Netflix A-Z: The Book of Life (2014)

I love animation.  Simply love it! Its probably one of my favorite genres.  Funnily enough, I’ve taken a long break from watching it. Who knew after the podcast for Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart over at David’s That Moment In, I started craving a little more.  If you missed that podcast, you can check it out HERE. When compiling the Netflix A-Z in this first round, the first letter on my list with B was The Book of Life.  I have no idea what it was about but it looks pretty so I added it right on. After my streak of a few bad movies, I was ready for something good.

Before we move on, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the comments in the first post for ATM introducing this segment! I was great! How many of you considered this one after (or before) the few hints I dropped in the comments? Did this one just go over your heads or did you suspect it could be this one?  I promise you I was very careful in making sure that each Netflix round will include lots of different genres! 😉

Let’s check it out!

The Book of Life (2014)

The Book of Life

Director: Jorge R. Gutierrez

Voice cast: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Kate Del Castillo, Ron Perlman, Ice Cube, Christina Applegate, Hector Elizondo

Some kids go on a school field trip to the museum.  Their tour guide takes them into a secret part and tells them a story from the Book of Life about the ruler of The Land of the Remembered, El Muerte and the ruler of The Land of the Forgotten, Xibalba who sets a wager that whoever wins will get to own the other’s land.  This wager was on three kids, Maria, Manolo and Joaquin and who Maria will choose to marry when she gets older.  After years of being apart, Maria returns home to find Manolo and Joaquin grown up and different however, the city is plagued by Chakal’s bandits.  Who will she choose to marry and who will win the wager?

The Book of Life

 The Book of Life kind of came and went out of theatres without me giving it much thought.  However, it do love folklores and sharp colors in animation so after remembering a few of the reviews, which are relatively positive if I remember correctly, I decided to give this a go. Its definitely not a disappointing animation.  I love the colorful visuals and every single set  in the story is absolutely lovely and wonderful.  The characters also have a lot of detail and I just can’t say enough for how awesome it looks. Whether its the Land of the living, remember or forgotten, they all have their own features that make them very appealing. Also, the music is very suitable and equally charming as the surroundings from rehashing some popular hits to having some nice guitar solos and whatnot.  It added a fun element to it.

The Book of Life

The characters and voice cast is done pretty well also.  Channing Tatum was an interesting choice for Joaquin because he doesn’t exactly have a Mexican accent or anything however he keeps the character dynamic and fun in an extremely macho way. While, Diego Luna who I’ve only ever seen in one movie before in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights so I can really picture him as Manolo.  While, I was a little worried about Zoe Saldana being Maria Posada but she turned out to be very good at encapturing the female character who wants to break out of the traditional woman mold and being a strong lady who can take care of herself and choose her future. Xibalba and La Muerte also was done very well especially playing off her other’s parts to make it flow.  However, my personal favorites are shots back to the kiddies going on the field trip that are placed skillfully throughout the telling of the story Manolo, Maria and Joaquin.  Those were some of the most hilarious parts. And the role that Ice Cube did for Candle Maker was awesome!! 😉

The Book of Life

However, while The Book of Life may have charming characters, great music and particularly enchantingly beautiful visuals, it lacked a little substance to the story.  Honestly, I found myself bored a few times.  It seemed like it was predictable and not particularly entertaining to watch the story unfold.  The only reason that had me continuing to watch this was because they built good characters and it was just too nice to not look at. I felt like there should be a few more laughs but those only did come in random parts with the kids on the field trip (as mentioned before) or Joaquin’s reaction (in a very Gaston manner, if you know what I mean). And the whole Land of the Remembered part was the best part because of the new characters introduced that were pretty funny as well.

The Book of Life could’ve had a better story but the visuals alone is worth a viewing.  It stays light and entertaining with a decent amount of laughs and more frequent as the movie progresses.  There is a certain charm to it that might just pull you in.

Have you seen The Book of Life? What did you think of it? 

C is coming up next.  Any guesses? Hint: Think an older movie in the early 2000s 😉

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

After over a month of seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m FINALLY finishing up what I started.

Its weird that I didn’t do this sooner because for one, my movie experience was pretty peculiar.

Not quite as memorable as the whole dog in a theatre nudging on my chair annoying as when I saw Gravity, I sat next to a very peculiar guy with his girlfriend who not only walked past us countless times (we prefer aisle seats) before the movie started, he finally sat down and started answering to my sarcastic comments that I was saying to my boyfriend in the previews.  It was a bit weird because I don’t really mean to interact with strangers.  Movies are like my little bubble.  So, yes, as I’ve thanked Cineplex before, I thank them again for having armrests that go up so I could scoot closer to my boyfriend 😉

Plus, we were in a smart crowd and I wanted to high five the (approximately) 80% that stayed for the after credits scene. FINALLY, people are getting it 😉

guardians of the galaxyDirector: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan

I’ve taken so long to write this up that I don’t really think that I can add anymore than everyone has already said.  Guardians of the Galaxy is an awesome movie and it was so much fun.  If there’s anything I would say is that I rarely find the villains of these team superhero movies to be really villainous.  Thats the only thing really.  Granted, the appearance of Ronan is a lot creepier than say Loki in The Avengers.  Yes, I had issues with Loki but thats because I hadn’t seen Thor so I didn’t know who he was.  I appreciated him more after I caught up with the Marvel movies that came out before The Avengers.  Right now, our focus is on this new team, Guardians of the Galaxy.  Point is, I had a lot of fun with this one! 🙂

Normally, here’s where I’ll start writing the review but this time, I’m going to approach this in a different way: a list of what I liked about the movie, which is EVERYTHING!

TEAM AND CHEMISTRY (plus a hint of their humor)

guardians group




Star Lord

ROCKET WITH GUNS/Groot & Rocket Bromance





There you go! Just 5 short and quick points about what I  loved about the movie.  There are probably a few other ones but off the top of my head and to get this out of the way 😉

The last is my fave.  Groot is an amazing character because c’mon, he had 3 words to say through the entire movie over and over again and different intonations gave it a different feeling.  My fave part was where he was having a conversation with Rocket and even though all he said was “I am Groot”, Rocket totally got what he was saying (or maybe he was just pretending?).

Either way, I love it! 🙂

What are your thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy? Is there something else that you liked?

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!