TV review: Red Band Society

The season of new fall TV shows is here and I thought it would be cool to do a TV review for once. If there’s one show that I know a good amount of people have heard about, it is Red Band Society, the new comedy-drama show on Fox that’s been getting a lot of buzz. I decided to start watching the show and here are my thoughts after the first two episodes.

First of all, let’s explain what the show is about. Red Band Society revolves around the lives of a group of teenagers living together in a Los Angeles based hospital’s pediatric ward. There’s Leo and Jordi, who are both suffering from bone cancer; Dash, who has cystic fibrosis; Kara, who has an enlarged heart; Emma, who is anorexic; and Charlie, a our narrator who’s in a coma. The staff of the hospital includes Octavia Spencer as the no-nonsense but caring Nurse Jackson and Dave Annabelle as the dreamy Dr. Jack MacAndrews.

I agree with the hype surrounding the show that it is a new and refreshing turn from most other TV programs. However, that does not mean Red Band Society is realistic at all. I have never seen a hospital as nice as the one in the show, but I won’t criticize that since there are probably ones like it somewhere in the world. Second, in the case of Jordi who came across the border from Mexico to get treatment at the hospital, how was he actually able to sneak in, see Dr. Andrews, and convince him to do surgery on him the next day? He’s an illegal immigrant! Again, I am not well aware of the legal proceedings at hospitals and maybe this could happen so I won’t dwell on this too long.

The show has a good heart and I did enjoy watching it. Though predictable, the characters are all well-played by the young cast. Octavia Spencer kills it as Nurse Jackson! Yes, the show gets sappy and philosophical almost every 5 minutes, but I’ve come to accept that. I think my biggest problem with Red Band Society is the way they portray the kids in the hospital. It seems like Hollywood has a fascination for sick kids and hospitals now (the movies/books The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay, the show Chasing Life, etc.). Though it is always great to see life from another person’s shoes, this needs to be done correctly. Life in a hospital is not fun and all of the kids on the show look perfectly healthy and mobile. I couldn’t even tell that any of them were sick, except for Leo who has a bald head. Also, Dr. MacAndrews is a bit too good-looking to make me believe he’s an actual doctor.

This show, as one critic called it, is pretty much like Glee mixed with The Fault in Our Stars. I’m going to continue watching Red Band Society because I genuinely liked it. My only hope is that it starts to be more realistic.

ALL IN ALL: Red Band Society has great potential and a talented cast, however the light hearted and unrealistic portrayal of hospital life is not something to be looked over.

great article about the show from an actual cancer survivor’s POV: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hollywood-has-it-wrong-im-a-teenager-with-an-illness-and-its-not-glamorous-at-all/2014/09/12/b9154a7e-38f9-11e4-8601-97ba88884ffd_story.html

image source: http://p1cdn03.thewrap.com/images/2014/07/red-band-society.jpg.jpg

Let’s Be Cops

I got to say, Summer 2014 disappointed me mucho movie-wise. There were a few good ones (ex. Guardians of the Galaxy, which I still have to see). However, there were practically no kid movies and the action movies were just way too hmm explosive. Now it wasn’t my idea to see Let’s Be Cops, and though I’m always glad to go to the theater, I think I would have been fine without seeing this one.

Let’s Be Cops is about two friends (Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr) who after dressing as Los Angeles police officers for a costume party, pretend to be cops, only to become entangled in a web of mobsters and dirty detectives.

In short: this movie was alright. Let’s go over the pros. There is great chemistry between Johnson and Wayans Jr. (both of whom star in one of my favorite shows New Girl) and they provide a lot of great laughs. The first hour of the movie is pretty funny too since it shows them and their crazy antics while posing as the cops. You forget how ridiculous the whole concept is when they are just being goofy.

Perhaps I am a bit biased, since I saw the many negative reviews other critics gave for Let’s Be Cops before I went in to see it. Nevertheless, I do agree with them. Let’s Be Cops has a simple premise and the potential to be great. It is in the second half of the movie where it starts to falter. This is where the dramatic crime story comes into play and the two get caught up in solving an actual case and bringing down the bad guy.

Leading into the cons. My main complaint is that the whole film felt way too long. When a comedy starts to feel long, you know something is not right. It’s also in the second half of the movie where you realize how unrealistic the whole scenario is. Serious moments became silly for me because I could not fathom the fact that they are getting away with so much.

Let’s Be Cops, could have been worse I guess. There were some good laughs. However the shift in story, turns it into a longer and more tiring experience. There were probably five different times when Johnson’s and Wayans Jr’s characters were walking slow motion to some beat in their uniforms. That one officer in the film was right, it’s a uniform and you have to deserve it. Once again though, I did not think of that at all in the light and comedic beginning. I’d say if you are into these kind of goofy buddy cop movies, then watch Let’s Be Cops. It’s not bad, but not great.

ALL IN ALL: Let’s Be Cops has a funny first half with some potential but soon sputters to a stop when things start to get ridiculous.

Rated R, 104 minutes

poster: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let’s_Be_Cops#mediaviewer/File:Let%27s_Be_Cops_poster.jpg

The Kings of Summer

Hard to believe it, but August has arrived, signaling the coming end to summer. So far, I actually haven’t watched many new movies this summer. Now that I am faced with the short reality of my time left though, I am going to try to once again catch up. Yesterday I watched Skyfall for the second time, but I decided to not to do a post on that because it would be way too long and up to the brim with praise (Yes I loved it that much). So I wanted to do a lesser-known film and chose instead to do The Kings of Summer (fitting, don’t you think?).

The Kings of Summer follows the summer of three teenage boys (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso, and Moises Arias) who in the ultimate act of independence, decide to build and live in their own house in the woods.

The film is a good watch. Sort of like a good book that you can read to pass the time. The different sequences in the film that showed the boys building the house and living in the woods were shot beautifully and had some great images. Overall it might have been montage heavy, but I enjoyed that. The story itself did feel a bit weak at times and that is probably why this is not the kind of movie that you think about for hours after watching. Again it’s a nice short watch.

The performances were all solid, but there is one boy who needs recognition. Moises Arias. Yes the little guy who played Rico in Hannah Montana. I gotta say, this movie would not have been the same without Moises, who played the hilarious and unpredictable Biaggio. His scenes and lines had me laughing out loud, making him the best part of the movie. Gabriel Basso’s parents in the film (Marc Evan Jackson and Megan Mullally) were also pretty relateable and funny when it comes to movie parents.

At times, The Kings of Summer tries to cross too many genres and themes at once. Dysfunctional families, coming of age, adventure, comedy, etc.  However it’s enjoyable and recommended for, I’d say, teenagers and young adults since some might roll their eyes a bit at the trio’s shenanigans. It really does though make you want to venture out into the woods and escape your life.

ALL IN ALL: The Kings of Summer is a quirky film that packs a few laughs and great montages over a story that still comes up a bit short.

2013, Rated R (language), 95 minutes

 

The Fault in Our Stars

I’m sure many of you have heard about this phenomenon of a book/movie. I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green earlier this year and absolutely loved it. The writing was superb and the emotions run high. Perhaps it was a bit too philosophical for its young protagonists, but still enjoyable. High expectations were given for the film adaptation and they were met when I finally got to see it, along with some annoyance.

The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) tells the story of sixteen year old cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) who is forced to attend a cancer support group. Here she meets the devilishly charming Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) and subsequently falls in love.

I thought the film was great! Perhaps I am a bit biased because I fall in the film’s young female target audience, but I still thought it was a good adaptation of the book. The actors played their characters perfectly. Shailene Woodley’s performance was beautiful and natural. Ansel Elgort (who fun fact: played Woodley’s brother in Divergent) was simply Augustus. There were so many moments between the two characters were I just felt myself beaming. Their chemistry was palpable and refreshing, as was the story. A few scenes were left out, but you don’t really notice until afterwards. I personally liked the soundtrack as well. There is one criticism I have but it lies outside of the movie.

Practically everyone I know who has seen this film always claims to have cried. It’s a sad story no doubt about it. No, I did not cry (though I did tear up during the book). My lack of emotion during the film can be pointed to two reasons. One: I read the book already so the plot was not much of a surprise to me. “What?”, you say, “How can you have no heart?!”. I know, I know. Seeing some more of the emotional scenes on-screen should have done the trick but nope. My focus was not on the movie but on the large group of crying girls in front of me, reason #2.  I do not cry much during movies anyway but I could not enjoy TFIOS fully with these sobbing girls passing tissues to one another and choking so hard that you would think they too went through the same ordeals. I cannot fathom what it would have been like if I saw this movie opening day. A word of advice to those with little patience who also like silence during a movie: skip the theater for TFIOS and watch it at home.

Aside from that little rant, I truly did like The Fault in Our Stars. I think I need to see it again, by myself, to truly appreciate it more though. It is kind of targeted for young girls but I think its’ abundant warmth and humor can be enjoyed by many. By many, for years to come.

ALL IN ALL: The Fault in Our Stars really has no essential faults and can valued as the Love Story of this generation.

Rated PG-13, 125 minutes

image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/22/Fault_in_our_stars.jpg/220px-Fault_in_our_stars.jpg

 

Catch-up!

Well where has the time gone? Ticket Stub Love has been extremely busy lately and we probably won’t be able to get back into full swing until summer but we’re doing our best to still bring you some reviews.

So I recently went on vacation to Barcelona and on my way there I watched some movies of course. Right when I turned on the little TV in front of me, I got really excited because it was full of pretty up to date ones too!

Now these aren’t full reviews but a few thoughts of some of the movies I watched:

American Hustle (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner)

I have wanted to watch this for a while so I immediately selected this as my first choice. Got to say though, kinda disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the cast. Every single actor did a great job but the story was so bland. I enjoyed the beginning where you got introduced to everyone and it went through some of the past cons of Christian Bale’s and Amy Adam’s characters, but when they got into the full Abscam storyline, I quickly lost interest. It got good again near the end, but still a downer.

Gravity (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney)

Sooo remember my trailer review of Gravity back in August where I made fun of the movie (I later too back some of this in follow-up post). Yeah, I was wrong. Dead wrong. Gravity was AMAZING! No wonder it won 7 Oscars! Everything was great: cinematography, score, direction, performances. I mean Sandra Bullock’s character has pretty much everything go wrong on her in space, but the audience is still tethered to her because it’s just that thrilling. I loved this movie and thought it was fantastic!

The Book Thief (Sophie Nélisse, Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush)

I am a huge fan of the book so I was naturally curious to see how the movie pulled off the movie. Overall I would say it was well done. Nothing compared to the book though because there are some aspects of the book that don’t have the same impact when transitioned to the big screen, such as the narrator being Death-you just can’t do that well on-screen.

 

Divergent

 

Earlier this year I read the novel Divergent by Veronica Roth and totally enjoyed it! It brought me back to my Hunger Games days and my reading got so bad that I had to tie the book up in a drawer so I could focus on my work.  Naturally when I heard about the movie, I was pretty psyched and I finally got to see it this past weekend. Though there were flaws, Divergent was overall pretty entertaining.

Divergent takes place in a dystopian world where people are divided into factions by human virtues. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) though discovers that she is Divergent and will never fit into any one faction. Soon she and the mysterious Four (Theo James) learn about a sinister plot looming in their seemingly perfect society and must find out a way to stop it before it’s too late.

As always, I recommend to always read the book first. However, I went to see it with some of my friends who had never before heard about the series, but still understood and enjoyed the movie. Divergent has gotten many mixed reviews and though I agree with most of it, I feel that many people are comparing it to The Hunger Games. Yes both take place in a dystopian society with a strong female lead, but the stories are very different (however I still liked Hunger Games better).

Fans of the book will be disappointed with some aspects of the film such as the nonexistent appearances of some crucial characters and multiple missing scenes. For me, though the film was pretty long (139 minutes), it flew by way too fast and you hardly got to know any of the characters. Shailene Woodley and Theo James (very handsome by the way!) fit their roles perfectly and I enjoyed their screen time, but the supporting cast, many of whom are very important to the plot, were overlooked. Kate Winslet, who plays a faction leader names Jeanine, did great too but her character was much bigger in the film than in the book. I also hated how all the action seemed to take place in the last 20 minutes of the movie. Better timing was needed.

This is a very non significant complaint but I thought the sets could have been more impressive. The Dauntless faction’s compound was described in the book to have this huge underground cavern and ravine, but in the movie, it just looked like an empty warehouse with some boxes and tarps. Many of the sets seemed too drab.

To conclude, the film did feel a bit weak overall, but I still enjoyed it. Teens and some fans of the book would probably like it the most, but it is still worthwhile to see (maybe not in the theater though if you’re an adult).

ALL IN ALL: Divergent, though a bit weak and rushed, is an entertaining film that combines several genres (action, sci-fi, romance) into a pretty satisfying mix.

Rated PG-13, 139 minutes

image: http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2013/11/12/Divergent-poster.jpg

See This, Not That: Rom-Com Edition

So we took a bit of a break after award season concluded, but now we’re back on track! So, Friday nights can be spent a couple of ways, but one of the most popular activities is to watch a movie! Something light and fresh, perhaps a romantic comedy? If you’re in the mood for some laughs and love, stick with us as we review Ruby Sparks and When Harry Tries to Marry.

SEE THIS: Ruby Sparks

My sister suggested this movie to me a long time ago, but I never felt like sitting down and actually watching it. I decided today that I wanted something fun and a bit quirky to watch so I’m glad I remembered Ruby Sparks.

Ruby Sparks is about a writer (Paul Dano) struggling with writer’s block whose fictional character Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) comes to life.

I really liked this film. It was a bit eccentric like most indie films and had a very creative plot. Dano was exceptional as the lovelorn and secluded Calvin and though her character annoyed me a bit, Kazan portrayed Ruby’s free-spirited attitude with ease. Kazan actually wrote the screenplay and though I praise her ingenuity, I was not a fan of knowing she pretty much created her own character (kind of like the movie ironically). What I liked most about the film was that it rolls numerous genres and aspects all into one:  fantasy, a view on the creative process, a beautiful romance,  the fragility and controlling power of relationships and the male ego, etc. Jam packed, but compelling

ALL IN ALL: Ruby Sparks is a charming and enjoyable film that does an interesting take on love and relationships.

Rated R, 104 minutes


NOT THIS: When Harry Tries to Marry

 

I enjoy British Asian films like Bend it Like Beckham, and though When Harry Tries to Marry is not exactly British, there were similarities with the Indian-American child living in the country the parents immigrated to, kind of like The Namesake as well. However, this film tries to be funny and show a child who is not ashamed of his culture and actually embraces aspects of it even more than his parents. Notice how I said “tried”.

When Harry Tries to Marry tells the story of Indian- American Harry (Rahul Rai) who is cynical about love after his parents’ divorce and desires an arranged marriage, but his friendship with an American friend Theresa (Stefanie Estes) complicates his plan.

Let me start off with pointing out that I could not even finish this movie. I stopped halfway, went against all my film morals and skipped to the end, then immediately turned it off and regretted deciding to watch it in the first place. Yes, it’s that bad. It could have been good, but it failed in so many places! First of all, if you are going to have the main protagonist decide between two girls, you have to give some kind of negative quality to the character he will reject or else your audience becomes confused and does not know who to root for. I disliked Theresa’s character so much, that it just ruined the whole story for me. The characters were unlikable, the plot swerved, and I feel like the story could have worked much better if it was switched around. Perhaps Harry could have been against arranged marriages and then discovered his culture or something like that. Either way, it just does not work.

ALL IN ALL: When Harry Tries to Marry is very very scary, in its attempt to be good.

Rated PG-13, 93 minutes

images from:

Oscars 2014!!!

Yes sadly award season is over :(, but now we can relive the biggest night in Hollywood: THE OSCARS! I thought the show overall was pretty good. Ellen was a great host and though the opening monologue was a bit lackluster, she kept the ball rolling with the infamous selfie, the pizza delivery, etc. If you want to hear more of my thoughts about the show, performances, and winners, check out my Post Oscars podcast with Aimee J : http://aimeej21.com/2014/03/post-oscar-snow-day/

full list of winners and nominees: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/02/showbiz/oscars-2014-winners-list/

THE WINNERS (check mark ✓  and x mark ✗for my predictions being right or not)

    •  Best picture: 12 Years a Slave ✓
    • Director: Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity ✓ 
    • Actor in a leading role: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club ✓  Yes I wanted Leo so badly, but McConaughey did work hard for his role and his acceptance speech was pretty awesome.
    • Actress in a leading role: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine 
    • Actor in a supporting role: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club 
    • Actress in a supporting role: Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave ✓  My favorite moment of the night was when she won! Loved her speech and she deserved the win!
    • Writing (adapted screenplay)12 Years A Slave – John Ridley
    • Writing (original screenplay) : Her – Spike Jonze 
    • Animated feature filmFrozen 
    • Foreign language filmThe Great Beauty – Italy 
    • Music (original song): “Let it Go” – Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez 
    • Music (original score)Gravity – Steven Price 
    • CinematographyGravity 
    • Costume designThe Great Gatsby ✗
    • Documentary (feature): 20 Feet From Stardom ✗
    • Film editing:  Gravity Cuaron got this award first, can’t believe this was his first Oscar!
    • Makeup and hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club 
    • Production design:  The Great Gatsby ✗
    • Visual effects: Gravity 
    • Sound mixing: Gravity ✗
    • Sound editing:  Gravity ✗
    • Short film (live action): Helium ✗

So I got 16/24 = 66% I mainly got stuck in some of the documentary and technical categories. Wow Gravity swept those up with a total of 7 wins. Sadly American Hustle got shut out of all 10 of its nominations. Overall I’m happy with all the winners

Now onto the RED CARPET!

My Favorites:

  • Lupita N’yongo in Prada. I understand how the cut can be viewed as unflattering for her, but I think overall she looked beautiful.

  • Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen. great color, draping, and hair

  • Amy Adams in Gucci. Another Navy blue, but the fit is perfect and looks exquisite. The earrings are also a nice touch.
  • Camila Alves in Gabriela Cadena

Not So Good:

  • Elsa Pataky in Elie Saab. No you don’t wear that kind of dress when you are pregnant! Something flowy is the best option (see Olivia Wilde and Kerry Washington)

  • Sally Hawkins in Valentino. Pretty but not age-appropriate

  • Margot Robbie in Gucci. Okay so while it’s not thaaat bad, she looks unrecognizable as a brunette! I know she had to do it for a role, but the hair is too harsh on her and the dress is not fitted well. She was one of favs at the Golden Globes too!

I guess this is where we part for award season. :(  Though I am sad it is all over, it was fun so…. until next year!!!

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