Frozen (2013)

  It's a fact that everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for Disney movies whether they like to admit it or not. I'm not the one to hide my love for Disney movies. Recently, Pixar has been on a roll with their release of memorable hits. But, movies like 'Frozen' show Disney still has some magic left.
  'Frozen' tells the story of two sisters, Anna (Kristin Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel). The two princesses are very close growing up, but when Elsa's secret power puts Anna and everyone who she loves in danger, Elsa has no choice but to shut out the world and live in isolation. You see, Elsa has the power to create ice, snow, anything winter related with her hands. The problem with her icy powers is that Elsa has no idea how to control her power, which only gets stronger as she gets older. As much as Elsa wants nothing more than to shut out the world around her, Anna longs to experience everything that life has to offer. When an unexpected chain of events during Elsa's coronation risks putting the entire kingdom into an everlasting winter, we are treated to a wonderful adventure of self discovery and love between the two sisters.    
  I was pleasantly surprised by 'Frozen' and just how much I found myself enjoying the hell out of this movie. I'm just going to put it out there, but I think 'Frozen' will join the ranks of 'The Lion King' and 'Beauty and the Beast' as Disney classics. It's got everything you want in any good Disney movie, catchy tunes (check, 'Do you want to build a snowman...'), memorable character (Olaf), adventure, and you can't leave out a beautiful love story. I dare you to go watch 'Frozen' and not smile or walk out with a warm heart. Because if you don't, you don't have a heart.

Metascore- 74/100
Rotten tomatoes- Audience- 90%, Critics- 89%
Yong's Rating- 5/5 stars


Blue Jasmine (2013)

Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' is a look into a woman at her ends. Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) has lost everything. We are introduced to a woman who has lost her youth, family, fortune, and reputation. And by looks of everything, her sanity is not close behind. When Jasmine's life comes crumpling down on the east coast, she moves to the west coast to start over with the help of her sister (Sally Hawkins). It's not an easy transition for a New York socialite to get accumulated to the lower middle class life style in San Francisco.
'Blue Jasmine' showcases Cate Blanchett's powerful performance with her portrayal of Jasmine. It's sure to get her several nominations come awards season. The side storyline of Jasmine's sister, Ginger is worth noting, but did not really capture my attention. As a film on a whole, its ideas have been examined in many of Woody's other films. 'Another Woman', 'September', and 'Alice' come to mind. All portray a high class woman dealing with self identify and a life crisis. 'Blue Jasmine' may have some lighter moments, but it is one of Woody's darker film. Don't expect to watch this to get that warm happy feeling. I will admit, I didn't think this was one of Woody's better movies, but as with any Woody Allen movie, there's always something there worth watching for.

Metascore- 78/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-91% Audience-83%
Yong's Rating- 2.5/5 stars


Someone to watch movies with.

If I can dream up the perfect person to watch movies with I think she might be something like this...

She can recite any lines from 'The Lion King'.
If she can have any car in the world, it would be the DeLorean. And, she would know to be careful not to exceed 88 mph just to be on the safe side.
She knows what droids they were looking for.
She'll have what she's having.
She has a bigger crush on Natalie Portman than I do.
It's ok if she gets teary from the starting sequence from 'UP'.
She's silly enough to watch 'Anchorman', but serious enough to appreciate 'Wild Strawberries'.
Holiday times mean watching 'Elf', 'Love Actually' and 'Hannah and her Sisters'.
She doesn't mind my obsession with Woody Allen movies. And she thinks it's cute one of my main reason for wanting to visit NYC is so I can run into him.
She has thought at least once that erasing your memories of someone like in 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' wouldn't be such a bad idea.
Her favorite documentary is 'Hoop Dreams'.
Her favorite movie is 'The Princess Bride'.
She thinks soundtrack to 'Garden State' is a soundtrack to her own life.
She always has movies I need to check out and books I need to read.
Most of all, she just loves movies as much as I do. And I think that's pretty neat.


This is the End (2013)

Ever wonder what would happen if a bunch of friends who happen to be actors and comedians got really high together and got an idea for a movie? I'm pretty sure 'This is the End' is as close as you will get to that fantasy. When the world is faced with the apocalypse, a group of lost clueless celebrities can't find a better place to hide out than James Franco's new pad.
Friends James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson are forced to stick together to survive the apocalypse. There's really no point in going over the plot, since things get ridiculous pretty fast. This movie isn't going to open your eyes to some grand meaning of life (unless I missed something). But, it will make you laugh. There's a lot of little funny moments and it was fun to watch. If you are not into a lot of guy humor then you might want to stay away from this one. Otherwise, enjoy.

IMDB- 7.9/10
Metascore- 67/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-84% Audience- 81%
Yong's Rating- 3/5


Favorite TV Characters

As much as I love movies, I also have a soft spot for good television shows. I would like to share some of my favorite characters from some of my favorite shows. In no particular order. Enjoy.
Homer Simpson

 One of my favorite shows growing up. Guess I just have to start with The Simpsons. Who doesn't love Homer?

Tyrion Lannister
I recently started to watch 'Game of Thrones' and if you've seen it you know how addicting it gets. There's many memorable characters in the show, but Tyrion Lannister stands out the most for me.
Eric Cartman

Back to the land of animation. Cartman is selfish, manipulative, and evil. But, there's also something about him you can't help but love. And if you disagree, as Cartman would say, 'Screw you guys, I'm going home."
Hank Hill

When I think of America, I think of Hank Hill. My favorite Texan just had to make the list.

Speaking of America, Carl is freaking awesome. That is all.
Dexter Morgan

My favorite serial killer.
Walter White

My favorite drug dealer.
Larry David

Curb your Enthusiasm's star, Larry David is pretty pretty pretty pretty good.

The Wire has quickly become one of my favorite shows of all time. And Omar is one of the most memorable characters ever. 'All in the game yo, all in the game'
The Bluth

I just had to include my favorite family. It was just so hard to pick just one character, so I just picked the whole family. I've made a huge mistake.

Seinfeld is a classic and you can't go wrong with Kramer.

JD may just have the best hair on television.
Michael Scott

The world's greatest boss, Michael is the best manager ever. Not gonna lie, my eyes may have gotten a bit watery when he was leaving the office.
Dwight Schrute

Beets, bears, battle star galactica, Dwight.
Lily and Marshall

I have to admit, I have a huge crush on Lily. Well, on Marshall too. They may be the cutest couple ever.
Jack Bauer

If you are a fan of 24, you know how much of a bad ass Jack is. If you haven't watched 24, just know that Jack is the reason you are safe at your home reading this on your computer. You're welcome.
Charlie and Frank

I can't forget to mention Charlie and Frank from Sunny. They are the best.

Well, that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there's few I've left out. Who are your favorite characters? Feel free to share. And I think I may watch too much TV, just a little bit.


'Pacific Rim' (2013)

You can't help but feel the love Guillermo del Toro has for his craft in every one of his films. And 'Pacific Rim' is no exception. Its always a joy to watch the universe created by Guillermo del Toro's imagination. 'Pacific Rim' should be a clinic for making a perfect summer popcorn flick that is both fun to watch and with enough substance to not question your intelligence (hope Michael Bay was taking notes). A movie filled with giant robots and alien monsters fighting to take over control of earth somehow doesn't seem so ridiculous when guided under the direction of del Toro.
When a mysterious portal in the middle of the Pacific Rim opens up, creatures spring up from another universe with the sole intent of destroying everything in their sight. In order to combat these monsters, given the name 'Kaiju', mankind turn to giant monster fighting machines refer to as 'Jaegers'. As the intensity and the frequency of the Kaiju attacks increase, the slim hope of survival of earth rests solely on the Jaegers and the pilots who control them.
'Pacific Rim' is action packed fun perfect for the long summer days. I personally enjoyed Idris Elba's performance and his motivation speech is sure to pop up on motivation clips for future generations. If anyone's going to cancel the apocalypse, it might as be Stringer Bell.

Metascore- 64/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 71%, Audience- 85%
Yong's Rating- 4/5 stars


World War Z (2013)

I loved the world created by Max Brooks' novel, 'War World Z'. It told the oral history of what came to be known as the zombie war. The collection of personal accounts of survivors were haunting and memorable. The film version was not quite what I imagined. I felt this movie had the potential to be so much more considering its kick ass source material.
Brad Pitt plays Gerry, a former UN investigator who is called back to duty when the world is faced with the zombie chaos. Gerry accompanies a scientist in search for patient zero in order to better understand the disease and find a way to stop it from destroying humanity. The journey is filled with action and drama. And yes, a lot of zombies. This film takes on a very fast pace. Once the zombies start coming, it just takes off. I was more interested in seeing the build up to the origin of how the zombie disease began and how things got out of hand. Instead what I saw was a sprint to find a cure. It was disappointing. I got to say, 'World War Z' has one of the most aggressive zombies I've ever seen. They are very angry group of zombies. Anger issues.
This movie isn't terrible, but it won't blow you away either. I'd take 'Shaun of the Dead' any day in a zombie movie battle. It's an enjoyable average zombie flick filled with enough action, drama, and zombie chase scenes to keep you interested.  

IMDB- 7.4/10
Metascore- 62/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 67% Audience- 86%
Yong's rating- 3/5 stars.


Life of Pi (2012)

Ang Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's novel, 'Life of Pi' brings the magic of the novel onto the screen. Of course, no movie can capture the full details and the experience you get from reading a novel. But, 'Life of Pi' manages to showcase the highlights of the novel with masterful storytelling and stunning special effects.
The remarkable story of a young man's survival out on a ocean is the backdrop to a deeper storyline.   As you learn about Pi's journey from childhood to his grueling days out on the sea, you learn about one's curiosity for the truth. The search for what makes life, life. Even when one's faith is tested to its limits you find out that you always have a choice to believe and put your faith in what you hold to be true.
This film is just visually beautiful and while it may seem slow at time, I think most of you will enjoy the journey.

Metascore- 79/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 88% Audience- 87%
Yong's Rating- 4/5 stars

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

'Star Trek: Into Darkness' continues where the first reboot of the franchise left off. When a series of terrorist attacks threaten the universe, the Enterprise and its crew goes in search for the terrorist. When the crew finally catches up to the terrorist, they find much more than they bargained for. The cast share excellent chemistry and really seem to work well together.
Yes, this movie has all the action and drama that a good summer blockbuster has. I found it very enjoyable even if the story line wasn't the greatest. I liked the first film much better, but this one's well worth a look for a fun time at the movies.

IMDB- 8.2/10
Metascore- 72/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-87%, Audience- 92%
Yong's Rating- 3.5/5 stars


Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

It is because of movies like 'Pan's Labyrinth' that I find myself continuing to go to the theaters and continuing to push the play button at home. On those rare occasions when you do come across a special film that reaches out and speaks to you on a personal level, you suddenly don't mind all those crappy movies that you had to sit through in order to get to that one magical film. I first watched 'Pan's Labyrinth' almost by accident. I was back home in Chicago from school on vacation. On a particular weekend night, having nothing to do, I decided to go to the theaters to catch a show. I had no idea what 'Pan's Labyrinth' was, didn't even know it was in subtitles. I decided to watch it because well it was about to start as I was buying the ticket. That was the night I was introduced to the wonderful fantasy world of Guillermo del Toro. That night, I wasn't so bummed out I had nothing else better to do than go watch a movie by myself on a Saturday night.
Set in Spain during 1944, 'Pan's Labyrinth' tells the story of an imaginative young girl who is forced to seek refuge in her imagination to escape from the horrors of her surroundings. Scared for her sick bed ridden pregnant mother and fearful of her sadistic military stepfather, the only friends Ofelia has are her books and her imagination. Ofelia's imagination takes us into a magical world of fairies, fauns, monsters, kings, and princesses. Even in the dark backdrop of war, a glimpse of hope is shown through a remarkable young girl's imagination. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing 'Pan's Labyrinth' yet, I'm very very jealous of you.  

IMDB-8.3/10 (#110 on the Top250)
Metascore- 98/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 96%, Audience- 90%
Yong's Rating- 5/5 Stars


Ruby Sparks (2012)

What if you can dream up your perfect girlfriend? And somehow she appeared right in front of you just the way you imagined her. Her smile, the way she moves and even her quirks are all you imagined her to be. Too good to be true? In 'Ruby Sparks', a young writer, Calvin's (Paul Dano) world is turned upside down when a mysterious girl appears in his house. Turns out the girl is Ruby (Zoe Kazan), the very girl he was writing about in his new novel. Once Calvin figures out the identity of the mysterious girl, he can't help but fall in love with her. The movie explores the rocky relationship between the writer and his work of fiction.
'Ruby Sparks' is an entertaining love story that is smart and unique. The story does take some time to develop, but if you let yourself get engaged with the storyline, I think you'll find yourself a very nice movie.

IMDB- 7.2/10
Metascore- 67/100
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 79%, Audience- 77%
Yong's Rating- 4/5 Stars