|The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
Going into Kick-Ass 2, I didn’t know what to expect. The movie has attracted a mixture of movie reviews, with critics primarily disappointed and general audiences primarily entertained. Surely, with these mixed reviews, the movie could never compare with the original Kick-Ass, that was universally liked, right?
Kick-Ass 2 blew my expectations out of the water. It was on pretty much the same level as the original Kick-Ass, maintaining everything that made the first one great such as:
- Ironic comedy
- Witty and hilarious dialogue
- Gruesome action
- A smart script that pokes fun at itself
- Hilariously unique characters (the names are so good I don’t want to ruin them by listing them here)
- Chloë Grace Moretz (you can’t not like her in the Kick-Ass series)
If you enjoyed the original, you will thoroughly enjoy this one as well. Whether it is quite as good as the first one is certainly up for debate but I would say they are certainly of comparable quality.
Kick-Ass 2 is jam-packed with references to modern culture, which makes it seem real despite its absurd elements. The movie’s biggest strength, aside from the performances by Chloe Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is the breadth of characters introduced. Each of the new heroes brought into the story are unique, interesting and out-right hilarious. Jim Carrey‘s character is particularly good. It is great to see him back on-screen.
In summary, Kick-Ass 2 kicks ass. Set your expectations slightly lower than the first and you will be sure not to be disappointed.
After the credits: Stick around after the credits for an interesting scene . . .
Even the music during the credits was amazing. The song Hero by Jessie J, recorded for the Kick-Ass 2 soundtrack is particular awesome:
Lifehacker is my go-to choice for daily life improvements and a little while ago they wrote a great article about the most popular sleep tracking app — Sleep Cycle.
Sleep Cycle is a great, and affordable, app that allows you to monitor and track your sleep over time. Sleep Cycle will track your stages of sleep based on your movement throughout the night in order to wake you up at an optimal point in the morning.
For the uninitiated, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is very important to feeling good throughout the day. Alarm clocks wake you up abruptly and in an unnatural way. This can make you feel tired and generally bad throughout the day. Sleep Cycle attempts to avoid this by waking you up at a natural point in your sleep cycle — when you are already partially awake, instead of when you are in a deep sleep.
To explain exactly how the app is able to accomplish this, I turn to their website directly:
Sleep Cycle alarm clock is able to use the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement and determine which sleep phase you are in. Sleep Cycle then uses a 30 minute alarm window that ends at your set alarm time and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase. Click here for the full explanation
My own experience with the app has been great. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and so far I have found it effective. It seems to track my sleep well and wakes me up at a decent time. The soft sounds it uses to wake you up is much better than my previous jarring alarm which helps a lot. It also seems to help me feel better when I get up.
My only complaint about the app is that the optimal window to ensure you wake up nicely is 30 mins, which is a pretty big window. It’s not directly the app’s fault but my optimal wake time seems to be almost a full 30 minutes earlier than I need to get up. It is difficult to get out of bed when you know you don’t have to be up for another half-hour. My best mornings have been when my alarm wakes me up naturally 10-15 mins in advance. Then it is easy to get out of bed because going back to sleep is not as alluring.
Overall, the app is fantastic and worth a shot whether you feel particularly tired in the morning or not. For only $0.99, it isn’t much of a gamble.
I, like many others, am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. My experience in getting to know the numerous stories, however, is different than most. Instead of starting with the books, my first experience of Sherlock Holmes was from the movie titled . . . Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey and Jude Law.
The Hollywood movies were good and stimulated my appetite for the stories but were by far the worst depiction of Sherlock Holmes I have yet to experience.
I then moved on to the books — undeniably classic stories. Certainly a must-read series for people of all ages and walks of life. However, the books are not the best! Gasp! Instead, the best version of the Sherlock Holmes stories I have yet to discover is Sherlock, the BBC series.
Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree. You must have actually seen the BBC series to be able to judge it, of course.
The following are the many reasons why Sherlock (the BBC series) is by far the best version of Sherlock Holmes:
- The already virtually perfect characters, Sherlock and Watson, are further perfected (if that makes sense). Every piece of dialogue is carefully delivered and well thought-out and helps to develop other dimensions of Sherlock and Watson beyond the books. Although the dialogue in the books is incredible, it does have its flaws. For example, the way in which Sherlock Holmes comes to deliver his genius deductions sometimes seems a bit forced, in the interest of the reader. These explanations are done with somewhat more grace in the TV series.
- The series is modernized in a genius way. The way in which the series incorporates modern technology and circumstances into a story as old as Sherlock Holmes is nothing short of brilliant. Letters become texts, journals become blogs, and deductive processes include modern forensics. Much of the original charm is maintained while the show manages to rocket the series forward by more than a century.
- The show is funnier! At least somewhat so. The Sherlock Holmes series is not known for being particularly comedic but it is one of the only imperfections of the book series. After reading Catch 22, I have developed a taste for comedy, even in a serious story. Comedy helps round out a masterpiece, in my opinion.
- What was perfection before, remains perfection now. Almost everything that made the original Sherlock Holmes stories great has been maintained, with the points mentioned above added to polish what was already a perfect series.
Don’t take my word for it! Take a look at the Sherlock Holmes BBC series. You will be glad you did.
P.s. if you haven’t read the books, there is a great complete Sherlock Holmes Collection available in hardcopy and digital format that I can vouch for.
Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
James Bond is back and he is kicking ass and taking names! SkyFall is action-packed but it is not the action that carries this movie. Instead, it is nostalgia and overall utter brilliance – as the British would say.
For those who are unaware, our favourite agent 007 is celebrating his 50 anniversary and for his birthday he gets an amazing gift — without question the best Bond movie. Sure, you may argue that an older Bond film is better because you prefer a particular portrayal of James Bond but there is no arguing that SkyFall is one of the most perfectly put together movies of the franchise. Here’s why:
- Action. But unlike many other Bond movies, action is not all she wrote.
- A perfect blend of nostalgia and throw-backs combined with graceful modernization
- A storyline that, while simple, is very engaging and restarts the franchise (much like Batman Begins)
- Performances that are likely to be remembered for years to come
Much like Christopher Nolan’s revamp of the Batman franchise, SkyFall succeeds in transcending James Bond movies of the past in terms of relevance, polish and a level of “seriousness” that was absent from many of the mainstream-action iterations of the past. You can hear it amongst the group of moviegoers as they exit the theatre. Not only the joy of having witnessed such a great movie but pure excitement; already eagerly anticipating the next movie in what will hopefully be a whole new era of Bond. An era of high expectations and delivering upon those expectations.
SkyFall also toys with a unique bond girl setup in which there is not a specific woman of interest. Although still present, sex appeal was used more sparingly than previous Bond movies, if my memory serves me correctly. This is not a sour point, however, as I believe that many bond girls in past movies have merely served as a distraction from the plot and little else (a significant visual distraction). Instead, Bond interacts with the women in the movie in a much more progressive way. Perhaps as a means of appeasing a changing female demographic or perhaps to eliminate distractions from the main story. After all, Bond never really spent a great deal of time building relationships in the past so any character contributions made by “romance scenes” in previous movies were negligible.
SkyFall is the best iteration of James Bond in a long time and probably ever. Everyone will find something about this movie that will truly catch their attention. Die-hard fans of the original movies will enjoy the many inclusions of nostalgic elements, while new-comers to the franchise will enjoy the modernization of the story and the removal of many “cheesy” elements that are no longer acceptable in great modern movies.
I tend to rate movies rather favourably, however, exaggerations aside, SkyFall has likely found its place in my list of Top 10 Movies of All Time.