Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Max Max poster

Plot: A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in post apocalyptic Australia in search for her homeland with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshiper, and a drifter named Max

Rating: 8.5/10

YASSSS. I finally got around to watching it, and let me tell you, it was so worth the watch. 2015 has not been the most cinematically pleasing year, but Mad Max: Fury Road was one of the movies that worked.

Fury Road is just an insane car chase across the desert but it works really well. Tom Hardy as titular Max and Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiousa and their plight to save the Wives from Immortan Joe keeps you nailed to whichever seat you are sitting on for two hours straight.

Mad Max 1

What worked the best? Is it the absolutely brilliant soundtrack? Is it the fantastic warfare depiction? The desert that has become the world? The Pro-Feminist movement with Furiousa and the Wives with their “We are not things!” ? Perhaps it is Tom Hardy as Max – the guttural grunting, the short sentences, the craziness. It might be Nux, whose fanaticism manages to be both scary and hilarious.

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Mad Max starts with breakneck speed and never slows down. It rushes from insanity to insanity, never stopping to draw a breath. The costume and set design is fantastic and furthers the insanity – the only remotely soft thing in here are the wives and they are so determined to escape or die trying that it is only their appearances that are soft.

The villain, Immortal Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) is disgusting and terrifying – I did not blame his wives in the least for escaping. He is cruel, he is malicious, he enjoys keeping water from his desperate little city. His lieutenants and cronies are as disgusting as he is and it completely crushes the popular trend that villains should at least be pleasing to the eye in some way.

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Then, and you all knew I would get to this – Imperator Furiousa is the QUEEN OF EVERYTHING. She is the most resilient, kick-ass action character that has graced the screen in years, she fearless leads the show and she is the one true main character. Tom Hardy does a fantastic job, but despite having his character as the “main” character, Max is continuously outshone by Furiousa – and it is justifiable.  The Wives, lead notably by  The Splendid Angharad (Rosie Hungtinton-Whitley) are being saved, but they aren’t the expected damsels in distress. They are just as fearless in their pursuit to survive and willing to do what is needed to escape Joe.


Mad Max: Fury Road, is certainly one of the best movies of 2015 and one of the most outstanding action films in recent years. It’s grown-up, it doesn’t follow Hollywood’s usual movie development and never stops with its insanity. It was a thrilling joy to watch and I will definitely do it again – if you haven’t, I suggest you give it a try!

MAd MAx 4


Book Review: Enchanted (Nora Roberts)

enchanted poster

Plot: Lovely, guileless Rowan Murray felt drawn to brooding Liam Donovan with a power she’d never imagined possible. And his breathtaking kisses convinced her he felt the same. But she soon realized her darkly enigmatic neighbor was as elusive as the mysterious wolf she’d seen lurking about her cabin. Liam was tormented by indecision. He understood he had no right to love Rowan, knowing what lay ahead. But the allure of her beguiling innocence overpowered his will until he could resist no longer. And he knew, if he was ever to make Rowan his, he had no chance but to reveal his incredible secret.

Rating: 6.5/10

The books in the Donovan series ran at the same pace basically. One had a villain, one had a child, this one contained animals and the first one I have yet to read so I will get back to you on it. They have pros and cons but at the end of the day they are all marginally good reads and neither better nor worse than the others.

Truthfully, this book gave me a few ERMMM moments. Rowan unwillingly meets Liam all the time when he is in wolf form, but she doesn’t know it, and he gets to comfort her and see her naked when she takes a bath. So ONE: Who lets wild wolves into their homes? Is this habitual? Am I missing something? Why not invite a Cheetah next time? TWO: It is stalkery. Did Stephanie Meyer read this book? I think so, because Liam sits and watches Rowan sleep at night – SOUND FAMILIAR? THREE: The book comes uncomfortably close to bestiality. It is extreme to say this because what Roberts attempts is NOT the nookie with animals (both illegal and disgusting), but Rowan has all these fantasies of the wolf turning into Liam before she knows what he is. It’s freakish.

Okay, I’m done with random uppercase letters for now. The book had its very weird moments, but it also manages the best buildup between the characters of all the books. Entranced is pure romance – no villains, no other important love interests, no particular other passions. Liam Donovan is the typecast for brooding hero – arrogant, short tempered, darkly beautiful, a dime a dozen in books but not as much in real life. Rowan had her spine removed before the book started, because that girl had zero courage or attitude. It grows in time but she is still pretty wimpy at the end of it.

I’m not gonna lie – the convenient nature of Rowan’s lineage was so lame. Like, really? You know what is romantic? Edward, Prince of Wales, abdicating to marry Wallis Simpson. THAT’s romantic – not finding out the girl you like is part fae and now you can stay heir supreme to the fairy world. But anyhow, let’s believe he would have chosen her without the fairy blood and all that.

Okay, now that I’m done listing my irritations, the book worked, just ignore the wolf loving and the blood-supremacy. It’s an easy and quick read and ends the series off well.

Movie Review: Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash poster

Plot: A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Rating: 8/10

I watched Whiplash earlier this year but somehow I’ve never gotten around to reviewing it – preposterous, because it is really good.

 I enjoyed Whiplash very much. Miles Teller proves the faith I’ve put in him. I haven’t heard ANYTHING good about Fantastic Four, so we won’t talk about that, he did well enough in Divergent (although that whole franchise now borders on the Meh scale pretty high) and he even has a romcom thing under his belt from That Awkward Moment, and I really enjoy the guy when he is on screen.

Teller walked into Whiplash and shattered all previous records of how well a relatively new actor could fare in such a serious film. He is fantastic as Andrew. Andrew is a complex, layered character and it is admirable that such an inexperienced actor pulled this off. I think Teller and Andrew have some similarities – they are both incredibly talented and very determined to be a success (hopefully Teller’s determination is slightly healthier). Andrew is not only determined to be famous, he wants to be the famous name in the jazz world. His mental health is questionable, because while a drive to reach the top of your field is admirable and expected, he comes across as overzealous and unstable. I think if you are not some martial artist, blood is never an indication of the success of your work.

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JK Simmons as Terence Fletcher… wow. This guy is such a horrible person and he justifies his actions by claiming he wants to produce greats in the music industry. Every time I thought I couldn’t dislike him more than I did he went and did something that proved the complete opposite. JK Simmons deserved that Oscar. He was phenomenal and brought Fletcher to life few other people could have done.

I thought the camera work was beautiful and clear and accentuated the music and instruments especially. The final scene brought the movie to its crescendo – you think Andrew will get his traditional ending but that end is so much more worth than what would have been “pleasing”. Whiplash is deservedly one of the best movies of 2014. I think it might shift the balance in the top ten rankings of 2014 when I revisit that after I’ve seen the movies I still want to get to of last year. It is a great watch but heavy, so watch it if you are willing to be blown away!

Book Review: Entranced (Nora Roberts)


Plot: Obviously psychic Sebastian Donovan was a fraud, but fiercely protective Mary Ellen Sutherland was desperate to find a missing baby and had run out of leads. So, reluctantly, the skeptical private investigator agreed to enlist Sebastian’s help. Soon she had to admit – grudgingly – that this man had some pretty remarkable gifts. Especially his extraordinary ability to penetrate her tough facade and awaken her heart. (via Goodreads)

Rating: 6.5/10

I’ve read the Donovan series out of sequence, but who cares if it was fun right? Anyway, these books aren’t a continuation on each other, they are just about the same family who all have magical abilities. Nora Roberts loves a few things: trilogies, romance (duh), Ireland and witches. Throw them together? I think she passes out from happiness.

This book is not particularly groundbreaking or earth shattering – it is the same old story of woman meets very attractive man with great power. Initially she refuses to believe in his powers (romantically and magically), but soon she yields because he is hotcakes.

But, it was fun. Roberts is a good author and although some of her themes are explored to exhaustion, she does what she does extremely well.

I liked the characters – Mary Ellen was sort of a hard ass and as I am one myself, I appreciated it. I thought her traumatic childhood was not explored at all, and could have caused some interesting chapters. Sebastian was the typical hero in the book – handsome, talented and sure of himself. He is pretty much the expected love interest – very Bella Swan-ish because where you could virtually imagine any girl as Bella Swan because she’s so vague you can imagine any man as Sebastian Donovan.

Entranced is a bit higher than the other books in the series because it contains some villainy. Sure, it serves as an introduction for Mel and Sebastian to meet, but it was fun seeing them hunt down a baby snatching ring. It was kept to a very polite villainy level, no blood or gore, but it turned the slightly stagnant story into an adventure.

If it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book, I did. It was fun, sexy, entertaining. I can only handle basic literature at this point – way too much drama in my life to add any more to it through a book, and this certainly fits the bill. Definitely a good read if you are looking for basic entertainment!

Movie Review: Heathers (1988)


Plot: In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.

Rating: 8/10

What I liked about this movie:

Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder): How fresh faced and beautiful is she in here?! Gosh. And so perfectly cast as the teenager with so much social anxiety and exasperation.

Jason “J.D” Dean (Christian Slater): I actually had a great time watching Christian Slater in here. I won’t call it the best acting on earth but he reminded me a bit of method acting and was highly entertaining. He was the perfect bad boy and really, really helped with the escalation of the plot.

How absolutely terrible Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) is:  Kim Walker’s facial expressions perfectly show the nasty heart of Heather Chandler and her despicable words. This girl is the nightmare of every teenager that wasn’t born as a perfect hormone infused child.

The collective brilliance of Shannen Doherty and Lisanne Falk as the other two Heathers. One was a little aloof and basically just Heather Chandler in another form, Lisanne Falk’s Heather was a ditzy brained idiot who was just in it for the popularity.


It is dark and cynical and hilarious and is truly a unique perspective on the interpersonal relations teenagers have in highschool.

Teenage issues are addressed but not in a sickly sweet way that annoys the audience because it is unreal. Heathers is raw and cynical and includes suicide, date-rape, teenage angst, drinking and cliques, but it feels sincere and is therefore entertaining in its absurdity.


The escalation of the plot: Things are perfectly normal, then BOOM, everyone is dying and bombs are not excluded from plans and the bad boy is clearly the mad boy.

The mind boggling fact that Daniel Waters was involved in this and then managed to produce the train wreck that was Vampire Academy. Talk about a fall from grace!

The fashion – it is so glorious. The 80’s must just happen again.

Not sure how many people I’ll offend by saying this, but Heathers strikes me as a rom-com version of Donnie Darko – it is weird shit but you can’t help but find it genius and highly entertaining. It is a very good watch and I think if you love movies you will enjoy this, even if it is not your usual style.

The Saddest Goodbye

Do not stand

It is a universally accepted truth that no parent should ever bury their child.

I’m not about to disagree with that because it is true – it is the way life is supposed to go

But what is really never discussed is how painful it is for a child to bury their parent.

My father Jan Hendrik Stander passed away on the 19th of September 2015.

He had a short battle with liver cancer.

He was first hospitalized in May 2015.

He died four months later.

Cancer is not kind. It is not romantic and it isn’t what they make in the movies.

There is nothing beautiful about it.

I saw a strong, funny, hyper intelligent man turn into a deathly pale invalid that could not move himself.

Cancer reveals what love is. 

But it isn’t this pretty thing that people think.

It’s a painful, maddening love that makes you weep hysterically.

It makes you shake your fist angrily at whatever deity might be listening.

Cancer makes you question religion. I think it is impossible to blindly trust God at times like this.

But cancer makes you also realize what is important – family and a handful of friends.

Earthly possessions holds no value.

My father was a wonderful man – he had a sarcastic sense of humor, and he could be so negative that I could sometimes only laugh. He was incredibly well read and intelligent, he was kind to car guards and to waiters, he had faith that he based on facts and not because he was told to believe.

It is unreal that he is gone – how can life just be wiped away so completely?

I will miss him forever. He was one of the best men I will ever know, and the void in my life feels huge. I know the sadness will fade and that life will move on, but he will always be my father and I will love him to the end of days.

Ek en pappa

Links I Love 1

links i love

So after what seems like forever, I’ve finally managed to align my life perfectly to sit down at my laptop for five minutes and attend to my blog. I’ve missed it so much – I’ve been able to check a few blogs here and there, but as we all know scheduling posts takes ages.

SO, as I have a few seconds right now, here is something I’ve wanted to do for a while – post about the interesting posts I’ve read – both news worthy and blogging posts. This will hopefully become one of those installments that pops up from time to time – I read a lot of interesting articles and would love to have it up here for those who are interested to check out.

Leading the awesome news this week was the discovery of Homo Naledi at the Cradle of Humankind. I think this might be my favorite news titbit of the past week.

Now this is awkward: This post about Getty images suing a blogging site for the use of the Socially Awkward Penguin (Getty has the copyright on it) was very interesting. It is another subject that interests me – where bloggers should draw the line on images and whether large scale companies should lighten up a bit.

Ellen De Generes responded to Caitlyn Jenner’s not so nice comments about gay marriages. I personally find Caitlyn Jenner now the most irritating of the Kardashian clan and find it extremely rich that someone who underwent such a public and massive change in life would even think of judging what makes others happy.

The Syrian refugee crises had me captivated like everybody else on the planet. It humbles me and reminds me that the troubles we have in South-Africa are not really as bad as I would love to make it. This post from Buzzfeed about how Germany welcomed the Syrian refugees into their country really made me smile and think well of humanity for a moment.

Huffington post put up their weekly 20 funniest tweets from Women This Week again, and it was as hilarious as always (seriously one of my favorite installments of them)

The Telegraph had a really nice post about the Queen of England loving Downton Abbey #class #TheQueenandILoveTheSameThings

Cracked had a post about 6 Iconic Movie scenes that weren’t even planned to happen that way – right up the alley of everyone who reads this blog!

This Buzzfeed post had me go to it twice in stubbornness – the fifty characters in Harry Potter who are named the most.

Blog posts:

This blog post from Mushy Peas on Toast sums up my current feelings so well.

Series: Vikings Season 1

Vikings poster

What I liked:

The show is presented as a documentary, but works exceptionally well because the characters are developed and it isn’t a dried and dusted tone that sets the scene.

The characters develop well: I love the relationship between Lagertha and Ragnar: they are partners on every level, she is his equal and he values her input in every area of his life. The relationship between Ragnar and Rollo: how Rollo’s insecurities are explored and fleshed out, the relationship starting well and turning sour and how they really did love each other. Then there is the fascinating relationship between Ragnar and Athelstan – the coldness of their first meeting, Athelstan’s introduction into Ragnar’s world and how he becomes a valued part of their household.


Ragnar Lodbrok: Played by Travis Fimmel, Ragnar Lodbrok is everything. I am such a fan (except for the last episode, STUPID MAN).  Fimmel does the best Viking I have ever seen. He is utterly terrifying when he puts on his war face. The madness that seeps into his eyes.. sheesh. I also now have a new contender to compete with Khal Drogo for the sexiest cave man alive – I’m pretty sure Ragnar can talk me out of my pants with “HELLO”

Things I like about Ragnar Lodbrok, PART 1

The eyes

The hair

The fuck all attitude

The voice

The torso

The way he looks at his wife

His adoration for his children

The whole package

The eyes

The madness

(this will obviously not be the last time I drool talk of him)


Okay, back to pure thoughts – Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) is one seriously badass woman. She has the ability to be powerful and a mother figure – something that is rarely portrayed correctly on screen. She is fierce and strong and sexy AND a mother – love how they layer her character from the start.

Rollo (Clive Standen) – this guy has such grey areas. I think he lives in a world where he is both good and bad and can’t really decide when to act on which side. It must be hell to be related to Ragnar though.

Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard) bat shit crazy but totally awesome. Love

Bjorn (Nathan O’Toole) – what a cute little Viking kid.



The story. I just love a good and intelligently written story. I know very little about Norse mythology, so I can’t really discuss the accuracies or inaccuracies of Vikings, but I really enjoyed the story and the intricacies of it. The religious aspect is fascinating – the religion of the Vikings, their sacrifices and offerings, their amazing version of Armageddon, their very scary seers and priests. I have to say that I truly find the primal energy to their religion extremely fascinating. Then there are the Christians, who at that stage of the world were still extremely barbaric and uncivilized. I think that Athelstan (I am SUCH a major fan here) is the only Christian character that correctly portrayed what the religion truly means.

The scenery – Vikings was shot in Ireland, and it is breathtakingly beautiful.

What I didn’t like:

Princess Aslaug. I can just tell I am going to loathe her in the next few seasons.

Ragnar’s infidelity – you stupid man. I hope your truly amazing wife roasts your balls and feeds it to Aslaug.

The first episode really doesn’t showcase the show’s greatness. It took me ages to get through the first one and the rest are so amazing.

Rating: 8.5/10

Vikings is intelligent, well cast and excellently produced. Exceptional camera work is not really so important when you have such naturally beautiful landscape at your disposal, but the camera work was done really well and attributes towards the success of the show. I find everything well put together – the solid acting, the contrast between the religions, the love stories, the war, the history. There are some violent scenes, but they are not overbearing, and you will end up enjoying the show if you can work past all the gore.


PS: Please don’t comment spoilers on the rest of the show in the comment section – I have only seen season one! :)

Book Review: Charmed (Nora Roberts)


Plot: (via Nora Roberts)

Boone Sawyer never expected to move next door to a woman who looked like one of the fairy princesses he often wrote about. Anastasia Donovan had a serene kind of femininity that would baffle and allure any man who was still breathing – and Boone was definitely breathing!

Ana’s gift was for healing. Though her intriguing new neighbor made his living writing fairy tales, she didn’t think he’d easily accept her legacy. But when an accident put a life at stake, she could not deny her powers – though it could cost her Boone’s love, and risked her very life….

Rating: 6.5/10

So if you read that Plot synopsis you definitely know by now what we are dealing with. It is the schmaltziest romance you can wish to stumble upon. So let’s review it as such and not as a comparison to any great pieces of literature, because only then it can be fairly addressed.

I actually enjoyed this. I am not in a place in life where I want these gruesome murdery books or dystopian fiction or anything that doesn’t have some happy. Charmed has some happy – it’s unbelievable and totally cheesy but it is still some happy.

I had my misgivings – I mean her name is Ana and I am still traumatized by Fifty Shades of Grey and that stupid name. Also, who names their child Boone? Really? The book is also really not complex and there is no villain worth mentioning. Everyone is perfect and Boone is the big strong man and Ana is the beautiful lady with a big secret and vulnerable nature. There is a kid that is cute and never annoying and just so perfect and everyone is wonderful because that is how life is – beautiful and wonderful.

Totally legit!

Consensus: Fun, silly, cheesy, romancey. Don’t read it if you hate any of those things because this book ODs on it all.