Monday, 27 July 2015

Disney Diary - Week 28 (Final).

Dear readers,

Today marks the end of my Disney Diary entries for terrible circumstances have occurred. As of today, Wednesday July 22nd 2015, I have been terminated from the Disney International Programs. I have had a meeting with Disney and Disney Housing and I have been informed that I have been let go and that I have to leave the United States of America in 48 hours. This is an order sanctioned by the U.S. Government. The reason for my termination and sudden departure is that an incident occurred at work and, at the end, I was found relieved of my job.

To my Disney Cast Members, I apologize without saying goodbye. But I have seemed to have overstayed my welcome here in Florida. I leave you this message on my Facebook. I leave now with a heavy heart and I would like to take this time to express my sincere gratitude and sorrows. Gratitude to you all for being a lovely and supportive group of friends during my adventure here. To express this even further, I'll quotes from one of my favorite novels of all time:

"I see... brilliant people rising from this abyss. I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy. I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."
I also express my Sorrows for the fact that I have let you all down and that I won't be seeing you for a while. Hopefully this won't be the case and that, in the not-so distant future, I will return to this amazing country and see you all again. To conclude my dear friends, I wish you all the best on your adventures, I will miss you all terribly and I bid you all farewell for now. Goodbye.

My dear readers, before I conclude this entry, I would like to share with my overall experience and thoughts. Regarding the events that have occurred today, I feel this quote sums it all up:

"Sometimes you have friends in a relationship. You love each of them dearly as individuals and think they're amazing people. When they talk to you about their troubles, you do everything you can to support them, to keep them together, because if you love them both so much doesn't it make sense they should love each other? But little by little you realize, at heart, they aren't meant to be together - not because there's anything wrong with either of them, but they just don't have personalities that mesh in a comfortable way. They don't make each other happy. Although it's sad to see them split, when they do, you're surprisingly relieved, and excited to see where their lives take them next. It's easy to try to make one party "right" and another party "wrong" when a breakup happens, but it often isn't that simple. Or perhaps it's even simpler than that - not everyone belongs in a relationship together. It doesn't mean they're not wonderful people."

And that's certainly true of my relationship with Disney. One of them isn't a person, but I think you get what I mean.

In addition, to those who are interested in taking on this internship from reading about my adventures here well... I only have a few pointers and advise I could give to you all:

1. It's going to be hard work and it's not for everybody. And I cannot stress that enough! By the time you'll get back, you'll be happy to come home and appreciate what you have. Because from what I have experienced and deduced, the workforce in the U.S. is no laughing matter. So if you have the guts and/or the balls then by all means go for it.

2. The living environment is not what Disney advertises. What they say to you in their presentations is nothing but a sugarcoated lie. They do it in order to lure people in. Florida, especially Orlando, is advertised as a hotspot in the U.S. But it is not exactly the best place for people to live in. So definitely do your research if you so decide to take on this adventure.

3. The final point - make the most of it. Despite the two previous tips, this internship is going to be full of surprises. And that's great for a young person, especially when they are on a journey of self-discovery. During my adventures here I've had highs and lows, and I'm grateful for both. Because the lows have helped me develop a thick skin and have helped me shape a better understanding of the world. The lessons I have learnt have made me a world-weary person. I'm also grateful for the highs for I have made great connections and friends. And there you'll experience the same thing.
So now I conclude this entry and let you decide whether or not to take a leap of faith and let yourselves decide whether or not Disney is the place for you. I trust you all will make the right decision.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Film Review: "Ant-Man" (2015).

"This July, heroes don't come any bigger." This is what Marvel Studios is bringing with Ant-Man. This superhero film based on the Marvel Comics characters of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twelfth installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Peyton Reed, with a screenplay by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish and Adam McKay & Paul Rudd. Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

Development of Ant-Man began in April 2006, with the hiring of Wright to direct and co-write with Cornish. By April 2011, Wright and Cornish had completed three drafts of the script and Wright shot test footage for the film in July 2012. Pre-production began in October 2013 after being put on hold so that Wright could complete The World's End (2013). Casting began in December 2013, with the hiring of Rudd to play Lang. In May 2014, Wright left the project, citing creative differences, though he still received screenplay and story credits with Cornish, as well as an executive producer credit. The following month, Reed was brought in as Wright's replacement, while McKay was hired to contribute to the script with Rudd. Principal photography took place between August and December 2014 in San Francisco and Metro Atlanta.

The film stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip "T.I." Harris, Anthony Mackie, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, and Michael Douglas. Despite the cast giving great performances, in particular Rudd, Peña and Douglas, they lacked a few important elements that made their seem too familiar. For instance, Stoll's portrayal of Darren Cross suffers from what the other Marvel villains lack: depth. He's presents the character as a typical two-dimensional villain that are often associated with early comic-book movies. In addition the chemistry between Rudd and Lilly was weak and lacked the connection that Iron Man and Pepper Potts have.

Ant-Man provides the action and humour to please comic book fans and ignite this fledgling comic book character. What seemed, in theory, the least-necessary adaption of a lesser known superhero emerges as a perfectly solid summer action fare. It's all par-for-the-course cinematic heist, staged efficiently and with a hint of enthusiasm, and penned with sporadic wit. Visuals lean toward the light and poppy. The effects are in line with pic's generally pro and inspired achievements. However, the inevitable comparisons to Iron Man (2008) and the lament for Edgar Wright's bold and original take, Marvel Studios' second blockbuster this summer, serves as a glaring reminder of what this film lacks: true originality and vision. Despite the presence of Paul Rudd, an actor capable of unbelievable comedy chops, we don't feel a strong sense of Wright's humour that could have carried this film to cinematic greatness.

Simon says Ant-Man receives:

Also, see my review for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Disney Diary - Week 27.

For this week, my roommates (Adrian, Cristian, Hermmann, Travis B and Travis C) and I had the same day off and decided to go to Fort Wilderness Lodge to eat at Trail's End. An all American Western-style buffet where you can grub on all-you-care-to-enjoy American favorites in a remote setting. You can round up the whole settlement and sail across Bay Lake to the time of pioneers and a place of natural splendor. Nestled on 750 wooded acres of lush pine and cypress trees inhabited by enchanting wildlife, this is one dining destination you’ll want to allow plenty of time to reach—getting there is a trailblazing adventure unto itself! Beamed ceilings, split-log walls, mounted animals and a potbellied stove keep things suitably cozy and rustic as you and your kin tuck into a heaping spread of hearty countrified fare and new-fangled favorites. Don't believe me? Check out the photos below.

Welcome to Fort Wilderness Lodge!

The Frontier Hall.

Trail's End and Crockett's Tavern.

Here are two of my roommates: Travis B and Cristian.

Here are Cristian and Travis B on their phones... again.

After a nice big breakfast consisting of everything you could find in an American buffet, the guys and I had a fun time talking about all kinds of things. Right then and there, we really got to know each other better than we ever did. It was sad however that this time would be the last time we would hang out before we would all leave.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Film Review: "Trainwreck" (2015).

"All aboard" for Trainwreck. This romantic comedy film directed by Judd Apatow and written by Amy Schumer. Since she was a little girl, it's been drilled into Amy's head by her rascal of a dad that monogamy isn't realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo - enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment - but in actuality, she's kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she's writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners, Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

In late August 2013, Universal Studios optioned an untitled script written by Schumer that she would also star. The idea of the film was discussed for over two years with Apatow. The original draft of the script was written over a month and half. Schumer confessed that she wrote the script with Apatow in mind to direct. So in her writing of the screenplay, she wrote in things that would attract him to the project. Apatow contacted Schumer to make this movie after hearing her interview on the Howard Stern show. Judd was blown away by how funny and intimate she was while discussing the troubles of her father's illness. In late November, it was announced that Apatow was hired to direct. In early January 2014, it was announced that the film was set for a July 24, 2015 release date. By late May, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James, Randall Park, and Norman Lloyd were cast. At the same time, principal photography commenced, and wrapped in early August. Filming took place in New York City, New York.

The film stars Schumer, Hader, Larson, Quinn, Cena, Miller, Swinton, James, Park, and Lloyd.
Schumer is recycling the same bimbo act that she keeps doing in her comedy acts. What does work well somewhat is that the movie is elevated by the terrific supporting performances.

Apatow seems stuck in the same rut, managing only to retread familiar territory with each successive film. Despite Schumer's heartfelt performance, the story struggles to find the right balance of comedy and drama. When the first two-thirds of your movie dwell on awkward conversations and table setting, it's hard to engage when things finally start to move. Like it's protagonist, there's charm to the film and it has its moments of biting honesty, but the film stalls as it takes too long to get out of its rudderless station and grab the reigns of its story. It's not just that the film is so flawed. It's that it couldn't be more obvious what those flaws are and how easily they could have been excised. Yes, there are clichés and a few problems, but there's an emotional richness and psychological depth here that avoids the usual sentimentality.

Simon says Trainwreck receives:

Also, see my review for This is 40.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Film Review: "Minions" (2015).

One of the taglines for the film reads "Before Gru, they had a history of bad bosses", this is that story for Minions. This 3D computer-animated family comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. It is a prequel/spin-off to the Despicable Me franchise. The film follows Minions, Stuart, Kevin and Bob, forty-two years B.G. (Before Gru) as they are recruited by Scarlet Overkill, a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb, hatches a plot to take over the world.

The film was first foreshadowed in the ending credits of Despicable Me 2 (2013), where Stuart, Kevin, and Bob, three of the Minions, are seen auditioning for the film. In July 2012, Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment announced that the Minions from Despicable Me (2010) would get their own spin-off film, and was planned for a 2014 release. On August 21, 2012, it was announced that the film would be released on December 19, 2014. In February 2013, Sandra Bullock joined the cast to voice Scarlet Overkill, with Jon Hamm joining two months later as her husband Herb Overkill. On September 20, 2013, the film's release date was pushed back from December 19, 2014 to July 10, 2015, due to Universal's satisfaction with the July release of Despicable Me 2 and desire to exploit fully the merchandising potential of a summer film. Upon hearing this, I couldn't be more intrigued and excited for this film. I thought "what could go wrong? It's a movie with the Minions!"

The film stars Coffin (as the Minions), Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, and Geoffrey Rush. The performances the cast gave in this film were just as hilarious and comical as the two Despicable Me films. But the true stars are the title characters. In every scene they steal the show with their adorable, lovable and comical flair. They are the reason that children and adults alike flock to the movie theaters and thus helps the films make a truck-load full of money. The most interesting and memorable thing about the minions themselves is their language. The language known as "Minionese" which is spoken by the minions is a mix between several languages including English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hebrew and Gibberish.

Minions doesn't scale the heights of Despicable Me, but it is still funny family entertainment for viewers of any age. The film is true to the spirit of the previous films and matches its tone. But it never seems content to turn over old ground. Furthermore, it is cute, and funny, and the animation, though not exactly inspired, is certainly colorful. It might not be as gifted as some of its other movies, but sometimes it's alright to be ok. It's all infectious fun, despite the lack of originality. This minor film with major charms still deserves to have kids dragging their parents to the multiplex for one more peek at the minions. It is one of those movies that has absolutely no reason to exist, but once you've seen it, you're kind of glad it does.

Simon says Minions receives:

Also, see my review for Despicable Me 2.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Film Review: "Terminator Genisys" (2015).

"... The timeline John sent you to no longer exists. Everything's changed... and we can stop Judgement Day." This is the new mission set for Terminator Genisys. This science fiction action film directed by Alan Taylor and written by Laeta Kalogridisand Patrick Lussier, based on the characters created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. It is the fifth installment in the Terminator series, and acts as a retcon that alters the original story's timeline. John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.

While Terminator Salvation (2009) was initially intended to begin a new trilogy, production on a fifth film was put on pause as a result of legal issues and the Chapter 11bankruptcy filing by The Halcyon Company. By late September 2009, the rights to the franchise were once again up for sale as The Halcyon Company tried to emerge from bankruptcy. Late the following month, Halcyon announced it would auction off the rights to future Terminator material and was seeking $60 million to $70 million. On February 8, 2010, an auction was held for the Terminator rights. After studios Sony Pictures and Lions Gate Entertainment bid separately, Pacificor, the hedge fund that pushed Halcyon into bankruptcy, made a deal for $29.5 million. In May 2010, Pacificor hired an agency to sell off the rights to the franchise. By August 2010, a new Terminator film was being developed at Universal with Arnold Schwarzenegger returning in the title role, Justin Lin directing, and Chris Morgan as screenwriter. By May 2011, Megan Ellison and her production company Annapurna Pictures had won the rights at auction to make at least two more Terminator films, including Terminator 5. Now titled Terminator: Genesis, the film was to be produced by Megan and David Ellison of Skydance Productions. Laeta Kalorgridis and Patrick Lussier were commissioned to write the screenplay. But the film was left without a director as Justin Lin, who was originally in discussions to direct, chose to direct Fast & Furious 6 instead. By June 27, 2013, Paramount had pushed the film's release date back from June 26, 2015, to July 1, 2015. By September 2013, Alan Taylor was in talks to direct the film, after Ang Lee, Rian Johnson and Denis Villeneuve had been considered. During an interview, James Cameron, admitted that he had been asked to be involved in the film by Megan Ellison. Cameron later had held several meetings with David Ellison, where they discussed Schwarzenegger's role and how to stay true to the original T-800 character. After having watched the film's prerelease screening, Cameron unequivocally voiced his support for Terminator Genisys, characterizing it "as being extremely respectful of the first two movies" and counting it as the official third film in the franchise.

The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, reprising his role as the eponymous character, along with Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-hun, J. K. Simmons and Matt Smith. Despite the cast giving their all and their own interpretations of the iconic characters, they felt stale and out of sync. Schwarzenegger was the only one who played the role without any problems.

Although Terminator Genisys never reaches the heights of the first two movies, it is a welcome addition to the Terminator franchise than the atrocious Terminator: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation. However, the film feels thats it's essentially one long convoluted time-traveling plot, punctuated by mindless fights and action with comic, campy and simplistic dialogue.

Simon says Terminator Genisys receives:

Also, see my review for Thor: The Dark World.