Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Movies - A Review

Now that I've completed the 30 Day Blog Challenge, I now get to post whatever I want to post. So I decided that today I'd review some of the movies I've seen so far this summer. These are only based on my thoughts and opinions - take them or leave them.

I'll start out with the movie title, my own non-professional rating out of 5 (1 meaning I thought I wasted both money and time and 5 meaning I would see it five more times). At the end, I'll have two bonus reviews of movies I saw at the premier.

Let's begin.

Despicable Me 2
I love this movie! It's so cute, just like the first Despicable Me. In a previous post, "Despicable Me," I gave a full review of exactly how much I loved the first movie so if you want to read that, just click on the link and it'll take you there. This movie, however, was surprisingly good. Whenever I go see a sequel, I walk in expecting something sub-par at best; most sequels don't even compare to the original movie. While I don't think this movie was quite as epic as the first, I still loved it enough to go back and see it twice. I appreciated how the writers actually created a solid story line and managed to make it equal parts interesting, funny, and cute. This is definitely a movie for all ages, and a movie that I'll be purchasing for sure.

Now You See Me 
I read the plot summary before going to see this movie, and I'll admit, I wasn't very interested. Then my cousins told me about how awesome this movie is, even gave me plot spoilers, and I still wasn't too interested. However, a friend of mine was persistent in getting me to hang out and see this movie, so I thought, "Eh..what's the harm?" and headed out to see it. Oh. My. Goodness. This movie rocks. I was hooked from the very beginning til the very end. These four magicians, called the 4 Horsemen, embark on a journey laid out for them by a mysterious fifth magician. They act like modern-day Robin Hoods, bringing justice where justice is due. I saw this movie two times, but if I didn't go back for the plot, I went for the magic tricks. The tricks and illusions they portray in this movie are practically mind-blowing. Then they reveal their secrets and that's even more mind-blowing and, in some parts, hilarious.

The Heat 
There has never been a movie where I've remembered so many lines from it after watching it once - no, not even Mean Girls! Yes, this movie contains a lot of profanity (particularly by Melissa McCarthy's character Detective Mullins), and it's hilarious! Sandra Bullock's character, Detective Ashburn, is a snobby, unknowingly snobby, put-together FBI agent who nobody seems to like gets transferred to the Boston Police Department where she teams up with Detective Mullins to take down a drug lord. This badass movie pokes fun at different stereotypes as Ashburn breaks out of her uptight shell, as well as her spanx. There is a point towards the 3/4 mark where it gets a little slow, but other than that, this movie rocks. It's by far one of the best summer movies yet.

This Is The End 
I almost forgot that I had seen this movie. It was good. Not great, but good. The profanity wasn't a problem for me. Profanity is rarely ever a problem for me. But there's only so much crude humor that I can take before I'm checking my phone to see how much longer I'll have to endure a movie. And by that, I mean I can sit through a lot of crudeness, but this movie felt a little excessive for some reason. There were several funny parts to the movie, as it was written by comedians who played themselves who endure an apocalyptic / end-of-the-world / rapture - type situation. I'd probably say that my favorite part is when Emma Watson comes barging through the men's barricades in search of a place to hide from the savage world outside. This movie, though not the worst I've seen this summer, was definitely an I'll-only-see-this-once thing.

Pacific Rim 
Now, I know that so many people love this movie almost more than life itself. Most of my friends have been raving about the utter epicness that this movie brings to the world. I, however, don't agree. I didn't find this movie very exciting at all. I walked into the theater with high-hopes from the good reviews my friends had given me, but I found myself bored throughout. I kept expecting it to get more interesting, but it just got differently boring and I'm sad that I spent any money at all to see it. Set in a futuristic world where aliens, called Kaiju, start taking over the world, humans begin fighting back with gigantic robots called Jaegers. Since a single-person cannot operate a Jaeger alone (for reasons that seem to exist only to give this movie any sort of a plot), two humans must join minds in order to fight the Kaiju. So, we're already at a disadvantage if it takes two to destroy one - and not even very well. To me, it seemed like everything that happened was only because the plot line called for it and there were so many slow parts to it. I even started texting people by the middle of the movie - something I hate when people do - because I was so bored. The graphics were great, but other than that, I didn't particularly like this one. Remember that this is just my take on the movie. You may love the movie for the same reasons that I disliked it, and that's perfectly ok. This is just my opinion so I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings.


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Until next time
- Kristazzi

BONUS REVIEWS

For as many times as I've been to the movies recently, I have never been to a premier of any movie until this summer. The first movie I saw at a premier was The Conjuring and within a week, I saw the premier of The Wolverine. Here are my reviews of the two in this bonus section. Hope you enjoy! 

The Conjuring 
As much as I like paranormal movies / horror flicks, I have never actually seen one in a movie theater before The Conjuring. Usually, I'll go over to a friend's house, my cousins' house, or watch them at my own house. But being in the theater with so many other people, all reacting to the same things that jumped out at us, was a good part of the thrill. Now, most of the time I find paranormal / horror flicks laughable but this one is truly laced with horror. This movie brings the unexpected, successfully utilizes suspense, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. For horror movies, this one ranks at the top of my list for effects, story line, creativity, and scariness.

The Wolverine 

This was slightly less amazing as I hoped. I feel like the trailer is more exciting than the actual movie. For instance, when Yukio takes out a sword in the bar and appears to just flash it around, but then all of a sudden, everything splits in half ... that scene was more epic in the preview. As most scenes were. The parts of the movie that were actually action-based were pretty epic, I won't discredit that. But the slow parts were reeeaallly slow. However, if you end up seeing it, remember to stay for the credits because that alone was almost worth the entire ticket price. Overall, this movie wasn't bad. It could have done without the Hollywood romance between Logan and Mariko. That might have made the movie better, in my opinion. But see it for yourself! You might agree with me on some of my opinions and you might not.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 30 - Goals | 30 Day Blog Challenge

Today is the last day of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. I know that I started off this challenge feeling inspired and in so many ways, I still am. I know I've missed a few days and had to double-post (or in this case, triple-post) on some days. Nonetheless, I'm concluding this blog challenge on the day that I had hoped.

This final post is about my goals for the next 30 days: new beginnings that I hope to see, if you will. And I actually have some good goals that I'll list for you in no particular order here:


  • Look into Universities to apply to, particularly ones that accept students in the Spring semester.
  • Actually apply to these Universities
  • Post things to my blog that isn't challenge-related
  • Do something special for my birthday
  • Catch some movies with friends of mine
  • Have a good goodbye dinner for one of my good friends who's transferring to a University
  • Take on new opportunities - whatever they may be
  • Read books of a genre that I wouldn't usually pick out for myself
  • Start the Harry Potter 30 Day Challenge on Aug. 1
  • Start writing a story series that's been on my mind for a while
  • Start my last semester (hopefully) at my community college
  • Finish the Hunger Games Trilogy

You can find the 30 Day Blog Challenge list by clicking the link.

Until next time
- Kristazzi

Day 29 - 10 Reasons Why | 30 Day Blog Challenge


For today's blog challenge, I'm originally supposed to share with you 10 people with whom I would love to have a meal with. However, I can't exactly think up 10 different people, so I'm changing the rules a bit. Instead, I will share about my grandmother, Carol, who has been the single biggest inspiration in my life. Even though she's passed away almost 10 years ago, I still have so many memories with her that I won't allow myself to forget. So today, I'll give you 10 reasons, of the many that I have, why I miss her.

1. Because she passed when I was so young, I feel like I didn't get to spend as much time with her as I wanted.

2. She was one of the kindest, most caring people I've ever had the pleasure of being around to this day.

3. I have this specific memory of when I was 4-7 years old when she and my grandpa would pick me up from school. She would pick me up and sit me on top of the sink, fill the sink up with water, and wash my feet. To many people, this isn't a big deal, but I believe that washing of the feet is symbolic for humbling oneself in the presence of another human being. To this day, I can't think of this without getting misty-eyed.

4. She was the strongest person I've ever known. She suffered from leukemia for years before she passed. The last two weeks before that, we found out that she had contracted Valley Fever and her immune system was so weak that it couldn't handle it. Despite all this, I never once heard her complain about her illness. I don't remember her complaining about much of anything at all. She would always try to make the best of a bad situation. And, you know how there are those people who suddenly turn nice once they've discovered they have a terminal illness? She had been warm and kindhearted for as long as I could ever remember, way before she ever became ill.

5. She sincerely cared for everybody, as if they were her family.

6. I miss seeing her smile.

7. She was the glue that held everything together. Our family was so much happier with her around. My grandpa was more himself when she was here. Everyone loved her and I think, in a way, we all still really miss her.

8. I remember one day my parents, some family friends, and I took a day trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. After going on the Soarin' Over California ride, I got the hugest headache that I had ever had (I have always been very headache-prone) and I was starting to become nauseous on the ride home, so parents dropped me off at my grandma's house so she could watch me while they took our friends home. As soon as my grandma heard that I had a headache, she got some eucalyptus balm out of the cabinet and rubbed it over my forehead. Then, she did this thing (I can only assume it's Chinese) where she clasped both her hands together and gently tapped on my forehead all around and - as quickly as my headache appeared - it went away completely. I call her an angel for that because, as much as everyone else tries, they still can't make my headaches go away like my grandma did that one night.

9. She never, in any way, made me feel bad about myself. I wrote about what some of my childhood was like in a previous post, so if you're interested in reading that, just click the link.

10. Finally, I see a bit of her personality in my cousins and in myself. You might be familiar with the phrase "that trait skipped a generation," and recently, I've been examining where I get some of my quirks from. From different stories that I've heard about her, she was sort of a tom-boy and played sports, but also knew how to be dressy and classy. She really loved traveling, sightseeing, and the arts. I remember her showing me some paintings she did when she was younger and I thought they were the best things I'd ever seen.





As always, you can find the 30 Day Blog Challenge list by clicking the link.

Until tomorrow
- Kristazzi

Day 28 - Nostalgia | 30 Day Blog Challenge

Today's post is going to be about something I miss so I'm going to just jump right into it. The thing I miss the most would be my childhood. How many times in this 30 Day Blog Challenge have I written about childhood? Too many for me to remember off the top of my head.

I'm not sure about kids today, growing up with access to so many different things through technology - laptops, Smartphones, iPads, etc... - but only a decade ago when I was 10, we didn't have any of that stuff. Now, I sound like a grandparent telling the little children about the "ancient days," but it's true. Things felt a lot simpler then.

I particularly liked the days from when I was 4 til about 8. I had a lot of friends. I dressed in these ugly outfits that my mom, bless her, picked out for me because she "thought they were cute," and nobody cared. I carried a lot of baby fat and nobody cared. A group of friends and I used to chase a group of boys around the school during recess and they didn't care about anything but us having "cooties."

I learned to read, and suddenly, reading became my favorite pastime. I loved writing these stupid poems and stories that I'd probably get a good kick out of reading now. I loved drawing and painting, even though I was no good at it. I had fun.

We are all so carefree.

Those are the times I miss the most.


As always, you can find the 30 Day Blog Challenge list by clicking the link.

Until tomorrow
- Kristazzi

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 27 - How I Found Help | 30 Day Blog Challenge

Today's blog post is more of a serious topic for me. The prompt is to write about a problem (or problems) I've had in the past. I picked one specific "problem," or something I've had to deal with that kind of escalated into worse things as I grew older. I have had some doubts in actually posting about this part of my life so it's been sitting on my computer for about a day now but I decided that did want this little bit of my life out there because I know that at least one other person is going through it right now. So...here we go.

Starting from an early age, I've had a pretty hard time dealing with things. I started having behavioral problems around certain people, I got upset often, and I was depressed often, before I even knew that's what I was feeling at the time. It didn't help that I wasn't an attractive child, so not very many people wanted to be my friend anyways.

I was teased often, usually called short and "four eyes," things that I learned to laugh at even if it hurt at the time. Some of my family would call me fat or pudgy. My Chinese nickname that I've grown up with, something only my family calls me, literally means "pig." They would tease me whenever they saw me eating, calling me "pig" again and again. The White/American side of my family likes to remember one particular Thanksgiving when I took a special liking to one of my relative's holiday specialty, creamed corn. And I'm not going to lie and say that I wasn't a chubby child. I did have an eating problem. I was depressed so often and I buried those feelings with food.

I had been so unsatisfied with my life. I was surrounded with constant negativity from different people, and the things some people said and did (even if they didn't mean to) had a way of hurting.

Starting mid-way through my freshman year of high school, I got sick of everything the way it was. I ditched my glasses for contacts. I developed an eating problem - or disorder if you will. I started only eating one NutriValley pack (which contains two thin granola bars) a day and that was it. Whenever my family went out to eat, I would go home and, as quietly as I could, make it come back up in the bathroom. Surprisingly, I never got caught doing this.

People did notice that I was losing weight. My sophomore year, I was the thinnest I had ever been. I dropped 25-30 pounds and managed to keep my weight down. Some of my relatives actually started complaining to me about it, telling me that I needed to eat more - something I will never understand, since merely months before that they were telling me to eat less. This upset me the most. I felt like I couldn't do anything right in their eyes. They wanted me to lose weight and I lost the weight, but then they turned around and wanted me to gain it back?

I started spiraling out of control. Despite being thinner than I'd ever been, I was still quite unhappy with my life. I even began hurting myself in different ways.

It wasn't until I started meeting the right people and seeing that I wasn't alone that I started getting better. Since then, it's been a slow upward climb. Friends that I made have come and gone, but my life now has been 10,000 times better than it used to be, and I'll always be grateful for the few kind people that I've known.

I've learned that, even though you think something like starving yourself or hurting yourself, might make you happy or ok again, it really doesn't. These things are never the answer. Permanent happiness comes from learning to love yourself - I've made a short little blog post about this, so if you'd like to check that out, click on the link and it'll take you to it - and taking care of yourself.

That's my answer for today's post.


As always, you can find the 30 Day Blog Challenge list by clicking the link.

Until tomorrow
- Kristazzi

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 26 - You Just Won $1,000,000 | 30 Day Blog Challenge

Today's question is if I got $1,000,000 right now, somehow, how would I spend it?

This is a very good question, actually. When I was little, I used to think that a million bucks was a lot. Now, seeing what the "real adults" go through paying bills, supporting kids, other family members, themselves... I know that this is a pretty relatively low amount of money.

However, if I somehow was given $1,000,000 I would probably use it for education purposes. I'd end up spending a lot to pay for my college/university. I'd try to get a small apartment for myself and spend only what I absolutely needed for food each week.

I'd want to try to save as much money as I could, but I know that $1,000,000 is kind of spread thin when it comes to living in any decent city in California while also being in college.

Let's get real, though. We all know the saying, "money doesn't buy happiness," and we all roll our eyes at it, but it does hold some truth to it. Some people who don't have very much of anything at all find happiness in the presence of other people. They make memories count. They're happy just being who they are, where they are, and having the friends they have. I've always admired the people who can be content with so little because, although they aren't very rich in terms of money, their lives are enormously rich.

Anyways, that's all for today's post. If you had a million bucks, what would you do with it? Save it? Spend it? Let me know in the comments.


As always, you can find the 30 Day Blog Challenge list by clicking the link.

Until tomorrow
- Kristazzi