Fast & Furious 6: Super Summer Blockbuster

May 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Fast & Furious 6: Super Summer Blockbuster | Review 2013


I love action movies. Actually I love movies in every genre… But holy crap do I love action movies! 

Fast Five was an entirely new direction for this explosive franchise but it was Rock solid.  They way this franchise has evolved over 6 films is truly remarkable.  But…  I have to tell you…  If they keep raising the bar like they did with Fast & Furious 6, I don’t know if my brain can handle  Fast & Furious 7,8,9, 10 and beyond!

Much like the series itself, this movie begins with a focus on the importance of family.  Before you know it, you’re right in the middle of a tank battle on the streets of Spain.  The action sequences just kept getting bigger and crazier and the film progressed.  It’s pure fun on the big screen.

Now, I’ve praised the film’s action a lot already but Fast 6 is not without it’s flaws.  This franchise has a reputation for giant plot holes and…  ahem…  convenient character moments.  Not too mention cheesy dialogue and awkward humor.  They are all back in the sixth installment…  But this movie recovers from these moments better than any other film in the franchise.

[Spoiler Alert]

For example, the way they handled Letty was a bit of a let down at first.  Memory loss is an awfully convenient story device to get her back on track.  It’s worth an eye roll or two but the filmmakers don’t let her off the hook so easily.

So many movies feature memory loss and all it takes is a good shot to the head and all is well.  I sat back waiting for Letty to fly out of a car, hit her head and remember everything.  That never happened.

Handling her story this way only strengthened the family theme woven throughout this adrenaline filled tale.  You never turn your back on family.

[End of Spoiler]

Sometimes, it’s okay to switch of and hit the gas!

Luke Evans is my favorite villain of the franchise.  He’s a ruthless and calculating foe who is miles ahead of Dominic and his team at all times.  You can’t raise the bar in terms of action without having a villain worthy of such chaos.  Shaw was everything he needed to be.

The team is all back including The Rock (in his 3rd summer movie of 2013) who is truly a part of this family now.  Dominic, Brian, Roman, Tej and the rest of the gang are all in fine form as well.  But these films are all about fast action and this movie delivers more than you can imagine.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen G.I Joe Retaliation, Oblivion, Pain & Gain, Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness.  Each of these films delivers good action (maybe not G.I Joe) but none of them compare to this if you’re an action junkie.

Fast & Furious 6 is relentless.  The final act is non stop big screen mayhem.  Sometimes, you don’t need a deep story.  Sometimes, it’s okay to switch of and hit the gas!

I’ve always loved BIG action movies.  I’m honestly considering seeing the film second time just to experience that epic final act on the big screen again.  Fast & Furious 6 may not be my favorite film of 2013 thus far but it’s definitely the most fun.  If you love this franchise you don’t need convincing.  If Fast Five didn’t win you back after 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, I’m willing to bet the sixth installment will.

Fast 6 knows exactly what it should be.  An action movie and it’s a damn good action movie.

Click here for more Reviews.

Excited about this summer’s movies?  Check out this preview of 2014’s biggest blockbusters.

PS: The way they set up Fast 7 in the credits literally made a woman in my theater yell: “Holy Sh*t!”  I knew the reveal was coming and I was still surprised.  This franchise is poised to get even bigger!?  Nice!

Game of Thrones Moment: Second Sons

May 20, 2013 at 8:38 am

Game of Thrones Moment: Second Sons | Season 3 Episode 8 Review


Last week I was admittedly disappointed in the episode as little forward progress was made in the majority of the story lines.  Game of Thrones usually follows up slower episodes with huge moments…  And that’s exactly what happened in ‘Second Sons’.

Leaving behind most of the stories and characters we visited last week, this episode focused on three main threads.  All of which gave us incredible moments yet none of them won the episode.  If you’ve been reading my recaps this season you know exactly which moment I loved the most.

Before we got that that moment, we got to see Gendry’s arrival at Dragonstone play out…  The poor guy found out he’s not on vacation in the worst way.  The thought of a leech to the nuts is absolutely terrifying.  (Though not as terrifying as Theon’s experience last week.)  We’ll see what his… ahem…  King’s blood will accomplish through Melisandre’s scorcery soon enough I’m sure.  Are we destined for a super smoke monster or something worse?

Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion and Sansa got married in a ceremony laced with Joffrey’s mischief.  He’s an asshole.  Still, putting up with the King’s antics led to one of the best moments of the season.  Tyrion stabbing that knife into the table and threatening the King was fantastic.

Daenerys has really grown this season.  Last year, she spent the majority of her time trying to win people over without much success.  Now, she gets what she wants and managed to get the titular second sons to join her cause with ease.  No dragons required.  She just had to be hot apparently.  Side note: What ever happened to the Warlocks that were hunting her?

Those three stories were awesome but I HAVE to award the moment of the episode to the White Walker!

Game of Thrones Moment: Second Sons | Season 3 Episode 8 Review


If there is one thing that frustrated me about Season 3 it was the absence of the characters that ended season 2 so brilliantly.  A whole army of White Walkers marching on The Wall only to disappear without a mention for 7 episodes.  I thought for sure Jon and Ygritte would spot a few as they scaled The Wall.  They didn’t.

I’m not sure how they will factor into the final 2 episodes of the season but I’m glad to see they haven’t been forgotten entirely.  Although, it did feel a bit random to have one attack Sam and Gilly considering there is an army of them roaming somewhere in the North.

Regardless, watching him shatter like that was pretty fantastic.  These guys are probably a huge drain on the shows budget so saving them makes sense.  I would have been happy with a mention before now but I’ll take it.  Welcome to Season 3 White Walkers!  It’s about time.

COUNTDOWN | Best Moments: Game of Thrones Season 2

XTRA | Screenwriting & The Game of Thrones Theme


Episode 1 Moment: Valar Dohaeris

Episode 2 Moment: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Episode 3 Moment: Walk of Punishment

Episode 4 Moment: And now his watch is ended

Episode 5 Moment: Kissed by fire

Episode 6 Moment: The Climb

Episode 7 Moment: The Bear and the Maiden Fair

Wrath of Star Trek Into Darkness

May 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Star Trek Into Darkness Review


I recently had a debate with my friend John about J.J Abrams’ Star Trek and how it compares to the original series.  The basic setup was simple:  I never saw the original series and therefore, my first exposure to the characters (other than pop culture references) came when the reboot was released in 2009.  John grew up watching The Original Series and was extremely disappointed when they rebooted the universe he adored.

What followed was a 3 part series where we went back and forth discussing the pros and ‘I have the’ cons of Star Trek.

ROUND ONE: One Trek…  One No Trek

ROUND TWO: One Trek…  One No Trek

ROUND THREE: One Trek…  One No Trek

Obviously, I was beyond excited to see Star Trek Into Darkness.  I couldn’t wait to see J.J would take these characters next.  John has repeatedly sworn not to see the sequel until someone loans it to him or it appears On Demand free of charge.

I bought my ticket a week in advance and caught a matinee on opening day.  So how was Star Trek Into Darkness?

I liked Star Trek Into Darkness a lot but I found myself thinking about our friendly debate often as the story progressed.


A few months back, in an effort to better understand TOS, I took it upon myself to finally sit through The Wrath of Kahn.  A movie many would agree is the best Star Trek movie of all time.  I can’t make that claim as I haven’t seen them all but I did enjoy it.  When it was revealed that Benedict Cumberbatch was actually Kahn, I couldn’t help but think about our friendly debate.

John didn’t like the idea of rebooting Captain Kirk and his crew.  He can watch his Star Trek whenever he wants on DVD.  As soon as it was revealed that Kahn was indeed a part of this rebooted universe I smiled and thought:

“John is absolutely going to hate this movie.”

I won’t know for sure until he sees it but even I had to admit it would be strange.  To love a group of characters only to have them reinterpreted would be frustrating to some.  Personally, I’m thankful that I watched Wrath of Kahn first because it was my first chance to truly compare the two universes.  I’m obviously not as attached to the original series so I actually appreciated what J.J Abrams did with Star Trek Into Darkness.

Wrath of Star Trek Into Darkness | Review

Separating the two Kahns was difficult at first.  I kept picturing Ricardo Montalban but Benedict Cumberbatch has created a truly memorable villain here.  He’s ruthless yet sympathetic to a certain degree.  A man driven to do whatever it takes to save his family.  He’s a relentless foe with a booming voice and a worthy adversary for the crew of the Enterprise.

Speaking of which, the rest of the crew evolves accordingly in this film.  Obviously, we are once again thrust into the captain’s seat with Kirk still learning humility as a commanding officer.  By his side, the ever logical Spock who still questions virtually every decision Kirk makes.

It’s a relationship that mirrors the original series but Star Trek Into Darkness also takes liberties that may or may not upset the hardcore fans.  For the most part, I don’t know the difference but I do know I liked it.

I read a little online after I saw the film and many people were upset with the very idea of a new Kahn.  Weren’t people hoping Kahn would be the villain?  It’s strange because I found myself wondering why they didn’t change Kahn more…

There are so many nods to The Wrath of Kahn here including major plot points.  In our debate, I defended J.J Abrams’ rebooted universe because it threw out the rule book.  They used time travel to create a reality where both universes would co-exist.  As evidenced by old Spock’s return to warn new Spock about Kahn.

Why go to such great lengths to create a new Star Trek universe where anything could happen yet still go back to a tale we’ve already seen.  Star Trek Into Darkness is basically bizarro Wrath of Kahn.  There are obviously BIG differences but this movie functions more as a homage.

Still, I liked that they brought back Kahn.  I really liked that they included an impending conflict with the Klingons…  I liked Star Trek Into Darkness.

It was great to see these characters on the big screen again.  Even though I had an idea where the story was going once Kahn revealed himself, there were still plenty of surprises in store.  Not too mention some pretty amazing action sequences.

Star Trek Into Darkness

All in all, this summer is off to a great start with Iron Man 3 leading off and Superman on deck.

As for our debate?  I still believe they have done enough to please new fans like me while respecting fans of the original series.  No matter what you do, you can’t please everyone.  There will always be people who dislike movies like this.  It doesn’t matter what Star Trek universe you call home.  Some movies aren’t for everyone.

This movie was for me.  Perhaps my friend John will see it someday and enjoy seeing a new vision of Kahn on the big screen.  (He probably won’t.)

Overall, I thought Star Trek Into Darkness was a fantastic sequel that doesn’t quite live up to ‘the original’.  Multiply that by about a million and that’s probably how John felt about the 2009 reboot.

I get it now.

Click here for more reviews.

XTRA | Between Bilbo & John Harrison There Is Sherlock

COUNTDOWN | The Best of J.J Abrams

Game of Thrones Moment: The Bear and the Maiden Fair

May 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Game of Thrones Moment: The Bear and the Maiden Fair | Season 3 Episode 7 Review


This week’s Game of Thrones was basically an update on all the relationships in Westeros.  Everyone just sat around discussing relationships.  Jon and Ygritte,  Tyrion and Sansa and  Robb & Talisa all got updates.

Outside of romantic positioning and strategy, we also got more vicious Theon torture.  I understand that they are holding back information from Theon while they literally break his balls but can’t the audience learn something new?  Week after week we’ve watched Theon suffer with little to no advancement of his story.

Speaking of which, Arya & Bran seem to be stuck in their own black holes when it comes to advancing their stories.  Both are trying to get back to their family yet they never seem to get any closer.  This week Bran essentially (and literally) stayed still while Osha talked about her past relationship.

Even Jon Snow’s storyline stalled this week.  His relationship with Ygritte was discussed at length but they made no progress other than walking closer to doom according to Snow.

Outside of King’s Landing, Gendry finally found out what we’ve known for 2.5 seasons.  Yes he is the bastard son of King Robert but why bring him back to King’s Landing?

Inside King’s Landing, we finally got to see Tywin interact with his awful grandson King Joffrey.  Tywin didn’t barge into the throne room and belittle the King but what he did do was far more interesting.  With body language alone he caused Joffrey to back down.  While this method of intimidation was fantastic, it was King Joffrey who stole the show.  FINALLY someone mentioned a certain Queen who happens to command a growing army and three dragons.

Speaking of Daenerys, her story was one of the few that advanced as she now stands at the doorstep of her next conquest.  It was awesome to see her dragons intimidate her guest.  Her story was by far my favorite of the episode because it offered at least a hint of what’s coming.

I suppose the big moment of the episode was Jaime’s rescue of Brienne from a bear.  It was an awesome sequence but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.  Jaime and Brienne have come a long way this season but we are right back where we started now as they head for King’s Landing…  It’ll be awesome once they get there and the confrontations begin but it’s taking a really long time.

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t a big fan of this episode.  If I had to choose a moment it would be tie between Daenerys negotiation tactics and King Joffrey acknowledging her existence. Other than that, there weren’t many BIG moments. We did get a TON of character development and many relationships advanced but the story stalled.  The Bear and the Maiden Fair almost felt like the first episode of the season.  All we did was check in on all the characters and move on.

There is a silver lining though.  This is probably the last episode of this kind.  They’ve repositioned characters, updated us on their relationships and journeys and now it’s time to start revealing the destinations.  With so few episodes left, I feel confident that there won’t be room for stalling.

It’s strange, this episode wasn’t my favorite but I’m even more excited for next week because they never air back to back episodes like this.  Next week, something will go down!

…  Maybe we will finally catch up with Commander Zombie?

Game of Thrones Moment: The Bear and the Maiden Fair | Season 3 Episode 7 Review

COUNTDOWN | Best Moments: Game of Thrones Season 2

XTRA | Screenwriting & The Game of Thrones Theme


Episode 1 Moment: Valar Dohaeris

Episode 2 Moment: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Episode 3 Moment: Walk of Punishment

Episode 4 Moment: And now his watch is ended

Episode 5 Moment: Kissed by fire

Episode 6 Moment: The Climb

Game of Thrones Moment: The Climb

May 7, 2013 at 7:09 am

Game of Thrones Moment: The Climb | Season 3 Episode 6


This week’s game of thrones was some how the slowest yet one of the most violent simultaneously.  I’m not sure what to make of that. It wasn’t the best episode of the season but it did offer several eye opening moments.

Poor Theon. Having to endure torture is one thing but being fed false hope like that is pretty grim. His torturer has yet to reveal his true intentions but its definitely haunting to prolong the answers this way.

The episode was very much focused on arranged marriages and their use in Westeros. So much power at stake.  I thought the scene between Olenna and Tywin was fantastic. I hope this isn’t the last time we see these two in a battle of words. Tywin may have won the first battle but the way he avoided speaking about his children’s incestuous ways was great.  It was a little disappointing to cut away as Tyrion essentially proposes to Sansa… Sort of. I suppose it made sense given the chilling final shot of Sansa crying as her escape from King’s Landing sailed away.

In the North, Robb continues to make strategic moves marrying off his uncle to pay for his own mistakes. He also offered one of my favourite lines of the episode:

“I win every battle but I’m losing the war.”

In the end, the moment I chose this week belonged not just to Jon Snow but the view atop The Wall.

Game of Thrones Moment: The Climb | Season 3 Episode 6


Finally, Jon and Ygritte climb the wall. It wasn’t easy but I loved the final shot of the episode. On one side, a winter wasteland. On the other, endless possibilities for future Game of Thrones moments.  With only a few episodes left, worlds are bound to start colliding soon! I can’t wait to see it.

Another week… Still no White Walker sightings?

Game of Thrones Moment: The Climb | Season 3 Episode 6

COUNTDOWN | Best Moments: Game of Thrones Season 2

XTRA | Screenwriting & The Game of Thrones Theme


Episode 1 Moment: Valar Dohaeris

Episode 2 Moment: Dark Wings, Dark Words

Episode 3 Moment: Walk of Punishment

Episode 4 Moment: And now his watch is ended

Episode 5 Moment: Kissed by fire