Double Feature: Speed 2:Cruise Control (1997) & Perhaps Love (2005)

I promised regular programming yesterday and here it is! A double feature! These are actually getting a little hard to put together because I’ve been watching TV series more than movies. Although there is The Edge of Seventeen, Miss Sloane, Macbeth and Southpaw sitting in my movie queue lately, so I need to work on those very soon. It helps that double features are a lot easier to put together and I like this new structure a lot.

Anyways, enough side tracking. One new watch and a repeat one in this double feature!

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

speed 2

Director: Jan de Bont

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe

A computer hacker breaks into the computer system of the Seabourn Legend cruise liner and sets it speeding on a collision course into a gigantic oil tanker. – IMDB

I love Speed. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. A great team, perfect action and so very tense to watch. Even recently, when I revisited it, I still had tons of fun. Funnily, my love for the movie didn’t bring me to watch Speed 2: Cruise Control until recently. Its the bad reviews and lack of Keanu Reeves and really not seeing anything interesting about this one. Instincts are a great thing and I sometimes forget to trust it and that is how I end up watching Speed 2 in three sittings, almost giving up after halfway through the second one but deciding to tough it out. I had seen Jason Patric in a more recent film coincidentally for My Sister’s Keeper which I reviewed for Medicine in the Movies Blogathon.

Why didn’t I like this other than the fact that Keanu Reeves isn’t there? Well, when you bring back a sequel and use the lady of the previous movie, she should be more of a center. Now, if Sandra Bullock was doing all the action, maybe it would have worked better and more entertaining. Its hard to follow a character that really isn’t too compelling to watch, plus you have Willem Dafoe playing the villain with crazy eyes here. At the end of the day, when you look back at Speed 2, it takes the formula of Speed, puts it on a cruise ship, switches up the cast and setting and adds some even less probable and reasonable events and we get this.

To be absolutely honest, I did enjoy the final parts of the movie mostly because there was a ton of guilty pleasure action moments that worked for me. However, to have to sit through a good portion of the beginning to get there isn’t exactly something I plan on doing again.

Perhaps Love (2005)

Perhaps Love

Director: Peter Chan

Cast: Jacky Cheung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Xun Zhou, Jin-hee Ji, Eric Tsang, Sandra Kwan Yue Ng

A love triangle develops during the making of a musical in mainland China. – IMDB

Perhaps Love is one of those movies that never really made it internationally however, within their own circles had its own merit. Chinese film industry at that point hadn’t really done a lot of modern musicals. I’m not talking any form of Cantonese or Peking Opera which are really live performances. I am talking about a theatrical musical and this one did that. It roped in a phenomenal singer from the 90s who still has the pipes, like Jacky Cheung in a supporting role who sings a whole bunch here and then adds a famous actor like Takeshi Kaneshiro who is in fact earned his fame in the Hong Kong film industry and then mixes in famous Chinese actress Xun Zhou. Along with smaller roles from Eric Tsang and Sandra Kwan Yue Ng, and the change between mandarin and cantonese dialogue, this musical has a lot of great elements although being influenced and feeling like some Hollywood musicals: Moulin Rouge and Singin’ in the Rain, mostly comes to mind, along with a scene that looks exactly like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Nine (the musical).

Regardless of whatever inspirations or influences to this film, Perhaps Love is a very solid entry. Sure, there are a few spots that get a little dramatic but also expected in a lot of romantic dramas. What is very cool is how they tackle this relationship and slip between the past and present but also give this fantastical feeling to it, meshing reality with what is going on in the movie that these characters are brought together for. It has this movie in a movie sort of thing and that works very well especially because the music is beautiful and the director does a great job at setting up his shots. The costumes are really nice and just everything is done really well.

I’m not much for Chinese romance or dramas. I find that they sometimes get lost in the overdramatic phase but this one handles it all along with using it as a personal journey to overcome whatever these characters have to overcome and comes to terms with, making them each have their own layers. Rewatching now, and seeing all the inspirations, still makes me like this one a lot. Plus, Jacky Cheung is one of my favorite singers. Maybe not such a polished actor but he carries a lot of the great singing sequences here and it fits really well. While back in the early 2000s, Xun Zhou really had a good deal of fame and was offered lots of roles and in that phase, she grew on me as she picked up more complex roles in different genres. And well, Takeshi Kaneshiro is a great actor in general and its shows how much he’s grown since he has been in the acting business for a long time. Great cast, great set, beautiful music and this all pulls together into a must-see if you are into musicals and foreign films.

Have you seen Speed 2 or Perhaps Love? What did you think of it?

Valentine’s Marathon BEGINS with Netflix A-Z: Hope Floats (1998)

I had a few days to get back on track a little and we’re officially kicking off the Netflix A-Z selection: Hope Floats! I had originally wanted to watch Her and well, that probably might’ve been the typically better choice. However, I have a girl crush on Sandra Bullock since I saw her in Speed and I also have a love for romance back in the 90s. I’ve only ever heard of Hope Floats and never saw it so when it landed on Netflix, I just couldn’t resist. It might not be the light and fluffy movie that should be in a Valentine’s Marathon but forget about it.  I just looked at my rundown and its not very light and fluffy.  Its might still change but who knows.

Lets check this one out! 🙂

Hope Floats (1998)

Hope Floats

Director: Forest Whitaker

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr., Gena Rowlands, Mae Whitman, Michael Pare, Cameron Finley

Birdee Calvert must choose between her morals and her heart after her husband divorces her and a charming young man, who her daughter disapproves of, comes back into her life.-IMDB

 Okay, after watching Hope Floats, it really isn’t quite suitable for the Valentine’s Marathon but it is romance as much as it is a drama. Let’s start from the beginning.  Hope Floats is a decent romantic drama.  Its a little bit of soul-searching and a little of just moving on and figuring out what our main character, Birdee is made of after the first half of her life seems to be wasted. Its about finding hope after it feels like everything’s been destroyed from your original beliefs.  But then, isn’t that life? What would be the fun of it if it was all expected, right? I’m not saying divorce and death are anything needed to be part of our life but on a broader spectrum, you can take Hope Floats as a little journey to find out what is important and how to move on and still have hope.  Its a good message, that is what I’m trying to say.

hope floats

The cast here is lovely.  I think it might even be the whole mesh of the characters portrayed by this outstanding cast that lifts the rather cliche storyline.  Sandra Bullock is lovely as always.  Its actually the few times I’ve seen Harry Connick Jr. and he is quite good as well.  The best scenes are their scenes together where they fully show their amazing chemistry together. There is one dance scene that totally swept me away and his tender eyes and all that makes him such a dreamy male character. I mean, that says a lot since he’s not exactly my type of attractive so its more his charisma that catches me more than his looks.

Hope Floats

On another note, its funny how recently for The Duff, I was saying that I hadn’t seen Mae Whitman in anything and one of you told me that she was in Independence Day.  Well, it turns out she’s in Hope Floats playing Sandra Bullock’s daughter, Bernice.  As much as its a romance, this is also a lot about this little girl and her mom’s relationship and just picking up the pieces and facing the wreck of a divorce.  She does a fantastic job especially with the help of the little boy who plays his cousin by Cameron Finley and holding a balance with Gena Rowlands playing Bernice’s grandmother.  There’s no point where I found her annoying as it happens frequently but rather I learned to really feel for her character and want her to see that her mother was working so hard, especially when it was even harder for a young girl to face the reality of the situation as her mother struggled with those same emotions in a different level.

Hope Floats

Overall, Hope Floats is a lot of things as I think about it more.  Its about family and love all at the same time.  It was about a mother and daughter relationship, a father and daughter relationship and a guy and a girl relationship.  While Hope Floats might not be anything more than average, its rather decent especially with its great cast that lifts the story to another level so that we can connect with the characters and make us care, especially when the deeper meaning is so significant, reminding us to stay hopeful even in the most dire situations. I really like movies with a good message and this one definitely qualifies as a decent choice.

Have you seen Hope Floats? Are you a fan of Sandra Bullock?

Next selection is a romance in I! Can you guess what it is?

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?

The Heat (2013)

So…there should be another review before this one but I’m still pondering how to write up on Mud.  Lets do this one first, ok? I love Sandra Bullock.  I believe I’ve expressed my love for her many times before. Just look up my review on While You Were Sleeping or Gravity. I’m positive that I’ve talked about it.  Now, before Emma Stone and Anne Hathaway, I think my first girl crush was for Sandra Bullock and its been probably the longest.  She’s just awesome! 🙂 Now, The Heat had tons of mixed reviews and I wasn’t sure if I’d like it.  Melissa McCarthy is hit and miss for me.  But still, lets check it out, shall we?

the heat posterDirector: Paul Feig

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Rapaport, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael McDonald

Uptight FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is sent out to Boston to investigate and shut down a drug lord Larkin.  In Boston, she ends up being paired up with Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) who doesn’t follow the rules. They are absolute opposites and treat all the situations in completely different ways.  However, as the investigation gets deeper and they follow more leads, they realize that they have overcome their differences and become buddies.

I really don’t like doing write ups about comedies, mostly because what I find funny is probably different to what you find funny and even if we did both find this funny or say, This Is The End funny, it doesn’t mean we’ll find this one funny anyways.  You see, subjective? No one can pinpoint exactly what makes the humor.  It could just be that day you enjoyed this sort of humor and another day, its another type.  Anyways, I can talk about the philosophy of humor or whatever in the twisted confusing way on top all day and night but point is, I like this one a lot.  Was it THE BEST comedy I’ve seen? Well, no.  I mean, Paul Feig is the guy who did Bridesmaids also so I was expecting him to one-up that with a lot of awkward situations and yup, it was there.

the heat ashburn mullins

Melissa McCarthy in this one is definitely better than the weird and kind of funny in the most bizarre sense person in Bridesmaids.  The more I watch Bridesmaids, the more she grows on me and that really helped because she was pretty funny in this one.  Plus, her and Sandra Bullock had a really good connection.  When they were playing off each other, it was downright hilarious.  Its either what I find funny has changed or whatever was going on just really worked to what I liked but it worked.  If there was a second one, I’d go see it just for them.  Melissa McCarthy is really good at entertaining and I look forward to seeing more of her stuff.  Even when she was by herself, she did really good and I also remember having a few WTF laughs.

the heat raid

Now, I have to talk about Sandra Bullock.  Its really weird because I actually think as a group with McCarthy, Sandra Bullock did better than by herself for this one.  I’ve seen her do better comedies, although they were mostly romantic ones.  Still, a good part of her part plays off of McCarthy’s role as Mullins because before Ashburn moves to Boston, she was in New York and super uptight, so that part wasn’t all funny..well, except for that opening scene.  She had her moments too 🙂

the heat ashburn mullins

The Heat benefited from Sandra Bullock and especially Melissa McCarthy.  The story itself wasn’t anything unpredictable.  Everything happens pretty much as you’d expect it to.  But, what I did like was the refreshing concept of a female buddy cop flick.  We’ve see a ton of guy buddy cop flicks throughout the years.  I was wondering when we’d get this sort of thing going.  I’m happy it wasn’t disappointing.  I didn’t have high expectations for this but it turned out to offer a good amount of laughs and was pretty fun overall to watch 🙂

What did you think of The Heat? Are you fan of Melissa McCarthy and/or Sandra Bullock?

P.S. I’m going to try to maximize on reviewing 2013 releases for the rest of this week (before February hits) along with other regular stuff going up, so it’ll be busier here.  Remember to check back 🙂

Gravity (2013)

YAY! I applaud myself (and my boyfriend) for FINALLY making it to the theatres and getting this review up after so many days. We had to make a choice between Gravity, Ender’s Game and Thor 2.  You already know which one won.  Hopefully, I will still catch the other two, because as much as I love outer space, I have been looking forward to those equally as much (if not more). Lets see what Gravity is all about (although I am slightly late to the party and pretty much everyone else has reviewed it)…

gravity posterDirector: Alfonso Cuaron

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.-IMDB

I know I’m being lazy. I’m writing too much, my brain has stopped functioning on the level of writing reviews.  However, that description from IMDB pretty much covers the story of Gravity.  The medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone is played by Sandra Bullock and the astronaut, Matthew Kowalski is played by George Clooney.

Lets start by saying that I liked this movie a lot.

I’m sure all of you have heard already how amazing this movie is: visually stunning is one that is agreed by everyone.  There really isn’t anything that quite compares to the grand visuals in Gravity.  It is so captivating. The scene from outer space looking back at Earth, the whole motion, the debris flying.  Everything was out of the world. Just that was worth the ticket price.

GRAVITY

Of course, any movie is not just carried by their visuals. I’ve been watching so many thrillers that it seems to be hard to get me engaged as easily.  However, its hard to not be with this one.  For one, its set in one of the most mysterious unknown so everything is really out of their control.  It kept me completely at the edge of my seat because of the intensity for one (if not because I had a dog bumping the back of my seat throughout the movie, thank his genius owners). The whole movie doesn’t really have many relaxing moments.  Its just constantly watching to see what the characters will do next, how they will react, what crazy thing will happen next.  The whole “zero gravity” really gives this movie that intense atmosphere. For those who have seen it, you know that last scene, my eyes were watering up from the overwhelming feeling of not knowing what would happen.

gravity debris

A plus for me has to be that I love Sandra Bullock.  She’s one of my favorite actresses EVER! My boyfriend doesn’t feel the same way about it but this movie changed his mind just a bit.  As usual, Sandra Bullock is awesome and I love her as Dr. Ryan Stone.  She grasps her role very well.  The nerves from being on her first mission, the intense feelings she has churning through her and the whole channeling the meaning of life and simply the importance of surviving: her character actually was quite complex.

gravity sandra bullock

I didn’t care too much about George Clooney but he was a character that brought some sort of calmness in the midst of tension and chaos. It was helpful that way.  What works for Gravity is that its not extremely long and it always keeps the action going.  Right when we think things are going to be okay, it comes around and gives you another problem.  The last scene had to be one of the most tense, nerve-racking, heart pounding scenes that I’ve ever experienced in any movie.

Gravity is a movie experience very much worth the time and effort to go check out at the theatres.  Its meant for the big screen and it will be visually stunning and extremely compelling.  Its thrilling and engaging.  I highly recommend it and if you haven’t seen it, then its one I’d say is very much worth your money.  🙂

Have you seen Gravity? Are you into space adventure/thriller movies?

Oscars Night!

With my new Disney addition, Lotso from Toy Story 3 watching Oscars

With my new Disney addition, Lotso from Toy Story 3 watching Oscars

I made it home in time to watch the whole Oscars night last night.  I even had time to eat dinner and get all comfortable because I knew that it would end at midnight. Whenever I come back from Toronto, there’s always a decent amount of unpacking and I’ll definitely be having another food review and some cool finds that I have.  A little sneak peek would be here as I made some tea, sat down comfortably with one of my new additions and eventually my boyfriend did join me when the actual Oscars started!

I even got to see a bit of the preshow on the red carpet and the dresses and interviews.

I opened it midway right in time to see who was presenting and interviewing everyone.  Of course, I landed right around interviewing Sandra Bullock and she was just so elegant.  After that we have Anne Hathaway.  I don’t know about everyone else and I haven’t read any tabloids but my first impression was that it looked like a pink apron.  Definitely not a good choice in  my opinion but hey, she’s still a beautiful actress and I’m sure there are people who liked her choice.

Speaking of that, my favorite three dresses of the night has to go to these beautiful elegant women in no particular order:

sandra bullock oscars

Sandra Bullock

85th annual Academy Awards

Amy Adams

For the record, if you haven’t been following me for too too long, you’d know that I only watched a small portion of the movies that were nominated but I think I follow a whole lot of movie blogs and in turn, it made me make a lot of good guesses.  I figured that Ang Lee would win Best Director and I guessed Anne Hathaway would win Best Supporting Actress (even if I still had a moment that she wouldn’t).  I figured that Daniel Day-Lewis had a really good chance at winning Best Actor but I didn’t know that this time broke the record of the first person to win 3 times best lead actor.  Now that is a huge accomplishment.  As for Best Actress going to Jennifer Lawrence, I really didn’t think she had a shot until I saw the snippets of the movies and thats when I really thought that she did have an equal chance at it.  Of course, her dress was bulky so down she fell as she was overjoyed and attempting to walk up the stairs.  Now Jennifer Lawrence is on the grid officially and I can see her with even more movies in the near future.

The biggest fight this year was probably Best Picture.  The last Oscars I watched was probably at least 7 years ago because I used to watch movies and the Oscars in totality with my dad.  It was something we bonded with.  I always remembered it having only 5 movies in the race but apparently now we’re at 9.  Talk about tough choices, right? I was surprised that Argo won.  I really was.  Lincoln had a lot going for it from what I’ve heard.  Deep down, anyone who knows me would know that I’d want Les Miserables to win but I also knew that the possibility was quite low because its not one that EVERYONE likes, it was more towards a certain group of people who preferred this sort of musical.  Argo won and I’m seriously happy for Ben Affleck among all of them.  He’s proven himself quite worthy in his whole career and he’s grown quite a bit into the director and producer that he is now.  I really look forward to seeing what his next project will be.  Definitely seeing some great things for him if he continues the way he does.

So now that we’ve looked at those big awards, I was super happy when Disney’s Paperman won Best Animated Short.  I had shared that video a few weeks ago on Twitter and it was just such a fun and cute movie.   I put in the video below just in case you didn’t get a chance to see it 🙂 And then, for Best Animated movie was Brave and believe it or not, I saw it! I actually wasn’t sure who would win for that one but I was sure that Pirates wouldn’t win (even if I did enjoy it quite a bit, you can see my review HERE).

Now on a more personal level, sitting down to watch the Oscars means a lot to me.  It included having memories of spending time with my father.  I wrote a deep personal post about moving on in December (you can check it out HERE if you’d like) related to it.  This year, I felt like since my blog was slowly getting in more reviews, it made lots of sense to sit down and watch the Oscars again.  I miss my dad of course and I think doing it made me move on a little bit more but you know, last night would be a night he would enjoy.  We had some James Bond songs and then on top of that, in the memoriam, that part really got me when Barbara Streisand came out and sang one of my dad’s absolute favorite songs.  That was the highlight of my evening. However, I can’t seem to find a video of that so maybe in a few days, we’ll have some better quality ones appearing in Youtube if you didn’t see it.

After seeing all those snippets, I just know that I have so much catching up to do now.  I’ll be working hard on that and hopefully this year, I’ll be a bit more on track with movie viewing, at the minimum try to catch the big ones.  It was a fun night for sure, and I’m definitely going to get more prepped for next year’s awards 🙂

What was your surprise win(s)? How about your favorite outfit? I couldn’t pinpoint my favorite speech, did you have one?

Valentine Marathon: The Proposal (2009)

I took it everyone enjoyed my marathon intermission yesterday.  However, time is flying by and I had to get back on with the marathon with a romantic comedy, The Proposal.

The_ProposalDirector: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Mary Steenburgen, Betty White, Denis O’Hare

Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the editor in chief of Colden Books, who is a Canadian waiting for her visa application.  When she left the country without the appropriate paperwork, her visa was denied and she has to be deported.  In a fluster of the moment, she decides to make her long time assistant, Andrew (Ryan Reynolds) marry her.  However, her immigration officer (Denis O’Hare) doesn’t believe them and schedules them for an interview to test them on their knowledge of each other right after they come back from their trip to visit Andrew’s family in Alaska to celebrate his grandma Annie’s (Betty White) birthday.

This is a hilarious flick.  I love Sandra Bullock.  I really do.  She’s an amazing actress and I’ve loved her movies since forever.  I believe I had talked about this back in December when I did the Christmas marathon and reviewed While You Were Sleeping.  I was watching this one and I thought it was slightly similar in the fact that it focuses on regaining the lost feeling of being part of a family.  Sandra Bullock may play a much more stuck-up role as Margaret but she just has this crazy funny moments that just made me laugh out loud.

Aside from that, we have Betty White.  She’s always the adorable and humorous grandma.  Don’t you want your grandmother to be like her? She’s just pure awesomeness.  Okay, I know I know…we also need to talk about Ryan Reynolds.  As much as he was crap as Green Lantern, he does play a wonderful rom-com actor.  And he is quite the handsome and charming man (especially on a physical level, he goes shirtless a few times).

This flick is quite the old and normal type of story line and it can get predictable but the characters really is the plus and leads it to higher ground.  It helps us appreciate the funny moments a bit more.  Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds have amazing chemistry to make this all the more believable.  This isn’t any new but its definitely a fun and comedic story that makes you feel good in the end.  That’s all I really ask for in a chick flick.  As much it sounds like I’m not very appreciative of this one, I do love it quite a bit because of its frequent moments to just pop out some random scene that make me roll over laughing.

What do you think about Sandra Bullock? Whats your favorite Sandra Bullock movie?