Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is living in Washington and learning to live in the modern world. He still works for S.H.I.E.L.D. He meets war veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and makes a new friend in him.

Steve is picked up by Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and they help save a SHIELD vessel from Algerian pirates. Natasha takes information from the ship’s computers on Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) orders, and Steve is upset because he is being lied to. The next day, Steve confronts Fury and Fury shows Steve SHIELDS latest developments – a large trio of helicarriers that is set to enforce world peace.

Nick Fury isn’t able to crack the data that Natasha took from the ship. It is odd, because as the director of SHIELD he has access to everything. On his way to see Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) he is attacked in his vehicle and the vehicle is torched by the Winter Soldier. Fury manages to make it to Steve’s apartment and gives Steve the data and the warning to not trust anybody. He is shot by the mysterious Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Steve takes after the assassin but he escapes and Nick dies in hospital after giving and manages to make it to Steve’s apartment.

Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), a senior SHIELD official, wants to clear Nick’s name when his involvement in the hijacking of a SHIELD vessel becomes known. He speaks to Steve, who declines to share what Fury told him seconds before his assassination. Pierce brands Steve a fugitive and Steve is attacked in an elevator by SHIELD officials. He escapes, and goes to retrieve the retrieve the memory stick with the data on where he left it in the hospital vending machine. Natasha, who took the data from where Steve put it, shows up and says she will help him find out who is infiltrating SHIELD and help clear Nick’s name.

Will the two be able to restore Nick Fury’s name? Who is the Winter Soldier? Will the helicarriers be aired despite the warning Fury issued before his death?

winter soldier

Rating: 8/10

I loved this movie! It was so well done. I really thought it was much better than Captain America: The First Avenger. It seemed that the producers took their time and actual care to get the movie properly done this time around.

The Winter Soldier was action packed and fast paced, and never felt too long. The fight scenes were incredible.

Personally, Steve Rogers/CA is the best of all the super heroes. Iron Man is extremely arrogant, Thor has too much pride, and the Hulk really has an anger issue, but Steve Rogers is genuinely a brave, honest man that exists way beyond his expected life span because of those things.

Nick Fury is awesome. He is always on top of things and somehow knows what is happening everywhere. He is ruthless but everything he does is for the sake of the safety of humanity.

Robert Redford was excellent as Alexander Pierce. He seems so sincere you never see his corruption underneath until it is too late.

No aliens were involved. I enjoyed it because it shows that there are corrupt and evil people in the world, and that they must be fought too.
Although Natasha Romanoff is much more likeable in this movie, I will put it out there that I simply dislike Scarlett Johansson. I haven’t found her a fantastic actress and she seems to be in roles where she is a pain in my ass. However, her more humane version of Natasha (awesome name, have to say) was more likeable than any other movie I’ve seen her in.

The Winter Soldier itself was totally badass and an excellent villain. Sebastian Stan was excellent – can this guy be cast in more movies now? He was completely respectable as Bucky, and it is heart breaking to see how it damages Steve to see his friend in such a position.

The characters developed as the movie progressed. Especially Steve Rogers, who seems to be moving on in life and making friends, and Natasha Romanoff, who starts showing that she is a human being that wants to be accepted by the people she works with and someone who takes the integrity of the people she works with seriously. I enjoyed Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson, Steve’s war veteran side kick. He seemed to be able to immediately distinguish who is right and wrong and who to help.

Really worth the watch!

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5 Things Friday: Five things that makes me happy right now

BonesSumWhole

I’ve had an awful week at work, and I had a number of ideas for this post today: things that makes South-Africa awesome (I will only post that though once I am not so angry anymore that they stole a work colleague’s car from a secured parking lot and I am walking outside every two hours to check on my car… I guess that means good exercise at least), I had some fitness and weight loss ideas running around in my head but I didn’t even have the urge to share my limited knowledge on that subject. So I’ve decided to share with you the things that make me happy right now.

Bones season 1

It is so much fun watching a glamorised version of what I do every day. I love the characters and although the story is weak in the beginning it is definitely becoming more solid and the acting is getting better and better. And the lab is AWESOME. I want it I want it now.

The Fact that I am watching Captain America: Winter Soldier tonight

Captain America
Finally!! Of all the Marvel movies, Captain America has the best story. I really can’t wait! Watch out for the review next week!

The fact that I am watching Divergent next weekend

Divergent
This is obviously movie month here, but I can’t wait to see Tris, Four and the Dauntless. WHOOP

I am seeing my best friend at the end of April!
ZOE!!!!!

I got 100% for my Microbiology assignment at Unisa.
#HappyLabRat

Enjoy your weekend!

Movie Review: Dear John (2010)

kissing scene

Le Sparks movie means le-kissing-in-the-rain

Staff Sergeant John Tyree meets Savannah on the beach during summer vacation. John is introduced to one of Savannah’s friends, Tim (Henry Thomas) who has an autistic son Alan (Luke Benward). Savannah meets John’s father (Richard Jenkins) and comments that he might have high-functioning autism. This upsets John, who has a very strained relationship with his coin-obsessed father already, and he gets into a fight that accumulates with Alan getting unfairly punched in the nose. John storms off but later apologizes before he returns to the army. Savannah and John keep in touch with dozens of letters during his tour.

Just before John’s tour is supposed to end the September 11 attacks takes place. His fellow team mates immediately sign up for another tour but John is uncertain. He returns home to the weekend to see Savannah and meet her parents. Savannah is devastated that John is considering reenlisting but accepts that it is something out of her control. He returns and commits to another tour.

Months pass and Savannah’s letters become more infrequent and eventually ceases. She writes one last letter to John to break up with him and tells him that she is engaged to someone else. John extends his tour again and works in the army for a few years.

His father has a stroke and john returns. He feels guilty because he wasn’t there to take care of his father, but the doctor tells him it wouldn’t have changed his father’s condition if he had been found earlier. That still isn’t much comfort to John because his father dies shortly after, but John manages to tell his father how much he loves him before he dies.

John is alone in the world now and decides to go visit Savannah. He is shocked to discover that she married Tim, not someone else. Tim is dying of cancer, and tells John that marrying Savannah had the added bonus of knowing that Alan will always have someone to take care of him and love him.

John asks Savannah why she didn’t have the decency to call him and leave him, and she says that by hearing his voice she would have changed her mind. Devastated, he leaves.

A few months later, John, who is now a civilian, sees Savannah, now a widow, in a coffee shop. The movie ends with them hugging, leaving the ending open.

Rating: 6/10

dear john

Dear John isn’t actually generic within its genre. It is never fully clear whether John and Amanda end up together. The end is realistic, although that makes the final moments not nearly as enjoyable as the normal endings in romantic movies.

The Chemistry between Tatum and Seyfried is strong enough to make John’s nearly obsessive love possible. Tatums’s character inspires sympathy – a brave soldier that doesn’t really have anyone in his life except his girl and his dad. Seyfried exploited that innocent air she carries around her to the maximum. Savannah is the rich-kid-that-has-a-soft-heart and does well as that.

In this movie I liked that the film is about them – the supporting roles don’t ever take the spotlight more than the leading storyline, and that is refreshing when the modern trend is to try and fit 600 story lines into one movie.

The contrast between the war zones and the beautiful American coastline was integral to the story –to me it showed the changes John always had to face and cope. It was fun seeing Richard Jenkins (from Eat Pray Love) in something else. He probably has gazillion movies I haven’t seen yet but so far he played his parts really well in the movies I did see.

Basically, Dear John is a bit mushy but not offensive. I did enjoy it but can only recommend it to people who generally like romantic movies though. Not for everyone.

Book Review: Kisscut (Karin Slaughter)

karin-slaughter-kisscut-cover

Dr. Sara Linton and her ex-husband finally seem to be moving on from his infidelity. Sara is still messing around with him some, unsure if she really wants to start a relationship. Sara and Jeffrey meet at the ice skating rink for a date, and they make plans for him to sleep over. Sara heads to the bathroom, and Jenny Weaver bumps into her. Jenny, one of Sara’s patients at the Children’s hospital, seems stressed and disappears before Sara can act on her instinct and check what is wrong. Sara is startled to see blood on her shirt, somehow transferred from Jennie’s person. Sara heads into the bathroom and makes a gruesome discovery.

Outside the rink, Jeffrey finds Jenny Weaver pointing a gun at Mark Patterson, a teenage boy. She is threatening to shoot him. When Jenny notices Jeffrey she tells him to either shoot her, or she will shoot Mark. Sara arrives, telling Jenny that the person in the bathroom is fine, but Jenny doesn’t believe her. She yells at Mark, telling him it is his fault, and he viciously tells her that he will see her in hell. No matter what Sara and Jeffrey say, Jenny won’t let the gun drop, and Jeffrey is forced to shoot a teenage girl.

Jeffrey is shattered and suffers from the knowledge that he shot a child. Jeffrey and Sara’s night is spoiled and they are both miserable. Sara is heartbroken by her autopsy of the baby that was left in the rink’s bathroom – the baby could have lived even if it was premature but it was murdered. Her biopsy on Jenny reveals horrific mutilation, and Sara and Jeffrey need to find out what happened to Jenny and why she so desperately wanted to kill Mark Patterson.

Lena Adams, a detective on Jeffrey’s police force, is still recovering from her horrific rape ordeal that just topped her exceptionally bad year. She is unable to forget the horrors she went through, and it is only through her uncle Hank’s determination for her to live that she is still functioning. He wants her to talk to a Pastor in their church, Dave Fine, to get some counselling but she constantly finds excuses to not go.

Jeffrey and Lena head to Mark Patterson’s house to talk to him about the incident. There is something in Mark that immediately calls to Lena, but she is unsure what it is. Mark’s father, Tom, is obviously a bully and has no patience for his son. They are open about the fact that Mark attacked his sister Lacey, who is away until the shooting drama is resolved, and that the police had to intervene. Mark is a strange boy, at times sad about Jennie’s death and her hatred of him and at times cocky and insolent. He seems very sad that his mother Grace is about to die from breast cancer, but that is mostly it. Lena and Jeffrey leave without any clear answers.

Jeffrey sends in Lena to talk to Jenny’s mom, correctly thinking that she wouldn’t want to talk to the man who killed her daughter. The interview starts off well, with Lena getting the trademark county sympathy from Dottie for her rape ordeal. Lena starts asking if maybe Jennie was involved in some scandals at school, because her promiscuity had by then started to reach the ears of the police, and Dottie gets very angry. She starts screaming when Lena shows her Jennie’s autopsy results and Sara is very angry because of Lena’s cruelty.

Jeffrey and Lena start searching deeper and deeper and they only get more questions. A big, nasty net of child pornography and molestation is found in Grant County, and it seems every single person is guilty. Lacey Patterson is abducted outside the clinic when she tries to tell Sara what is going on, and Mark soon thereafter tells Lena the horrific things he is being subjected to and then attempts suicide.

With Lacey being held captive somewhere and Mark comatose will Jeffrey be able to find the ringleaders and bring them down? Is there hope for him and Sara? Who else is in on the sick pornography ring?

Rating: 7/10

Kisscut made me so angry I had to put the book down and take a deep breath every few pages. It is sickening and I wanted to find every single child molester in the world and hurt them very badly and laugh at their anguish. I couldn’t put the book down eventually and had to finish it. I found the ending very unfair but sadly reflecting on things really turns out in cases like that. I thought some people didn’t deserve to die the way they did; it should have been much, much worse. There are certain people who don’t deserve kindness or empathy, and the character I’m talking about certainly qualified.

Kisscut explores avenues that people can’t even comprehend, and that made it very compelling. The more I read of Karin Slaughter the more I enjoy, and I personally feel she outstrips Patrcia Cornwell by far because she can actually write. Slaughter tells it like it is, highlighting how bad people really are. She has a lot of nerve writing about the scenes she creates, and I can’t help but feel a grudging respect for her while I read with one I closed hiding under my blankets.

Well worth the read if you can stomach it!

Movie Review: 50/50 (2011)

50-50-Poster

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the cancer patient Adam, a journalist in Seattle who has the type of girlfriend that deserves to be slapped by the womanhood of proper women for being so selfish. Initially, her selfishness is limited to her hatred of Adam’s best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and that constant babbling of I’m just not sure I love you but I do want to be with you don’t be angry fucked up attitude. After Adam is diagnosed with cancer, he tells Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) that she can leave if she wants to but she decides to stay. However, she doesn’t want to go into the hospital with him and forgets to pick up her boyfriend who has cancer from the hospital after treatment. Kyle finds Rachael kissing another man and takes photo evidence to Adam to prove his point. Adam and Rachael break up and she still tries to make everything about poor her.

Adam’s therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick) is very inexperienced and awkward and only has textbooks to go on, not any job experience. When Rachael “forgets” Adam after his treatment, Katherine takes him home and the line between doctor-patient or friends begin to blur. Adam makes a few friends during chemo treatments, older men who smoke pot for the pain. Adam quickly starts joins them.

One of his friends suddenly die and Adam is terrified of dying when he hears his treatment is not working and that he has to undergo an operation. The night before the surgery he and Kyle fights and he accuses his friend of using his disease to get girls but later finds a book about supporting cancer patients and proves that Kyle really cares and is trying to help.

On surgery day, Adam hugs his friend and apologizes. Will Adam survive? What will happen between him and Katherine?

Rating: 7.5/10

50/50 was good because it is a good movie about a horrible topic. Cancer movies are usually tear jerkers designed with melodrama to incapacitate the watcher with tears. 50/50 is a more realistic version of what happens to people with deadly illnesses and how they handle it. It shows that true colors will emerge in crisis, that people don’t magically become saints after being diagnosed and that your close network of friends inevitably contains douche bags who will find a way to drop you and make it your fault.

Seth Rogan proved that he has more to him than stupid comedies and I thought he did so well as Adam’s friend. His pure enjoyment when Adam dumped Rachael was funny and justified. His unapologetic hatred of her endears him to all who watches. Anna Kendrick always seems vapid but that worked out well with Katherine – she was truly a very awkward therapist. I need to watch more stuff with Bryce Dallas Howard in since I really despise her now because she was such a selfish woman in here and such a vengeful vampire in Twilight.

The endings with cancer movies are always a risk to take. I am not telling you if Adam lives or not, because you really want to watch this, but I think that the end was good and not obvious – things can swing either way right up until the end.

Top Ten Movie Crushes: Life of this City Girl

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Table9Mutant , what the hell have you done to my site?! There is no other way to put it! Alright, now that my shock has worn off, let me introduce my very best friend Natasha from Life of this City Girl and her crush list. T9M, I am sure you will appreciate both her banner and her top choice of obsessing over. Natasha runs a sweet little lifestyle blog that also features some movie and book reviews and is pretty enjoyable all round. You should check it out if you don’t follow her already!

Should you be interested in submitting a Top Ten list, draw up a list of either your top ten personal favourite movies or a top ten list by a specific genre/theme and send it along to me at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com. Hope to see a few more lists!

LOTCG Top Ten Crushes header

Zoë’s site has become a safe haven for posting crushes…

View original post 484 more words

Thoughts 3.2

A few changes

I changed my blog theme and added a blog roll. It is the start of some changes on my blog to make it easier to navigate. Let me know what you think!

I am in a writing slump. There is no creativity coming through and everything I say feels lame and forced and about as original as a Justin Bieber song. Maybe when I (hopefully) get my new laptop at the end of the month I will have some drive again.

Luckily, it is almost long weekend.

The 21st of March is Human Rights Day in South-Africa and we are celebrating our rights by not working. Not sure if that even makes sense though, but it still means a day off.

Human Rights Day in South-Africa is celebrated on the 21st of March because on that day in 1960, the police opened fire on protesters who were protesting against pass laws, which meant that Africans had to carry books on to identify them on police request. 69 Unarmed people were killed and 180 injured. The incident is known as the Sharpeville massacre.

And, I’m going camping

At a place called Lover’s Rock.

In case you were wondering, no, it is not that type of a resort.

Which is a good thing, because people are such morons

Humanity is being incredible pain in the arses. I am over everyone right now. It will be a good thing to be away with people I like separated from the rest of the world.

For example, people talking shit about Vaccines they don’t understand

I was at a medical seminar where the success and safety of Cervarix was discussed. YOU putting it on Facebook and discouraging people from getting it and thus being vulnerable to contracting STDs.

Unisa and assignments

I’m about halfway with my assignments for this semester. It was a miracle opening my chemistry book and recognising some of the work. It gave me hope.

Diets

Currently,

(insert honey badger don’t care)

PS: I get really worked up about vaccines obviously.

The Iconic Book Scene – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (The Quidditch Final)

The Gryffindor Quidditch team’s luck since Harry joined them in his first year has been rotten. In the Prisoner of Azkaban, their Captain, Oliver Wood, is determined to win because it is his last year at school. Determined, they train very hard, but they are waylaid by the Slytherins and the Dementors. To win the cup, they have to beat their final game against Slytherin by more than 200 points. They finally win, and the euphoria that follows gets me every time. I LOVE this scene, and it is definitely my favorite scene in this book and one of the best in the series. Enjoy!

Harry Potter

Send me you favorite book scene at natashastander@gmail.com

Movie Review: Burlesque (2010)

Burlesque

Ali Rose (Christina Aguilera) quits her job as a waitress in Iowa and moves to LA to become a performer. Because her manager won’t pay her the rest of her salary, she takes it from the till. Her friend warns her that he will come after her because of it.

After unsuccessfully applying at dance clubs she finds herself at a burlesque club. She is fascinated by the show they put on, and becomes determined to get a job there. Jack (Cam Gigandet) the attractive bartender tells her to ask to speak to Tess (Cher) for a position. Tess is very busy and sends Ali to Sean (Stanley Tucci), who in turn sends her back to Jack to leave her details. She takes matters into her own hands and starts working as a waitress, telling Jack that if she isn’t better than all his waitresses she will leave. She gets to keep her job.

Ali works as a waitress and keeps an eye on the girls, memorizing the routines. After her room gets trashed presumably by her ex-boss, Jack offers Ali his couch until she has the cash for a new place. She accepts, thinking he is gay (because of his eyeliner). He quickly tells her that he is engaged to a Natalie, a girl who is working on a play in New York. When Natalie’s play gets extended he asks Ali to become his roommate until she returns.

One of the dancers Georgia (Julianne Hough) learns she is pregnant and a replacement is needed for her. Ali auditions and convinces Tess and Sean to give her a chance. Nikki (Kristen Bell), the lead singer and bitch in the club is angry because she is jealous and competitive.

Tess and her ex-husband Vince (Peter Gallagher) co-own the club. They are in deep financial problems and the bank is threatening with closing them down. Marcus (Eric Dane) is a business man and frequent visitor of the club who wants to buy them out, but Tess is determined to keep control of the club even if Vince is trying to get her to sell. When Marcus sees Ali dancing he shifts his admiration from Nikki to her and intensifies Nikki’s dislike in Ali.

Sean notices Jack staring at Ali and tells him that she won’t be single forever. Nikki arrives drunk at work for the umpteenth time and Tess tells her that Ali is going on in her place. Ali goes on and Nikki pulls the plugs to embarrass Ali because all the dancers lip-sync the songs. As Sean is lowering the curtains Ali starts to sing and she is a raging success. Tess tells the dancers they are rewriting the show around Ali’s talent and Nikki just gets angrier about everything. Ali starts seeing Marcus socially and Jack knows it is his fault for not making a move earlier. Nikki pics a fight with Tess and she resigns and tells Tess that she slept with Vince the night after their honeymoon ended. Tess smashes Nikki’s window with a crowbar in anger.

At Georgia’s wedding, Jack fights with Natalie over the phone when she extends her stay in New-York once again. He tells Ali that he broke off the engagement and gets drunk. They sleep together afterward. The next day a furious Natalie (Dianna Agron) shows up to find them in bed together. Jack claims they broke it off but Natalie insists that she doesn’t just get dumped that easily over a phone. Jack asks Ali to leave the flat so he and Natalie can fight in peace and she leaves, very angry with him. She heads to Sean to cool off and accepts a dinner invitation with Marcus when he calls. At Marcus’ house she notices the set of buildings he plans to build on the ground where the Burlesque is. She tells him that he is wrong and leaves, and remembers something he told her previously – “air rights” – which means you buy the empty space above a building so that nothing can be built above a certain height. Ali gives the idea to Tess and they go to the CEO of the company that is building flats in front of the Burlesque club claiming beautiful views. They get them to buy the air rights on top of Burlesque and Tess has enough cash to settle her debts and buy Vince out.

Nikki shows up a few days later to apologize and admit she never slept with Vince. Tess accepts her apology and takes her back into the club. Nikki and Ali don’t make peace but acknowledges each other’s existence. Jack finds Ali and asks for her forgiveness and that tells her it is definitely over between him and Natalie. They reconcile and hey give her the song he finished “Show Me How You Burlesque” and she and the dancers perform it at the club.

Rating: 5.5/10

Burlesque was enjoyable but not spectacular.

The movie is a B-star all-star cast with people who are busy making it in Hollywood. The more things I watch the more I see how Julianne Hough climbed the ladder. Her acting has definitely increased in the last four years but I enjoyed her as Georgia, the girl who found happiness when she didn’t think she deserved it.

The movie was something that went aiming to be Moulin Rouge and never fully got there. Firstly, Baz Luhrman wasn’t involved. I think of all the directors out there he is the only one with a heart artistic enough to make musicals properly work on the big screen. Secondly, the lead cast (Cher and Christina Aguilera) are not as good as Kidman or McGregor – although both have significantly better voices. Thirdly, the script wasn’t that good and the punch lines and sarcasm not delivered with conviction – it seemed terribly rehearsed. Christina Aguilera debuted as an actress in Burlesque, and she will never be Oscar worthy, but she isn’t a complete hopeless case. Her voice is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever heard. The woman gives me goosebumps when she sings. Cher was distinctive and entertaining but I don’t find her a good actress. She did well as Tess, a faded star who is determined to keep what she dearly loves. I liked her stubbornness to not sell her club.

The movie had this one gaping plot hole that left me frustrated. Ali runs away from the bar she works at in Iowa, taking all the money she is owed and another waitress warns her that the manager will find her and make her pay. Her apartment is later trashed but it is never really clear that it was the guy from the bar. So did he really let her get away with everything?

The more I see of Cam Gigandet (what is with the weird surnames in Hollywood these days?!) the more I like him. Not just because of his looks which is mighty fine, but he seems to have a definite charm. He was hilarious in Easy A and played James in Twilight very well. He wore a lot of eyeliner in Burlesque as bartender slash musician. I completely understood Ali wondering about him being straight there for a bit.

Stanley Tucci is always so much fun to watch. I love him in everything. He is in the Hunger Games (excellent), the Devil Wears Prada (Really good), and he plays a mindboggling straight character in Easy A (I don’t care if he is straight or not, he is just always cast as a gay man). I always find him true to his character and he always gives an in-depth portrayal no matter what.

The costumes were spectacular. I thought the movie gave great attention to detail with the outfits and how every dancer’s was different but worked together.

Only worth watching if you enjoy musicals.