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First Friday – Redbox Reviews

With storms and chilly weather, it’s nice to spend a night at home. Check out what we’ve been watching this week!

Morgan – Need For Speed
Okay so if I’m being honest, I didn’t rent a movie this week because I saw that Need For Speed had become available on Redbox. I saw it in theaters when it first came out and I never got to tell anyone how great it was! I seriously enjoyed this movie, even though at first I wasn’t super stoked about it. Aaron Paul is what got me sitting down in the theatre. Otherwise, it would have been just another racing movie to me. Basically, Toby (Paul) is framed and goes to jail. After he is released, he makes it his mission to get invited to this super exclusive race to get his revenge. If you win the race you win the opponents’ vehicles, which ends up being like, billions of dollars altogether. I like this movie a lot, mainly because it is realistic as far as racing movies go, and you can tell Paul is actual driving, which is rad. Also, Kid Cudi is in it and is hilarious.
Bottom Line:
 it’s your typical action movie, but better than usual and definitely worth a rent. Plus, Aaron Paul ❤
Rating: 4/5

Jordan – Belle:
I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out earlier this year. The story centers around a girl named Dido Elizabeth Belle (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw). When her mother (a free black woman) passes away, her estranged father (a captain in the Royal Navy) brings her into his family. He leaves Dido with his uncle and aunt to be raised alongside her cousin Elizabeth of the same age.
As the two girls grow up, we see tension arise around Dido’s ethnicity. She is welcomed as a full member of the family until guests visit. Even though she has a larger dowry compared to Elizabeth, men are hesitant to court a “mulatto.”
The plot takes a very predictable turn when a young clergyman’s son takes an interest in Dido. He is idealistic, radical, and blunt (did someone say Fiddler on the Roof?). He is lobbying on a high-profile case involving the treatment of slaves.  Dido has to deal with the Sophie’s choice of picking between a pretty decent guy and the right guy.
All of the actors played their parts well. There is a lot of tension and depth that they all have to deal with. However, I’m not a big fan of the fluffy talk of some period pieces – this can get very Pride and Prejudice at moments. 
Bottom Line:
All in all, I liked the movie. History, race relations, romance, Draco Malfoy. It had everything I like.
Rating: 3.5/5

Kurtis – Oculus:
Since it’s October, I thought it was the perfect time to rent a horror movie for this month’s Redbox post. Oculus came out last year, but is back in Redbox with Halloween coming soon. The plot device is a little over done; there’s an object (in this case, a mirror) that causes someone to go crazy. Tim Russell was just released from being in protective custody after ten years for the murder of his parents, but his sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) is determined to finally prove that it was the new mirror their father bought that caused their parents’ deaths. Kaylie tracks down the mirror, investigates its past owners and learns of their similar fates. Tim and Kaylie eventually find themselves fighting off the malevolent powers of the mirror. Like I said, the device of a “haunted” object tearing a family apart is pretty overdone, but directors Mike Flanagan and Andy Ross mix current day scenes with flashbacks of the family’s first go-around with the mirror and that helps to keep the movie fresh. I really enjoyed that Oculus doesn’t rely on “jump out” scares but attempts to really mess with your mind, playing tricks with perception. Oculus leaves the door open for sequels, and this could a good first film in an even better series of films.
Bottom Line: Oculus is a subtle horror movie, gradually building with dread, suspense and psychological tricks. It’s a quality entry into the genre and horror fans will be satisfied once this one’s over.
Rating: 3/5

What have you been renting lately? Have you tried Redbox Instant yet?


“First” Friday – Redbox Reviews

Man, summer movie fun has started off with a bang! We’ve had birthdays, a ride-along, and plenty of superhero movies. But now we’re going to take things easy with a night in and a Redbox movie. Check out what we’ve been watching this week!

Morgan – How to Train Your Dragon
In honor of it’s highly anticipated (at least if you’re me or a seven year old) sequel, this week I watched How to Train Your Dragon. It is literally impossible not to like this movie. Hiccup is a young, kind-hearted Viking under pressure from his father to become a meaner, more viking-like Viking. He does his best and ends up wounding the elusive Night Fury, a rare and dangerous dragon. He slowly gains his trust, names him and becomes his friend. Then they conquer the giant dragon’s nest and are free to live with the Vikings happily ever after. Toothless is obviously the best part; he’s cute and cat-like and hates eels. In a word, he’s adorable. Toothless is also impossible to not like. The cast of voices for this movie is also great; Gerard Butler, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, and even David Tennant.
Bottom Line: This movie is cute and great and I’m super excited for the second one.
Rating: 4/5

Jordan – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit:
This movie is definitely uncharacteristic movie for me. Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is discharged from the Marines after he is almost paralyzed when his helicopter is shot down. A CIA operative (Kevin Costner) approaches him during his recovery to join the CIA, but only after he returns to school for his PhD in Economics. Ten years later, he’s working covertly as a stock broker. SNOOZEVILLE! I mean, one diplomat threatens another with “economic war.” And the lead action star is working on Wall Street… Not off to a good start.
Things finally pick up when Jack finds some suspicious trading by one of his Russian clients, Viktor Cherevin. He travels to France to meet Viktor, and within five minutes, his driver tries to murder him. Jack has to defend himself and his Marine training kicks in. In desperation, he drowns the driver in a sad and creepy sequence.
The rest of the movie Ryan has to come grips with the new dangers of the mission – only heightened when his super annoying girlfriend (Keira Knightley) surprises him for a romantic weekend.
Bottom Line: A decent action movie, but I imagine the plot and characters make more sense in the book.
Rating: 2.5/5

Kurtis – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) has been working for sixteen years at LIFE magazine as the manager of the film negative assets and leads an unremarkable life. He is a daydreamer, escaping into a world of fantasy many times a day to make himself a hero. He has a crush on his coworker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) but he is too shy to invite her on a date, however, she quickly becomes the catalyst for Walter’s transformative journey. The magazine is preparing to release the last print edition, and with downsizing looming for Walter and Cheryl, Walter decides he needs to travel to Greenland to track mysterious photographer Sean down to find the missing negative to be used for the final cover. That decision, at Cheryl’s suggestion, begins an unbelievable adventure that even Walter couldn’t have dreamed up. I really wanted to love this movie, and at times, I really did. But overall, this film just kind of falls flat. The adventure scenes look amazing and do a great job of turning this movie into the spectacle it was meant to be. Unfortunately, nothing in the storyline develops into a strong enough anchor to bring it all together. I really appreciated the way The Secret Life looked at the themes of loneliness, the desire to be long, and the search for love and meaning; very touching without being overly sentimental. It’s a fun movie with some good underlying messages, but it never takes that all-important step to make you fall in love with the characters or the story.
Bottom Line: Honestly, you can probably skip this one. It falls short of expectations, and is pretty inconsequential compared to some of the other great films that came out in 2013.
Rating: 2.5/5

What have you been renting lately? Have you tried Redbox Instant yet?