Double Feature: Varsity Blues (1999) & A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016)

It feels like quite a while since I did a double feature but that might be because I’ve been taking a little movie watching break and binging some more TV that I never happen to write about (but I will, I promise). A bit of a mixed bag here although you could call this a young adult/adolescent pairing? I don’t know when A Cinderella Story for this one takes place. Its usually around the high school phase as well.

Varsity Blues (1999)

varsity blues

Director: Brian Robbins

Cast: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester, Scott Caan, Amy Smart, Eliel Swinton, Ali Larter

A back-up quarterback is chosen to lead a Texas football team to victory after the star quarterback is injured. – IMDB

Those who know me know that I’m a huge fan of Paul Walker, as a human being and truly do miss his presence since he had done some fantastic work in Fast and the Furious as well as other movies. I’m sure that I’ll be doing something in the Sunday Lists very soon. With that said, I haven’t seen Varsity Blues before where he plays the supporting role of Lance Harbor, the injured star quarterback mentioned in the plot summary above. The main character here is played by James Van Der Beek. Going into Varsity Blues blind did give me quite the shock because it is quite an intense film especially in the sense, of how Jon Voight’s character as the coach of the team.

Varsity Blues is quite generic in the coming of age sports film but it shines in its performances and the cast member. The movie also has some pacing issues particularly in the beginning however the second half of the film does redeem itself quite a bit as that is where I was truly invested into the movies. It touches a lot on say the future of the dreams but also brings into other realities of say race and prejudices as well as unreasonable ambitions and doing/fighting for what is right and following your heart instead of what others perceive as your future or the path you should take.

I was a little underwhelmed by the film as its fairly average but the decent performances does make it worth a watch.

A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016)

a cinderella story if the shoe fits

Director: Michelle Johnston

Cast: Sofia Carson, Jennifer Tilly, Amy Louise Wilson, Jazzara Jaslyn, Thomas Law, David Ury, Sven Ruygrok

A contemporary musical version of the classic Cinderella story in which the servant step daughter hope to compete in a musical competition for a famous pop star. – IMDB

I have no idea how these A Cinderella Story is still going on. I think I’m missing like the third one if this one is the fourth one. I do like the Hillary Duff one with Chad Michael Murray which started it all. Its one I watch every once in a while for the obvious reasons that the cast is spectacular with Jennifer Coolidge as the absurd mean stepmother role. The next one after that was Another Cinderella Story with Selena Gomez which I didn’t love but enjoyed since it had some cute moments and lovely dancing and singing moments. I didn’t bother with the third one since I figured this stuff wasn’t worth my spending money on it so to fill up some background noise and uninvested movie viewing, I put this on because I saw it on Netflix. I know no one in this one and its all quite rinse and repeat. There’s some dancing and the opening thing of singing and dancing seems like this female replica of Grease’s Grease Lightning part. However, this one is just bad. The humor is not funny. The acting is meh. The singing and dancing is okay. The story is generic.

It was something of a waste of time but then I mean, as background noise, I guess it fit the bill but I wouldn’t watch it again.

Sunday Lists: The Fast and the Furious Franchise – Best to Worst

This week we’re looking at the little (or big) franchise that could. A franchise that I thought had ended came back in 2009 and kind of has gotten bigger and badder in its mission of over the top action in the following years. The Fast and the Furious started as a small scale movie but launched the memorable roles for both Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker as Brian O’Connor. The franchise has yet to end despite the tragic passing of Paul Walker and seems to be greenlit until at least a 10th installment. This franchise holds a great spot in my heart and ranking is going to be really tough (and it truly was). The list will be updated for the next two movies as they are released and reviewed.

For now, here is the best to worst for The Fast and the Furious franchise (according to us, of course):

Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five is an awesome addition to the franchise. Its hard to imagine any of the films in this franchise beating this one. It has some over the top car stunts however compared to its later ones are slightly more believable. The team assembled here is at its best. Dwayne Johnson makes his first appearance here as memorable as ever. The location of Rio de Janeiro is fantastic as well as the villain here is competent. This film takes the strategic turn that the movie is not only about cars and family and the cast but also that this is a fantastic heist film with an awesome heist involving stealing the entire bank safe and dragging it as a team down the street in an adrenaline-filled escape.

You can read our review HERE.

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

The next three are the hardest to separate and rank higher and lower in this franchise. They each have their pros and cons that rank them fairly level. Fast & Furious 6 rank slightly higher because the team manages to be complete. In the sixth one, we see Dwayne Johnson join in almost like a team member. There are some incredibly over the top moments jumping across freeway gaps and a too long to be true airplane take-off. There are some emotional moments and plans for the future from other members and this sets up the stage to what seems like the plan for Justin Lin the moment he took over the franchise. Its fun and entertaining and does deserve a ton of props for getting here and being acknowledged for all the crazy stunts they do here.

Check out the review HERE.

Furious 7 (2015)

furious 7

Furious 7 does a lot of stuff right. The only reason that it ranks slightly lower is because its success lies heavily on those familiar with the characters here particularly Paul Walker’s character Brian. The movie does a great job at saying goodbye to his character because of his passing in real life. However, this sentiment stays strong for those in love with the franchise like myself because he get s worthy farewell however might not for the random person dropping into the franchise. Of course, before the goodbye, there are more than enough competent moments. One of the best being the great scene of driving a super car through the Dubai buildings. The setting and the adrenaline rush and the competent villain played by Jason Statham along with its emotional value all give this a worthy top 3 spot in the franchise.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

fate of the furious

The Fate of the Furious in terms of entertainment value don’t rival that of Furious 7 and Fast & Furious 6. In fact, they are still plenty of adrenaline rush moments. There are a ton of characters added to the mix along with new allies and old ones that make an appearance which plays to the fans of the franchise who love every single member that has joined into these missions no matter how big or small their role may seem. The only thing that makes this one fall a little short is that Charlize Theron while a competent actress and does a great job as the villain really doesn’t seem to have enough to do. Perhaps its the sheer amount of characters that are involved in this franchise now that its starting to remain fun but hard to not feel that its getting slightly convoluted. Its still a fun time especially as they head into a car chase down an ice field.

Check out the review HERE.

Fast & Furious (2009)

fast & furious

The true struggle in this whole ranking was where to place this. This movie sparked my love (or refueled my hope) for this franchise. The story was captivating and there was some great car stunts. The moments here that truly remind us of the greatness of what started this whole franchise up was notched up and done better. Sure, it doesn’t rank very high on Rotten Tomatoes but I do beg to differ. Here is where we see the reunion of everyone and where the events here bring everyone together. The effects here are a little iffy at times but it was the stepping stone the franchise needed to breathe some new life into it and give it the renewed vibe in the right direction.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

the fast and the furious

The start of this franchise was The Fast and the Furious and there is no way that we can discount it. While it doesn’t quite shine like its second start in what feels like the revival of the original team in Fast & Furious, there’s something here that makes me nostalgic about it all and the reason why it took so long to figure out where to place this. We learn about Dom and Brian, the values they hold and the start of a conflicted friendship that probably changed the life of the four people intertwined here. For that, this one holds quite a bit of place but then, its hard to not feel that while on a small scale it worked, the revival beats this one just a tad.

Check out the review HERE.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) 

fast and the furious tokyo drift

A completely new cast takes on this third entry to the Fast and the Furious. The characters are horrible and pretentious. The races are lackluster. Its only saving point is the character of Han and the surprise ending and the fact that Justin Lin takes over the franchise and in later installments, we realize that this film being out of place actually fit into a grand plan that he had mapped out. Was it deliberate? It would definitely seem so. And for that reason, this one manages to hang on just barely and escape the worst movie in the franchise. If this ranking was solely based on the first five films, it would place last because lets be honest, for those familiar with Initial D, its pretty much an American version with a similar idea.

Find the review HERE.

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

2 fast 2 furious

For the longest time, 2 Fast 2 Furious ranked a little higher than Tokyo Drift however for the reasons above, I had no choice but to push it to the bottom. This one’s only purpose was to bring on Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson who gave us the comedic banter that happens between Tej and Roman in the more recent films. For myself, the film also saw Jin Au-Yeung (more commonly referred to as MC Jin in the Hong Kong world) have a little role here which was pretty nice to see. Aside from that, nothing here really does stand out.

Check out the review HERE.

Are you a fan of The Fast and the Furious Franchise? 
How would your best to worst differ from ours?

Furious 7 (2015)

Finally, we are at the latest addition to the Fast and the Furious franchise! Man, this franchise has gone through its ups and downs.  Mostly ups as we entered the last few movies.  The franchise as gone into a bigger and better direction with mostly great response due to whatever reasons: characters, heists, etc.  Its in its own category now and while none of them are masterpieces, its achieved its own special place in the fans’ hearts. That definitely includes me.

Before I go further into Furious 7, let’s get a little synopsis in 🙂

Furious 7 (2015)

furious 7

Director: James Wan

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou

Taking a little break from their last team-up, Dom (Vin Diesel) is home with Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) as they make a transition from the dangerous world of heists, bullets and fast cars. All this changes when the big bad brother of Own Shaw (Luke Evans), Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) calls up Dom, telling him that Han’s (Sung Kang) dead and that he’s hunting down whoever destroyed his little brother.  Already putting Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) in the hospital, Dom and his team have to deal with this threat themselves.  Much to their surprise, a mysterious Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) shows up offering them a perfect chance to revenge Dekkard Shaw with the condition that they retrieve an advanced military technology called God’s Eye and protect the developer, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), before a terrorist acquires it.

furious 7Just a matter of postponing putting up this review a few days, there’s been a ton of other reviews up.  Exactly like Guardians of the Galaxy, there isnt much I can say that hasn’t been said before.  I contemplated doing a point form post on this but then there would be too many spoilers and I don’t want that.  Fact of the matter was that, the movie was halfway through or not even, I leaned over to my boyfriend and said that this movie was already turning into one of my faves of the franchise.  Whether that feeling stuck by the end of the movie, I’ll reveal that at the end 😉

Furious 7 was my most anticipated movie of 2015.  There are various reasons.  One is Paul Walker and how they’ll get him out of the franchise after his tragic death in late 2013.  He is a key character and with that, it makes him hard to dismiss.  We’ve grown to love Brian O’Conner.  He’s a part of the family and honestly, if you are a fan, Dom’s family has pretty much turned into our family.  Each of the character’s have a spot in our hearts. Next reason is Furious 7 marks change. Partially linked with Paul Walker but the fact that even before his death, we’ve already know that Justin Lin will be stepping down as director and handing over the job to James Wan, primarily noted for his horror movie efforts.  Now, following those two points, Furious 7 is every bit intriguing to watch because there are script changes and casting to work around the circumstances they are in and that begs the question: can they live up to the last few films fun and intensity?

furious 7

Simple answer: YES!

There is so many yes for this one. Furious 7 is as awesome as its name.  This time, its not so much about being fast as it is about being furious, as they race with a window of time to obtain the God’s Eye and Ramsey, fighting top notch fighters in the various roles form Jason Statham and Tony Jaa being in that category.  Even Rhonda Rousey appears and fights with Michelle Rodriguez.  The action sequences are as over the top as they get and yet I appreciate every single moment of them.  I guess its when I watch these movies, I feel like I’m rather different.  I like movies dripping with machoism, big guys, fighting, over the top action, sexy and sleek revving cars, high adrenaline.  I love all that stuff.  Furious 7 lives up to the franchise they’ve been building on all those levels, brings in some new characters and makes it bigger, badder, meaner and crazier than ever. More fight sequences than racing cars.  At this point, when I walk into a movie in this franchise, I suspend every disbelief I have and just enjoy everything they throw at me. Everything and anything can happen and it doesn’t have to make any sense but you know what? It doesn’t matter, because that’s exactly what I’m looking for.  And probably what you should be too 😉

furious 7

This movie also experienced something for once in its franchise. Its is actually quite surprising.  Can you guess what it is? The plot was never something to call home about. Its usually extremely simple with one very huge end goal.  I never complain about it.  For the first time, Furious 7’s plot actually feels a little convoluted. There’s a whole lot of little things going on. A lot of which gets lost in the bigger plots that kind of try to overpower each other.  This time, it brings in family and revenge as a huge theme.  Its minorly a heist for the God’s Eye but more a rescue mission.  As much as Justin Lin loved to bring in lots of asses and skimpy girls, James Wan puts it right in your face even more.  I don’t care much for that (since I’m very much into guys) but I’m sure its more for the male audience that should dominate the viewing audience here.  I sidetracked there. The plot includes Letty’s amnesia and Brian’s embrace of quiet family life as side plots.  The bigger ones was supposed to be Deckard Shaw because that is how the previous movie ended and should be the focus. By the end, I almost forgot about it as they trashed Los Angeles with the terrorist dude wrecking havoc. I literally forgot about the fight between Shaw and Dom, and kind of laughed at myself at that moment. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.

***Next paragraph enters a little spoiler territory**

Really, what else is there to say about this one? I’m thinking Fast Five, Furious 6 and this one is sounding very similar.  Which is why this is not so much a review as just a write-up. This may not be quite as strong as Fast 5 (or 6) but its a lot of fun and there’s drama and the meaning behind this one is so much more just because we know that Paul Walker is no longer in the picture.  Paul Walker’s death and that last scene for the tribute was done really well.  I sat through the entire film wondering and worrying that they’d kill him off  but they didn’t.  The way they did it was perfect. It was classy and heartwarming.  Brian was ready to leave the bullets behind and be dedicated to quiet family life.  Once that song started and the beach scene, it meant just so much by saying so little and my tears just started falling.  It was as much the team’s farewell as it was ours to Paul Walker and Brian O’Conner. It makes us remember also that as much as Paul Walker’s career succeeded a lot to do with this franchise, it made me think of the others movies he has been in and a few of them are underrated.

I guess the best way to end this write-up of Furious 7 is with this tribute video:

Wow..this review just got really personal and kind of heavy. Furious 7 is a fun, entertaining ride. While how the franchise would take Brian O’Conner’s character out kept running around in the back of my mind, it never stopped me from enjoying Furious 7 for exactly what it is.  Logic and reason, common sense: nothing matters here. Its family, vengeance, action and a whole lot of explosion.  Anything that happens in Furious 7 goes.  Does a car flying through buildings make sense? Sure! How about no Air Force fighter jets coming when they are trashing LA? That’s okay.  Cars flying in mid-air and parachuting down to the mountainous roads? That works! Plus, Paul Walker tribute was done perfectly well. Did Furious 7 make it to be my favorite movie in the franchise? Not really but it sure has a memorable spot in there.

Did you see Furious 7? What did you think about it? Which is your favorite movie in the franchise so far?

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Another re-post as we move into the next movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise. It’s Fast and Furious 6! Right when thought Fast Five was some crazy stuff, this one brings in some even bigger and better fun! Check out my review! Not much as changed from how I feel about it. I edited a few little mistakes and fixed up the pictures a little.

furious 6

Are you excited? Furious 7 review going up any time within the next 12 hours 😉

Tranquil Dreams

My boyfriend and I finally got to the last movie of May that was on our hit list.  its one that is the top one on my list for the summer, Fast & Furious 6.  Being at the theatre almost every week makes all the commercials feel long, but then the previews were different with the new World War Z trailer and the new Pacific Rim trailer.  Nothing beats the moment Fast & Furious 6 started and we pick up right where Fast Five ended 😉

fast and furious 6 posterDirector: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, Joe Taslim

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) start off this movie almost like how this last one ended up with a race.  Except this time, we see them…

View original post 773 more words

Fast Five (2011)

Moving right along with the Fast and the Furious franchise. Here is the Fast Five review written in 2013 in anticipation of Furious 6 movie! I fixed up a little bit of the mistakes here and there. Overall, this is one of the posts I’ve liked the most that I’ve written. Fast Five is also one of my favorite movies in the franchise. Its just pure fun and awesome! 🙂

fast five

What did you think of Fast Five?

Tranquil Dreams

I’m a huge fan for (most of) the Fast and the Furious movies! This comes when you date a guy who is crazy about anything related to cars.  Fast & Furious is just all about adrenaline and cars and whatnot.  Its nothing to be raving about sophistication but its usually a fun ride, although there are a few exceptions in the franchise that I’m not exactly a big fan of but whenever I hear of a new one coming out, it always gets me all excited! With Fast Six just around the corner, my boyfriend gave me a choice to rewatch Iron Man 1 &2 or this…and I guess I was more into this at the moment 😉

fast five posterDirector: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, Don Omar

After rescuing Dominic…

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Fast & Furious (2009)

Fast & Furious was the first one in this series that I went to go see at the theatres.  It probably also marked the time when I actually watched those previous 3 for the first time in a mini marathon to prepare for this.  I’ve always liked racing car games because of Gran Turismo so this appealed to me, its just my family was never into these sorts of movies before my boyfriend came into my life in 2008.

After the mega disappointment of the third one, excuse me when I was a little worried about how the 4th one would go.  I’m more of half cup full type of person, so I went to this with hopes that it would at least measure up to the first one. Did it meet my expectations? How about on this rewatch?

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Fast & Furious (2009)

fast & furious

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Don Omar, Tego Caldaron

After their last heist, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) leaves everyone by himself because the heat was a little too much and he worried about causing dangers to his loved ones.  Thats until, he gets a call from Mia (Jordana Brewster) that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) was murdered.  Without another thought, he comes back to find out who killed her and to avenge her death.  This is when reinstated FBI, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) crosses his path again both learning that a drug trafficking lord, Braga is behind all this and they both try to get into their crew with their own end goals.

fast & furious

If you ever want to reboot a series, this is exactly how you do it: Make it into an adrenaline pumping, high energy action film with the original cast doing what they do best.  There’s familiarity, fun, excitement and intensity all wrapped into one fantastic film.  I mean, fantastic in terms of the Fast and the Furious franchise, of course.  The love for this franchise is in its own category and it all starts with this one as Justin Lin, much to my surprise takes the series into a whole different style but with the original cast, it brings back exactly what was needed to make this film crazy.  It was crazy ridiculous.  Just the opening scene was enough to know exactly what tone this movie was aiming for. And I like it.  I like it a whole lot!

fast & furious

I’ve said it in the previous reviews for this franchise and I say it again.  Vin Diesel is the cornerstone of what makes this franchise good. He’s just a monumental man that honestly brings in his own style.  Sure, he doesn’t have a whole lot to say and its all emoted in his face and reactions, the one-liners here and there but somehow it works for him.  This time around, Brian O’Conner’s character gets a lot more depth because he has to deal with who he wants to be and to be honest with himself.  There is no doubt that Dom is a character that we love and respect. I have to admit, this was the movie where I really started loving the character of Brian O’Conner because he seems perfectly happy even if it meant breaking out of the good guy path because maybe he was just a pretending to be the good guy (paraphrasing a line in the movie said by Jordana Brewster’s Mia).

fast & furious

Fast & Furious also brings in a new lady here, Gisele (who we see in later movies in the franchise).  She’s not a bad character.  Although she does ride with Braga’s crew.  Still, she adds a little balance to the spectrum because she isn’t a bad character and there’s space for her to develop.  Its pretty fun because she really is attracted to Dom and it adds a little chemistry there.  I mean, Fast and Furious franchise probably has the best bromance chemistry ever but love isn’t all that abundant, not that its a fault.  It works to keep the situation simple and just enjoy the crazy action sequences.

Overall, Fast & Furious is our first step into suspending our disbelief in this franchise.  Things didn’t always make sense in the last three but this one is where you know that its going over the top and just high adrenaline fun. Turn your brain off and enjoy the story.  It adds a little drama with Letty being gone and the reuniting of Mia and Dom then Mia and Brian and of course, the bromance between Brian and Dom.  There’s flashy cars and great races.  Its a little vengeful and some new characters.  The villain, Braga is alright because he’s pretty much a mystery throughout the whole flick.  There’s a lot that I love about this one and it has to do with how it made me start falling in love with this franchise and Paul Walker’s Brian.  Not my fave but definitely somewhere on the top.

Have you seen Fast & Furious? What do you think about it? How would you rank it in the franchise?

Remember to check out the previous reviews if you haven’t and drop by again for Fast Five coming really soon (probably later today)!

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

Moving onto to the second movie of the Fast series, 2 Fast 2 Furious continues but without Vin Diesel this time.  Paul Walker takes the reins this time in the leading role.

If you missed The Fast and the Furious review, check it out HERE! This is part of a series, if you haven’t seen the first one, this review may have a few spoilers.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

2 fast 2 furious

Director: John Singleton

Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Jin Auyeung, Devon Aoki, Thom Barry

After his decisions in The Fast and the Furious, Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is no longer a cop.  However, he now lives in the street racing world in Miami to earn a living.  When his former FBI boss approaches him to help him to catch a drug exporter (Cole Hauser), O’Connor heads out to seek his childhood friend, Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) to help him out while helping them to wipe their records clean if this mission succeeds.

2 fast 2 furious

2 Fast 2 Furious is a mixed bag.  On one hand, there are some commendable traits to it, especially in this viewing, I’ve appreciated it a little bit more.  And no, its not just because I am missing Paul Walker and gearing up to the final goodbye of his character in this series.  I’ve always been rather forgiving of this installment. Paul Walker taking the lead role works because now its all him: whether he can carry this franchise or not.  We kind of know the answer to that already.  What works for this one is that he has a great supporting cast behind him.  Tyrese Gibson playing Roman Pearce adds an enjoyment because it brings in some chemistry.  Its like Brian O’Connor found a crew that he belongs to as he rekindles his friendship with Roman Pearce and his Miami street racing group lead by Tej (played by Ludacris).  Watching this a second time, I noticed someone that probably doesn’t exactly matter in Hollywood because he’s now huge in the Hong Kong entertainment and TV channel but that’s the garage kid called Jimmy that works for Tej played by Jin Auyeung (or now, he’s called MC Jin, also credited for doing some music for the video game Kung Fu Rider). That guy is great and I love him in the TV dramas so it was a pleasant surprise to see him in 2 Fast 2 Furious.

2 fast 2 furious

Maybe its my bad that I didn’t talk about villains.  Although, I guess it wasn’t about the villains in the first one so much as it is now.  2 Fast 2 Furious makes it a defined boundaries that the villain is the drug exporter and their mission is to help stop him.  Our villain in this one, although not exactly memorable is a Carter Verone, played by Cole Hauser.  This guy isn’t really menacing but I guess when you bring Eva Mendes playing Monica Fuentes who is the undercover agent who is sleeping with the enemy and has a little chemistry with Brian, things tend to get a little dicey.  This series is shaping up to be making bad relationship calls that cause tension.  Probably not exactly the impression it gets but I started having that feeling.  Of course, Brian’s chemistry is never as great as when he’s with Mia, who isn’t in this one because Vin Diesel isn’t there to play Dom.

2 fast 2 furious

Does it sound like I’m hating on 2 Fast 2 Furious? I’m not.  I’m indifferent to it at most.  Brian and Roman make a good team, balancing funny and serious moments together.  Without Vin, the vibe of the series has changed, not necessarily for the better, because its not nearly as good as the first but a charismatic cast and some pretty nice looking rides makes somewhat of a mark here.  This is absolute brainless fun.  Just enjoy the ride and let it flow 😉

Have you seen 2 Fast 2 Furious? What are you thoughts on it? 

Remember to drop by tomorrow to catch the review for the next in the series, Tokyo Drift! 🙂

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

Welcome to the Fast and the Furious week!

Furious 7 opened this past weekend. I did end up going to see it on Sunday evening.

The Fast and the Furious series may have had its up and downs in the first few in the series but its turned into something that’s pure brainless entertainment full of over the top sequences, loud race cars and a signature crew that aren’t friends but have become a family. Together, they pull off the unimaginable.  Can you tell that I have a massive love for this series? The release of Furious 7 is something more. I’ll elaborate on that when I get to that review but I decided that before that review goes up, I’m going to review all the ones before 🙂

Its a last minute decision.  Sorry that it didn’t go up earlier….

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

the fast and the furious

Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Rick Yune, Chad Lindberg, Matt Schulze, John Strong

FBI agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) is sent to be an undercover cop to find out who is behind a series of hijackings connected to the street car gangs.  He tries to get himself known to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) who is the best of the best in the street racing world.  After saving Toretto after a race, he get introduced to his “family” and not only  understand and respect Toretto a little better but also fall in love with his sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster).  As he starts getting involved into the street racing world, he starts questioning where his loyalties lie.

the fast and the furious

The Fast and the Furious is kind of like Need For Speed in a movie.  Side note: its also why I didn’t think Need For Speed needed to be made into a movie.  Back on track, this series starts with tons of flashy fast cars and there’s heists and cops and undercover.  Its the first step into the world of street car racing world and getting to know that this crew is as respectable if not more than even the righteous cops.  Maybe that’s why, Brian O’Connor would make the choices he made when he was undercover.  Its a beginner’s guide to what being a street racer is and especially about respect and loyalty with a crew.

the fast and the furious

What makes The Fast and the Furious iconic for me is Vin Diesel and his role as Dominic Toretto.  His family: Mia (played by Jordana Brewster) and girlfriend Letty (played by Michelle Rodriguez) both have a significant way to show who his character is.  Dom is the brother and the leader.  He takes responsible and does what is the best for everyone.  He may be in the illegal racing world and does other stuff on the side that isn’t exactly legit but his character is really great and that makes The Fast and the Furious such a great watch.

the fast and the furious

Starting this series is kind of like my long goodbye to Paul Walker.  I have to admit that Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor isn’t all that memorable when the series first starts.  Although he is the central character and brings the audience into this different world, he never shines. There’s something off about who he is but what makes his character a little funny is that he tries REALLY hard to fit in and somehow he just doesn’t get it, until he eventually does.

The Fast and the Furious may be a little cheesy at times but its a good way to start the series.  It introduces the street racing world with its flashy cars and the world of surrounding Dominic Toretto and his family.  At the same time, we get to know Brian O’Connor a little. The main players enter the Fast and the Furious world and although not quite solid in this one, they show potential for a further development.

Now, the question is how does it hold up in its sequels, right? 😉 I’m sure everyone’s who has seen the series will have a different opinion on it.  You’ll just have to wait for the next review coming up really soon to see what I thought 🙂

Did you like The Fast and The Furious? Was it a good way to start the series? 

Brick Mansions (2014)

After the biggest deadline of the year is done, I was thoroughly drained.  It came to me that being a movie fanatic and feeling bad about the lack of reviews here, it was time for a movie.  I went to check the times and to my surprise, Brick Mansions was showing at my suburban (and frankly very francophone) theatre.  The fact that Brick Mansions was there and on first week with only one more day listed motivated me to go right away.  My friend didn’t want to go so after some errands, I went to check it out. Its the first time in Montreal that I’ve gone to see a movie by myself so now that I’ve done it once, I’ll willingly do it again.  Plus, it was the perfect time because of playoff game so there was almost no one at the theatres.  I walked into the movie 5 minutes before and I was all by myself.  As the previews moved along, 3 couples came in. I honestly wouldn’t have mind being by myself.  Imagine, I had a free ticket from my Scene points and I had the whole viewing to myself.  Now that would’ve been pretty cool, right? 😉

We’re not here to read about what happened in my movie experience but what I thought. Lets start with a little synopsis, shall we?

Brick Mansions posterDirector: Camille Delamarre

Cast: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA, Gouchy Boy, Catalina Denis, Ayisha Issa, Bruce Ramsay

In 2018, Detroit has now separated the bad into their own little Brick Mansions area where its barricaded from the “able and honest” people.  In Brick Mansions, there are no privileges and no benefits.  The people there have no public facilities: police, medical, schools.  Brick Mansions is run by ex military Tremaine Alexander (RZA).  He is a drug lord that runs the area.  However, when a Brick Mansions do gooder Lino (David Belle) steals his stash from his top henchman, he seeks him out every way possible to make him pay until he gets him locked up.  However, at the same time, Detective Damien Collier (Paul Walker) is assigned to go undercover to retrieve a bomb that was hijacked and accidentally set off.  With only 12 hours (and less) to find a way to join forces with Lino to infiltrate Tremaine’s territory, save Lino’s girlfriend Lola (Catalina Denis) and to deactivate the bomb, both Lino and Damien are forced to team up and make it all work out.  If not, they will die trying.

Brick Mansions

I don’t know how many of you reacted to Paul Walker’s sudden death but I was devastated.  So much that I did my first marathon for an actor.  I got in a few movies that I had never seen on Netflix and postponed another one for this.  I didn’t get a chance to see Hours so knowing nothing about this movie, I just knew I had to see it. Plus, all the pictures of the mid air jumping was pretty cool on the poster.  What more can I say? To me, Paul Walker was a respectable man and he was part of one of my favorite franchises and a lot of movies he has done are pretty underrated.  Sure, they aren’t Oscar winning masterpieces but they always provide the entertainment that I look for.  Brick Mansions falls right in that category there and it may possibly be THE most fun outside of the Fast & Furious franchise.

brick mansions stunts


Brick Mansions is a remake of District B13, a french action movie.  I’ve never seen the original but through some research for this, I realized that David Belle, who plays Lino, was part of the District B13 franchise. I really like Lino a lot.  He was the source of a lot of the crazy and impressive stunts that went on throughout the movie. Plus, alongside Paul Walker’s Damien, they both jived really well together.  They had fights together, both against each other and against the same bad guys.  The dialogue they had were at times cheesy but I found it funny also. Together, they made this film stronger and more fun. Paul Walker always has the ability to make something like this work really well.  This movie gives me a similar feeling to when I saw Takers (review HERE).

" Brick Mansions " / Europacorp

There aren’t too many characters in this flick.  Its really a simple, straight forward race against time action movie, but we can’t mention the two main guys and not mention our bad guy just a little, right? RZA plays Tremaine Alexander.  Right off the bat, our first scene is always in that dark kitchen of his cooking and making metaphors to his grandma’s recipes and whatnot.  A part of me wasn’t sure if I was going to take him seriously but at the same time, it gives it a entertaining twist to his “ruthless” character, I guess.  I can’t really pinpoint what it is, but I found him convincing enough.

Brick Mansions

There isn’t much to say about Brick Mansions.  If you go all nitpicky and try to find it to be a perfect whatever genre movie, you won’t find much.  But, if you sit down, shut your brain off and enjoy it for what it is: an action movie full of cool stunts and cheesy lines, you will have fun with this.  Its not a thick storyline but the characters do well enough to make you have a lot of fun with it.  I was entertained the whole time and I totally fell in love with Lino and Damien because they were both noble in their own ways, even if you look at the character of our bad guy, Tremaine, he also had his own reasons for doing what he did in Brick Mansions, regardless if it was good or bad. Regardless, I’m sure there will be haters for this one because its nothing complex or whatnot, but I had a lot of fun with it and I felt entertained at the end.  Seeing Paul Walker’s last movie also gave it bonus points especially when I felt that everyone did a great job with what they had. Thats what matters, right?

Have you seen Brick Mansions? What did you think of it? Have you seen the original? What do you think of Paul Walker’s career?


Takers (2010)

The last movie of this little Paul Walker marathon features Takers.  I’ve never heard of it before searching it up on Netflix and finding it so I went in know absolutely nothing except that little description. I seriously would’ve continued on and done the whole Fast and Furious franchise marathon but no worries, I fully intend to do that before Fast 7 comes out.  Lets check this one out!

takers posterDirector: John Luessenhop

Cast: Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, T.I., Zoe Saldana

A group of bank robbers lead by Gordon (Idris Elba) along with his team: John (Paul Walker), AJ (Hayden Christensen), brothers Jesse (Chris Brown) and Jake (Michael Ealy) just finished a big job and is ready to take their break.  However, their ex-teammate, Ghost (T.I.)  has early parole from jail and pulls some connections and asks them to join him for another multi-million job to steal from an armored truck.  At the same time, the previous bank job is under investigation and cops Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and his partner are hot on their trail.

Yet another action thriller with Paul Walker! But you know, he does do great in the action genre 🙂 Takers is something of a mixed one for me.  The beginning, after we see their genius intricate plans with their first job, we get to know the team a little more.  Its a bit slow as we set up the story.  When the big heist starts, we’re only halfway through the movie.  I’m not saying its a bad movie because I rather enjoyed it and it had an awesome cast involved. I just felt like it was a bit long and could’ve done better with a tighter and shorter storyline but I’m not sure if it would’ve helped to not describe everyone? Did knowing their roles in the bank job prove to be that essential? I’m still debating those questions. It does help to make the audience connect to the team. Still, I guess using an hour to build up to the big job is pretty good already and the second half was pretty fast-paced and exciting to watch.


Did I ever tell you that I like male-heavy movies? I mean you can check out my enthusiasm for say, Fast Five HERE or The Expendables 2 HERE. Of course, this isn’t quite as mindless as those but it did have explosions, gun fights, nice looking cars and motorcycles and so many handsome men.  *ahem*I have a long time crush over Hayden Christensen and well, Paul Walker is pretty charming as always.  Then we have Idris Elba who is a total different kind of hot. Okay okay, back to the review.  I could talk about hot guys in another post.  I should do it, right?

takers new job

Aside from their good looks, they all did a great job along with Matt Dillon who played the cop.  The team themselves, excluding Ghost really gave off the whole bond of a team and good friends.  I never had seen Chris Brown in anything and I was a bit not sure because of him but he did well 🙂

takers paul walker

Looking sharp, Paul Walker! Yup, I’ve been doing it for the last 2 movies so I figured he deserved a section since its a marathon dedicated to him. Paul Walker in Takers was pretty cool. There were so many characters so his screen time wasn’t all that much but he played John.  Something like the right hand man of Idris Elba’s Gordon and also the guy with all the firepower, I believe.  Well, he did some pretty awesome gutsy moves in that role so I respect his character, he did what he had to.

Overall, Takers is a decent thriller.  Its a bit long but once everything is in place, it piles on the action: explosions, cars, motorcycles, gun fights, etc.  Its definitely a very enjoyable heist movie.  Maybe not as much as Fast Five but still quite good with a solid cast.

Have you heard of this one before?

I’ll definitely miss Paul Walker and this is the end of my little dedication to him.  If you missed the previous two reviews of She’s All That and Running Scared, you can find it HERE and HERE respectively! And if you want just a bit more on his movies, Fast Five is linked up there and Fast 6 is right HERE!


We’ve gone through a tough week…but we made it!