Views on pop culture through my eyes

Here’s my capsule reviews for various movies and CDs that have come out in the last few months. I hope you find the time to seek out quality summer entertainment where ever you are. So for what I did like, and what I didn’t like, read on.Fast and Furious 6

Movies

Fast and Furious 6

Hard to believe this series is 6 movies in. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson lead the latest venture mostly centered in London, plus Spain too. You like the cast of characters and root for them. It has great car chases, fist fights and spectacular stunts. You will definitely be entertained by this over the top piece of movie fluff. Grade: B+

Frances Ha

What a pleasant surprise! I love a good independent movie. Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner star as 2 female friends in NYC. They are navigating careers, family, boyfriends and different living situations. Funny and very touching at times. I highly recommend it. Also cool was the use of pop music on the soundtrack. Grade: A-

The Great Gatsby

Baz Luhrmann was the draw for me with this. Great cast (Leonardo Di Caprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire). And the movie looks great. This is my first exposure to this story, having never read the book or seen a previous movie version. But from what I saw on screen, I’m like — what’s the big fuss? And this book is a classic because? There is not much that happens in the movie compared to what happens in a night time soap. Then I wondered too if Tobey’s character is in love with Gatsby, what with the insane asylum backdrop. Overall, an interesting experiment, not sure it really works. Grade: C+

Iron Man 3

Third time in the suit for Robert Downey, 4th if you count The Avengers. Iron Man has to fight his way back, after his world crumbles around him. Also starring Ben Kingsley and Guy Pierce, for me this one is better than #2. You see a different side of the cocky guy when he is on the verge of losing it all. Grade: B

Pain & Gain

Michael Bay directs this true-crime story of a bunch of muscleheads lead by Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as they kidnap and torture rich people for money. Very funny at times, this dark comedy recalls Fargo for me, in that it shows stupid people doing stupid things and hoping to get away with it. Grade: B

The Place Beyond the Pines

I liked this movie, I didn’t love it.  This is a story of 2 individuals traveling different paths in their lives. One’s a criminal and one’s a cop, played by Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper respectively. Their path’s don’t cross for half the movie. Ryan is the guy who finds out he has a kid by Eva Mendez and tries to do right for him by robbing banks, go figure. I won’t say how Cooper fits it, but let’s say it doesn’t end well for Gosling. Echoes of the movie Crash for me, with crossing paths and overlapping story lines. Grade: B-

Star Trek Into Darkness

The first sequel to the re-booted Trek franchise. Boring at times, action packed in others. Still don’t get the bromance between Spock and Kirk. And yes, (spoiler alert) the new guy does turn out to be Khan. I liked the first one better than this. Grade: C

CDs

Lady Antebellum — Golden

Lady A’s fourth album doesn’t stray too much from the formula of the previous 2 albums. Great vocal harmonies, and catchy songs. Still wish it was a bit more rockin like their debut album, versus the adult contemporary vibe they seem to be aiming for. Grade: B

Justin Timberlake — The 20/20 Experience

Easily the worst album of his solo career, this is not what I waited 7 years for. I think it is seriously in need of edits. Timbaland did him no favors, as parts of it sound familiar from other songs on “Future Sex/Love Sounds” and Timbaland’s own “Shock Value.” I don’t get the long song length either, and found myself editing them down in iTunes by 2-3 minutes. Still love Justin, but my first thought on this CD was lazy and boring. Grade: C

Josh Groban — All That Echoes

Josh has his formula also — some inspirational songs, some world music overtones, a few songs in another language and a few covers too. It all adds up to an enjoyable whole. Grade: B+

New Kids on the Block — 10

NKOTB’s tenth album finds them in a dancing mood. As they are headlining The Package Tour this summer with 98 Degrees and Boyz Ii Men, the songs are sure to sound good live and keep the crowd moving. Stand-outs include “Jealous (Blue)” and “Remix (I Like The).” Grade: B

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Comments on: "Summer Entertainment Wrap-Up 2013" (3)

  1. Marcelo Castilho Rogedo said:

    I didnt watch any of the movies you reviewed…actually I am home all the time, studying…and I am not having fun…well, but…..I know some movies and albums….Movies….Fast and Furious 6….and Iron Man 3…I didnt have the chance to watch…but I know about them. My nephew watched it last week and he liked it…I dont think it is a movie that catches my attention….the same I can say about Iron Man….I bought Justin Timberlake album too and I was kind of disappointed…..the only tracks that I really enjoyed were #1 and 2…but I bought it. Lady Antebellum I only know the name….and NKOTB was part of my past….Step By Step….I remember this song……

  2. guy.hubbard@att.net said:

    Do you keep a diary of the movies/concerts (events you’ve experienced) you’ve seen or do you keep notes for later usage? How do you compile the info/impressions for the blog?

  3. For concerts, I keep notes on them. I have pretty extensive records, with dates, songs, and my general comments. For movies, I just go with my general impression. I may take notes for later if I know I will be writing a blog about something.. like when i do my Oscar picks.

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