performances, no? Frozen totally deserved it and Idina Menzel blew me away as always.  She has a monster voice! BUT, the show was hit off on a very positive note with Pharrell Williams performing Happy and dancing with some of the ladies. This right here:

amy-adams-dance

My girl crush on Amy Adams just grew a little (okay okay, maybe a lot)! 🙂

I’ve held you all up too much now so I’ll stop here!

Did you watch the Oscars? Who was the best dressed? Which speech stole the night? Were there any surprise wins?