Bring it On: Worldwide #Cheersmack (2017)

Finally, the last movie of 2017 went to a rather random choice of watching the latest Bring it On called Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack. Its really not that out of the world since the last time I watched all the Bring It On was when I was preparing for New Year’s Eve dinner a few years back. I guess the brainless entertainment part of these films tend to make them okay to put on as it doesn’t take a lot of attention and energy. I honestly don’t have high hopes for this one but I figured why not, since I had already seen the previous five (or something).

Let’s check it out!

Bring it On: Worldwide #Cheersmack (2017)

bring it on worldwide cheersmack

Director: Robert Adetuyi

Cast: Christine Prosperi, Jordan Rodrigues, Gia Lodge O’Meally, Sven Ruygrok, Sophie Vavasseur, Stephan Benson, Vivica A. Fox

When Destiny (Prosperi), captain of three-time national champions “The Rebels,” is challenged to a global cheer showdown by an edgy new team called “The Truth,” the Cheer Goddess organizes a virtual battle for squads from all around the world. – IMDB

Over the past five Bring It On movies, I have learned to embrace its formula. Some of them are pretty silly to watch but because of the cast or some cool cheerleading moves, it somehow still is in my memory a little. Unfortunately, Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack really doesn’t have much of that. It is incredibly flawed and frankly, there were moments that were downright annoying. If you venture here for a while, you do know that I am quite lenient on certain films particularly of the guilty pleasure variety but there was no guilt and no pleasure. I did however spend a lot of time rolling my eyes.

Bring It On Worldwide Cheersmack

Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack is lacking in many things. It tries to add suspense to its story by bringing in a mysterious squad called The Truth Squad. However, that falls flat because the mystery doesn’t stay hidden for very long. There were a lot of ridiculous over the top moments and a lot of forced dialogue. Vivica A. Fox played the Cheer Goddess which had some interesting outfits but it was so very weird to watch perhaps even bordering cringe worthy. I’m not going to point out the formula because these movies clearly have that because I’ve always defended that formulaic films when done well with their own twist do have some entertaining factors but this one sadly missed the mark.

bring it on worldwide cheersmack

I don’t like just putting down films because obviously, trying to make films are hard especially when its the 6th one. I personally think Bring It On should probably be left alone at this point but then, some people believe that Step Up should be left alone like 4 films ago but I still enjoy them so what do I know, right? With that said, I did find a few positives here. For one, I liked the love interest here, Blake played by Jordan Rodrigues. I has come to my attention that he is in a TV show called The Fosters which I’ve heard of but never seen. Its on Netflix so I’ll try to check it out soon. Aside from that, there were some nice messages here enforced through the relationship between Blake and Destiny, our main girl here who needs to put down her ego and of course, Blake is the one who helps her see the important things in life other than her popularity. A respectable and important message to sometimes put aside social media and the internet and embrace real life and real people and notice the beautiful things around us. Finally, I can’t decide if its a pro or a con so I’ll take it as a respectable homage from the team here to put into their routines for the finale a few tastes of some of the past inspired difficult moves in previous Bring It On films. Why I don’t say that because I am no cheerleading expert and Canada doesn’t seem to have any cheerleading competitions (but I don’t look for it so we might) like in the US so I only know about cheerleading stuff through the five previous Bring It On movies and I don’t remember it all that well so they look familiar to what I remember being the highlight breakout moves that win the routines in previous Bring It On films but I can’t be sure. However, if it is, then call it copying if you want to be negative but I’d say its giving some respect to previous movies for the fans, I suppose.

bring it on: worldwide cheersmack

Overall, Bring It On: Worldwide Cheersmack is a rather lackluster viewing experience. The angle here somewhat works as it does seem to want to step towards the Step Up style in their films of meshing different styles together and the movies are done in a similar sort of formula meshed with a Bring It On formula. It doesn’t fully execute mostly because the characters here are quite annoying and lack in depth. There is a lot of the convenience of a decision that drives the film and you can see the conflict that it wants to put forward from the decision a character makes.

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47 Meters Down (2017)

The final movie rental we watched during the holidays save for one around New Year’s Eve (which the review is coming up) to try and catch up more with 2017 is 47 Meters Down. No brainer really why I picked this one. I really love shark movies. There is no particular reason other than I find them endlessly amusing for the most part. There are some exception to the equation so let’s see if 47 Meters Down works or not.

47 Meters Down (2017)

47 Meters Down

Director (and co-writer): Johannes Roberts

Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine, Chris Johnson, Yani Gellman, Santiago Segura

Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive. – IMDB

At first glance, 47 Meters Down ticks a lot of the boxes that I love and fits right into what I enjoy. Sharks, destination vacation, sisterly bonding, tension, water, shady characters, Mandy Moore and Claire Holt: all people and things that interest me in a movie. Being trapped underwater with limited oxygen is a perfect setup for a shark film. It will build tension, and create suspense. There’s an unknown factor from the deep blue sea that blocks out the ability to detect the predator making them even less predictable.

47 meters down

In fact, 47 Meters hits a lot of those boxes. It manages to create the hunting and trying to escape outside of the cage bits very tense. It uses light and dark of the sea very well and teases your expectations a little as well. This lets the dread set in as we sit in anxiety with the sisters trapped underwater as they have to decide when to fight for their lives and when to stay put. To be honest, I don’t know enough about scuba diving or swimming with the sharks to know how authentic this entire ordeal is so I took it for what it was. Of course, if I was to get into a rusty looking cage to sit in to look at sharks, I probably would say no, but that’s just because as great as the idea sounds, I would probably want to join an operation that didn’t look as shady as the one the sisters, Kate and Lisa decided to go to, especially in Lisa’s case, lying about knowing about scuba diving. My point is that in creating tension, 47 Meters Down does a great job, especially in finding a way to also give us something to think about.

47 Meters Down

Putting the fact that I chose to believe everything here and pushing aside my lack of risky adventure, 47 Meters Down does also fall short in some places. In particular, it all dials down to some clunky dialogue. I think the sisterhood bonding thing was destined to happen as they saw their differences and their expectations. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt delivered good performances. But the dialogue and just sometimes how they decided to do certain things and reasoned the logic of their next moves made it feel very hard to fight for them. For sure, these decisions did lead to some intense scenes but at times, it felt a little deliberate.

As a shark film, 47 Meters Down does a lot of things right from building the atmosphere to having competent shark predators and a premise that helps build the tension of the film. However, some of the characters decisions or perhaps in general their reasoning does leave a little to be desired. These decisions do all pile up to whether you have connected with them and remain hopeful that they’ll make it out of this ordeal as they fight for survival. What does make up for some of its flaws is a thoughtful ending that gives us something to think about.

Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1

I’ve been working through the reboot of the Archie Comics branches. After being caught up with Archie Volume 1 to 3 and Road to Riverdale, Volume 1, its time to get into something fun with Josie and the Pussycats.

Let’s check it out.

Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1
by: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Illustrated by: Audrey Mok

Josie and the Pussycats

Starting right from scratch, the reboot for Josie and the Pussycats start at the beginning from how they formed the band together. Josie’s sluggish solo career, Melody’s endless dating life and Valerie’s love of pets and great heart for the shelter are three very different personalities but somehow these three balance each other out to become this trio that found their agent fairly quickly and was hopefully on the road to fame.

Josie and the Pussycats is a very entertaining read. In fact, if you enjoy a graphic novel that breaks the fourth wall occassionally, this one is just for you. They are incredibly self-aware and because of that, it becomes very fun to be in this world. Reading about these three girls who don’t all know their dreams or where they want to go something of a coming of age experience for them. Perhaps its a relatibility thing here. They struggle for their careers and make some rash decisions that catch them in a snag and then they literally use comic book power to get out of it. They are also starting their friendship especially Josie and Melody with Valerie so they have arguments over who takes the lead and how to work together.

I’ve never read any of the original Josie and the Pussycats so how I have no comparison however, these three are three very interesting characters that could get decent arcs in future volumes. Josie struggles with love and sitting back to find a balance of talent with Valerie. Melody struggles to really keep the team together while Valerie doesn’t know what the future holds with mentions of being a veterinarian and now being in the band and performing. Three interesting characters are shown in volume 1.

Josie and the Pussycats show a lot of promise and I look forward to seeing where they go next with this series. So far the reboots I’ve read have been very good. Its been exciting to catch up to this world in their different forms.

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Lets just get this out of the way before we start, I have watched about 20 minutes total of any King Kong movie and I only have this image of him climbing the Empire State Building or Chrysler Building or something or another. But I love creature features and giant monsters interest me so this felt like it was right up my alley.

With that said, let’s check it out!

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Kong: Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Thomas Mann

A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden. – IMDB

Kong: Skull Island is pretty much my first visit into the King Kong universe and let me tell you, it was a thrilling as ever ride. Visually, King Kong and the Skull Crawlers and the other giant creatures here are amazing to look at. The location is also very beautiful which further emphasizes that the more beautiful the place is, the deadlier the creatures in it are. There are exceptions to the equation obviously but Kong: Skull Island is just beautiful to look at with its lush forests and mountains and waterways. Its really very pretty especially the first moment the team breaks through the layer of storm and enters into this paradise. Of course, the next moment turns into hell as their seismic things cause the king of the place to come and attack them and we soon learn, Kong is not the enemy.

Kong Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is quite the action adventure. There’s a lot of suspense as they learn about the truth on Skull Island and what makes its inhabitants fearful. Kong is really just the king and the protector of his land. However, just like any kingdom, other creatures want to take him down. Skull Crawlers are very competent as a villain in their serpent ways. In fact, if we were to talk about villains, humans are probably the darker ones here. Everything starts with John Goodman’s character Bill Randa and his assistant that asks to somewhat tag along to check this island before another country heads out there and discovers it before they do. Of course, they soon realize he has his suspicions that he’s kept hidden to himself and soon, they are caught up on this island and trying to make it to the retrieval spot before they are abandoned here. The teams are separated and each seem to have their own agenda. The mystery and suspense works very well to keep the movie well-paced especially since the unknown territory and villain contribute a huge part to wondering what the true danger is and how to protect themselves and escape.

Kong: Skull Island

The cast here is also pretty impressive. Of course, its hard to deny any of their talent here. Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly all have outstanding performances in their filmography to back them up and they all delivered great performances in Kong: Skull Island. I honestly would love to see Tom Hiddleston as his character James Conrad here in more films. He’s pretty bad-ass and very smart. It feels like this character has more to be discovered. It feels like Brie Larson hasn’t had any action films to date, or at least I haven’t seen any of them if there are and somehow she fits very well in this story as a daring photo journalist who can carry her own. John C. Reilly brings a slight comedic value to the otherwise serious and tense situation as well as Thomas Mann’s character who jokes around quite a bit. If you talk about human villain, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Preston Packard hits the extreme notes in Kong: Skull Island as a man who lets wanting to stand up for the men he lost hide his reason and judgement. In many ways, I can’t say that his character didn’t at some point remind me of the nostalgic moments with Deep Blue Sea. Its probably just me though.

Kong: Skull Island

There’s a lot to love about Kong: Skull Island. The characters are great, the setting is beautiful, the creature designs are done so impressively and the story is pretty decent as well, filled with suspense and adventure. There were quite a few mixed or lukewarm reviews throughout the year and it made me not too sure about where to place this especially since I have no previous visit into the King Kong universe so it turned out to be an awesome surprise.

Have you seen Kong: Skull Island? What did you think of it?

Wonder Woman (2017)

This week and the next one will be mainly focused on all the reviews that I haven’t got around to and hopefully along with other fun things. I could do these 2017 movies in double feature but as an effort to catch up and not just wave it off quickly, it is worth a full review, although I am sure that everyone else has said it all.

Wonder Woman (2017)

wonder woman

Director: Patty Jenkins

Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Said Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Elena Anaya

When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, Diana, an Amazonian warrior in training, leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny. – IMDB

Wonder Woman is my first full experience into the DC Universe. I’ve never made it past the first ten minutes of Man of Steel and not particularly willing to fork out a ton of money for Batman vs. Superman because it doesn’t have the rental option apparently and well, I flat out missed Justice League because I have never caught up with any of the others so why now, right? Wonder Woman got some incredible reviews and because its such an empowering character and I personally like Gal Gadot a ton and thought she would make this role great, I ended up renting it. As with Marvel films, I have never read the DC comics so I don’t know about the source material and have no comparison.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is an exhilarating and exciting experience. Visually, it starts off very beautiful in the matriarch hidden island of Themyscira. This island is beautiful along with its lady warriors who are competent and strong. The mood changes complete when Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) goes to London and from there, the World War 1 has taken its toll and its grim and dark. The setting drives the atmosphere and ton and this one does that pretty well.

Wonder Woman

The cast also does a great job. The dialogue is decent and they manage to crack a few lighter moments in with Steve Trevor’s assistant and the drunk sniper hired for their expedition and Diana not knowing how normal people dress and act. I love films which use adapting to and learning a new environment as comedic moments and have a really soft spot for it. Wonder Woman does that very well. The standout role here does go to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She is strong and powerful and most importantly, very righteous. The ladies from the island was an interesting look at the protected life of Diana Prince as she was growing up and how she fought to be different and strong to one day fulfil her destiny if they were ever found by the God of War. When she does leave, the team that Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) puts together to find the God of War turns out to be quite the talented and strategic but somewhat of a ragtag team altogether.

Wonder Woman

Do I think that Wonder Woman is amazing? Maybe less than some of the other reviews out there. This was a competent movie and very entertaining. There was a lot of great moments both comedic and emotional ones. There was some great content here to be had. It definitely exceeded my expectations. However, I did find some pacing issues. And forgive me when I can’t quite take seriously that as amazing as I think Wonder Woman is that she was the one that crossed No Man’s Land and defeated the war. But then, I feel slightly contradicting saying that when I can accept all that Marvel Universe superheroes have accomplished in their movies. It was a great scene and triumphant but we did have a good laugh out of the thought of it. Just a minor sidenote about the thought I had when I was watching it. Other than that, the villain here wasn’t exactly standout but still was decent. I’ve seen less prominent villains before.

Overall, Wonder Woman is an entertaining DC addition that was a nice first step into this universe. Gal Gadot does a great job. There’s a nice balance between comedy and emotional elements here. There’s a good bit of action which works for the most part. I had some issues with it but nothing that made me feel like it took away too much from the entertainment value. I’d really like to see another Wonder Woman film though. Probably as this movie took time to set-up Wonder Woman’s origin story, the next one will  give it a deeper plot.

Miss Kane’s Christmas by Caroline Mickelson

This novella somehow slipped my mind in the holiday craze. Lets jump right in!

Miss Kane’s Christmas
by Caroline Mickelson

miss kane's christmas

With Christmas only three days away, Carol Claus agrees to her father’s request that she leave the North Pole on a mission to help save Christmas. Joining single father Ben Hanson and his children for the holidays seems an easy enough task until Santa informs her that Ben is the man behind the disturbing new book ‘Beyond Bah Humbug: Why Lying to Your Children about Santa Claus is a Bad Idea’.
Posing as Miss Kane, the children’s new nanny, Carol pulls out all the stops to show Ben how fun Christmas can be, all the while struggling to understand how one man could hate the holidays so much. How could she, Santa’s only daughter, be so attracted to a man who refuses to believe her father exists? – Goodreads

Miss Kane’s Christmas reads a lot like a Hallmark holiday Christmas. The scenario of using Santa’s daughter and the play on the name is pretty cute however, somehow it loses its momentum quite fast. Miss Kane’s Christmas features an obviously over enthused woman who is sent to bring the holiday spirit into this widower and his two kids life. The going on is fairly straight forward as she ends up asking some elves for help and forcefully decorate the house then end up having them believe because they end up in North Pole.

Honestly, I get that novella are  short form stories and don’t get to be as fleshed out as actual novels but the story here lacks some continuation. It lacked some originality in its execution and in its far fetched moments also turned the characters personality around too quickly. With that said, it is a quick read for a novella but does fall flat every little while. Its not a book I can recommend but then perhaps I am all rom-com’ed out from the holiday films. Its why in the midst of a ton of comparison, this felt like it was lacking. I’m having this feeling that its my problem and not the novellas. If this is your kind of thing, this novella does have some clever moments.

Not a lot to say but novellas are shorter in nature so I’m okay with this being briefer than usual.

Did you read any Christmas books for the holidays?
Feel free to recommend and I’ll jot it down for next Christmas.

Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) by Ruby Dixon

Its hitting almost -40C today here in Montreal so it felt suitable to review a book set in an icy planet. Ice Planet Barbarians is the first book in a science fiction erotica series. Of course, I was two steps too slow and didn’t realize that barbarians would mean erotica so here we are.

Ice Planet Barbarians
by Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians

You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now, the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women – including me – on an ice planet.
And the only native inhabitant I’ve met? He’s big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me… – Goodreads

So…I’m feeling a little embarrassed after I just used the Goodreads synopsis. To be fair, Ice Planet Barbarians sounds so incredibly cheesy and still, there are quite a few redeeming points to it. You didn’t expect that, right? Ruby Dixon creates a very adequate and vivid image of where these 22 year old girls have landed from the description of the first group of alien to these ice planet barbarians. The land they tread and the monsters that roam in it are all very well described. With that said, the well-written description also expands into describing the characters and their feelings as they use two different voices of the main girl Georgie and the alien Vektal. There are some downfalls that I will touch on a little later. However, its easy to almost see who these characters look like especially the hulking alien here even if some of the description comes into somewhat of a suspense as we learn why they keep referring to “khui” and “resonance”. With that said, good on Ruby Dixon to also give us a pretty self-contained story here which helps that in her sequels, it focuses on other human and alien pairings with other characters as I had a chance to take a glance at snippets of the beginning of the other books in the series. Another good part here is that the erotic scenes here work very well. It is expected as she has a great way with her words and while some of it can get a little cringy (as these books do), there is a certain satisfaction to it still, call it a guilty pleasure if you will.

One of the main issues here is really the character themselves and how they actually talk. Yes, I know they are different species and its not to do with the fact that they lack proper communication via spoken language. The character, particularly Georgie is actually really annoying to read. She starts off like a pretty spoiled character and her inner monologue which is what we read as one of the voice is hers, is just grating to read. She does take leadership but its more like she has no other choice in the most self-indulged way and she doesn’t really do much. However, I do have to say that the redeeming part here is that she does acknowledge the whole Stockholm Syndrome deal here and tries to prevent herself from letting sex get in the way of her mission, at least there was an effort in it. On the other hand, Vektal is a pretty good character. Awkward and weird in his own alien ways which is all part of the learning curve of his species and their beliefs. My only issue with his part was the writing of making his understanding of Georgie in jumbled English so you had to decipher it whenever you read it even if he didn’t understand it. I get the purpose. At the same time, his side is somewhat repetitive. There’s a lot of terms like “mate” and “my resonance” and “khui” and repetitive writing over and over again which I’m not a huge fan of it. It got a bit irritating to read.

Overall, props on world building, good erotic scenes and character design however not a huge fan of the writing style and Georgie. It comes midway for myself. I’m not exactly sure thats enough for me to keep reading the series. We’ll see if ever it shows up on my radar.