Blindspot 2015: A Good Year (2006)

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Plot: A British investment broker inherits his uncle’s chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.

Rating: 6.5/10

It seems inconceivable that Russel Crowe and Ridley Scott could combine to commit such a stupendously formulaic movie. A Good Year is the last movie for my Blindspot selections for 2015, and it definitely was not the best. It really is okay – nothing bad or offensive, but seriously boring. The best part of the film is definitely the ode to a good wine and followed shortly by the lovely way the film was shot in sun kissed tones.

A Good Year is a mildly interesting rom-com, but lacks characters that you can emphasize or associate with. The male lead is constantly depicted as a terrible person that delights in bringing others down. The female lead is colored for a short while as a lady with a sad past that isn’t interested in a relationship, but is only mentioned as a token because it is never talked about again.

Then there is the relationship between Crowe and Cottliard’s characters, so ridiculous in a genre that is known for its’ preposterous notions on love.  First, Max Skinner nearly kills Fanny Chenal because he was texting and driving, after which he unearths waiter skills completely unexpected to his character, then there’s a date, kissing, sex, and boom, she’s the love of his life. That seems completely plausible no matter how you phrase it hey? Then there is the entire plot line with the unexpected heir that is actually totally nice and doesn’t want to beat Crowe up for lying to her all the time and selling her inheritance. Don’t forget to mention the whining best friend that is suddenly all amenable and sweet when presented with a sunburnt woman in need of ice on her back. And the whole secrecy regarding the special branding of wine that no one knows where it comes from but there are significant looks everywhere. Silly silly silly.

The film is however, as previously mentioned, beautifully directed and has soft tones to complement the gorgeous Parisian countryside. A Good Year was entertaining enough, but falls very far below the par if you consider the other films on my Blindspot list this year. I will do a recap shortly into the New Year – I’ve had a blast of a time with these films.

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Movie Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) SPOILER FREE

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Rating: 9/10

It’s my usual habit to include a plot synopsis, but for the sake of keeping this as spoiler free as promised I’m not doing that today. I know someone who had this movie spoiled in a review that wasn’t even about this film (people seriously suck), so I promise, this won’t be a nasty review full of spoilers.

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I am not a super fan. I haven’t seen every film sixty times and I generally keep a distance from the very intense fans this franchise has (I’m scared of them. No lies)

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So, what did I think? I loved it. It is done well enough to be entertaining to most people. The blend of old and new cast members works well to remind people of what was and to bring a new generation into the film. As for the new cast, Adam Driver was FANTASTIC, Daisey Ridley was AMAZING, John Boyega was WONDERFUL, Oscar Isaacs (who is quickly becoming a favorite of mine) worked very well in his adventurer role and Domhnall Gleeson once again excelled in a role that is nothing like any of his previous roles.

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The storyline? Pretty solid, entertaining and the action sequences were well developed (excellent, in fact). It had it all – breathless rushes and escapes, tears, outrage, plot twists, everything.

I hope this review makes sense – I’m feeling really happy that I saw it and it worked exceptionally well. I think the feeling is quite mutual now that Disney buying over the rights to Star Wars wasn’t a bad decision and that JJ Abrams is king, and that the next movie must just roll around now. Hell, maybe I’ll even become a super fan and violently argue with people about Star Wars. It is not ruled out.

Five Things Friday: Five biggest disappointments in the theatre this year

Happy Fri-yay, everyone. And welcome to the second last Friday of the year. While we are all running around yelling: “I can’t, I just can’t” because how the effing eff did this year get to its’ end, let’s talk for a bit about the five movies I found the most disappointing this year. I haven’t started rolling out any best of 2015 lists, because let’s face it, we are all holding out to see how a certain movie that releases this week shacks up.  The movies I chose for the dubious honor today is not exclusively lowest on the list I have been working all year (#goteamMe), but rather the movies I had hoped would be more. So.

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5. Insurgent

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet.

Rating on blog: 5.5/10

Ugh. This entire franchise is just shaping up nowhere where we wanted it to end up as. Sure, it is still running as moderate box office successes and isn’t planking like Vampire Academy did (which I’m not completely happy about) , but it is like Dystopian on Prozac – there, but not really.

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4. Seventh Son

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harrington

Rating on blog: 6/10

Seventh Son ended up being a truly dreadful film, loose around the edges and everyone seemed a bit annoyed that they had been drafted into such nonsense.

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3. Best of Me

Starring: James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Liana Liberato, Luke Bracey

Rating on blog: 6/10

I’m just going to start avoiding any new Nicholas Sparks’ films because they lack SPARK.

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2. Paper Towns

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevigne

Rating: 6.5/10

It wasn’t bad, but I had hoped for something with the impact of the Fault in Our Stars, and it just wasn’t. It is so teenagey.Ugh.

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  1. Cinderella

Starring: Lilly James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter

Rating: 6.5/10

I was so extremely excited for this. Meh. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t Maleficent either, which I hoped it would be similar to – an original take on the film.

Movie Review: Magic Mike XXL (2015)

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Plot:Three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.

Rating: 6.5/10

The thong wearing boys in bandannas are back. Whether we really wanted them to or not, they are and they are humping more than ever. Anyone who labels this franchise as good really shouldn’t be allowed to speak out loud, and I’m guessing they think Fifty Shades of Grey is the best movie of the year, but XXL isn’tthat bad. Sure, brain cells die and straight men won’t watch it no matter how whipped they are, but it can be fun if you take a good dose of humor in. Maybe some wine as well, as Andie MacDowell’s character discovered.

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I will go as far as to say that XXL is slightly better than the first movie. It works hard for some humor, and although the delivery is terrible in places, it was cute. The cheese is nearly as bad as The Expendables franchise, and I cringed in some places. Most of it comes from Joe Manganiello, who talks ALL THE TIME. I’m not sure why they upgraded him from all that grunting in the first movie. He’s the type of guy who just needs to grunt and girls are going to be happy. With plenty of references to his extra-large… package… and extremely corny lines, this guy is all over the place. I mean: “you want to pop the hood” is an actual line in here. Priceless. I’m not overly surprised how bad it all goes down as his main claim to fame is being Alcide Herveaux in True Blood. Matt Bomer gets time on the screen too, some character lines, which was nice – he is one of the few in here who has acting skills. He also looks like Prince Charming. Gorgeous.

Then there is the delightful Channing Tatum, a man with so much charm and boyish good looks he can do anything and make it work. He seemed a bit bored with this movie, but he was cute and entertaining all the same.

Then there is the fairly large female ensemble cast – starting with Amber Heard who made a much better lead female character than the very irritating Brooke in the original Magic Mike. Heard, who plays Zoe, is really not annoying, and that is just great. Her role in here is murky since there is no involvement between her and Mike. She’s just a girl who is charmed by Magic Mike, but no sexy sexy apparently. Which turned out fine – I really hope all women out there get that male strippers are not there to love you.

Jada Pinkett Smith also has a role as a sexy lady with lots of money who helps out Mike and his friends when they need it. Then there is Andie MacDowell who just really made me cringe with her stereotypical older wine loving mama. Elizabeth Banks also does a surprise pop-up, which I don’t really understand but rolled with it.

Anyway, don’t watch it if you are a straight male, or a female that takes offense quickly. It is hilarious though, embarrassing and perfect for a girl’s night full of silliness. No one ever got hurt by looking at gorgeous male bodies, did they?

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PS: Maybe just their dignity.

Movie Review: Magic Mike (2012)

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Plot: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.

Rating: 5/10

The five reasons I liked this:

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Without them, it would have been horrendous. There is no storyline, no character development, no chemistry, no imagination. That’s it. The female characters are one dimensional and Cody Horn has less facial expressions than Bella Swan. If you don’t expect too much, you will enjoy it. Just have a high threshold for embarrassment because trust me, it is HIGH.

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Book Review: Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead)

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Plot:
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . .

Rating: 7/10

I mean, just look at that plot line. Who wouldn’t want to read that? I had a lot of fun, and admitting it probably means flushing my good name down the toilet. Well, I liked it. It has obvious questionable plot lines. The class system is outrageous and wouldn’t hold up anywhere. Then there is that little fact that Dimitri, regardless of his hot-cakiness, is much older than Rose and shouldn’t have lost his job and then faced prosecution. It is also probably everybody’s worst nightmares to have someone be able to read your mind constantly. Eugh. I would be in so much trouble.

Despite all these little things, the book is great. It is light reading and really a book for teens, but it has great pace and ends interestingly enough to make you want to pick up the second book. If they truly followed the book in the movie and given it a darker edge I think the movie wouldn’t have failed quite as spectacularly.

Although definitely not for everyone, Vampire Academy is so much fun. I recommend you read it if you enjoy vampire books.

Blindspot 2015: Pulp Fiction (1994)

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Plot: The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Rating: 9/10

I was so dreading watching this. So long, so much love running around for it. Who has time to spend nearly three hours on something and then tell the world that they hated it? Anyway. I finally forced myself to sit down and get this done, because I still need to watch A Good Year as well and in case nobody noticed, its nearly 2016. So. I sat down and for at least the first fifteen minutes I was like “what the effing eff is this?” All I saw was this one weird couple yapping about something and Samuel L. Jackson saying “motherfucker” more times than I could ever possibly wish to count.

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Then it got really good really fast. It is incredibly weird and the only plot line I ever established was that Pulp Fiction is a movie about a random day in the life of mobsters. However, the day was really interesting and the characters are intriguing. The music, directing, characters and eloquent dialogue is strange enough to keep you watching, and I guess that is what a movie should be doing. I though Uma Thurman made an amazing Mia Wallace, Samuel L. Jackson was really weird but really good and John Travolta has obviously always had a penchant for strange hairstyles.

Pulp Fiction was much more than I thought it would be – as you’ve guessed by the high rating up there. The dialogue is especially a big attribute to the film – providing insight into these strange underworld characters. The non-linear storyline concludes well in the end and the crossing of these characters’ paths are then very funny to behold.

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Pulp Fiction is a great film by all accounts, and a definite recommendation, but only if you actively enjoy strange films.

PS: what the fuck is in that suitcase?!

Series Review: Supernatural Season 1 (2005)

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Rating: 8.5/10

Supernatural really is part of the staple diet for people who enjoy a good show. It provides an interesting story line, well developed plot lines and a great cast. This is my second time running through the series, and I really aren’t afraid at all this time around haha. There are still a few episodes where I am like – eugh, cannibal-hillbilly episode I’m looking at you, but I was endlessly entertained. I’ve retained quite a bit from the first time around, and the episodes are so interesting to see again. Sure, the CGI might be terrible and the cheese might be strong in a few places, but hey, this was a low-budget production in its’ first season and it was 2005 after all.

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Season one is SO good. Even Sam Winchester is tolerable, and if you want to know how much I adored him in seasons 4 and 5, just ask my favourite confidante. I’m team Dean all the way, not only because he is the most perfectly faced man I have ever seen, his character is well layered, extremely fun and ridiculous, and who the character is – you can’t help but love the guy who just wants his family back together.

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I think my biggest irritation in the season was Meg, the unbelievably annoying demon who just annoyed me endlessly. It probably had something to do with the actress as well – Nicci Aycox worked on my nerves from the get go. ugh.

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Supernatural “Asylum” (Episode #109) Image #SN109-0185 Pictured: Norman Armour as Ghost of Dr. Sanford Ellicott Credit: © The WB/Sergei Bachlakov

Favorite episode? Perhaps the one with the Asylum. It was well written and played well into popular culture themes.

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I really enjoy the main cast, notably Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester. To think that guy started out as Eric Brody in Days of Our Lives – just so much fun there. DW is a great character and as mentioned earlier, full of layers. I actually thought Sam was okay in here, not as annoying as he becomes in season four. I really find it amusing that they would cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan as their father – I think he is a great John Winchester and super fine, but come on, the ages just don’t match up.

I cannot recommend this show enough – it is so much fun.

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Movie Review: Vampire Academy (2014)

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Plot: Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, half human-half vampire, a guardian of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discreetly within our world. Her calling is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi.

Original Rating: 5.5/10

New Rating: 6.5/10

Hmm. Never thought I would rate this one higher than what I originally did, but that first rating was pretty harsh. I actually really enjoyed VA when I watched it the other night again. There is nothing quite as fun as large amounts of cheese.

VA is nowhere what I wanted it to be. The cast works fine, but I really feel that Lucy Fry was a complete and utter failure as VasalisaDragomir. Dominic Sherwood, who is bad boy Christian Ozera, follows close on her heels. I have never seen such bad acting and I’ve seen some bad acting.

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I would love it if Zoey Deutch got her big break now. She’s really very pretty and quite a talented actress, and she did wonderful work with her source material as Rose Hathaway – she was the smartass we wanted Rose to be.

Danila Kozlovsky is an actual Russian and plays Russian Dimitri quite well. But for such a bad ass culture and nation I find their accents so ludicrous and them quite funny – hehe. He’s so hot though.

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The biggest failure of this film is the satirical angle. Why take a YA book, twist its already twisted logic, and make it satire? It didn’t work, and every scene with the vastly changed Kirova and Natalie Dashkov was a disaster. And let’s just say that Mark Waters should have been fired the second he suggested another Mean Girls, but with Vampires.

I really wish they could find a way to produce Frostbite, the next book in the series. It is a lot of nonsense but I really liked the books and it would have been amazing if this franchise had run at full speed.