A couple years after the first movie, Po (Jack Black) is living his dream as the Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace with the Furious Five - Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross). The peace is shattered when Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), an ambitious white peacock determined conquer all of China, sends his army of wolves to stripe all the villages of metal to create weapons capable of stopping Kung Fu. When Po does battle with the wolves, a symbol on their armor triggers repressed memories of his real parents to surface which cause him to have an identity crisis and conflicted feelings which distract him fighting. However, with the fate of China resting in Po and Furious Five's hands - err paws - Po will have to reach inner peace quickly in order to defeat Lord Shen and his massive army before it is too late.

What can I say but this movie is all awesomeness! The movie brings back familiar characters as well as introduces new ones - Lord Shen, the wolves, a goat soothsayer and Kung Fu masters Storming Ox and Croc. Po is still the same excited, clumsy panda but a lot more confident in his abilities in Kung Fu. You wouldn't think a peacock would be very scary as a villain but the animation team combined with Gary Oldman's distinctive voice created a character that exudes evilness. Lord Shen's feathers are used as his weapon as well. He is the best evil peacock ever!

The movie is even better than the first one. The story is a little bit darker but it is still funny and heartwarming as ever. Po is so cute as a baby! There is a lot more Kung Fu fighting in this installment as well as some amazing explosions. The only thing I wish is that the Furious Five had more dialogue. We watched the movie in 3-D and I can say that this is a movie that is worth watching in 3-D; the effects are great and there are many throughout the movie. Highly recommended, adults and children alike will enjoy this one amazing sequel. Skadoosh!

Kung Fu Panda 2 is currently in theatres everywhere.
Mmmmm I had a delicious dinner at the Cactus Club tonight. I really like the tuna tataki but K wanted calamri instead. Still good though. Next time it'll be the tuna! For the main I tried their Halibut entrée and K had the pesto chicken quesadilla. The Halibut looked so pretty and it tasted delicious! And of course we shared an apple galette for dessert. It's a must for a visit to cactus club!
Based on a true story, the First Grader is about Kimani N'gan'ga Maruge (Oliver Litondo), a 84 year-old Kenyan man and former Mau Mau freedom fighter, who decides to join first graders in school when the government announces it will provide free primary education to all citizens. His motive being to be able to read, for himself, a letter from the government of unknown contents. Even when turned away several times, Maruge never gives up and eventually the head teacher, Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris), allows him in the class. However, this stirs up quite a bit of controversy as room in the schools are already limited. Maruge and Jane face the ugliness of politicians, journalists, angry villagers and thugs as they threaten to get in the way of Maruge right to learn.

Besides the heartwarming main story, the movie is full of Kenyan history. Throughout the movie, we are greeted with flashbacks about Maruge's tragic past when he was spent years in prison and endured endless torture when he was captured while fighting a war for independence against the British colonial occupants in the 1950s. It is a much more serious movie than I imagined. There was much violence in Kenya's past that affected many. The film is very enjoyable though and the characters are very likable. The actors were amazing! Though brilliant filming and editing, and many closeup shots, the director has managed to capture all the emotion that Litondo poured out through his eyes and posture. The audience really feels intimately for all that Maruge has gone through. Harris similarly warms up the screen with her portrayal of her character and provides a much needed contrast to the negativity of the other characters. Maruge's story is an inspiration and teaches a lesson to all that you are never too old to learn.

The First Grader is currently playing in select theaters.

The wolfpack is back! Set several years later after the first movie, we find out that Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married (the Vegas marriage didn't work out) to a sweet girl named Lauren. Not wanting to risk another incident like that last time, Stu tries to play it safe, forgoing the bachelor party and refusing to invite Alan (Zach Galifianakis). After some convincing from Phil (Bradley Cooper)and Doug (Justin Bartha), Stu finally relents and invites Alan and gang travels together to exotic Thailand for the wedding. The couple of nights before the wedding, the guys and Stu's fiancee convinces him to have just one drink at a bonfire on the beach with the guys and Teddy (Mason Lee), the bride's genius, cello-playing, younger brother. You just KNOW something awful will happen...and it does! Phil, Alan and Stu wake up to find themselves in a strange motel somewhere in Bangkok with a monkey and Teddy missing except for one of his fingers...With the wedding coming up fast, the three will have to take to the gritty streets of Bangkok to dodge drug dealers, canvas strip clubs and monasteries to find Teddy and get back in time for the wedding!

This movie is even more out there than the first one. The story has pretty much the same elements from the first movie - loss of memory, someone is missing, gangsters want money in exchange for their friend, that sort of thing but they top it by adding a lot of shock factor. It is hilarious! Plenty of laughs throughout the movie and the characters are as funny as always. These characters have amazing chemistry. Ken Jeong reprises his role as the crazy criminal Mr. Chow but I was most impressed by the monkey's acting! You'll love every moment Crystal the Monkey is on scene. And wow when they rated it R, they weren't kidding. There are many MANY instances of male genitalia on screen. A lot of jokes revolved around them too. Highly recommended if you want to relive the first movie and are in for some mindlessly fun humour.

The Hangover Part II is in theatres today Thursday, May 26, 2011!

I went hiking with my friends today on the North Shore. It was a very nice and sunny day and the view at the park was spectacular. It was quite fun and I worked up a sweat climbing up and down the trails. I'm slightly sunburnt now though. Ow. I lugged my camera through it all. There are a lot of interesting things growing in the park. At the lighthouse there is actually an area where they labeled all the native plants of the park. Pretty neat!



Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back and this time he is after the fabled Fountain of Youth but he's not alone in this regard. Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who is now working for the English monarch, is on a race to beat the Spanish to the fountain while the fearsome Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his first mate, Angelica (Penélope Cruz), a woman pirate from Jack's past, are also wanting to use the waters of the fountain to prevent an unfortunate prophecy from coming true. Jack finds himself forced onto Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge. After a failed attempt at mutiny and finding out that his ship, the Black Pearl, is being held captive by Blackbeard, he becomes an semi-unwilling guide to the crew, sailing through mermaid infested waters to the islands that house the Fountain of Youth. With each party wanting Jack to show them the way and each having only a part of the necessary components for the fountain to work, Jack will have to use all his wits to outsmart and outplay his enemies in order to get out of this mess alive and get back his ship.

Even after three installments, On Stranger Tides proves that Pirates is still popular. Pirate fans are sure to enjoy this latest Jack Sparrow adventure as the movie is much better than the second and third movies. Jack Sparrow's outrageous craziness has been dialed down to more manageable doses in this one. The screening was in 3D but like most 3D movies, there isn't enough effects that warrants paying more for it. Just stick to the regular version of the movie - you'll enjoy it more without having to worry about the stupid glasses. There are a lot of unanswered questions (some I can't get into without avoiding spoilers) - one of being what is that "X" on Jack's face?! I thought the movie would go into detail about it but it wasn't even mentioned! Overall the story was exciting and interesting and the acting was good. Jack Sparrow can never disappoint. I enjoyed watching the old characters as well as the new ones. Loved the relationship between the missionary Philip and Syrena, the mermaid. What can I say? I'm a Little Mermaid fan. Action, adventure, danger, sword-fighting, explosions, romance, mermaids, a few zombies and voodoo - these are a few things you can expect from the movie. Also remember to stay until the end of the credits!

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sails into theatres and IMAX this Friday, May 20, 2011.
Forks Over Knives is a documentary-type film, distributed by D Films Corporation, that follows along similar lines as in Super-Size Me and Food Inc. except with much more scientific evidence to back up its theories. The film promotes a wholistic plant-based diet (they don't like to be called Vegan) claiming that this diet will help halt, reverse or even cure many of the diseases that afflict a growing number of North Americans today such as hypertension and diabetes. Several scientists and doctors, especially Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, did independent studies and produced scientific evidence that it is the North American meat-centric processed foods diet and specifically the animal proteins that is the major cause of disease and cancer. Plant proteins on the other hand can reverse the damage done to the human body by the comsumption of animal proteins. The film covers the effects of fast food, high fructose corn syrup, the real cause of osteoporosis and interviews many people that have been brought back from the brink of death by adhearing to this diet.

The film is a feel good movie in a way and offers a lot of hope to people currently afflicted by disease nowadays. The whole premise that food can be used as medicine instead of pills, injections or open-heart surgery (hence the title) is a very appealing message to many people. It is not a new concept but one that is a hard sell in a society where the recommended foods we consume is controlled by the agricultural companies. Dr. Esselstyn's son, Rip Esselstyn, who was also in the movie, was at the screening and he did a Q&A afterwards. He is living proof that a fireman can eat only veggies and still be strong and fit.

The message in the film is very clear - eat natural and eat plants or run the risk of being disease prone can be a tad extreme - and there is no mention to how our sedatary lifestyle also contributes to our overall health. However, I agree that changing our diet is not very hard and it is better to eat less meat and more veggies than to go under the knife. The film was extremely well laid like a well written essay and very informative. There are a few laughs put in it as well. After seeing this movie, I probably won't stop completely eating meat (I didn't eat much to begin with) but will definitely look into more alternatives to animal protein.

Forks Over Knives is in select theatres on Friday, May 20, 2011.
Universal Pictures presents a hilarious comedy about the dynamic between bridesmaids which centres around Annie (Kristen Wiig), a sad single who's childhood best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), is getting married before her. Annie's mediocre life perks up somewhat when she is asked to be the maid of honour. She meets the other bridesmaids (Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) for the first time at Lillian's engagement party and takes an instant dislike to Helen (Rose Byrne), Lillian's other close friend who also wanted the job as maid of honor. The two start competing for Lillian's favour which often ends disastrously for Annie. Her friendship with Lillian is strained as her life spirals out of control dragging down her job as maid of honour with it. When Annie hits rock bottom, she'll have one chance to prove to Lillian and her bridesmaids she is capable of being her best friend and rebuild her life in the process.

Bridesmaids is about friendship, jealous and romance presented in a super funny way. It has many emotional and tender moments and will leave the audience feeling satisfied after leaving the theatre. All the relationships are beautifully played out - Kristen Wiig nailed her part as the broke, self-pitying friend driven by jealousy. All the bridesmaids have their own quirks and have very colourful personalities. Megan played by Melissa McCarthy, may be the oddest of the bunch. She is so eccentric but McCarthy manages to play the character with a straight face. Word of caution: if you want to be able to eat a sandwich again don't stay for the credits! Bridesmaids is a highly recommend watch especially for women but I'm taking a guess that men will also find the movie hilarious. If you want a guaranteed laugh, this is the movie to watch.

Bridesmaids is in theatres this Friday, May 13th, 2011.
Have you seen this? Kermit the Frog was at the black carpet premiere of the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides interviewing the cast and other guests. I love Kermit. He's so funny! Pirates will be release in theatres next week on May 20th. Kermit was also there to plug his new movie: The Muppets which will be coming out in November.
I was so lucky to win a pair of tickets to Game 5 of the Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators playoff game today, courtesy of The Cactus Club Cafe! Please follow them on Facebook and on Twitter! They are awesome! They were pretty sweet seats too - row 12, centre ice, right behind the players bench! I had a great time there. The crowd was just so intense and electric. We stood up and flung our towels for everything! It's so different from a regular season game.The green men were there too and they found a way to get away with the NHL ban on doing handstands by using a cardboard cutout! Hahahah! They are hilarious! Too bad the Canucks couldn't finish the Preds off today due to some unlucky/accidental goals. Kesler was awesome as usual, scoring 2 of our 3 goals! I took a lot of photos of him because he is what the fans want! Don't get me wrong, I still love Burrows...it's just he has some competition now. Hehehe. Go Canucks! Looking forward to Game 6!
The Happiness Truck was driving all around the Vancouver downtown area today and stopping periodically to give a little happiness to those who pressed the button (And who doesn't want to press a button that is labeled 'Push'?). These Kids Wear Crowns were also playing live in Robson Square and Coca-Cola gave out free bottles of coke to those who attended. Despite the rain and hail, there was a pretty good turnout. Wish I could have stayed longer but I found out that I had won a contest for Canucks tickets that very night and I had to pick them up at Cactus Club! Open happiness!

In France 1977, Suzanne Pujol (Catherine Deneuve) is the stay-at-home trophy wife of a rich man Robert Pujol (Fabrice Luchini) who runs the family umbrella factory with a tyrannical iron fist. When the workers, who are fed up their poor working conditions strike, he tries to deal with them with force only to be taken hostage. Suzanne enlists the help of former lover and communist mayor Maurice Babin (Gérard Dépardieu) and negotiates a truce. The stress causes Robert to hospitalized and with her husband indisposed, Suzanne is forced to manage the factory herself. To the surprise of everyone, she proves that she is a very capable woman and gets the factory up and running with better work conditions and even improving sales with the help of her artistic son and disbelieving daughter. However, the situation gets complicated when Robert comes back wanting to take over the factory again but now that Suzanne has been in control for several months, she realizes she is no longer content to live her life as a just a trophy wife!

Potiche, meaning trophy wife, is a French movie with English subtitles dealing with the subject of the women emancipation movement in the late 1970s. I really enjoyed the film! It was very funny and light even with such a serious topic. A lot of the jokes were about how the characters were so flippant about adultery though. The film even started with a pair of rabbits humping each other! Deneuve's character was so likable and she gave a great performance as the submissive trophy wife who left the shelf to pursue her independence. All the other actors did an amazing job as well. Funny and entertaining, this film is sure to delight audiences.