Entries Tagged as 'Reviews'

Movie Review: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

One of my favorite series growing up has always been Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and right there as a close contender was C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.
So it was little surprise when Peter Jackson pulled off the amazing LoTR series that there would be any surprise Narnia wasn’t far behind. And overall, it was a great story done very well.
Unfortunately, this second book in the chronological order was good, but a bit disappointing from the first movie. Perhaps it was the battle scenes that just were not as epic, or something. It wasn’t the actors and actresses since they proved that it was a worthy series to be made from the first book-to-movie transformation.
In any case, this is still a series that I would love to collect, but from what I’ve heard, they’re not making another one since it didn’t meet expectations for the box office. Which is a sad fate for a series since those characters fit in so well and you can only sign in youth acting only once in your lifetime (like the way they have it with the Harry Potter series).
I still whole-heartedly recommend watching this beautiful story if you have children and they’ve read or are reading the books in chronological order. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is one of the few timeless stories that will continue to woo our young in the future.

Movie Review: Quarantine

Made in the style of Blair Witch and Cloverfield, you will find that the entire film itself is from a news crew’s investigative reporting of a fire station, the following of the firefighting crew and the eventual lock down of an apartment complex when it gets infected by some sort of virus.
Not too difficult to follow, although I have to say that there were some questionable actions as far as how certain people were not infected for however long they were. The virus itself created almost like zombies that would eventually attack other human people and bite them.
It wasn’t a bad horror film, but not exactly scary although I am glad that there was less of a gore factor than your usual gorefest these days. What I don’t really understand is why they have to go for the neck. Zombies sort of go for necks but if infection is done by any sort of biting, then you could “bite a leg” and have the same effect. Or claw an arm. Or lots of things. It seemed like everyone was taken out by the jugular which was sort of …. not very realistic.
Unfortunately, if you’ve seen the Quarantine trailer, then you can put two and two together pretty quickly after the main story line heads into the building itself. There were too many people that made too many rookie and illogical moves in the film to actually let the viewer cross between reality and fantasy. For example…. if a woman is foaming at the mouth? I truly do not believe that emergency personnel would actually help that person up by holding them without restraints or something. The goal is to save someone’s life, but you also remember that emergency personnel have to protect themselves too when doing that to minimize any risk of infection or contamination.
Outside of that, I found the movie to be pretty neat although not really on the same level of Cloverfield. If you like the style, you might be interested in this film, but otherwise… I’d probably throw a pass card at it unless you just love all things zombified.

Movie Review: Lakeview Terrace

Okay. This movie definitely wasn’t for kids. At all. Ever. Seriously now… while it was rated PG-13, I wouldn’t have brought any of my young cousins to see this based on the implications and too much reference to things they really shouldn’t be dealing with in one single viewing.
That aside? Samuel L Jackson plays the a**hole racist cop very nicely. In fact, I think the fact that he doesn’t tone it down a little made the movie a little too dramatic. It was done very well from his angle but I felt that he took it to the extreme a bit. Could have been an issue with the script than actor, but that’s the way it was played out. Some of the critique of this movie has been that it plays well for the first hour, but it was almost overkill at the end. Which was exactly what I also had in mind when I saw the film.
Lakeview Terrace was creatively done and you do actually get a feel for why the tension is there and how it came to be. So there isn’t unfounded hate towards interracial couples but a forever unanswered question by Turner (Jackson) that causes the behavior. I believe that it was actually a well thought out movie outside of the drug and sex references alongside the overkill. Of course, better that then a monotonous boring thing that captures your attention for about ten minutes. This film definitely had me going the entire time.

Movie Review: Righteous Kill

If you’ve never heard of this movie, it’s worthy of renting or buying just based on the fact that you have two star performers, De Niro and Pacino. Midst the bad reviews by critics everywhere, I felt that these two performers have not only been in the entire guns blazing movies before, but they knew how to act the parts.
And indeed, the script wasn’t some Oscar winning beauty, but the two played the parts of detectives that didn’t take any crap as well as they play any other parts. The story itself wasn’t spectacularly original (and given the remakes in the past couple years, there shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise) and the plot twist was pretty predictable. Outside of those little things, you do get caught up in these two detectives looking for a vigilante that is out to take out those bad guys when justice didn’t prevail.
I found that the movie was actually decent and while it teetered on the entire … is it a B-rated film that I would be watching on a weekend off of the tube, I think that I’ve definitely seen worse when it comes to movies.
And who could not love this Righteous Kill tagline?
“Some respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun.”

IKEA Charlotte Grand opening weekend

IKEA Charlotte Ever since I knew about IKEA opening in Charlotte, I’ve been waiting… patiently, for the day to come.
And I wasn’t the only one that went during the grand opening. Believe me, the place was packed. Traffic was backed over the bridge, although it flowed at a decent pace into the parking lot. IKEA had hired ASIG security I believe to help control the flow of people. We actually got lucky and got directed into the empty spaces in the employee lot, so we were very close to the storefront. And if you don’t know how to get there, just take Highway 52 down and keep going until you get to exit 43. You can’t miss Ikea Blvd. It took us about fifty minutes or so to get there which was actually pretty great.
IKEA Charlotte Having been to the one in Seattle, I knew what to expect, but I have to say that it’s a blessing in disguise for those that like a little bit more modern looking furniture when you’re so close to the furniture capital of the world. And it’s cheap. Not in the materials, but in price. The packaging is absolutely great too since they try to pack in as much as possible as not to waste. It’s brilliant design. Any Black Belt would be proud to work here seeing how optimized towards business this place is from design of environment, to packaging, to even how the cafe is managed. It was all about flow of traffic. You’re pretty much guided through all of the show rooms by how it’s set up. Just like a herd of sheep. Not a bad thing, but bring your good walking shoes. It’s like going to Disneyland for Homewares.
IKEA Charlotte There are two floors. The second floor is mainly showroom areas where you can walk through and see different types of rooms and furnishings. It’s not everything for your home, but it’s pretty dang close. I bought a chest of drawers for $149USD since I didn’t have one. Any other packaging would have not fit in my trunk, but those actually did with no tie downs. Anywhere else, you’d be looking at easily $250-450 for the same (assembly took three hours with two people, but it was still worth it). Everything is pretty much hands on there in the showrooms. You can check out what you want, write it down, and pick it up at the self-serve furniture area later. What’s also great is that they have a couple complete furnished homes (European style, although it’d fit right in with say a NYC condo) where it was 270 sq ft, and 590 sq ft. The neat thing about this, is that it basically demonstrated that you could in small living spaces create a beautiful living quarters with the things they sold. And it was very functional and practical.
There was a cafe there for the weary and tired, and the food was pretty good. But definitely not the highlight of the place although it was a wonderful value-add.
IKEA Charlotte The lower floors consisted of a daycare (that’s right, you can drop off your little ones), home goods, the self-serve furniture area, and checkout along with a bistro where you can buy drinks or Swedish foods and such to take home. Again, the flow of the area was what you had to pay attention to since it was extremely optimized towards guiding you throughout the entirety of the store, but it didn’t limit you in one single area. This particular store employs over 450+ employees and you could definitely tell that it needed every man and woman.
I’ll definitely be coming back since there’s several bedroom and office items that I have to replace to fit my smaller room. But it goes to show that even in these economics, there are players out there that know when to capitalize. If you can provide decent goods for a great price, that’s where it’s a win-win situation between the consumer and the vendor. Well done, on the grand opening, IKEA. You had me captured in your store for at least four hours and I’ll be coming back to spend more time for sure.
Photo Credit: (firelace)

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Movie Review: Dead Space: Downfall

Of most American animation, most are pretty… dreary. At least for those of us that actually watch anime a lot since it really just comes off as a Justice League sort of feel.
But when it came right down to it, Dead Space: Downfall was actually one of the better done short animation films. This basically was the preface of the actual game, Dead Space, and gave the story line all the way up to the beginning of that game.
There’s probably not too much reason to go directly into the story arc, but it’s for the most part a science fiction space zombie type approach. It’s not as cheesy as I make it sound either, since there’s tremendous gore involved and the actual voice acting isn’t half bad at all.
The one thing that I probably would have loved better? If they had asked Madhouse Studios to do the animation. Those of us that actually watch the genre actually know that Madhouse is pretty much king when it comes to all things gore in animation. And they do it fantastically well. But outside of that little bit? I actually found this movie to be enjoyable and totally threw me a little bit. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the high quality animation from the Japanese studios.

Movie Review: Traitor

Don Cheadle in this movie is… absolutely amazing. Like seriously, this was one of those thrillers that expressed how devout Muslims are to their religion, but also how some fight for their cause. Traitor held my attention the entire time without once letting go and I would probably give that entire credit to Cheadle’s character.
While this is fiction, I would totally recommend this movie to anyone that wants to see the inner workings and politics of a terrorism group and how one man’s belief can tear down the walls of any insanity. This movie defines the negative portrayal of Muslims in the west and tries to break that stereotype in showing that there is a difference between radical religion and religion.

Anime Review: Jyu-Oh-Sei – Planet of the Beast King

Many of the better anime series have a darker theme to it. I think that Jyu-Oh-Sei, fits that realm well due to the fact that they’re a bunch of young boys that are sent to a penal colony planet after their parents were murdered in a conspiracy to keep things quiet.
On Chimera, only the Beast King is allowed to leave the planet via the Dagger Pagoda. To become of the Beast King, you have to defeat each of the leaders of the rings and eventually the Beast King. And thus begins the conquest of Thor, whom tries to make it all the way to the end with the help of a few friends he meets along the way.
I would say that this series really hits home on the dog-eat-dog world and how sometimes you have to make incredibly difficult decisions, especially when it comes down to if it’s a life or death situation between you and the other guy. Alliances are also frail so whom you trust could in the end become your biggest regret.
A really good series, albeit short, but one of the few darker ones that I thought was worthwhile to buy. So if you’re looking for the box set, it’s going to put you back a little over $50USD.

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Movie Review: The X-Files – I Want to Believe

This is one movie that you really want to talk about the nostalgia of nine seasons. I mean, seriously. That’s nine years of your life that you sat there waiting for Scully and Mulder to actually… get together.
And here you thought that the first movie they would have, but they almost kiss, and then BAM. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. And you thought, what a waste. Then the last two seasons, Mulder is never there so it basically went down the tubes from there. But this movie was supposed to tie it all together. Make everything pretty again.
Not. Don’t get me wrong, this was the same as movies made from television series where it’s just another long episode. But in this one, Scully was way thinner than previously, Mulder has a beard, and you’re wondering if they finally get it on. But we’re talking about actually seeing something. If you hate spoilers, stop right here.
Yes, I mean you. Stop reading. You’re going to cry. I know it. You know it. Everyone does.
For the rest of you, yes, Chris Carter threw this one in the trash. Doghouse. Whatever you want to call it. Outside of the fact that it was just a long episode (which don’t get me wrong, wasn’t a bad story line), there were many questions that were answered with quick resolutions. Like Mulder and Scully finally sleep together. Oh yes, you heard me. They do it. But here’s the thing, the fans would have wanted to see something, but no kiss. Nothing. Just suddenly, the movie cuts to them in bed together (after the fact). What the….
It was a pitiful end to a great series. Answered some of the questions and created a whole lot of others by making you wonder what the heck was Carter thinking. In the end, if you want to watch probably the finale of the X-Files series, then go right ahead and get The X-Files: I Want to Believe. You won’t want to believe what I saw. Or probably won’t care by the end like i did.

Movie Review: Resident Evil – Degeneration

Degeneration is one of the few animated films that doesn’t really suck. That’s mainly because a lot of it has to do with the fact that there’s a lot taken from the game universe and since Resident Evil 2, Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy finally are together again.
The entire film is actually fairly interesting and action-packed although I found the whole love interest for Leon absolutely horrifying. Angela Miller, whom was supposedly a SRT (Special Response Team) member and wasn’t a rookie cop anymore, had about as many problems with defending herself as a scared cat. And that was not only horrible, but sort of pathetic.
Don’t get me wrong. Resident Evil: Degeneration was definitely a great animated film and I would watch it again. The voice acting cast came from the top English speaking voice actors. But, it definitely could have done without the Angela Miller character altogether and just made it into a complete action/horror film.

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