Movie Review: Jurassic Park II (1997)

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Plot: A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there while another team approaches with another agenda.

Rating: 6.5/10

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I’m building up to the release of Jurassic World (It’s already been released, but I’m always a few days behind with everything) and I really hoped this would be at least nearly as good as the first Jurassic Park. It really isn’t, though. Where Jurassic Park has a storyline that runs well throughout, this one never gets running and it really feels as it the story changed half way through because they got bored with the original idea. The kids in the first movie were moderately tolerable (I am NOT a fan of putting midgets into movies that aren’t about midgets) but this time around it feels calculated and insincere. Julianne Moore plays a character that supposedly knows how to be quiet and track animals and she manages to make such noise in her first moments on screen that I would have stomped on her if she was a T-Rex. I loved seeing a very young Vince Vaughn (and miraculously he kept his but covered in this movie!) and Jeff Goldblum returning as Dr. Ian Malcolm. Those were pretty much the highlights for me, because the dinosaurs were old stories this time around and the story didn’t mesh particularly well. It is a significant comedown from the first movie but it is not horrible (I mean, dinosaurs remain cool even if the story is shitty). I liked the preservation of nature route they attempted to take with the story and how they showed how greedy human kind is. I do hope the last movie is better though!!

Genre Grandeur – A Cinderella Story (2004) – Life of This City Girl

I finally took part again in Rob’s Genre Grandeur this month. Thanks Rob!!

high-school-romanceFor this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – High School/Teen Romance Movies, here’s a review of A Cinderella Story by Natasha of Life of This City Girl

Thanks again to Kim of Tranquil Dreams for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Reut of Sweet Archives.  We will be reviewing our favorite dark comedies. Please get me your submissions by the 25th of July by sending them to darkcom@movierob.net  Try to think out of the box! Great choice Reut!

Let’s see what Natasha thought of this movie:

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Genre Grandeur: A Cinderella Story (2004)

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Wow, it has been ages and ages and ages since I’ve taken part in Rob’s GG! I am using the ever popular excuse that life has been super mad and I’ve barely had the time to post on my own blog or catch up on my favorite ones – sorry…

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Top Ten Television Crushes

Have I done one of these already? If so, I don’t care because I am doing another one! My list has certainly evolved the past few months with some pretty awesome and fine gentlemen working their way in! As I’m writing this the post is threatening to turn into a novel, so sorry for the long one!!

Special mentions:

Luke Danes – Scott Patterson, Gilmore Girls

Jon Snow – Kit Harrington, Game of Thrones

Jax Teller – Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy

Chuck Bass – Gossip Girl

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10. 

Jess Mariano – Milo Ventimiglia, Gilmore Girls

Character rating: 8/10

Smoky factor: 8/10

Final Score: 16/20

Jess comes in at number 10 because he is the perfect bad boy that every girl should have once in her life. He is not always good to Rory and his problems in life keeps him back, but later on in the story his character becomes extremely satisfying to see succeed.

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9. 

Seely Booth – David Boreanz, Bones

Character rating: 8/10

Smoky factor: 8/10

Final Score: 16/20

I LOVVEEE Bones. The show is good and takes place in a lab which, as it is part of my career world, I enjoy immensely (although the drinking and eating around human remains… nope).

Booth is so damn fine. The height, the size, the character, just take me now. I have a big thing for the whole injured soldier story so that factors in really well too.

Damon

8.

Damon Salvatore – Ian Somerhalder, Vampire Diaries

Character rating:  7.5/10

Smoky factor: 9/10

Final Score: 16.5/20

I’ve only seen the first three seasons and I’m not that interested in seeing the rest because season three is already rather boring, but the main attraction of that show is Damon Salvatore. He is comfortable with his nature and doesn’t whine as much as his brother. Also, the eyes of Ian Somerhalder, paired with the black hair and that fuck-it-all attitude. Win.

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7.

Robb Stark – Richard Madden, Game of Thrones

Character rating: 8/10

Smoky factor: 8.5/10

Rating: 16.5/20

SOB. He was everything until George Martin was George Martin and killed him off. I’ve noticed that GoT has the same route – endear a character to the watcher/reader, and then pop him. Rob, with his curly hair, his kingly nature and his impulsive streak (that lead to said popping) made such a good character. Richard Madden was a great attribute to the show – looky wise, acting wise and execution of the storyline. He is sorely missed.

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6.

Tom Branson – Allen Leech, Downton Abbey

Character rating: 8.5/10

Smoky factor: 8.5/10

Final Score: 17/20

Tom Branson is initially introduced into Downton as a depiction of the unrest that was very much real in the middle and lower classes in Britain in the 1920s. Tom is adorable in his outspokenness and opinions and his fearless determination to give his opinion. His love story with Sybil is so romantic and fun because it is seen as inappropriate.

I love Tom. He is a good man and can see how the upper class isn’t all that bad although he disagrees with the class system. His grief at Sybil’s death had me so upset because it was done so well. His love for his young daughter and his determination to make life good for her.Just YES.

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5.

Khal Drogo – Jason Momoa, Game of Thrones

Character rating: 7.5/10

Smoky factor: 10/10

Final Score: 17.5/20

If this post was based solely on characters Khal Drogo would probably have been lower on the list. His character is cool but let’s face it – even though the love story between him and Khaleesi eventually becomes so beautiful it causes physical pain, the start of their sexual relationship is not at all consensual (at least in the series)

So it is thus the looks department that brings Khal Drogo in at number five on this list. He is so hot. All that muscle and manliness and the little scar above the eye and his looks and everything

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4.

Dean Winchester – Jensen Ackles, Supernatural

Character rating: 8.5/10

Smoky factor: 9/10

Final Score: 17.5/20

Ah Dean. Supernatural is such a great show (until season 5) and I’ve been scared plenty of times watching it. We all know who the better Winchester brother is. Sam Winchester is the most annoying crying baby that any show has had (apart from Carrie Matheson in Homeland). Dean however, is everything. HE is strong and resilient and such a good brother and smoking hot. His taste in music, his taste in cars, clothing and food. Everything just wins where Dean is concerned!

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3.

Peter Quinn – Rupert Friend, Homeland

Character rating:9/10

Smoky factor: 8.5/10

Final Score: 17.5/20

This could really be a list of my favorite shows too, as far as the numbering is currently going! I really enjoy Homeland and even though I find the drama, especially in Season 4, very much like a war propaganda from the US, I think the show is really well produced and the characters extremely well written. Carrie Matheson is the bane of everyone’s existence, not just mine, so the show’s quality relies on the supporting cast and the story.

Peter Quinn came to Homeland in Season 2 but never really received the proper character development he deserved. Every season would start off with some introduction on his life and extraordinary work skills and then just fade as Carrie’s crying face got all the attention.

Season 4 finally really starts to focus on Quinn, and although I retched when his feelings for Carrie came out into the open, I really enjoyed that he got more screen time.

Quinn is efficient and loyal and dedicated to his team, all of the things which Carrie is not. When he goes into avenging mode, it is damn hot and I just want to jump through the screen. I enjoy the many layers the character has and how he struggles with many of the decisions his superiors make.

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2. 

Sherlock Holmes – Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

Character rating: 9/10

Smoky factor: 9.5/10

Final Score: 18.5/20

Sherlock comes in a close second on the favorite characters list. He is so intelligent and quirky and Benedict Cumberbatch brings the legendary sleuth to the screen in the way that no person could have thought possible. The three seasons are all highly entertaining, the banter between Sherlock and Watson is sharp and acerbic and the chemistry onscreen between Cumberbatch and Freeman contributes to the enormous success of the show. The story is sharp and layered and excellently written and produced. However, without Cumberbatch this show would have been really good, but I don’t think that it would have been as excellent. His unique features and nature brings the character to life – no one will ever be Sherlock as well again as he. Then there are Cumberbatch’s eyes and that voice that just kills me. (The hair and his height and his trench coats too)

Michael

1.

Matthew Crawley – Dan Stevens, Downton Abbey

Character rating: 10/10

Smoky factor: 9/10

Final Score: 19/20

Matthew Crawley has forever ruined television crushes for me, because no one will ever be able to compete against him and walk away the victor. I don’t always go for blonde haired guys, so when I do, you must KNOW that it is for character reasons as well as looks. Matthew really perfected my standards here. His character is amazing. He is kind and compassionate in situations where it wouldn’t be unfair of him to lose his temper. He goes through so much in the show and he remains this gentle soul. I love everything about him and I can’t see myself ever giving this spot away to anyone else.

Series Review: Downton Abbey Season 3

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*CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!*

Rating: 8.5/10

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Mary and Michael. GAWSH. Talk about the romance of the century. I love these two characters on a level where I actually need someone to often remind me that they are in fact not real. Their relationship has been anything but a party and their eventual engagement at the end of season two had me doing a dance (I watched that proposal probably fifteen times). It initially seemed that they were going to go on another deviation with the fight about the whole fortune of Livinia Swire that could save Downton if Michael chose to accept it, and I was rather annoyed and prepared to go tell them what I thought of this nonsense. Fortunately Michael has a head on his shoulders and told Mary that they were always going to fight and that it was a part of life, and their marriage happened. It was so romantic and beautiful and their relationship throughout season three was actually quite painful because hey, we ALL want that (and especially to wake up next to Dan Stevens). The Christmas episode nearly killed me. SPOILER ALERT: WHY Downton writers, WHYYYY? Was killing Sybill so horribly not enough? Killing Matthew after he saw his son for the first time just did not seem fair 😦 😦

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Then, Sybill’s death. I had myself right a little tantrum with this and actually considered taking a break from watching Downton till I could deal with the loss of our favourite opinionated girl. It was so painful seeing Tom try to save her, and that grief that was so evident on Tom’s face. He was a liberal and he loved fighting with priviledged people, but he loved his Sybill so much.

The whole Bates and Anna thing that eventually accumulated in some happiness. They are so cute, and I really enjoy how Bates becomes such a badass after prison. It gets so confusing at times because while you know he has integrity and didn’t kill his wife, he has that bottled anger that when it explodes it becomes rather nasty. I found his life in prison really boring but it had a point.

I was complaining about Lady Violet and Lady Isobel in my review of season two, but they really do improve in season three and I found them entertaining again. I like how both ladies actually like each other but would never be caught dead admitting it.

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Lady Edith and Anthony Strallin irritated me quite a bit. I think the most central issue to Edith’s unhappiness is her resignation to settle for anyone. It seems harsh, and probably is, but she is so convinced of her unhappy future that it seems as if she subconsciously plans it out that way.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned in the two previous reviews how much I enjoy Carson. He is actually so sweet but still the prim and proper British man and I truly love the character. Jim Carter does such a good job of him. I really do enjoy how much he loves Mary even when she is being downright nasty – he sees the best in her always.

Overall Season 3 was really just as entertaining as the previous two. It tied a whole lot of story arcs up, and while I certainly don’t agree with two specific ones, it was once again a show that had me crying, cheering, fuming and laughing – everything a good show must be!

Movie Review: Life After Beth (2014)

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Plot: A young man’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her

Rating: 7/10

I was actually rather keen to watch this movie – I haven’t seen too much of Parks and Recreation, but I really do find Aubrey Plaza funny in it, and knowing Zoë’s admiration of Dane DeHaan and Matthew Gray-Grubler, well, it had to be seen right?!

It was fun. It is not the best movie out there but it is amusing. Aubrey Plaza plays herself – pretty, sarcastic and cranky. Dane DeHaan does really well in portraying his grief on his girlfriend’s death and the complicated feelings he has about the fact that their relationship was going downhill before her death. I found Matthew Gray-Grubler way underused – his character was legitimately funny and he did a really good job (also – he’s WAY cute!). I also thought that Anna Kendrick had absolutely no story arc and that she was just a prop used. The story could have been a bit more in-depth and the whole Zombie thing should have been better explained.

However, I found this slightly offbeat story very amusing and thought it was a great movie for starts still working hard to make a proper name in Hollywood. I really do like the entire cast and the movie was well executed. The movie is fun to watch and doesn’t drag, and entertained me quite a bit!

Book Review: Princess Diaries – Princess in the Spotlight (Meg Cabot)

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Rating: 7.5/10

I am having such fun with these books. Granted, they aren’t by any stretch of the imagination the best written literature of the last century nor the most solid of stories plot wise, but they are such fun teenage books and I can’t help but loving them. The second book, Princess in the Spotlight, keeps following Mia Renaldo with her quest to find her feet as a young princess in America and the demands of being friends with Lilly Moscovitz and the huge crush she has on Lilly’s brother, senior and general hottie Michael Moscovitz.

Life isn’t exactly easier than before, but there are more perks – her algebra marks seem to improve slightly, Michael does things that convince Mia that he is in to her, and above all, someone keeps sending her anonymous love notes (could it be Michael?)

Well, things aren’t always perfect for Mia and she still has to deal with the ever invasive press, her best friend being just a bit too commanding and her scheming grandmother, Dowager princess Clarisse Renaldo.

It’s fun, the plot developments very obvious and nothing overly dramatic. I love Mia’s take on things – she is such a hyper involved teenage girl (we’ve all been there!) Her insecurities and worries are so legitimate to her age and is a sweet reminder of how insecure all girls were at that age. Her huge crush on Michael Moscovitz is the best entertainment ever, and the emotional growth she undergoes through the course of the books are really entertaining.

Really recommended to anyone in the mood for a laugh, although it might not be to the enjoyment of everyone though (as usual).

Just what is this Macho Movie doing on my blog?! The Expendables (2010)

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Plot: A CIA operative hires a team of mercenaries to eliminate a Latin dictator and a renegade CIA agent.

Rating: 5/10

Hmm, I love me a good action movie. Strong fearless men overcoming impossible odds? Bring the popcorn. I’ve wanted to get around to The Expendables for ages now I know quite a number of people (guys) who are embarrassingly in love with the franchise, and since I enjoy a good action movie, I thought: hey, why not?

I think I would have enjoyed The Expendables more if it HAD been a good action movie. The dialogue is cringe worthy and I have no idea how the cast managed to act their roles out without bursting into laughter. Lead characters Jason Statham (I don’t get the fuss about him being good-looking… NO) and Stallone (Whose symmetrical features I found way too attractive #yuck #old #itsStallone) attempt to portray a strong bromance relationship that falls flat because the dialogue is so bad. It appears that they wanted Statham to appear like he was more in touch with his feelings than the rest of the cast but that too didn’t even get a few seconds of proper directing or time.

Stallone… sheesh. I was a bit disgusted that I thought for a few seconds he’s attractive – the guy was about four hundred years old at the time this film was shot and that is very deep into the grandpa territory for me. It was really painful to see him run. It looks excruciating and as if he couldn’t get quite into his whole sprinting sequence.

The story itself is so out of control silly. The mercenaries infiltrate small country Vilena to save them from the brutal rule of ex-CIA officer James Munroe (Eric Roberts), a one dimensional villain with no real development or cause. The main attraction on Vilena seems to be the money involved and the pretty lady Sandra (Giselle Itlie), which is probably a fine reason to head over to a terrorist infested country if you are a mercenary. The plan and reason for the attack is never really made clear except for the five seconds Bruce Willis appears on screen pretending to be scary and who is quickly joined and departed by Arnie who then also backs out because he is too busy being cool or being governor to spend more time on this crap.

The CGI… the most I can really say is that the tomato sauce bursting from people looked WAY authentic. Seriously, what was up with that and the ridiculous fight sequences? I think if I went and brought a CGI for Dummies book and sat and studied it for an hour I would have done a better job than this.

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The only interesting about this film was Mickey Rourke. The man has a commanding presence on screen and focusing on him is quite easy because his acting is good, what he says seems interesting and he looks so intense and badass.

 Expendables 1 Stratham

Then there are the three ladies that appear on screen that had me off my rocker with irritation: The first one is the typical cheating female, who then later appears with a black eye and Jason Statham gallantly loses his shit and beats up abusive co-cheater and his merry band of friends. Sheesh, Jason, SUCH a gentleman hey?! Then, Mickey Rourke brings in his typical hooker lady, all enthusiastic about being on Mickey’s lap. Hey, Mickey is allowed to have a hooker on his lap if he wants one, but all the same, distasteful and unoriginal. The last lady to appear on screen is Sandra, who manages to be hot while looking pure and intense and everything men of Stallone’s caliber could ever want. Nice going there, Expendables: feeding your largely testosterone driven crowd more stereotypes for consumption about females.

The Expendables is truly what it advertises: a testosterone fest without a plot or a second of originality. It is rushed and underdeveloped and I even though I’m happy that it ended under two hours it needed either more time for the plot to actually appear on screen or less ass kicking and more explanation why asses were being kicked. Not my thing at all, although perhaps I simply do not have the sufficient level of testosterone to handle this!

Book Review: The Princess Diaries (Meg Cabot)

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PlotMia Thermopolis is pretty sure there’s nothing worse than being a five-foor-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra.

Is she ever in for a surprise.

First Mom announces that she’s dating Mia’s Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn’t have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?

Rating: 7.5/10

Let me just say: I absolutely love the film adaption of this book. It is so much fun and Anne Hathaway is much more likeable in here than she ever was in anything else. I’ve never read the book before, so I thought it would be really nice to see how it stacked up in the eternal movie vs book debate.

Well, both are really good even though they have numerous differences. Firstly, Mia’s father is alive in the book, so the reason of informing her that she is an heiress has nothing to do with his death and only with his incapability of procreating again after testicular cancer. Her grandmother is not as cool or queenly as Julie Andrews is and Mia’s hair is blonde, not brown. I can live with all these changes in the movie because it makes her story seem a little more plausible and I think the blonde hair in the book doesn’t really suit the awkward character.  But, the essence of Mia’s character is maintained excellently in the film, because she is in the book the most awkward, shy and socially disabled teenager you can ever come across. I thought the book is well written in a diary format and gives you such an entertaining view of the thoughts of a teenage girl. I really liked it and it is a quick and easy read. It is definitely not for everyone, but I had such an entertaining time with it!

Series Review: Downton Abbey Season 2

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Rating: 8.5/10

What I liked:

The entire cast: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Maggie Smith, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Dan Stevens and Phyllis Logan (to name just a few) does a phenomenal task with the material they have. The cast works together perfectly and has an intimate connection that gives the impression that Downton Abbey is a real place with real people living in it.

The portrayal of the war. It was ever present with so many of the young men away all the time, but it never completely overshadowed the main plots. I thought it was excellently depicted and the filming of the war scenes was really well done.

Robert’s frustration at being a poster boy for the war but not being able to take part. I LOVE Robert. There is something he did that made me so angry at him but overall I really like his character. I’ve been on a rampage lately that older men and women should always feel like they still have a part to play in society when they retire, and Robert’s frustration at the “there-there” condescending nature of his superiors really highlighted the fact.

Lavinia Swire. I really enjoyed the character even though her sole purpose was to keep my two favourites apart from each other.

That dance scene with Matthew and Mary. Are all British women so wonderfully contained? If Dan Stevens danced with me like that and looked at me like that I would have passed out on the scene.

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Sybil and Tom. I LOVE both of them so much ❤ ❤

The Christmas episode and the proposal. GAWSHHHHH ❤

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What I didn’t like

Ethel. This whole storyline seemed so unnecessary and preposterous. I didn’t like the character’s entitled attitude and even though I had sympathy with her plight, what did she actually think would happen??

Isobel Crawley. What an annoying woman. She started out as quite entertaining and I enjoy her banter with the Dowager Countess, but her perstering attitude quickly got old.

The resurfacing of Patrick Crawley – it also had no point only to highlight Edith’s persistent desire to keep herself unhappy.

Bates and Anna. I love these two and their story but sheesh it gets really melodramatic in this season!

Overall this was a phenomenal season. I am so ridiculously addicted to this show it is not even funny. Even when I’m mad at the characters (I get hopelessly invested) I still can’t turn myself away!

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Movie Review: Filth (2013)

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Plot: A corrupt cop manipulates and hallucinates his way through a bid to secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter

Rating: 8/10

Filth definitely isn’t for anyone, especially people who take offence quickly or are sensitive viewers. It is a peculiar case study on the incomprehensible nature of human kind. James McAvoy is at his best as Bruce Robertson – he’s fallen so far and it has made him the nastiest of men. McAvoy is always a great actor and I wish to never find him in a mediocre movie that only inspires the most basic of emotions. What he does is raw and powerful and demands attention, he’s not some B star with a little bit of talent. Bruce Robertson is such a disgusting man and he’s cruel. It becomes obvious that you should dislike him intensely and not feel any kindness towards him, but his slow slippery slide into insanity is disturbing and the glimpse into how he always was is heartbreaking. It is clear that he used to be a good man, and that he seems to have had no control over his decline into the monster he became. Things I can’t deal with is definitely McAvoy in his natural Scottish accent, it is a thing of crushing beauty, and him with tears in his eyes. I JUST CAN’T.

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Imogen Poots really impressed me. Amanda Drummond was a convincing, a no nonsense detective who seemed like the only person on the squad capable of doing her job. Nothing Bruce did could bring her down or make her like him. I respected the hell out of her because she wouldn’t take anyone’s shit and managed to be graceful and powerful at the same time. Poots was so authentic as Drummond and showcased her real abilities. I hope to see more of her in movies like this!

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The movie is darkly satirical and has humorous moments. I’m still rather shocked by it all, and I saw this movie probably two to three months ago. It is never going to be my favorite movie of all time but it is still so important that these movies should be made. As for recommending who might like it, I only have this to say: don’t be faint of heart!