Movie Review: Zootopia (2016)

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Plot: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

Rating: 8/10

I was coerced into watching Disney’s powerhouse film, and I really loved it. It seems that animation is everywhere these days, and you know how I feel about that. I’ve already seen Hotel Transylvania 2 this year and Finding Dory, which exceeds my limit of one movie.

Anyway, Zootopia is actually really damn cute.  It has quite a clear message, they weren’t trying to give you any subliminal messaging here. I think that this film would appeal to very small children, because even though a movie like Inside Out appeals to grownups, it is generally over the younger audience’s head.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is an inspiring little bunny, no doubt about that. She is determined to be a cop, even though the other animals in her field are much larger and imposing. Her family, even though they really love her, believes it is a dangerous choice and that she won’t succeed, but that only makes her more determined.  Her wheeling, dealing and investigating with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) is funny and serves to provide some more lessons on how to just not be a silly racist and judge people by their stereotypes.

What else did I enjoy? You must be quite blind not to catch the Godfather reference – it was a scream and it was one of my favorite parts of the film. There is apparently a Breaking Bad reference in the film (I sadly haven’t watched the series yet), and I also really liked Gazelle, the very feisty springbok singer. Idris Elba as Chief Bogo was also hilarious – I loved how they made him exactly what you’d expect him to be.

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ZOOTOPIA – Pictured (L-R): Judy, Bonnie, and Stu Hopps. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

There went a lot of detail into this film – make sure to check the cups and wall paintings everywhere – it is so well thought out. So much to mention, I won’t even be able to mention it in one post. The sloths annoyed me a bit – gosh I really loathe slow things and they were sloooww. That is basically the only thing that went awry in this film, and the ending was just a bit drawn out and lost the plot somewhat.

I had a great time with Zootopia. Be sure to remember though that it is a very basic animation (even though the visuals are incredible) – this is actually just a lovely story for the kids, and the adults who have the patience to sit through it.

Series Review: Vampire Diaries Season 1

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What I liked:

  • Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert. It had to be a nearly impossible task to cast a beautiful woman in a “perfect girl” role and keep it on a level where people would still like her and not want to cut her up and sell her organs on the black market (that went really dark and violent, sorry). Nina Dobrev walks that line with seeming ease, because I don’t often want to murder her character out of jealous rage.

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  • How beautiful the cast is. Seriously, no-one is ugly. Even the hardcore-prototype-cop-mom Liz Forbes is beautiful. They all make me sick. But I need to watch them be beautiful.
  • It is very different from Twilight. This released in the height of the Twilight phenomenon and the only thing it took over was the animal diet and the walking in the sun thing. Elena is blessed with more personality than Bella ever was and the relationship she’s in is neither as controlling nor as oppressive as the Edward/Bella vibe. Also, no man falling in love with baby. There is even this delightful little snarky comment to it:
  • Damon Salvatore – the character, the actor, it all. Ian Somerhalder looks as uncomfortable in the first episode as I do at work birthday parties, but he grows into his character by the third or fourth episode. Everyone hates Damon in the beginning, especially with his killing spree that includes a teacher and his brother’s best friend. But what made Damon the way he is? It breaks my little soft heart all the time! Also, the eyes on Somerhalder makes that grief his grief relatable. YUM.

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  • The way the vampire’s eyes look when they change. It is ridiculously hot.
  • Lexi – gosh I loved that character. I can forgive so much from Damon but this is the one thing that I will always be angry at him for. Lexi is one of the only things that made Stefan happy, and Damon’s idea to kill her to cover himself and Stefan was really selfish. I absolutely love Arielle Kebbel, and she would have made the best addition to this show as a permanent cast member.

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  • Vampire Caroline. No one enjoyed Caroline as the preppy teenager, but becoming a vampire is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
  • Mason Lockwood. It boggles my mind that this man is engaged to Lady Gaga, really it does. I think the biggest problem between him and Damon was that they were both the same, and that the testosterone driven competitiveness just made them both idiots.

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What I didn’t like/wish they explored a bit more:

  • The pilot episode is quite bad for several reasons. The acting is first and foremost godawful. It improves over the course of season one, but that first 45 minutes is painful. Ian Somerhalder looks uncomfortable in his skin when he appears at the end of season one. Poor Caroline (honestly one of my favorite characters of the show) is presented as preppy and awful, and while she’s preppy, she’s not awful.
  • Vicky Donovan – I could never attach to the actress and I still can’t. I was glad when they killed her off. Sorry not sorry.
  • Kat Graham as Bonnie Bennett: what a weak and annoying character – you are a witch for Pete’s sake, grow a pair.
  • The whole crow arc that is in the books was touched on briefly and never really taken any further. It is a shame, because it could have been sufficiently creepy/eerie and is about the only thing that works in those terribly written books.
  • Stefan Salvatore is the Sam Winchester of his tribe. Whine whinewhine, blame humanity, whine some more. Ugh. Hearing his internal thoughts at the beginning of the episode makes me feel so violent. Though this scene worked wonders in redeeming the character… I mean oh my goodness.

Rating: 7/10

After a shaky pilot episode Vampire Diaries Season one is so much fun to watch. The characters have surprising depth, there are a few twists and turns that manage to be shocking. The level of teen drama is quite high and everyone is very dramatic, but it is really entertaining and rather intense.

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Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

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Plot: A secret government agency recruits a group of imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency, which inevitably leads to chaos.

Rating: 7/10

Suicide Squad has been the target of critics since it came out. I still decided to go watch it, because I’d been looking forward to and hoping for something a little different in the comic world. I ended up really enjoying it, so here’s my case below.

Things I liked:

The look: The neon colors inexplicably worked. I wouldn’t usually recommend it for a film, but it increased the super villainous feel of the film. I hear Die Antwoord feels that director David Ayer copied their style (I really fight against the notion that Die Antwoord are South-African, it’s too horrible to comprehend). Has anyone ever seen anything from them? Do you agree or disagree with them?

The soundtrack. OMFG frickin bananas. This soundtrack is EVERYTHING. I can’t tell you how much the music makes the film work, I really can’t. No one in their right mind would think that these songs could be combined and produce such a successful result, and yet it does. It is a combination of every good song that was made in the last few years, and I am so getting the CD when it comes out!

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Will Smith as Deadshot. I saw a really deep query somewhere questioning whether Will Smith was the character or if the character was Will Smith? I don’t know, but I can tell you that Will Smith was obviously prepared to pick this movie up and carry it himself if it was necessary. His acting is incredible in here, he left his awkward son at home this time and we’re all super grateful about it. The costume looks great, Smith injects humanity into a serial killer which should be impossible, and shines as the unofficial leader of the Suicide Squad. His role didn’t actually contain humorous content, but the way he stood up for himself and his team had some really funny moments in it.

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Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Robbie and Smith has been on the receiving end of all the positive feedback about this film, and it’s easy to see why on both accounts. Margot Robbie was impressive in the Wolf of Wallstreet, and her role in The Legend of Tarzan was a bit plain, but boy did she bring it to the table regardless of the material. Harley Quinn was the character that has been waiting for Margot Robbie to come along – she’s absolutely brilliant. She’s deranged, it is the only word accurate for Harley, and Robbie does an amazing job with her. It must have been tricky – she’s worth all the laughs and is the only female supervillian on the Squad – not an easy job to pull of both. She uses a baby voice, which is surprisingly not as grating as I thought it would be. As Smith does with Deadshot, Robbie manages to incite sympathy for her character – a woman who fell in love with a really really bad man.

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Which brings me to the bad man – The Joker, as played by Jared Leto. It’s an iconic role, and unlike Batman portrayals, The Joker has had consistently impressive portrayals. Does Leto stack up? For me? YES. I found him as deranged as his girlfriend (perhaps even more so). I think Leto did a good job. People are also angry that he wasn’t in the film as much as they wanted to see him, but I didn’t feel deprived. He is always lurking behind the scenes, his presence is there, and when he’s on screen he brings it like a complete professional lunatic. I’d actually really like a movie with more Joker and Quinn time, but ladies, PLEASE STOP SAYING YOU WANT A LOVE LIKE THIS, IT’S DERANGED AND ABUSIVE. SHEESH.

I can go on and on about the characters, because I liked them all except two (which I will mention below). I thought Jai Courtney was good as Boomerang. Can people give this poor man a break? You’d swear he’s the worst actor ever, which he certainly isn’t. He was really hilarious as Boomerang, and he looked scruffy and shady, and it was so funny. I also really liked Diablo – he was the only character who showed true remorse. Jay Hernandez looked scary and great and brought some great acting to the screen.

Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. I was so disappointed in “The Good Guys”. Everyone was a bit of a douchebag, some significantly more than others. Rick was such a good man in a bad situation, and he was making things work for him as best he could. He wasn’t exactly nice to the Squad, but he didn’t make a job to abuse them just for the fun of it.

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Cara Delevingne had a double role as The Enchantress and Dr. June Moore, the poor archaeologist who was possessed because she ripped an ancient statue’s head off. A few things went wrong with the villainy of this particular role, but their was nothing wrong with the acting or the casting – Ms. Eyebrows did a super job.

What I didn’t like:

Katana

On the characters, the only two I really didn’t like was Killer Croc – could anyone even hear what the guy was busy saying? I certainly couldn’t. The other was Katana – Talk about the most stereotyped character to ever reach the screen in 2016.

The harshness of Amanda Waller – I get that this woman is anything but stable, but let’s be real here – no one could sympathize with this loon. Viola Davis did an excellent job, but the character was too unsavory to even feel sorry for.

The Enchantress as the villain. As I’ve said, it has nothing to do with the casting. However, the implementation of the villain was weak, and I spent a good portion wondering why the hell there were petrol monsters to begin with.

The introduction of the characters. At its’ core, Suicide Squad is suffering because DC just doesn’t want to spend any time implementing their characters properly. I’ve refrained comparing DC to Marvel’s success in this post up till now, but I will only mention by the time Marvel launched the Avengers, they’d spent time developing characters. Is Aquaman and Wonder Woman dropping before Justice League? I would hope so – there needs to be memory for the audiences as to why the characters are doing what they are doing, not some random ten minute sequence into the characters when the movie starts.

Well, there you have it. I thought that there went a lot right with this film, and the negative hype is typical of critics. Are there flaws? Yes. Can this franchise continue? HELL YES.

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Book Review: The DUFF (Kody Keplinger)

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Plot: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Rating: 6.5/10

Things you need to know about this book:

The movie and the book are two different things. The producers essentially used the names of the main characters and little else. There is no Madison at all, Toby is one of the sweetest characters in the book and I’m pretty sure they changed her best friends’ names too.

The book is very teenagy. It’s not a bad thing, I actually enjoyed jt very much, but keep it in mind.

That said, this book isn’t for everyone. It is quick and easy reading, and is surprisingly dark about a few topics, but it definitely isn’t a book that is going to appeal to everyone.

Book or Movie? Surprisingly I prefer the movie more, a rarity for me. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, I just think the movie was better aimed at its’ target audience and had a lot more humor in.

The book is a bit optimistic about a few things, especially the return of Bianca’s father’s alcoholism. Perhaps it can happen that a person immediately snaps out of the relapse, but it is surely a rarity and I found it a bit ridiculous. Her reaction towards the divorce of her parents is also quite mellow, and it came across that the author didn’t want to invest time into this.

Are American teens really so promiscuous? I have always been a firm supporter when girls want to sleep around (cue: WANT). It is unfair that men can sleep with anyone they want to but women are judged harshly. I did feel a bit shocked though – the teens in this book is sleeping around freely and with everyone. Is this the norm or was it dramatized?? Am I still a bit of a prude? I don’t know, and I don’t really care, but that amount of free willy is a bit much to stomach.

This book was a whole lot of fun. It is super-fast and easy to read (I finished it in under eight hours across two days). It plays around with a lot of dark topics but doesn’t really get into it. I enjoyed whawt the book was telling us – someone might be absolutely perfect but if they aren’t compatible with you, it’s not going to work, and that a person’s actions are often not true to their real character.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Movie Review: The Wedding Planner (2001)

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Plot: Mary Fiore is San Francisco’s most successful supplier of romance and glamor. She knows all the tricks. She knows all the rules. But then she breaks the most important rule of all: she falls in love with the groom.

Rating: 5/10

A long time ago before Mathhew McConaughey starred in critically acclaimed projects like True Detective and that other horse movie everyone liked, he was involved in some romantic comedies, which, for a lack of a better phrase, sucked. The Wedding Planner is quite bad. I’m talking plot, I’m talking acting. I knew what would happen when Steven saved Mary – it was so damn obvious that he would be the fiancé of Fran. I really hate any movie where there is justified cheating involved. The Wedding planner at least didn’t stoop that low, and points to them for not writing Fran as a terrible woman, which somehow is enough reason in a film to justify her future spouse to cheat on her. What I mean to say is that at least The Wedding Planner did not stoop that low, because I would have not been impressed. For all his dubious actions, at least Steven only made his move after breaking it off with Fran (to be clear, only because Mary told him NO). There were a few scenes where Massimo was deliberately dumbed down, and I couldn’t help but feel a bit irritated – a different nationality and accent does not make you worthy of ridicule, American story writers! I also don’t want to say “Poor Judi Greer is Judi Greer again”, but it is true, and she’s so young here it was probably the first film where she was cast as the supportive best friend with a touch of ditzy. She will be my first choice to cast as a lead female if I ever get to write and produce a movie, because the woman has earned it. Her acting is most certainly better than that of Jennifer Lopez. I’m glad she left behind the urge she had in the early 2000s to be an actress, because while she’s impressive in her music genre, her talent certainly doesn’t pull through to acting.

Mostly, The Wedding Planner is a movie that makes you understand why its’ genre gets hated so much. Predictable, a little bit sexist and completely unbelievable, this film is better suited for the Dark Ages than it is for today

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Happy Women’s Day South-Africa: Top 15 Favorite Kick-Ass female characters on screen

Today is Women’s Day here in South-Africa. Over here we like public holidays quite a bit (although India has TWENTY ONE), so we are all having a day off today – Whoop!

To celebrate, I made a list of strong female characters on screen. I think we can all agree that there are too few well written, complex female characters, but these ladies below are amazing and did their job extremely well in their respective films!

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Fifteen: The Black Widow – Marvel movies

Female superheroes have increased marginally, and I am really happy about that. My only negative comment is that I am confused why female superheroes need to either wear skin tight leather suits or skimpy Wonder Woman outfits while their male counterparts wears aerodynamically pleasing outfits or war clothing. We have a far way to still go in this genre, but at least we can all agree that Natasha Romanoff kicks ass multiple times on screen and is a fully functional member of the squad. I really enjoy this character, and I think Scarlett Johannson has done a great job bringing her to the screen. It annoyed me a bit that her infertility was this massive discussion in one of the movies – the reproductive capability of her male teammates have never been discussed.

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Fourteen: Katniss Everdeen

Katniss as a character has many flaws – she is selfish and can’t choose between two men. While that is certainly a crime, I have never been able to really judge her too harshly for it. Her world is dark and horrible, and she has nothing wonderful. Turning away from the caring of a good man? It seems nearly cruel to expect her to do that.

But despite this obvious flaw, I really thought the character was badass and capable, and honorable to take her younger sister’s place in a situation where she was guaranteed her death.

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Thirteen: Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series

If this had been a literary list, Hermoine would have been much higher. Film Hermoine is great and Emma Watson did a good job with her, but my opinion remains that the film adaptions didn’t do justice to the sheer magnificence of the novels, on any level. Anyway, this isn’t a Harry Potter discussion, so I will just mention that Hermoine Granger is the reason those two boys stayed alive. She is strong, intelligent, fiercely loyal and brave, and her contribution to the wizarding world and the feminist cause must never be forgotten.

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Twelve: Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

When Legally Blonde dropped in 2001, every single person on this planet was charmed by Reese Witherspoon and the ditzy genius she created. There were tiny dogs, buckets of pink, manicures and textbooks, all in one film. I placed Elle Woods on this list because we too often forget that it is perfectly possible for a woman to love pink, to be girly and to be very determined, intelligent and capable all at one time. Another excellent thing in the film was that sisterhood won out in the end, and Warner Hungtinton the Third was booted on his ass.

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Eleven: Caroline Forbes, The Vampire Diaries

As the only series character to make it on to this post, you must know that I am very much team Caroline. Another pretty blonde girl who shows determination, loyalty and passion for life! In season one, Caroline works on your nerves pretty much incessantly. She’s insecure and whiny, and seems to be shallow and petty. However, the second she becomes a vampire and she realises that she will live an eternity in her own head, she gets a grip in such a remarkable fashion that I became her biggest fan.

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“I am no man”

Ten: Eowyn, Lord of The Rings

Perhaps the lady with the most iconic quote on the list, Eowyn, shield maiden of Rohan, is on first impression another lady who waits while her beloved father figure wastes away at the hand of the dastardly Wormtongue and her brother rides to war against orcs. It quickly becomes clear that this is a proud woman who was raised by warriors, and that she is simply tired of being left behind while those she loves die around her. She finds a way on to the battlefield, and if that chilling and rousing speech Theoden gives before his final ride isn’t enough, Eowyn steals everyone’s thunder by killing the leader of the Nazgul. She also gets her super happy ending at the end, which pleased me to no end.

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Nine: The Bride, Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino is a phenomenal film maker, and the roles he creates for women are legendary. The Bride is one such character, hell bent on revenge and making people pay for what was done with her. Uma Thurman brings this vengeful character to life with scary finesse, and even though this isn’t my favorite Tarantino film, the character itself is impressive as they come.

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Eight: Hit Girl, Kick-Ass

She’s super tiny, she swears like a sailor, she wears a bright purple wig and her father is Nicolas Cage. Who doesn’t love her? I was a major fan of both movies, and it would be amazing if they could make a third. Hit Girl is the best part of this franchise, showing that gender and size is insignificant when it comes to being a bad ass.

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Seven: Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The horror when Disney bought Star Wars was paramount. Everyone was sure it would be a disaster, and no one could even get a moment of sleep due to the inordinate amounts of stress this franchise was causing in their adult lives. LUCKILY, Disney actually ended up doing a great job, and introduced a bunch of new characters that were able to flow nicely with how things had been done in the past. One of the best new additions was Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, a survivor and a strong female character who can do things for herself. I really enjoyed this character – she is a fantastic blend of purity and strength and was wonderful and empowering to watch.

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Six: Rita Vrataski, The Edge of Tomorrow

A nice little situation of role reversal, Emily Blunt was a hardened war veteran who saved Tom Cruise’s ass REPEATEDLY from aliens. I loved the character – she was sassy, strong, smart and the heroine of the day.

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Five: Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale

Did you also just rub your heart because of the pain that shot through it when Vesper was mentioned? It HURTS. Vesper is hands down the best Bond girl that has ever been onscreen. Her sharp brain kept her well equipped to banter with Bond, and her eventual control over Bond ripped out my heart. The fact that Casino Royale is the best Bond film out there certainly helps, but this character in herself is powerful and strong and determined, attributes that were completely left out during the writing process for the other female characters over this incredibly long franchise.

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Four: Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

I mentioned in my review of Jurassic World that it felt awful to realize that Dr. Ellie Sattler, who was in the very original Jurassic Park in NINETEEN NINETY THREE was a better, well written and strong female character than the running-in-heels-Bryce-Dallas-Howard. Dr. Ellie Sattler, played by Laura Dern, is super smart, professional, excels in her field and gets to see Dinosaurs in JP. I have loved and admired this character from my childhood till now, and I am eternally grateful to the writers that they allowed this strong character to see the light.

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Three: M, The Bond Franchise

Dame Judi Dench is literal life goals. She is classy, successful and revered, and a girl can just dream to be her when she grows up. M is Bond’s boss, the only person who can try to control him, and their relationship is amazing and complex. I love the power of M, and Judi Dench is incredible to behold as this woman who puts her country above everything in her life.

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Two: Furiousa, Mad Max

Homegirl Charlize Theron teamed up with Tom Hardy in the return of Mad Max, and what a job she did. Furiousa is powerful and intense, and her survival skills in the mad world she finds herself in is incredible. The film should have been titled Furiousa, as it is about her and how she helped the wives escape from that dreadful man. The entire film is one big celebration of sisterhood and sticking together, and I could only cheer on the women as they battled for their freedom.

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One: Shoshanna Dreyfus, Inglorious Basterds

The final accolade was difficult to award, because all of the ladies on here are amazing. However, I do think that Shoshanna is worthy, and that her role in Inglorious Basterds is incredibly important. I loved her – her courage and determination, her absolute hatred of anything Nazi, and her eventual success at revenge.

Well, there you have it. There are hopefully a million other female characters that can be mentioned by you below, and I look forward to seeing your opinions!

July 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Gosh I’m glad it’s August! I am over the cold in Johannesburg. For reals man. July was a pretty decent month. I got to see my bestie, and even though the circumstances weren’t that great, I am grateful that I at least got to spend some quality time with her.

Personally I think my eyes finally cleared with a few people in my life – there is a certain level of selfishness I can’t tolerate, and this person finally reached it. I should have cut ties ages ago, but when I bond to someone, you really have to nuke me out of it. Well, I’ve been nuked.

Hmm, what else? I’ve had a couple of hectic weekends and it reflected on my scarcity on my blog, which always happens and always frustrates me. I’m going to do my very best to post more often, as it makes me super happy.

And here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching and reading. Enjoy, and tell me below what you’ve been up to🙂

Watched:

At home:

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The Proposal

I saw this film before I opened this blog, and I have always thought that it was an okay film. I actually really enjoyed this so much when I watched it again. Queen Sandra Bullock and a very young and adorable Ryan Reynolds certainly make an interesting couple onscreen, and I thought the dialogue and hysteria was spot on and funny in the film.

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The Wedding Planner

Oh, Maththew McConaughey has a few gems under his belt before he started being all badass in things like True Detective and that other horsey movie that everyone liked. This is a boogy, definitely, and it was silly enough that I got quite annoyed. There were a few pros, which I will mention when I review the film soon, but let it be noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fantastic singer (for her genre) but acting should never be part of her repertoire.

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Valentine’s Day

VD worked well, and it is surprising because the film is packed with actors and actresses, and that rarely works. Mostly it is just a situational feel good film, but there is nothing wrong with that!

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Runaway Bride

I’m on such a Gary Marshall/Julia Roberts run, it is not even funny. They do seem to be a dream team, because when they get together there always seems to be some romantic comedy as a result that is actually enjoyable to watch. Between this and Pretty Woman I enjoyed Pretty Woman much more, but I definitely liked this.

Skyfall

I already reviewed here, and if you haven’t read it yet, rest assured that I really liked this Bond film. It’s my second favorite after Casino Royale, and I must say, I am really surprised how much I’ve enjoyed all these films.

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The Ugly Truth

It’s really ugly, and it’s really bad. The awful dialogue results in awful acting, I’m not really blaming our leads here at all, it’s just a shit film with crap writing and is as believable as anything Donald Trump says.

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27 Dresses

JAMES MARSDEN. You have no idea the amount of hilarity this man causes in my family. I really like him, but his dress sense in this film was absolutely awful. Like, AWFUL. It is also a depressing movie – I will shoot myself before I’m a bridesmaid 27 times, it’s just not right or fair. I love our girl Katherine Heigl in here, and thought there were pretty good moments between the rapid romances and problems being solved easily.

In Cinema:

The Legend of Tarzan:

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I reviewed this one here. It’s man candy season in this film. I’m not gonna lie. However, it isn’t nearly as bad as the trolls want you to believe, and I am still calling it the most pleasant surprise of 2016.

Series:

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Vampire Diaries Season 4

I finally switched it back on! It was a time issue, not because I’m struggling to watch it. It is still quite a solid show, but there are a few dips, something that probably can’t be helped when you travel this far into a show. I’ll post all the reviews once I’m done watching, then I can do them consecutively across a couple of weeks : )

Books read:

The Obsession – LOVED this!

Honest Illusions – It was okay – review here

Currently reading:

I’m actually in the middle of way too many books! I am reading Twilight again (the shame, I know) and I am definitely enjoying it more than Blood Bound (Rachel Vincent). I can promise you, when I get through this book, the review will be up here in no time and it will be a bad one – this book is so stupid. It is taking me ages to get through it, a damn shame because it is supposed to be a quick read.

So there it is – I am way behind on everything in life at the moment, but at least I got to do see and read some great material! What have you been up to?

Movie Review: Rock n Rolla (2008)

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Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.

Rating: 7/10

I enjoyed this film. A Guy Ritchie film remains a Guy Ritchie film and he generally brings the goods to the table. Rock n Rolla has a specific tailored feel that I spotted in Ritchie’s recent The Man from U.N.C.L.E as well. The dynamic between One Two (Gerard Butler), Tom Hardy (Handsome Rob) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) is great, and when Handsome Rob’s sexuality is revealed, things get really hilarious. Thandie Newton manages to be a cold hearted bitch and still work it throughout. She was amazing to watch. I also love some Mark Strong anywhere. He was so much fun. The plot was a bit vague to me – the painting is definitely at the center of everyone’s problems and the drama its’ disappearance causes. It is a good film, rather lighthearted and if you prefer some class and sass in one film, give it a go. I much prefer The Man from U.N.C.L.E to this, but RnR was a pretty decent watch.

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Book Review: Honest Illusions (Nora Roberts)

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Plot: The daughter of a world-renowned magician, Roxy Nouvelle has inherited her father’s talents—and his penchant for jewel thievery. Into this colorful world comes Luke Callahan, an escape artist who captures her heart—and keeps secrets that could shatter all her illusions…

Rating: 7/10

After the immense enjoyment of The Obsession, I quickly plotted devious ways to get my hands on this book. I thought it was a new release by Roberts, but it sadly turned out to be a reprint of one of her very old book. It wasn’t bad though, but I did feel a bit bereft.

My biggest issue with this book was how long it took to get to the main story. It is naturally important to provide a bit of backstory on any set of characters, because how else would anyone ever root for them? I do think that three hundred pages of portraying the past amounted to a bit much though.

Luke and Roxy made an entertaining pair, and despite my bitching about the large past, I loved how they grew up with each other and couldn’t stay apart. I really also liked the supporting characters, especially Roxy’s father, with Mouse and LeCerq being their family and friends too.

It seemed a bit preposterous that the villain managed to become a US Senator after being a young criminal on the streets, but I’m not going to go too much into that as believably isn’t something I insist on in light reading (lol)

The book was good, but I do think that the author wasted a lot of ink on the growing up phase of our two character’s lives. It’s eventual conclusion lacked drama, which sucked, and I thought we deserved a more bitter ending for Sam Wyatt. Pfft.

Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)

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Plot: Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Rating: 8/10

CONTAINS SPOILERS

It’s going to be really silly to say again that I love Daniel Craig as James Bond, because I do, but I mention it every time. Anyway, the man is so prime you know? The eyes, the attitude, the suits. Skyfall introduces a broken Bond – he’s simply lived too long and seen too much at this point, and it is catching up with him in a bad day. For him a close call with death is in his daily routine, but after being shot by Moneypenny, he allows himself to be presumed dead for a few months to give himself some time to recover, and only returns when there is big drama in England and his loyalty to his country forces him too.

M is as enigmatic as ever, a power clad iron lady that rules the secret service. The relationship between Bond and M is fascinating, alternating between a very twisted mother and son dynamic, a questionable work relationship and a long standing friendship.

The death of M and Bond’s reaction was a really hard blow to stomach – they had a complex and interesting relationship, one of the few that lasted in Bond’s life. I loved M – especially because it is Judi Dench and only an actress of her capability could have shown so effectively that she would always remember her role to put her country first, and her humanity second – the hard choices she had to make with both Silva and Bond clearly highlighted that.

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I really friggin loved Eve Moneypenny. She is so smart and the banter between her and Bond is good for the soul. Naomi Harris was an excellent choice for the role – intelligent, uber British, sassy and pretty.

Then there is the incomparable Ralph Fiennes. I love the man – he has such a diversity to anything he does and he is simply incapable of being in a mediocre role, simply because of his capability to make everything he does exceptional. I loved him as the good voice of reasonable reason – he wasn’t being a tool and underhanded for personal gain, he was simply doing his job and dealing with the fallout of a failed mission.

Daniel Craig;Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem joined Mads Mikkelson as some of the better (excellent) villains of the Craig era of Bond. He was an impressive villain, and gave way to one of the creepiest scenes in the film. The blonde hair is still the worst decision for him ever, but it suited the creepiness of the character. I also really liked the angle that Raoul Silva was an ex CIA operative and the reasons behind his vengeful quest, as well as how eerily calm he was. The method to his villainy incorporated the new modern technology its reach of power.

Ben Whishaw as Q was ridiculously cute. He had this nerdy confidence based on that while Bond would do well in the field, he was the guy making it all work out behind the scenes. He is VERY adorable in that nerdy way, not in a Bond way, but still good. The incorporation of Mallory, Eve Moneypenny and Q seemed nearly seamless in execution, without it being rushed or forced.

Anyway, that is it from me – Skyfall is worth the watch and great entertainment. It is Bond, but not Bond – women have been treated increasingly less as objects in the Craig era, and that is something that can definitely be attributed to Daniel Craig himself, a staunch feminist that has had issues that side with Bond since the start. It shows in Skyfall, where the leading women are Moneypenny and M, and both are equal and perhaps even superior to Bond himself. For that I can simply salute this film!

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