Category Archives: Jez

Spotlight: Fast & Furious Films

the_fast_and_the_furious_dvd_coverLAPD officer Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) has gone undercover to take down a team of street racers, but his loyalties are tested when he has to choose between his job and his love of racing. Throughout the eight movies (so far) in the Fast & Furious series, O’Connor and Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) sometimes race against each other and sometimes with each other, but always in the most tricked out cars possible. While the series may look like just a bunch of fast cars, it actually has a strong message about family and loyalty throughout—but there’s definitely fast cars, heists, shootouts, and everything else you could want from an action flick. My personal favorite is Fast Five, which brings together all of the best characters from the series and sets them on an Ocean’s Eleven style heist and has the best visual tricks. Tokyo Drift (third in the franchise) is a great movie if you don’t want to dedicate yourself to eight movies, but be warned, it’s going to pull at your heartstrings. F&F is infamous for its complicated naming sequence, so here’s a list of the movies in order, including the upcoming 2019 spin-off. Click on the titles to view them in our catalog.
  1. The Fast and the Furious
  2. 2 Fast 2 Furious
  3. Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift
  4. Fast and Furious
  5. Fast Five
  6. Fast and Furious 6
  7. Furious 7
  8. Fate of the Furious
  9. Hobbs & Shaw (in theatres August 2, 2019)

When We First Met (2018) TV-14

whenwefirstmetNoah (Adam Devine) has been in love with Avery (Alexandra Daddarrio) for three years, but unfortunately, she’s getting married to Ethan (Robbie Amell), the perfect, polite gentleman she met exactly one day after she met Noah. In the middle of a drunken pity party, Noah finds himself in the photo booth he shared with Avery on the night they met and with a quarter and some wishing, he wakes up three years earlier. He repeats this multiple times, a la Groundhog Day, each time changing an aspect about their first date and things go about as well as you’d expect. The only thing that seems to stay the same in each timeline is his friendship with Avery’s best friend, Carrie (Shelley Henning). Fans of rom-coms already know how this story is going to end, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. Filled with lots of laughs, tender moments, regrettable hairstyle choices (frosted tips in 2017?), and photo strips, When We First Met is a great way to spend an evening. The movie is currently only available on Netflix, but you can watch it now without an account by checking out one of our Rokus from Tech Takeout, giving you access to Netflix, Hulu, and hundreds of movies for 7 days.  

Baby Driver (2017) R

babydriverBaby Driver is a heist movie, but shown from a different perspective than usual: a reluctant getaway driver. Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the eponymous driver of this adventure drama, tasked with helping criminals escape their crimes as fast as possible. He’s paying off a debt to their ringleader and has plans of getting out as soon, but things aren’t as easy as he thinks. The most interesting thing about Baby is that his tragic past has given him tinnitus and a need to score his life with a constant background of noise, giving the audience one of the best soundtracks in the process. Baby Driver is a film for fans of high-speed chases, bank heists, double-crosses, Bonnie & Clyde romance, and great music. Check out our list of films featuring Criminals We Love.

The Crown. Season 2 (2017) TV-MA

the-crown-season-2-poster-1As England moves into the 1960s, Elizabeth comes into her own as queen. We saw this beginning to take form at the end of season 1 (read my review here or Katie’s take here), but after almost a decade and three prime ministers, she’s grown up quite a bit. Royal life is not without its troubles, though, and season two continues with the rocky marriage of Elizabeth and Philip, the scandals of Princess Margaret, and balancing her role as queen and her role as a woman. New conflicts arise with the threat of war in Egypt, public backlash against Elizabeth’s reign, plus the war between progress and tradition. Tune in to season two of The Crown on Netflix by checking out one of our rokus to see the Kennedys, a bad haircut, Matt Smith’s brilliant beard, and a whole lot of period drama.

Hidden Figures (2016) PG

Inspired by the true story of the amazing women who helped launch Americans into space, Hidden Figures follows the lives of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae). Facing more than their fair share of discrimination and opposition, these three African-American women prove themselves the most capable mathematicians and human “computers” by taking on the law, learning how to code the new IBM machines, and calculating trajectories with math that doesn’t even exist yet. Check out our list of other movies about space.

Wonder Woman (2017) PG-13

Superhero films are nothing new, but Wonder Woman brings more than a little something special to the table. Set in WWII, pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash-lands on Themyscira, an island inhabited entirely by warrior women. Among them is Diana (Gal Gadot), who believes the world of men and its battles holds the key to defeating the war god Ares. She follows Trevor to England and later leads his men into battle in some of the most impressive fight scenes we’ve seen in a long time. Action-packed, but balanced with humor and tender moments, Wonder Woman is sure to become a favorite of viewers and inspire a new generation of strong female heroes.

Wonderful, Wonderful by The Killers (2017)

After a four-year break, The Killers are finally back with a new album. A good listener will be able to pick out some themes that build upon previous albums Battle Born (2012) and Direct Hits (2013). The upbeat single “The Man” being reminiscent of popular songs like “Spaceman” and “Mr. Brightside,” while slower, world-weary commentary similar to “All These Things I’ve Done” makes an appearance in the title song “Wonderful Wonderful.” With a lot more bass and an ever-present synth overlay, Wonderful, Wonderful isn’t quite the breakout album Killers fans were hoping for—feeling more like a sophomore album than a fifth release—but it should not be ignored by fans old or new. As lead singer Brandon Flowers pleads in “Rut,” this is not the time to give up on him or The Killers. The new music shows a lot of growth from the band and sixteen years after their first release, they’re still capable of beautiful lyrics and catchy tunes, even as they find a new direction.

Queen of Katwe (2016) PG

Based on a true story, Queen of Katwe follows the journey of Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), a young girl living in Katwe, an impoverished area of the Ugandan capital. At age 10, Phiona and her brother Brian discover the Pioneers, a missionary program where Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) teaches underprivileged children the game of chess. Very quickly, Phiona proves herself a chess mastermind, and it is her talent, along with that of some of her classmates, which prompts Katende to push that the children be allowed to compete in African and international chess championships, even though the children have never attended school and many cannot read or write. The inspiring aspect of this story lies less in Phiona’s rise to become a Woman Candidate Master, and more in the struggles of her family and the sacrifices they must make for the game. Phiona’s mother Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o) especially makes hard choices for the sake of her family and there are no shortage of obstacles for this young, single mother, but she, like her daughter, is a champion, bringing heart and a happy ending to this biographical film.

The West Wing. Season 1 (1999-2000) TV-14

Since its premiere in 1999, The West Wing has become a modern classic among TV dramas. Focusing on the senior staff of the White House under (fictional) President Bartlett (Martin Sheen), the show tackles policy and public relations issues alike. The staff, made up of the chief and deputy chief of staff, two communications directors, the press secretary, and their assistants, prove themselves to be both intelligent and funny and really gel as a team as their presidential term and the season continue. Have season 2 ready to go because the first season ends with a cliffhanger that’s not to be missed!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Season 1 (2015)

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) went to a great school, got a great job, and is about to be named partner of her law firm…so why doesn’t she feel happy? As she’s having a nervous breakdown over this, she runs into Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), her childhood boyfriend from camp, who’s giving up on the New York life to move back to his hometown, West Covina, CA. Realizing being with Josh was the last time she felt good about herself, Rebecca quits her job, ends her lease, and immediately moves to California to be with him. Only, there’s a catch: Josh has a girlfriend. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a hilarious and quirky TV musical, where each song is a very specific parody of a popular artist or genre. Between its songs and lovable cast, its positive messages regarding mental health and friendship, there’s no way to go wrong with this off-beat comedy.