The Fate of the Furious (2017)

There is an undeniable love for The Fast and the Furious franchise over here. My husband and I are huge fans. We own all the movies and have seen most of them in theatres. No doubt, we got our tickets and went to go check this one out.

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

fate of the furious

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Charlize Theron

When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before. – IMDB

Bigger, badder and a whole new meaning of family comes together in the eighth instalment of The Fate of the Furious. And we can’t and shouldn’t expect anything less. There is no doubt at this point that as any franchise running this long, the die-hard fans will eat this up and love every minute of it. For newcomers, this might not be the one to start with. Perhaps one of the biggest flaws of long franchises is that it is hard to be self-contained. The Fate of the Furious is also prone to bring back characters and build on past events and storylines. The best way to describe sitting down to watch a Fast and the Furious movie, particularly the later instalments starts from the fourth till this most recent one, is a gathering with old friends or even a family reunion. If you walk in on this one, well, you might just get caught up in a lot of inside jokes and feel like you walked into someone’s life and really trying to grasp onto what happened before. However, this storyline isn’t overly complex as they usually aren’t and focuses a lot on high octane action with car chases and explosions, lots of witty and funny one liners and a team that can really bring it on with the best cars and fantastically well-plotted heists. If over the top action is what you like, this movie definitely delivers. Everything you expect of a Fast franchise movie is all here and I loved every minute of it starting from the beginning. About maybe half an hour in or probably more since this movie flew by so fast, it was obvious that I had a grin and just enjoying it so very much.

Image: Universal Pictures

The Fate of the Furious is about family. This franchise is about cars and action and crazy stuff that just gets bigger and badder but in the core, it is about the family and the team. This time, we really zero in on Dom who has some hold that has brought him to go rogue and now his team needs to go up against him. While everyone’s views are starting to falter about whether he’s really just lost it, Letty won’t let up. She knows that look in his eyes and that through everything he makes each choice for a reason no matter how dangerous or how crazy or how ridiculous. There’s something more and she’s out to find it. And everyone knows that when Dom’s not around, they listen to Letty. Michelle Rodriguez is not a great actress, I’m going to be completely honest on that and yet this tough chick thing works for her. Same goes for a lot of the team. Ludacris is getting a bigger role and I truly love his character Tej. He delivers some really fun lines especially when he always mocks Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson. There’s a great emphasis of mocking Roman’s whiny and scaredy-cat personality and just his loud screaming in general and I love how they address it by no one greater than Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson, the addition that possibility made this series even better and his presence is so appreciated all the times. This time his feud with Jason Statham’s character, Deckard that joins the team because of the common enemy, creates some great hand to hand combat moments and some great chemistry there with one-liners, particularly one that was laugh out loud and completely memorable. Finally, the rookie of the team enters where as “Little Nobody” which is somewhat of Mr. Nobody’s (played by Kurt Russell) minion who is learning the ropes and there are some funny moments with that.

The Fate of the Furious

In terms of enemy, we have the mysterious “organization” or just smart lady, Cipher played by Charlize Theron. Cipher is pretty cool character. She has some nice outfits and seems to be really philosophical about what she does and choice theories and all that talky stuff. Its good seeing as this franchise isn’t about talking so it adds a nice layer to it even though evil Charlize Theron always seems to be very similar, but then I only have Snow White and the Huntsman as my comparison and other than the different setting, it didn’t feel all that different. We know that she can drive since she was in Mad Max and she can do the badass bit well enough (which she does alright). Don’t get me wrong. Charlize Theron was fine. She is a great actress with a lot of range and you don’t really need all that much acting chops to be in Fast because of the action and yet, I kind of hoped to see some more from her. There were some parts that she seemed to channel in the right balance of cyber security hacking genius and yet, I don’t quite know how to word what is missing. Teaming up with her is the rogue man, Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto. Dom obviously has an agenda and we soon find out why he’s joined forces with Cipher. I’m not going to spoil it for you. Dom is Dom. I love him because of who he is: a man of few words and solemn expressions and yet there’s this gentle side to him when he’s with family and yet still so very manly. Anyways, its Dom and I love his character.

The fate of the furious

How do we not talk about action, right? The last part is all about that. While others have issues with the unrealistic and over the top ridiculous action and the bigger and badder, it comes at no surprise at this point that its my cup of tea. I love it for the high octane adrenaline rush fun. This time, we get auto-drive cars down New York City and the ice fields in northern Russia or something and submarines and missiles. Its full of explosion and destruction. I love how the movie starts with the face-off for pink slip or respect. It is a great time through and through.

This review was supposed to be so objective and yet, it ended after the first paragraph, maybe. There’s a lot to love here and a lot of it has to do with the love of the team and just the franchise and its over the top action that works all the time. It helps to cheer the characters over and over again. It might not live up again to the awesomeness of Fast Five but its definitely somewhere in line with Furious 7. The Fate of the Furious, I believe, was sprouted because of Paul Walker’s desire to make this so although we all know he isn’t there anymore, the spirit of his character still lives in this one as he gets one mention and its something that I like a lot. This movie has its flaws, no doubt about it. Its not very deep and Charlize Theron leaves a lot to be desired in a villain and yet, the emphasis on family is never as important, plus there’s a few new characters that work well.

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Netflix A-Z: Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Next up is the T selection! Man, the choices for this was huge.  Honestly,  I couldn’t quite decide what I wanted to watch.  My original selection in the rundown was between Tomorrowland and Two Night Stand but somehow, I just didn’t feel like watching either of those so I switched it up.  I guess what I wanted was something that was easy to watch and I have no idea why I went for Texas Chainsaw.  Don’t even ask me because I’ve only ever seen one Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie and that was the remake in 2003.  I would never had thought I’d start up a Texas Chainsaw anything after that one since that was so memorable in the way that I watched about 20 minutes of  the movie and hid under my coat covering my ears for the remaining portion and randomly peaking out into gory scenes on screen.  Sure was a great way to spend Halloween with friends, right?  That being said, watching more horror has desensitived me a little to it all, I guess so I feel confident about watching this.

Enough rambling! Let’s check it out!

 Texas Chainsaw (2013)

texas chainsaw

Director: John Luessenhop

Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Shaun Sipos, Thom Barry, Paul Rae

A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.- IMDB

Texas Chainsaw turns out to be in the horror thriller genre according to IMDB.  Not quite a surprise there for the horror part.  I’m not sure its a thriller though.  When Texas Chainsaw ended, I literally said to myself, “Wow, that was more dramatic than I expected it to be.” I don’t know the origin story to Leatherface. There was only one time before that I’ve seen anything of this and that was back in 2003 and I don’t think closing my ears, just hearing muffled sounds and peeking at the screen randomly counts as even seeing the movie.  My impression of the franchise is that its gory and violent and Leatherface is super scary. What Texas Chainsaw is is an origin story, giving a reason to why Leatherface does what he does.  I guess it makes him an anti-hero? But I mean, all the horror baddies like Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason kind of had back stories too that justified what they did, I guess it gives reason to why this movie is necessary if it wasn’t covered before (has it been covered?)  The thing is Leatherface suddenly seems justified in being the chainsaw-wielding giant (he’s 6 foot 5, so he’s giant to me) and even if it didn’t justify it, it seemed to try to make us sympathize for him.  But then, I guess what the deal is is that it didn’t all quite make a lot of sense, like the flow of the story.

texas chainsaw

The story here derives from Heather getting a call from a lawyer that she’s actually a Sawyer.  We know that because of the opening sequence portion but then it flashes to her adoptive parents that seem to give her nothing on the story and she just storms out. But still, she goes to follow the trail to get her inheritance which turns out to be a big house with tall gates and “Bitch” spray painted on one of the rock columns.  Inviting, right? But her and her friends still think its a great idea. And of course, she doesn’t follow instructions of what was left behind and in turn things get out of hand to what makes this movie.  I mean, the issue with this movie isn’t that its bad but rather that there are a lot of bad decisions, like illogical ones.  For example, why would you leave the stranger you picked up at a gas station in your new inherited house? Normally, wouldn’t at least one person stay behind? I do groceries by myself a lot and they needed four people to do a little bit of groceries. The plot had a lot of meaningless bits also that amounted to nothing either but it also gave us another side of the story (without giving away too much if you haven’t seen it and intend to).

texas chainsaw

Our cast here is actually rather familiar (to me at least).  For one, the main girl is Alexandra Daddario who I recently saw in San Andreas.  I’m guessing this is one of those starting roles in her career and for some odd reason they had to emphasize her awesome body and her big boobs for no odd reason like the scene above.  However, she was good with what her character was given.  Some times, in these roles, the main character isn’t particularly smart and she was okay. We can’t blame her for the script decisions.  Her character didn’t have much change and it didn’t make a whole lot of sense but I think she did alright for what she had.  There was Shaun Sipos who played the stranger they picked up called Darryl.  His role wasn’t huge but then I really like him quite a bit.  I just wish to see him in more significant roles.  But then, I haven’t seen Lost Dreams and apparently that’s supposed to be decent.  Moving on is another earlier role of Scott Eastwood.  I think this guy has some talent even if I only saw him in The Longest Ride.  He’s good looking and actually can interpret some good roles and in this one, his role was a nice addition.

Overall, Texas Chainsaw

Most of all, we have to talk about the main focus here: Leatherface.  I have to say that the character design at some angles weren’t great but then the story itself had its lacking moments as well and some parts didn’t make sense. However, there are some cringe-worthy moments and even some parts that did make me feel kind of tense.  Its still in the predictable slasher area but this scene up there, maybe wasn’t all the necessary, just like the open shirt side boob scene above, but I guess, it builds the character of what makes up Leatherface’s face. All in the name of the origin story building, right? 😉

Overall, it might sound like I’m trashing the movie.  Texas Chainsaw is by no means a slasher horror with a great story and it even enters the dramatic/suspenseful area to fulfill the thriller genre portion.  It gives us something like a twist and there’s an origin story that doesn’t completely make sense.  The characters and cast are decent.  I’m guessing I can’t be horrible about it because I haven’t seen the previous two (at all or much so I’m not a fan of the franchise either).  Something about a giant man wielding a chainsaw with a scary mask face makes me really agitated and tense so that alone made me a little nervous to watch it in certain parts but then, if it was in comparison to looking for gore like in the 2003 one (from what I remember), this one had next to none.  It all depends on what you expect.  To me, slashers (especially sequels) don’t always have stories that fully make sense and there’s a some bad decisions to be made and then some meaningless sexy moments and this movie had it all.  It was nothing new and there was like a scene or two of what looked like bad CGI so I’m indifferent to it.  That’s where I stand right now, maybe if I went back to watch the original and remake and come back, I might revisit it and do another review on it then. 😉

Have you seen Texas Chainsaw? What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise? Do you think I should go back and check out the movies before this? 

Valentine’s Marathon: The Longest Ride (2015)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We’re wrapping up Valentine’s Marathon with The Longest Ride, released last year for another Nicholas Sparks’ adaptation. Its been a while that I’ve been hopeful about a Nicholas Sparks movie but Britt Robertson is in this one.  I love her so much and she has so much potential.  She’s been in a ton of stuff that I love from movies to TV series.  I have yet to watch Tomorrowland but I’m pretty excited to watch Britt Robertson, especially when its opposite the very handsome Scott Eastwood.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

The Longest Ride (2015)

The Longest Ride

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Cast: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Melissa Benoist, Elea Oboron

The lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man, as he reflects back on a past love.-IMDB

Hey! Old and young couples again? Seems like Nicholas Sparks is following a pattern and keeping his formulaic way.  I kind of should have waited to see this movie before saying that The Best of Me wasn’t pretty good.  The Longest Ride is one of the best Nicholas Sparks movies to me.  Right from the get go, I loved the characters.  The main ones, the supporting, the relationships, even the young and old contrast and the lovey-dovey message it sends.  For once, its not the typical ending you’d expect and I really like that. Plus, the whole scenario of North Carolina and professional bull fighting, especially Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood.  Can I just say how handsome Scott Eastwood is and I was a little worried that he wouldn’t be a good actor but I’d say that he is pretty good. Before I start talking about the characters, I loved the whole country music soundtrack going on.

The Longest Ride

At this point, I guess you’ve all been determined that I’m just a total sappy romance person.  Even I’m going to admit it straight out and just own it. The Longest Ride is nothing innovative and its predictable and formulaic.  Like I said with all the Nicholas Sparks adaptations, I know they are.  I’m not even going to argue. I’m not sure its just accepting those parallels in the old and young couple anymore but there were some things I wasn’t quite on board with for this one.  If anything, I felt much more connected to Britt Robertson and Scott Eastwood’s Sophia and Luke’s relationship more than the older couple, told by the old man Ira (played by Alan Alda) about his love with his wife when he was young and the sacrifices they had to make that was worth it to them. But, Ira and Sophia’s relationship of reading the letters and getting to really connect and teach her about love just like Luke’s relationship with his mom was one that I thought was a good addition to the story.

The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride feels very different from the last few adaptations that has been released.  Its more natural love.  Its not manipulative at all in comparison.  The message is clear and the twist is finally one that enforces that its not trying to manipulate its audience.  Romantic dramas work because of how their characters carry their roles and everyone here does pretty great.  Britt Robertson was fantastic as she always was.  Young love and awkward, not knowing how to proceed but being deeply in love, believing they could fight through the obstacles, feeling torn and heartbroken: she portrays all that.  I think I connected with her character right away. Then comes Scott Eastwood who just kicks all the other handsome suitors that Nicholas Sparks has ever brought to life and pulls on a great performance as a professional bull fighter and not really being about to let go when he should, and learning what is important to him.  Sure, its sappy that love is the center of your life and its the rest of the your life and all that stuff but when I fall in love, I feel that way.  So, I can relate and I genuinely felt their heartbreak when they hit that unavoidable movie trope bump in the road.

The Longest Ride

Overall, The Longest Ride is possibly my second favorite Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation.  Nothing can quite beat A Walk to Remember still but it comes pretty close.  I was getting all teary and heartbroken and happy when these emotions were asked for.  They came naturally right from the beginning.  Its something that actually doesn’t happen too frequently early in these adaptations.  Most of them are acceptable and enjoyable but this one exceeded my expectations and thats counting the fact that it includes one of my favorite young actresses right now, Britt Robertson and just loving the charm that Scott Eastwood brought, along with having effective supporting roles and relationships that helped the story along without making it manipulative. I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Its a great way to end this very short Valentine’s Marathon!

Have you seen The Longest Ride? Do you like Britt Robertson and/or Scott Eastwood?