Series Review: Downton Abbey Season 6 (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

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Rating: 9/10

It is a very well-known fact that I own the title to the biggest Downton Abbey fan that has ever lived. I adore everything about the show – how very British everything is, a look back into a lost era and the class systems. That and the excellent costume design, dramatic sequences and veiled sarcasm that only the British can manage? The show was designed for me. Downton Abbey came around at a time where I was desperately tired of the vulgarity of shows like Game of Thrones – yes, shoot me, I know there is an enormous fan base, but is anyone else tired of it? It has no class and it has no style and senseless violence.

Anyway, now that I’m done sounding like a pompous little prick, let me tell you what I loved about Season 6 of Downton Abbey. Clue: Nearly everything.

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What I liked:

Anna and Bates. These two have had so many plights throughout the show that I’d been thoroughly exasperated at the end of Season 5. Like can they just stop being accused of killing people or stealing or whatever?! Sheesh. The season ended so sweet for them that this I was willing to cry of happiness for them. I was.

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Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes. Everyone knew they should marry because Mrs. Hughes is the only one on earth that can sass Mr. Carson right back. I loved this entire story arc and they managed to pull it off in such a way that it wasn’t fake or annoying and just seemed so lovely that two people could find love nearing the end of their lives.

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Edith and her Bertie. Oh, Edith. How you’ve grown on me. Arguably the most beleaguered character ever, frequently by her own design, but Edith Crawley somewhere grew a backbone and received a purpose in life. I loved her Bertie too – here was a man tailor made for her, kind, caring, and could properly assess the complexity of her relationship with her surviving sister. Their wedding is the most romantic thing I’ve seen since Mary and Matthew’s wedding SOB SOB SOB.

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Mary’s incredibly attractive new counterpart, Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode). Where has this man been all my life?! Mary made me so angry. I’ve always been a Mary fan but when she nearly messed up Edith’s life (AGAIN), I was legitimately pissed at her. In my mind the best version of Mary will always be the woman she was when she was married to Matthew, but I found that Henry Talbot had all the wonderful characteristics of my beloved Matthew and could influence her as well. And I reiterate – Matthew Goode is so beautiful.

The darling boy they cast as Matthew Crawley’s son – it ripped out my still bleeding heart but that child could really be the child of Dan Stevens.

Tom returning – let’s face it, everyone loves Tom the most.

How perfectly happy everything ended. Some people will roll their eyes at how tidily every arc was wrapped up and how everyone got their happiness.

I’m mentioning Edith’s wedding again. The happiness. The romance. How deserving she was of her big moment.

The new puppy – awwwwww

What I didn’t like:

Spratt and Denker. I don’t know why these two got so much time in the show. Their quarrels were annoying and silly and it really grated on me.

Daisy. The character has always been a hit and miss for me but she truly grated on my nerves in the final season. She comes across as an ungrateful and immature child, and I just wanted to smack the petulance out of her.

That big fright with Lord Crawley’s health scare. DON’T DO THAT TO ME AGAIN, DOWNTON.

Well, there you have it. My favorite show has come to an end. I will always rewatch this show and even though I am sad that it has ended, I applaud Julian Fellows for stopping while they were ahead. Gosh Downton, I’m going to miss you.

 

Life Lately: February 2016

February

So, February. I am totally okay that you are here. January wasn’t even bad, but it was the trial month for the year and I am happy to get things in full speed right now.

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#100HappyDays: This project is still ongoing, and I am still enjoying it. There are days where I struggle to find things to post about, so the challenge proves its’ point: you need to be able to find something happy daily regardless of how small it might seem to you.

Blog: I am actively considering renaming my blog. I’m not going to say what the title is going to be right now, because someone might nab it before I have it set up, and then I will be mightily upset with whoever it is. (#paranoid). I DO like the sound of it and have run it by my confidantes, who agree. I just want to work out the logistics of things before I go full speed into it.

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Reading: I somehow misplaced my darling Big Magic book. I am so peeved. I need to finish reading it and then I need to gush on here about it. Like, WHY universe? I will find you book! I also started with The Longest Ride. It is written by Mr. Soppy himself, Nicholas Sparks. It’s part of my book reading list for this year and I just want to get cracking on it.

Blindspot: This is officially in disaster mode. I swear I have such affinity for ignoring the fuck out of deadlines. Each. And. Every. Time. I looked around a bit for copies of what I need to watch, gave up pretty quickly, and am now stuck. ANYWAY, I’ll get watching soon and be posting ALL THE REVIEWS.

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Series: Goodness. Finally got around to Arrow. The acting. Erm. It is… SPECTACULAR? The plot is good enough, the acting and the effects are just a bit hilarious tbh.

Tinder: I should seriously get up a few posts on my experience over there. Let’s just say restraining orders and a dictionary are things I want to get for some of the guys I’ve spoken to.

Unisa: Studies and assignments, here I come. Now that I know what to expect for the practicals, I am really excited for that too. Just still so disgusted with Unisa that they mess around with their students so badly.

Being healthy: I’m really excited about this. I’ve said from the start I am not going to starve or deprave myself, and I certainly won’t be following any Fad diets. I just want to find a way of lifestyle that is maintainable as well as healthy. I’m getting there. The hardest right now is the sugar. I’ve cut it out that I’m about 98% sugar free in whatever I consume. I’m still growling at hidden sugars. They are the reason I have trust issues. Moving on. I plan to write about my revelations about changing your eating habits, and what myths I’ve come to believe and not believe about losing weight. I can tell you if you use the word “diet”, I don’t like it. It contains about as much positive reinforcement as the phrase “New year’s resolutions”. Sure, lifestyle change sounds way pompous, but if it isn’t a lifestyle change, it’s not going to work. BOOM.

Tinder. I hope to get up some posts about his experience in the next two weeks. It is just the right time of year for all the romantic fools out there.

Excited for:

Literally ALL THE WEDDINGS. I have two weddings and an engagement party in March and another wedding, bachelorette and kitchen tea in April.

How to be single – this looks so great

DEADPOOL!

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Movie Review: Anna Karenina (2012)

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Plot: In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.

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Rating: 5/10

This post today is going to be written in bullet points, because I am simply too disappointed in the film to write out complete sentences.

Things I did not like about this film (and it is a lot):

  • It was a complete and utter waste of my time. Ugh. I will never have the two hours and odd minutes back that I allotted to this.
  • It is confusing, and not in that nice intelligent way where everything makes sense eventually, but in that way where you get to the end of the film and you are still like “what the fuck was that?” and like I said, not in a good type of way.
  • The directing. I get the angle they took here, trying to emultate that the film originates from a theatre production. The only thing they achieved this way was to ensure that the film never gelled.
  • The absolute complete lack of Russian accents. This is a film about Russians, right? Because it was British accents everywhere, and it is not something I usually complain about, but sheesh, the film is about a Russian lovestory.
  • The fact that this is NOT a love story. It is a story about two exceptionally selfish people who did not think for one second the impact their “love” would have on the world. Selfish and petulant, Anna Karenina deserves no sympathy. Although I do take into account how hard it must have been to have married someone proper rather than someone you love, it does not justify cheating on your very sweet husband and ignoring the child you claim to desperately love.
  • Aaron Taylor Johnson’s ridiculous moustache. I mean have you EVER?
  • Keira Knightley. She’s a hit and miss for me if I have to be perfectly honest. The problem is her adeptness to portray extremely unlikable characters, exactly like she did in Anna Karenina. Anyone who does that with such excellence must have some fundamental flaws. I love Knightley in Pride and Prejudice but her role in Never Let Me Go is enough to put you off her for life, let me assure you. Karenina is as well. There is simply no way I can justify her behavior by claiming she loved her lover.

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What I did like:

  • Jude Law’s character and performance. I do not understand why such a handsome man would ugly himself up so deliberately, but I truly found the character and portrayal without fault.
  • Alicia Vikander and Domnhall Gleeson, their love and the work they achieved. These two actors deserve so much praise. I really do like them a lot and find them extremely talented. Their love story in here is certainly better for Gleeson’s character than what happened in Ex Machina (hehehe) and how perfectly they ended up together and suited each other.

The film is a bunch of overdramatic nonsense and main characters that do not deserve any sympathy whatsoever.

#100HappyDays: Days 31 – 37

Happy Monday everyone! Back today with my weekly updates on the #100HappyDays challenge. So far, so good.

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Day 31:

I… bought shoes again. Oops. Actually they just jumped into my car window and I had to take them home. What’s a girl to do?

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Day 32:

Had this delicious halloumi salad at work. It was so NOM.

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Day 33:

Had a lovely run at the Kliprivier Nature Reserve and some thinking time with a friend.

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Day 34:

These clouds while I was running. Sometimes it is so wonderful to realize how insignificant the human race is.

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Day 36:

So. I started drinking herbal teas instead of a straight dose of caffeine through the day. It hasn’t been easy, but rooibos is delicious and it makes life somewhat better. I’m not completely insane and am still drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. But. I might growl at people in the afternoon due to severe lack of caffeine.

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Day 37:

Spent the day with a lovely bride to be, celebrating, and eating way too many fudge brownies. I am not eating ANYTHING next week. Okay, I’ll eat. But not brownies.

What made you happy the past week?

PS: Did you pick up the mistake?

Movie Review: Wedding Crashers (2005)

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Plot: John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, a pair of committed womanizers who sneak into weddings to take advantage of the romantic tinge in the air, find themselves at odds with one another when John meets and falls for Claire Cleary.

Rating: 8.5/10

I watched Wedding Crashers for the first time a few nights ago. I know! It is terrible that I haven’t seen it yet! I really had the best time with it. The movie actually contains so much that I would usually find annoying – the two main characters are such womanizers, there are cliches and stereotypes everywhere, and the humor is often below the belt. Yet the Wedding Crashers worked – it was done with such a good feel that I couldn’t help enjoy it. I think Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson made an excellent comedic pair, and that Rachel McAdams and Isla Fischer made excellent counterparts. Christopher Walken and Bradley Cooper are also both really hilarious and Jane Seymore as the crazy mama made me laugh on a few occasions. The movie is well paced and ends before things become drawn out, and you all know I really do appreciate it. I wish more comedies could reach this level of bawdy and hilarity. I would definitely watch comedy more often then!

Wedding Crashers

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Movie Review: The 5th Wave (2016)

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Plot: Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother.

Rating: 7/10

I’m really still quite surprised dystopian / YA is making it on to the big screen. During the vampire craze the only vampires that really made it onscreen was the bunch from Twilight. I guess that speaks as highly for the content of the YA adoptions as it does of its fans. It’s been shaky at times but that was clearly either because the movie was done so badly (like Vampire Academy, but since that has become my guilty pleasure I won’t say too much), or the fans couldn’t really care very much (Beautiful Creatures, which I won’t watch, because I hated the book)

Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb has been really mean to this movie. It has extremely low ratings on both and I can’t understand why after seeing it. It has a few predictable plot twists and feels like it stole some ideas from other franchises, but it is generally a good film and I found a number of things to enjoy about it.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays lead female character Cassie Sullivan – a teenage girl thrust into the apocalypse when her biggest problem the previous day was catching the attention of Ben Parish (Nick Robinson), high school jock and general cutie. You are treated to a series of flashbacks that aim to tell you what happened to earth, who the extraterrestrial force might be, and what the 5th Wave will be – the last in a series of waves that will succeed in wiping out humanity.

The flashbacks does its job, but as with all Dystopian works it can’t possibly hope to cover enough to even make sense. It is not terrible offensive though, because you end up understanding what’s important and rooting for your main characters.

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“I am young innocent child and you must protect me!” – every YA child, EVER

The 5th Wave has what it needs – the young and vulnerable character that needs to be protected – Sammy Sullivan, played by Zachary Arthur (at least they didn’t choose Art Parkinson AGAIN), the loving parental figures that will ten-to-one be meeting their maker, the stern military figure who you can never be sure to trust or not, played by Liev Schreiber and even the sad love triangle (though not annoying in the first installment, but definitely going to escalate moving forwards).

The Aliens inside a human tricking you into trusting them is really the Host style. It also has some links to the Hunger Games and many other dystopian novels, but the story isn’t bad and even vaguely interesting. It does seem a bit lazy from the authors to constantly choose glob-aliens – give them tentacles or something but make it more interesting.

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I did enjoy the cast though. Chloë Grace Moretz is always a win according to me, since she’s eternally loved as our Kick-Ass heroine. I am not overly fond of children in movies, but Zachary Arthur didn’t annoy me too much and that is always a compliment. I also thought that Nick Robinson was quite good, and genuinely looked like a teenager – they get so preposterous with casting grown men as teenage boys sometimes. I did enjoy Liev Schreiber, who plays the cold military man very well. Evan Walker, played by Alex Roe, was well… well. Let’s just say I really enjoyed every scene he was in. Goodness. It is also pretty great seeing Maika Monroe in here and thoroughly unrecognizable to boot. Let me know if you spotted her!

Fifth-Wave

… and another one

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The 5th Wave won’t be the greatest film of 2016 or the greatest dystopian adaption (which remains with the Hunger Games), but it doesn’t deserve all the tongue thrashing it received. I hope the rest of the series is made because I will watch it if it does. I am definitely going to give the books a try, and give you some feedback on it!

Have you seen the film? Any thoughts?

#100HappyDays: Day 25-30

Yoyoyo.

We’re back! Welcome to the mundane existence of your work week. I DO hope it is a fantastic one. Here is the continuation of my #100HappyDays challenge. It is coming along very nicely but I must say it has become challenging to keep on. It takes dedication and recording, and I can really suck at both. Well, here we go!

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Day 25:

I really like my family. They drive me insane as all family’s do, but I do love them quite a lot. Pictured here from my birthday dinner for immediate family was my sister, brother in-law, younger sister and her boyfriend, myself and my mama too.

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Day 26:

The cafeteria was closed for lunch so I had a packet of NickNacks for lunch. Although not the end of the world, it did feel like breaking my diet, and I made sure to go for a run when I got home. I was entertained by some beautiful skies while jogging leisurely through our complex.

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Day 27:

Reading some Nora Roberts, even though my 2016 reading list was waiting for me.

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Day 28:

Got some lovely thoughtful gifts from a friend as a belated birthday gift, which is always awesome when you are reminded that people that you spend time with remember your dreams, as well as registering for a parkrun

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Day 29:

Went for the parkrun (I really need to document these things). The 5km was not easy, I’m not going to lie, but I enjoyed the vibe thoroughly. I went for a movie and dinner with my little sister, and that, and the pictured cappuccino, made for a pretty decent Saturday.

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Day 30:

Had a nice family braai at my sister’s house. We have changed so much and it is great – usually our plates would have been filled with carbs and meat, but we actively choose salads these days!

What made you happy this week?

Links I Love III

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Happiest of Fridays, everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, so I thought it was high time. Hope you enjoy!

9 Quotes from Kurt Vonnegaut

This cat that looks like Adam Driver. Dead.

If Movie Titles were honest (Cracked)

9 Wise Words from JRR Tolkien (wordables have been upping their game this week!)

The 17 Funniest Tweets about Grammar (Buzzfeed)

As always, the 20 Funniest Tweets by Women this week (Huffington Post)

If Disney Characters were on Instagram (buzzfeed)

8 Tiny things that stopped suicide (Cracked)

Well, there you have it. If there is anything you thought was great from the shady internet, let me know and I’ll go check it out.

Movie Review: Play it Cool (2014)

Plot:

Play it cool poster

Plot: Unrequited love motivates a guy to write about his experiences.

Rating: 4/10

Sometimes I am so inspired when I write reviews. I feel like I’ve been completely present in the film, that the acting was good and that the storyline had a point. It is not only during serious stuff like The Godfather or Inglorious Basterds, it happens with romantic movies like Age of Adaline too. Then I get to movies like Play it Cool, and afterwards I don’t even want to talk about it more because it is too terrible to talk about. What can I possible say about this rom-com that is the worst example in its genre? I could possibly mention two leads who are relatively decent actors anywhere else yet somehow got roped in to do this mind numbingly boring movie? Did they have too many bills to pay that month? I can’t imagine Chris Evans not getting enough cash from being the Cap to cover his bills, but maybe he does things we don’t know of. It is possible anyway. I could mention that the film’s writers thought that the storyline: I’m-in-a-relationship-with-a-good-man-but-now-want-to-bang-random-hottie-because-I-have-issues had not yet been fully told and needed to be written again, but this time with a satirical angle, because let’s face it, that has also NEVER been done before. I could mention that if Michelle Monaghan’s smile could save a movie or Chris Evans’ all American looks could make a film redeemable, it still wouldn’t have saved the film. But I won’t, because this film isn’t worth it.

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PS: I will naturally ONLY forgive Chris Evans if he kisses me like that. DUH

#100HappyDays: Days 17-24

Waddup, lovely people? Here is a run down of my happy challenge for days 17 – 24. Lessons learned: I have a serious shoe problem and I like my birthday. Enjoy!

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Day 17:

New coloring pens to add to my growing stash and further this unhealthy addiction, new beige heels for work and new large sunnies (just watch the amount of shoes I bought this week… #addiction)

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Day 18:

This show. I hope to have a review up this week. But. This Show. I was in floodgates at the end. I need it to be a movie too. Please Julian Fellows, please.

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Day 19:

Here’s to family and friends that became family. Life would be pretty lonely without you.

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Day 20:

Sad that I didn’t get to photograph my bare burger, but I had one as well as sweet potato chips, and… it wasn’t that bad.

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Day 21:

Boots, the resident feline, being all super adorable and sleeping just as he pleases.

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Day 22:

Coming in as the second pair of new shoes bought, I found these teal shoes on a sale. And everyone knows if it’s on a sale it’s actually SAVING money, not spending it.

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Day 23:

Hanging with my bestie (I was really hanging there), on her last day in Johannesburg. It was a fantastic and highly entertaining visit, bestest! see you soooon.

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Day 24:

Birthday vibezzzz. (sorry, had to include all those ZZZZs). I took the day off to just relax, got myself a nice breakfast, shopped a bit (third pair shoes and DVDs, took some notes, as well as the lovely watch I got from mom and necklace from sister.

Well, there you have it! What makes you happy??