The Fate of the Furious

– I’ve watched most of this series with my Dad, and I think he would’ve enjoyed this one (even if it is a bit long [seriously, can they STOP making action movies so dang long? This one is ALMOST THREE HOURS]).
– An extremely entertaining movie in an always entertaining series.
– There were rumors that this was the last movie in the series, but you know how studios get when they can keep making $$$.
– The Rock is ENORMOUS. He looks like a drawing on some 12 year old boy’s paper-bag book cover that has now come to life but that boy has no idea how anatomy and body structure work and thinks “this is how a really muscular dude looks. More veins! Bigger shoulders!”. Take a life-drawing class, junior.
– They always seem to have a really fun soundtrack too, full of Caribbean hip-hop and American r&b jams.
– How do you not want to drive really fast after seeing one of these movies?
– I’m pretty sure the Rock is just recycling some of his old pro-wrestling trash-talk in this movie.
– Vin Diesel makes ANY dialog seem intense. I wonder how intimidating it is when he tells people he has to go to the bathroom. Get out of his way, folks.
– I wish Tyrese would get less “annoying character” roles and more mainstream “regular character” roles.
– Shout-out to Nathalie Emmanuel and her English accent. Yowza.
– There’s a submarine in this one. They race it. Submarines are fast.
– Final Letter Grade: B-

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on twitter (twitter.com/josezuazua) and instagram (instagram.com/josezuazua).

Logan

– Makes just about all other movies about super heroes with super powers feel dated by comparison.
– I didn’t know anything about the new characters, and I still cared about them by the end. That’s more than I can say for most of the MCU movies.
– Everyone was perfectly cast, especially X-23 and the two villains. These actors did amazing jobs.
– The action was INTENSE. When shit goes down, IT GOES DOWN. The music added a lot to this, too.
– This movie NEEDED The R rating. The blood and gore added to the violent nature of the story, and brought me back to the glory days of action cinema.
– This movie reminded me of how I felt about Terminator 2 back in the day. I put this up there with that movie. Both were action masterpieces with heartbreaking endings.
– Final Letter Grade: A

Paul Rockey is a contributing writer for Quick Lunch Break Reviews, and a long-time movie buff who loves to work out and study martial arts. Find him on Instagram (instagram.com/paulrockey).

T2 Trainspotting

“The world keeps changing… even if you don’t.”
– Here’s what hasn’t changed in the 2 decades since I first saw Trainspotting: my crush on Kelly Macdonald and my appreciation for Danny Boyle’s best films (e.g. Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later), and his not-so-great ones like the Beach, Steve Jobs, and Trainspotting 2.
– I saw Trainspotting as a wee lad in Santa Ana, California, far from gloomy ol’ Scotland. Drugstore Cowboy was another favorite of mine at the time, so maybe I was just into movies about junkies. Both of those movies were intoxicating in their own ways. But Trainspotting had an infectious glee that felt like a shot of pure adrenaline.
– If you live long enough to be an old fart, hopefully you figure a few things out like: a) what a selfish little shit you were in your teens/20’s, and b) how lucky you are to be alive, especially if you have friends who no longer are. In its best moments, that’s exactly what T2 has on its mind. That and how we “choose life” despite our best attempts to screw it all up.
– Final Letter Grade: B
Peter Lee is a contributing writer for Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He is a writer, Disney nerd and recovering toy collector. You can find him on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/peter.lee.79219).

Hell or High Water

– Other critics have called it a neo or contemporary western but that classification does not do it justice. Hell or High Water dusts off a mirror to show us exactly what warped sense of justice we have in the good ole US of A.
– A perfect example of the end justifying the means, it shows two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) going on a bank robbing spree to save their family ranch from foreclosure. On their trail are veteran law men, almost like brothers themselves, Marcus and Alberto, played so charismatically by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham.
– Hell or High Water demonstrates the devastating results of our banking system on the poor, the ironic view of the law, the dynamics of our gun culture, and the demoralizing lengths people have to resort to in order to survive. The character Toby sums it up so succinctly when he says, “I’ve been poor my whole life. It’s like a disease, passing from generation to generation.”
– This story is so sharply written by Taylor Sheridan and so lean, that no exposition is needed to set up this masterpiece of storytelling. Truly one of the best pictures of 2016, Hell or High Water draws a distinct line between what is the law and what is considered justice.
– Final Letter Grade: A+

Danny Simonzad is a contributing writer for Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He is co-owner of Spot On Media, Inc (http://www.spotontv.com). You can find him on twitter (twitter.com/dannysimonzad) and instagram (instagram.com/DannySimonzad).

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

– Never saw the Disney version, seeing as how it came out when I was a 14 year-old boy just wanting to play basketball and video games.
– Having said that, people who love that version will probably enjoy this one (so it really shouldn’t matter what I say anyway, but my having my own opinion on it [God forbid!] will probably making them very defensive).
– Apparently, this was mostly a shot for shot remake of that animated film, but it just doesn’t flow in live action. Some of the scenes felt broken up by weird editing and camera angles.
– I didn’t care for the cursed servants. I thought they were annoying and slowed down the movie.
– Speaking of slow…I felt most of this movie to be quite boring.
– There were a few things I did like about it: the Gaston-Tavern song was AMAZING. It’s a charming, bombastic song about an arrogant douche. Huzzah!
– [SPOILER] The fight between Gaston and the Beast was entertaining, as was the fight between Beast and some wolves.
– It’s rare that I marvel at special effects, but I felt the talking wardrobe was incredible!
– The effects on the creature were not. Why didn’t they just go with prosthetics? I read that they did but at the last minute, Disney decided to do CGI. It looked unconvincing and fake to me.
– [SPOILER] Speaking of unconvincing and fake: WORST “I love you” EVER. I understand I’m watching a movie where there’s a talking clock and believability should be checked at the door but COME ON: make the emotions believable, please.
– The castle set looked great.
– Final Letter Grade: C+

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on twitter (twitter.com/josezuazua) and instagram (instagram.com/josezuazua).

Kong: Skull Island

– Genre mashups are hard to pull off successfully. Action-horror hybrids (like Underworld and the Resident Evils) and action-comedies (like the 21 Jump Street series) are constantly being churned out, but it’s usually just those two. Horror-comedies tend tend to age better, but studios don’t make those very much. This movie is a war-action-horror-comedy & giant-monster (also known as “Kaiju”) flick all nicely rolled into one.
– Speaking of war, this movie wears it’s “war film” influences on it’s sleeve, especially “Apocalypse Now”.
– I’ve mentioned before how the artistic side of film-making (no matter what genre it is) is disappearing, but in this movie it makes a wonderful come back. This movie is shot so well, I ended up marveling at some of the compositions and shots. Some of them are still sticking with me a day later.
– Genre films have always been the best to convey social commentary, dating back to classics like “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (an anti-war film disguised as a science-fiction one) and more recent triumphs like “Get Out” (a horror film ready to point the finger at the exploitation of Blacks) . This movie is set just after the Vietnam war, and deals with a few things like the politics behind warfare and a even soldier’s purpose.
– It’s subtly connected to the American Godzilla movie that came out a few years ago. Eventually, Kong and Godzilla are gonna fight. This one is the better movie of the two, but that one was entertaining so check it out as well.
– Kong is very large in terms of height, and it was great to see him tower over the humans.
– LOTS of other creatures besides Kong on that island, and it’s a joy to see them fight each other.
– The soundtrack has a lot of great rock music on it and reminded me of the SUPERB soundtrack to the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
– Final Grade: B+

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on twitter (twitter.com/josezuazua) and instagram (instagram.com/josezuazua).

on Scott Pilgrim and CONSEQUENCES

Sometimes, movies have messages that you might not see initially. Welcome to “Special”, where we highlight that subtext and help you see your favorite movies in new, refreshing ways.

– I was having a conversation the other day with my friend Peter, and he did not like that the Teacher in “Whiplash” [SPOILER] did not suffer any consequences for his behavior. I felt the same way for the main characters in “The Get Down” and in “Wolf of Wall Street”. I started thinking, “What movie shows characters dealing and learning from consequences?” BOOM: Scott Pilgrim vs the World.
– Scott Pilgrim is self-absorbed and short-sighed and because of this, he’s hurt some people close to him. It’s not until he loses his girlfriend, his band and even his apartment when he realizes that the way he’s living is going to leave him dead and alone.
– Ramona Flowers has not had the best luck with relationships but that’s because she’s almost as self-absorbed as Scott. She’s not cared for her past relationship’s failings until they’ve come back to haunt her.
– Both lead characters have lived their lives in very controlled and selfish ways, and when that control crumbles, they finally understand that they’re more imperfect than those they’ve imposed perfection upon.

Accepting your shortcomings not only makes you stronger, but smarter.

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on twitter (twitter.com/josezuazua) and instagram (instagram.com/josezuazua).

Get Out

– Written and directed by the same Jordan Peele from “Key & Peele”.
– One of best written screenplays I’ve heard in a long while.
– Peele’s direction is as TIGHT as his script. This is a very suspenseful film channeling the very best of Alfred Hitchcock, but with more social commentary (like the appropriation of Black culture and the fetishization of Black people).
– It does feel like an absolute throwback to times where films were more worried about resolving their presented storylines with great, deep characters versus the films of today that fill the screen with unimportant, catchphrase spewing side-characters who are merely there to keep the attention-deprived** modern audiences interested. **Believe me, I’m ABSOLUTELY attention-deprived.
– Some haunting visuals (and one creepy song) that will stick in your head on the drive /walk home.
– The best film I’ve seen since 2014’s masterpiece “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
– The pacing is handled so well, I never felt any drag in the movie. It kept me interested, focused and even scared me a couple of times.
– Final grade: A+

Jose Zuazua is editor-in-chief of Quick Lunch Break Reviews. He has an associates degree in film production. He’s on twitter (twitter.com/josezuazua) and instagram (instagram.com/josezuazua).