Netflix A-Z: Detention (2011)

I’m back into watching Netflix! I’m going to be honest that it is hard to focus on movies when there are so many updated TV series hanging about. As this goes up, I may or may not have finished or closed to finishing Orange is the New Black Season 4. I’ll hold off my thoughts on it until the TV Binge post coming up soon. As for the D selection, its Detention! If I remember correctly, my awesome cohost Melissa from The Creative Fox Den had mentioned it to me before airtime before. We all know she has fantastic taste in movies so I was honestly excited to watch it but just needed to find the right moment to do it.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Detention (2011)

Detention 2011

Director (and co-writer): Joseph Kahn

Cast: Shanley Caswell, Josh Hutcherson, Aaron David Johnson, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook, Parker Bagley, Jonathan Park, Tiffany Boone

As a copycat killer named after movie villain Cinderhella stalks the student body at Grizzly Lake High School, a group of co-eds band together to survive while serving detention.-IMDB

I don’t even know where to start with Detention. Its a really quirky and fun movie for one. It plays on a lot of horror movies or maybe even other movies. It exaggerates the cliches. The characters are a little weird at times and there are some awkward scenes but it always seems to work in favor of the movie as a whole. Detention feels like watching a surprise. You kind of know where things are going but then you never quite know whats going to happen exactly.  The things they stay are modern but retro 90s in a way. There’s mascots, time travel, slasher, high school drama, romance and a lot of other stuff. Detention is kind of like Breakfast Club but with a slasher. I can seriously go on.


Thing is we have two main leads here: Shanley Caswell as Riley and Josh Hutcherson as Clapton. Riley is kind of the loser girl in school. She’s the person inside the mascot and she does silly things and just a nobody. Clapton is kind of a somebody since he’s a jock. He gets along with everyone and has a hot cheerleader girlfriend but then he’s targeted because of the ex of his girlfriend. Behind all this, Clapton and Riley are also neighbors and pretty good friends and well, Riley has a massive crush on him. At times, it feels like he likes her too but then with all that happens, it gets a little lost in the mix as we try to find out who the slasher is and their motives. The even better part is that the slasher copycat actually wasn’t too obvious. It adds to how its a fun watch. Not to mention Cinderhella is a pretty great villain.

Detention 2011

Overall, there isn’t really too much to say about Detention. Its a little gem that doesn’t seem to known to a lot of people. At least I haven’t heard people talking about it. The story is fun. I like films that mock the cliches or play on them. Josh Hutcherson and Shanley Caswell along with a ton of the cast are entertaining to watch. Its just so much fun! I kind of want to revisit it again!

Have you seen Detention?

Next indie Netflix A-Z is E! Can you guess which movie it is?
Hint: Its made by a production company that is pretty huge on YouTube. 

Epic (2013)

Some of you will remember that I had posted this up a week or two ago.  The first movie to won out in that first night was Epic so here we are with it as the first review. I’ve been on a huge animation thing and been watching a few of them here and there and totally loving it.  I’ve heard some pretty decent reviews on Epic so I remained hopeful even though I didn’t really know anything about it.

Epic (2013)

Epic 2013

Director: Chris Wedge

Voice Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell, Beyonce, Pitbull, Chris O’Dowd, Aziz Ansari

EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world…and ours. — (C) Fox (Rotten Tomatoes)

 I love animations.  How animated films have developed nowadays is amazing.  There is so much that’s improved and changed for the better and everything makes it even better.  Just watch a Bluray version of a older animated movie (like a Disney classic) and think about the quality of what it was before.  everything stands out more. Epic is kind of similar to Arthur’s and the Minimoys meets Avatar in animated world in many ways, or at least it reminds me a little of that.  What truly captures the eye is the vibrant colors they use the brighten up the screen.  I read that this was 3D when it was released.  My guess it that in 3D the fun would have been even more effective.  Still, Epic is a rather fun adventure.  a little predictable at times but the dynamic characters make up for it. I’m a sucker for animations like this because I always love how movies utitlize the environment around them to their potential and add that little bit extra imagination and creativity to it.

Epic 2013

The voice cast here is pretty good.  Amanda Seyfried plays MK, our main heroine that enters into a new world that she had doubted and is asked to take on a task that determines the life and death of the light.  In this world, she meets some characters like the serious and dutiful warrior Ronin voiced by Colin Farrell or the comedic/silly slug duo, Grub and Mub, voiced respectively by Chris O’Dowd and Aziz Ansari.  I haven’t known anything about Aziz Ansari before this because I went to search up some of this comedy shows and what not afterwards and its pretty good.  That means I had a good laugh.  Most of the time, I just stare at these stand-up comedians and ponder what is so funny.   Then you have the wise catepillar, Nim Galuu, who really is a little lost but so personable and is voiced by Steven Tyler.  These characters carry out a lot of really fun moments and give this movie some flair.

Epic 2013

The main lead here is MK.  I’m not exactly sure about her character but she’s on this adventure and I can imagine that it would be pretty awesome.  To see everything from another angle is something that would be so impressive and for the most part, the character is done well.  Right next to her is the dude here, Nod voiced by Josh Hutcherson, who is a little bit of rebel in his world but still has a good heart.  He does things not totally by the rules and is a little reckless.  He’s a good guy character here who has all sorts of moments with MK.

Epic 2013

Animations are generally pretty straight forward. There’s a simple story, a hero or heroine and they are on task to complete some mission against so evil villain.  What makes an animation effective is having a worthy villain.  The villain in Epic is called Mandrake (voiced by Christoph Waltz) and his little minions and tattletale toad (?) Bufo, voiced by Pitbull.  I watched this animation a week or two ago and I struggle to remember much about this villain.  Maybe thats why its not quite so memorable to me.  The character design is great. Just look at him.  I even remember Pitbull more than him…so yeah.

Overall, Epic is a visually colorful animation that captures the eye with its creative use of the environment in this new world they’ve created.  The story is simple (just as it should be) and funny with the help of the chemistry and personality of their characters.  The villain is not quite as memorable.  However, the shock of all this was the cast with names from the music world like Beyonce, Pitbull and Steven Tyler.  Epic is definitely worth a shot for some decent entertainment.

Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

I don’t often have the luck of opening the TV and hitting a channel where a movie just starts.  Somehow during our Toronto trip and the night we decide to stay in the hotel room to eat, we land right at the start of Zathura: A Space Adventure.  My best friend had seen the second half of it so the beginning was still new to her.  I’ve never seen this before but always wanted to.

zathura posterDirector: Jon Favreau

Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins

Two boys Walter (Josh  Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo) never got along especially now that their parents have divorced.  When their father (Tim Robbins) leaves them under the reluctant care of their sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart) while he takes care of his work outside of the house.  As Walter gets angry at Danny, he sents him down the dumbwaiter to the basement.  He comes back upstairs with an old space adventure game called Zathura and asks Walter to play with him. Once Danny starts off to play the game, he realizes that the game has shifted the whole house in space physically and the only way they could win was to take turns and complete the obstacles given, reach Zathura to reset everything.

zathura 4

Zathura is pretty much Jumanji but in space.  I’m a huge fan of Jumanji and I still have no idea why my boyfriend doesn’t like it so seeing Zathura was something that would happen eventually.  I’m just beating myself up as to why it took me so long to see it after it was done.  Sure, I figured out a lot of the twists but still, I bought the whole idea of it and it was crazy fun to watch.  Even K. Stew can’t bring this one down.  She was actually quite funny and in what other time can you see her frozen in place, and when she wasn’t, she was emoting.  Good job K. Stew! Still, I’m not going to join Justin in the Kristen Stewart Defense Council anytime soon but she did good in this. Plus, just look at the picture on the top, the special effects and visuals were pretty awesome.  I’d say this one satisfies both kids and parents with the story and the style.

zathura 1

Here we have a very young Josh Hutcherson as Walter.  I’m an only child so I don’t understand the sibling dynamics but my best friend said its normal that older siblings tend to mess with the younger ones.  In this one, Josh plays that older brother who somehow doesn’t like Danny because he thinks that he takes away the attention from his father or ruins everything in his life (maybe he just finds him a nuisance).  As the story progresses, as much as its an adventure movie, its about them treasuring each other as brothers and putting their trust into each other also.  At the same time, Danny, played by Jonah Bobo is a super cute kid and he does a really good job.

zathura 2

There’s a lot to love if not for the principal characters like Walter and Danny but for the other ones that show up.  I’ve already discussed Kristen Stewart above but the other one was putting in the astronaut who really helps inspire the characters and help the kids through certain obstacles they probably wouldn’t otherwise.  It makes something so fictional become slightly realistic.  I’m guessing if any kid got time warped to another time and space, they would probably freak out and not really understand what to do so help is always needed.  The astronaut also makes it a lot of fun because he’s somewhat silly at times as well so it would appeal to adults.  Even in the more dangerous parts, it maintains enough intensity to hold the audience but not enough to scare the younger crowd too much.

zathura 3

If you read all that up there, I’m recommending this one.  Its a great family adventure movie, especially if you are already a fan of Jumanji.  Its lots of fun, full of great characters and even teaches a bit about the value of families especially between siblings.  Kristen Stewart is enjoyable to watch, Josh Hutcherson is young and quite good (before he was all Hunger Games cool) and we even have a little bits with Tim Robbins (which I failed to mention about before). The special effects are nice and visually, its pretty beautiful.  A winner all around 🙂

Are you a fan of Jumanji? Did you see Zathura? What do you think about it?

The Hunger Games (2012)

Surprisingly, being the bookworm I am, I didn’t get to see The Hunger Games in theatres.  My boyfriend did however and thats why its taken us so long to actually watch it after I bought it in November, since he got addicted to the novels and wanted to finish it before we watched it.  The Hunger Games is possibly one of the most interesting reading experiences I’ve had.  It was very addictive, especially since it was in first person narration.  I’ll have to re-read those books though.   Sitting through this movie, I started getting glimpse of the novel but was missing details here and there.

hunger gamesDirector: Gary Ross

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland, Isabelle Fuhrman

In the now ruined North America, Panem is now what the nation is called, because of its past revolution, it is now separated into 12 Districts, each with their own specialty to contribute to the Capitol.  Every year, children are chosen randomly: a boy and a girl to join the Hunger Games from each of the districts, resulting into 24 tributes.  They are put into a designated area where they need to battle each other until there is one tribute remaining.  That tribute will win the games and be rewarded a lot of wealth and comfort for their future.  Some children will have their names in more times than others because in the poorer districts, like the one in District 12, where The Hunger Games start, children use this to trade in for more ration to help feed their families.  District 12, we see the morning of the tribute selection, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) meet to hunt outside of their boundaries (which is illegal) just before they need to prepare for the selections.

hunger games gale and katniss

This year, Katniss sister, Primrose is also in the run to be selected.  At the selection, Primrose “luckily” gets selected and to protect her sister, Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place.  Going with her is another boy who had saved her before, Peeta Mellark  (Josh Hutcherson).  As they get whisked away onto the train heading to the Capitol where the games are held, they meet their mentor, previous winner of District 12 and a man who drinks away his sorrows, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and their guardian of sorts, Effie (Elizabeth Banks).  In the Capitol, they need to be prepared to show off and prepare for the games.  In the parade, they end up meeting Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), who is their costume stylist and also from afar, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) who starts off the games.  After a while for preparation with all the other tributes on skills and impressing their possible sponsors, we are lead to where the games begin and as they say, “may the odds be ever in your favor”.

hunger games katniss

Hunger Games is possibly one of the most gripping movies I’ve seen in a very long time.  Because the Bluray I had seemed to be so quiet and the conversations were so quiet, I ended up moving closer to the TV in order to focus into the movie and not miss out.  That usually is a sign that its something that peaked my interest.  I can’t remember the last time that I did this.  The action, the quiet, the buildup was all very similar because I already had read the novel beforehand.  The fact that it could still capture my full attention and make me feel the tension that the story is definitely a sign that it was made extremely well.  I would have to say that it is one of the better novel adaptations that I’ve watched.

hunger games katniss peeta

One of the major contributions to the success of this movie has to go to its cast.  I have never seen Jennifer Lawrence before this flick. However, her interpretation of Katniss Everdeen was as perfect as it could be.  She portrayed the emotions right on and it made it even more real.  Her chemistry with her fellow co-actors whether it be Josh Hutcherson when expressing mixed emotions towards her companion and opponent in the games or Woody Harrelson as her mentor.  Her emotions carried us through the movie perfectly.  The outstanding cast can’t be forgotten in this as well.  The rest of the cast really pushed it up to a higher level as the cast itself with Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland just to name a few, are veterans in the business.  Even the younger actors, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (the little part he was in) did their roles very good.  Aside from that, the supporting role that impressed me the most was Lenny Kravitz who played Cinna.  He gave me the exact impression of the personality of the character that I read.

hunger games haymitch effie

The actors may be important but the director did a great job at shooting this film.  He managed to capture the environment and tension very well and matched it with the emotions that were all over the place.  The drama and the violence that came from the games itself and the whole process was shown perfectly.  What really helped was the interpretation of the Capitol itself because with the book, it was first person narration and now, they help us by seeing not only through the eyes of Katniss but elaborating what was originally in the novels.

For me to judge this movie as a standalone work is hard, I’ve already read the book and was really drawn into it.  I think this movie is a great adaptation and I look forward to the next movie, Catching Fire coming out this year.

Have you read the Hunger Games novels? Did you think it was a good adaptation or not?