Movie review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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Plot: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Rating: 7.5/10

I was only too happy when I finally had some time free and could head out and see a film in an actual cinema with actual popcorn. My choice was between Kong and Logan, and I might get shot for this but Wolverine has never been my first choice (although I hear from multiple sources that it is well worth the watch). I set out to see the gargantuan monster and my decision was rewarded for an enticing film.

My most predominant thought about Skull Island is that it is Avatar, sans blue people. I checked the inspiration that director John Vogt-Roberts pulled from and Avatar isn’t listed as one of them, but:  Beautiful untainted area without known human habitation? Check. American army swinging guns and bombs in unprovoked attacks? Check. Outrage when indigenous life revolts? Also check.

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The star studded cast carries the movie when it might have been boring with less capable actors. From Samuel L. Jackson who plays a war veteran who just doesn’t want to admit defeat to Brie Larson as the photographer with a conscious, John Goodman as the researcher who is more invested in the discovery that might be healthy and Tom Hiddleston as a tracker and ex British army officer, they are capable enough to entertain us for the hefty watching time this film demands. I also thought John C. Reilly was appropriate comic relief while also providing some wrenching moments where you wish for him to be granted every wish he has after the life he’s had. I only really highlighted the major cast but a shout out has to be given as well to everyone who is sent along on the expedition, they were all well cast.

Tom Hiddleston proves he is more than Loki. After seeing this I am definitely on board with seeing him in more films. I have to say, this adventurer look suits him really well, I was much appreciative for science reasons. It was also a really cool character to root for, and he had the world weary attitude down to a T.

In all honesty, it took me about three minutes to be on #TeamKong. Stupid Americans thinking they have the right to enter untouched areas and bomb it? Typical and the world is weary. The events of Skull Island immediately occurs after the Vietnam War, and we all know how that went down. The political messaging is very strong and we have to wonder whether it is some jabs at the current administration in America. The expedition team is certainly more diverse than anything that is being pushed by POTUS right now, and it is all the stronger for it.

Brie Larson might be the only female cast member that gets actual lines, but she does her job well and carries the girl power flag with excellence. I liked her, I liked her character and she is definitely an actress I’d like to see more of.

Some beautiful cinematography and directing impresses as well. The indigenous folk are terrifying and oddly beautiful in an untouched way. I’d naturally never return to sanity after meeting them. The massive animals alternate between jaw dropping and vomit inducing. They serve as a not so subtle reminder about the glory of nature untouched.
Kong: Skull Island is definitely worth the watch, although heavy on the political agenda. I also felt that some of the fighting scenes were a bit drawn out and over the top, but that is crowd pleasing to the majority of watchers. I enjoyed it thoroughly as it provided a good variety of actors with an important story and great effects.
Have you seen Kong? What did you think?

#100Happydays Round 2: Days 1-10

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m sure it is Thursday – WordPress changed my time settings again, and I’m really confused right now with 12am and 12pm. I know, its’ been a long week.

You might notice that I’m busy posting at different times – I’m tracking which times delivers the best traffic to my blog. Most of the readers on here are either in the States or the UK (thanks guys!) and I would like to cater for them, which can be a little bit of a juggling act with all the timezone things.

Anyway, here’s a bit on the actual post: Zoë and I decided that it was high time to do another round of #100HappyDays. I’m enjoying my second run very much, but I can once again not count properly… see the mistake in the pics below. I have to say, it opens your eyes to what makes you happy. This time around I’m posting about what actually makes me happy, things that either boosted my confidence or gave me some real smiles or contentment. Here’s the first week below.

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Day 1:
I’m still recovering from my Daredevil binge. It is such an amazing show. Dark, broody, intelligent. I need a third season and I need it now.

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Day 2:

I’ve been suffering from a Suduko addiction the last few months. This highly stimulating and addictive game has kept me entertained and I’ve driven everyone around me crazy with intense suduko sessions.

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Day 3:

This cup really makes me happy. Combined with my nighttime tea, it makes me SUPER happy.4

Day 4:

Here’s my numbering mistake. We had some crazy crazy rain in Johannesburg, resulting in pot holes, crazy floods (I did mention crazy, right?) and generally terrible driving. The good news is that our dams are full for the first time in two years, and the water restrictions have been lifted off Gauteng. Whoop! The weather made for some really comfy at home time as well.

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Day 5:

Still unaware of my numbering error, here I enjoyed my favorite Coke Light. I need a stronger stress ball than the one pictured, but at least it is smiling. 6

Day 6:

I made cheescake for my sister’s birthday. It turned out deliciously #notSuchAHumbleBrag. I’m still experimenting with the amount of flavor I’m giving it, but this is by far the best one I’ve made yet. That Merlot from Longmarket wines was also really amazing.7

Day 7:

This Bahamamama from Essie is the loveliest purple!8

Day 8:

I had some delicious Cappuchinos from Woolies. I wasn’t expecting that they would be so tasty, and I was pleasantly surprised.

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Day 9:

I’m really working hard with my eating plan right now, and this turned out to be not only a healthy meal, but a truly delicious one. 10

Day 10:

This was the day I truly ventured out of my comfort zone, which inspired the picture. I went to some clients I dreaded seeing, because I’m such an introvert, we haven’t met yet, and they are on all accounts horrible people. However, I still went out and got my job done, a huge huge achievement for me.

That’s it for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed, and if you ever did something similar please let me know!

Watched, Read, Loved: February 2017

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February being so short is all fun and games (particularly since payday is closer for a lot of people) but then suddenly you are in March and I don’t know about you, but I’m really like where the actual f is this year going? February was rather quiet compared to January’s movie intake, which I will blame on the shortness of the month and the fact that I got hooked on Daredevil, which certainly took up the majority of time I would usually have spent watching movies. But do you see me complaining? Nope. It changed my life, the show is THAT good.

On a personal note the start of February was rather sad. I kept thinking whether I should do some sort of separate posting about it, but decided against it as it seemed too morbid to post exclusively about death. One of my oldest friends committed suicide late January, and her birthday was on the same date as my father’s, who would have been sixty this year. In the past the weekend close to the 2nd of February would have usually been a massive amount of party juggling is now only a sad remembrance of two amazing people, and that is really just very sad to deal with.

Furthermore work was also a little crazy. I received a job offer and went through all the hoops to get a formal proposal. I ultimately decided to stay with my current company, a decision which I question daily. The pros and cons kept me awake for nights on end, and while I’m mostly happy with my decision the thought of a few things still make me wonder. It is not always easy here, but I have realized that the field I am in is rarely easy, so if I truly want to change I will do so after my degree and rather just change careers completely.

On the Tinder and dating saga: February is the month of Lurveeeee. I am very much past the point where Valentines actually holds meaning to me. I hate to be on the overly-negative-bandwagon, but it is a commercialized chaos and I am very uninterested in furthering every shop in town’s agenda. I just realized that I really have so much to say about this that I should do another Tinder and dating post. It has been a merry ride with asthma attacks during dates, single events, people who actually use the term hella cool and people who seem to think I’m dumb and don’t have basic knowledge of things.

Looking at everything I just wrote on there I am not surprised I didn’t reach my January high of movies. Here they are below, let me know what you’ve been up to as well in the comment section!

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Movies:

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): 8.5/10

I started February off with a bang and finally got to Hunt for The Wilderpeople. I reviewed it already because I loved it too much to keep it contained for too long. It is really far out of the type of movie I would usually choose to watch. This actually can’t be classified to a genre. Full of quips, this film is designed to warm your heart and make you think long and hard about the sanity of New Zealanders.

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The BFG (2016): 6/10

Wow, I really get why people didn’t like this! Long and overindulgent. Ugh.

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince(2009): 6.5/10

Can a movie ever really do justice to the book it was created from? The answer is always no unless it is Lord of The Rings. I’m not sure whether I’ll even do a review for this. I had it in my head to do a series at one stage, so maybe I will just write it up and get to it one day in the distant future.

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Shall We Dance? (2004):6.5/10

I watched this with my mom, and we both enjoyed it. It is mostly about an old man finding his groove again, and I liked it by the end. It is also not about cheating and I was very suspicious about that, which made me pleased in the end.

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Notting Hill (1999): 6.5/10

I apparently really like the 6.5/10 rating. It seems like a fair score if I liked it but it wasn’t amazing. Notting Hill is a passable film but it isn’t my favorite in the genre. I still think Julia Roberts is one of the most beautiful women to have ever worked in Hollywood.

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How to Be Single (2015): 6.5/10

This is a second watch for me. I really like a number of things about this movie – Rebel Wilson and Dakota Fanning do great work together. Dakota Fanning is a really talented lady, so I hope she does more work other than that BDSM crap. The message of this film is also really important.

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Books:

The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore)

Not sure if I should even list it on here as I read the last twenty pages in February, but there you go. It was quite enjoyable although it certainly wasn’t as captivating as the first book.

After You (JoJoMoyes)

After Me Before You, the touching book and the slightly less touching film, After You comes along. Lou is dealing with her grief, her inability to convey to strangers how she loved a man so quickly and powerfully in only six months and the judgment of every ass available. It is written in typical JoJoMoyes style and so far it is really enjoyable although I can’t see how she will reach the emotional highs of her first book.

Tribute – Nora Roberts

I enjoy Tribute on a loop every year at least. All I know from reading this book again is I want a Spock.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

Everything. This book is everything. It makes me so happy and content. It is such an important book in the series, and there are scenes in there that fills my heart up with so much happiness and light.

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Series:

X-files Season 2 – I’m a bit at a snag right now with X-Files. I enjoy it but it is so procedural I can drop and pick up without too many holes in the conversation.

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Daredevil Season 1 and 2 – I’ve been postponing this for ages now. WHY? It is amazing. It is 10 000% better than that awful Jessica Jones BS I subjected myself too. Charlie Cox as Daredevil is AMAZING. That introduction.The tone of the series.The action.The simple badassery. I am so involved in this. WOW. I will post both reviews and JJ soon, and you will see the remarkable difference.

What have you been up to this month?

Watched, Read, Loved: January 2017

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I’m not going to bless you with that whole “how quick did this month go” crap, because let’s face it; January 2017 took its sweet time being done. At this stage I’m so deliberately avoiding bitching about politics on here, but please note that I do a whole lot of bitching in private about that man who is committing genocide.

I had my birthday on the 25th. I am now officially on the wrong side of 25. I’m 27, so I’ve already been on the wrong side for a whole year, but I was ignoring that at 26. Apart from suddenly stressing about retirement plans and the meaning of my entire existence, I’m not too stressed. I have decided that 27 good things WILL happen to me this year, so I will keep you in the loop.

Here is what I got up to this month, which is an impressive amount! #GoMe

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Movies watched:

10 Things I hate about you:

Confession time: if I had to go live on an island indefinitely with only ten movies to watch, I’d very likely pack 10 Things I Hate About You in.  I love everything about this film – how 90’s everything is: Julia Stiles’ hair, the clothes everyone wore, the music and the cars. I die every time Heath Ledger gifts us with that smile; it is equal parts pain and pleasure. The quick bantering and the ridiculous teenage humor make me laugh every single time. I actually wrote a post about how much I love this film, so I won’t turn it into a whole review here, but I’m sure you are getting the point here that I love this film.

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How to lose a guy in ten days: Kate Hudson used to be my ultimate girl crush as a teenager – she’s so pretty and preppy and blonde. I’m now at a point where I want actresses to be more than pretty, preppy and blonde, but I still find her a good romantic comedy lead. She wouldn’t hold up in more serious roles, but these? I’ll cast her any day. It also contains the delicious Matthew M.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): I finally managed to finish up my Blindspots for 2016. To round the year of with To Kill A Mockingbird was a great idea – what an incredible film.

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Passengers (2017): These films with the strange release dates make it impossible to put them in the correct year. I watched in this year, hence this year will be referenced. I actually really liked it and think that the Oscar nod for set design is well deserved. I know it didn’t go down well with everybody, but I actually quite enjoyed it despite the numerous flaws.

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Fool’s Gold (2008): This falls in the time frame where Matthew McConaughey became the romantic comedy guy, something which still grates on a lot of people today. I do think that Fool’s Gold lacks certain important things like a proper plot, but I didn’t hate it at all.

Scream 4: I finished up my run on the Scream franchise this month. I am so sad! Because while I can definitely watch it again, I won’t ever be able to watch it for the first time again. I’m only posting this for Halloween, because I’d love to actually do a Halloween month this year, but please know that I did love this so much!

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Sicario (2015): Don’t you just love when a film is good enough to inspire you to read up on what you are watching? Shortly after the film ended I read up all about Juarez, Mexico, and the increasingly dodgy sounding CIA. Sicario is a great film that stays with you after you watched it and I will definitely be revisiting Denis Vileneuve’s film in the near future.

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The Princess Diaries:A Royal Engagement (2004): I remember this as a decent movie, which it was NOT. I adore the first Princess Diaries, but the sequel suffers from the sequelitis and it is rampant with bad acting, bad pacing and general badness. The years have been kind to Chris Pine – he is so much more attractive right now than he was in 2004.

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Love, Rosie (2014): I’m still trying to formulate some thoughts on Love, Rosie. Did I like it? Moderately so. I know for a fact that it contains some of the most awkward of scenes ever invented, and I was horrified and cringed so much. It gets a little drawn out and the story is never really strong. I do think that Sam Claflin is simply beautiful and that if just smiled all the time the world would be a better place.

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Vrou Soek Boer (2014): I got my fix of Afrikaans films with Vrou Soek Boer in January. It translates to “A woman is looking for a farmer” but it was a much cuter film than that translation suggested. I enjoyed it very much!

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Sisters (2016): This is surely the biggest waste of cash of 2016 for me. I bought this on DVD, sure I would at least like it okay. Nope. I hated it. What a stupid, unfunny film.

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The Accountant (2016): To embrace my mood of needing to watch people beat up things I picked up the Accountant. Ben Affleck’s hit of 2016, where he is an autistic superhero, fulfilled that need on some level but I was also left feeling vaguely unsatisfied with the ending.

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Series:

The X-Files Season 1: I am having so much fun with the X-files. There is nothing better when you discover a series and along with the discovery is the fact that there are so many seasons with a lot of episodes per season. SCORE! It took me a few episodes to get used to the layout of the show as well as the whole 1992 vibe the first season has going for it. It is pretty good and smart, as well as some funny conspiracy moments going on.

Alias Season 3: Alias has been great to me. I still need to finish Seasons four and five. I had some issues with the third season such as Sydney being a complete psycho, but overall still really great.

True Blood Season 1: I’ve been in the mood torewatch this for a while now. After watching a few episodes that need was cured because True Blood has some grating characters in that I somehow softened in my memory. I might still finish it, but right now there are other better shows that deserve attention.

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Books:

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The Collaborator (Margaret Leroy): Few books have stayed with me like this book has. I’ve had the worst book hangover since then and such troubles finding another book to seek my teeth into.

The Road to the Sea (Ciara Hegarthy): I’m going to go rampant on this book when I finally review it. Overly descriptive and insanely boring, this is one of the least favorite novels I’ve picked up in a while.

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The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore): I’m almost done with Book Two in the Lorien Legacies. Although I am still enjoying, the first read and progressed a whole lot better.

What have you been up to?

Blindspot 2017: The List

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A few things I can tell you about this list:

  • I deliberately chose “lighter” films than last year. My 2016 list and 2015 list contained some serious heavy weights. I’m happy I got through them all, but to change things up I chose some films that were in a different genre than the other frequenters of my Blindspots.
  • This list started forming as I was thinking about how little of Brad Pitt’s work I’ve actually watched – he’s quite popular on here.
  • I am going to have a lot of fun watching these, I can tell.
  • I actually have a small list of other films that I’ll post some time that I also want to watch this year despite it not being Blindspots.
  • Here is my actual list below that I hope to enjoy and actually post monthly for the rest of the year.
  1. Scream (1996)
  2. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  3. The Departed (2006)
  4. Seven (1995)
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  6. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  7. Ghost (1990)
  8. Basic Instinct (1992)
  9. Goodwill Hunting (1997)
  10. Interview with a Vampire (1994)
  11. The Italian Job (2003)
  12. Walk the Line (2005)

What did you choose this year? Let me know!

Movie Review: Passengers (2017) – CONTAINS SPOILERS –

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Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

Rating: 6.5/10

– CONTAINS SPOILERS –

When a movie gets trashed second after it was released, it is safe to assume that it is either:

  • The movie is legitimately a terrible film
  • The movie didn’t live up to its’ expectations and delivered something else
  • The critics hated the film because of some petty reason

Passengers is somewhere between two and three. The film’s last hour and half (perhaps more than that) is a romantic drama film set in space. I’m sure that upset a number of people who might have expected a Sci-Fi film. I also think the hate train might have been loaded to capacity with people reacting unnecessarily harsh to a moderately decent film because everyone was doing so.

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The majority of the film is spent exploring Jim Preston and Aurora Lane’s horrified realization that they woke up on their spaceship way too early to reach their destination, Homestead II – 90 years too early. Aurora suffers another setback when she’s made aware by the barman-robot Arthur (Michael Sheen) that Jim (Chris Pratt) deliberately woke her up and that her pod didn’t malfunction. She’s understandably very upset with this death sentence but is forced to put it aside when the ship starts acting erratically and it becomes clear that no one on the ship will arrive at Homestead II if they don’t find the source of the problem. Captain Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburn) wakes up in time to conveniently steer Jim and Aurora in the right direction.

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I enjoyed the scarcity of people in Passengers. Chris Pratt and his female equivalent Jennifer Lawrence make a charismatic team. Pratt is able to accurately portray the loneliness of Jim’s life in the year before he wakes Aurora up. Aurora (Lawrence) is different in nature than Jim. She’s a writer and immediately begins to report her life on the ship. She initially refuses to believe their fate and is forced to accept eventually that Jim is speaking the truth. Michael Sheen is able to be a convincing robot, keeping his facial expressions carefully contained. Fishburn is the last character that enters the film was a good captain if you are able to look past the fact that it is amazing that the captain woke up and not someone else. The film is scarcely populated and it works well.

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The film also looks really good. That spaceship was something to behold inside and out. It looks modern and is one of the films that bring spaceships to the new century. The swimming pool was mind boggling – I wouldn’t go close to that mass of water that is kept in its’ place by such fragile means. The robots on the ships look great – and a dash of cuteness is mixed into the plot with the housekeeping robots.

What didn’t work? Well, the holes in the plot is bigger than the holes in the spaceship. Are these two really choosing to live on that ship for the remainder of their lives with only the other as company? How will they prevent children? What about the finite amount of food on the ship? Are they dooming their fellow passengers to a journey without food? How did the asteroid not immediately destroy the ship? It is extremely convenient that the fire started becoming unmanageable when they found it? Speaking of extreme convenience, how about the third passenger that woke up is able to access secure locations?

Despite the numerous unanswered questions, of which I’m sure many other bloggers can add more to, I actually ended up enjoying Passengers. I think that the leads were compatible. Jim can be forgiven his selfishness by considering his loneliness. Their heroic antics are heart warming, especially for the following passengers. If you keep your eyes closed and ignore all the questions, I’m sure you will enjoy Passengers too. But what I will end this review with one more question – Why did they change the ship into a swamp at the end?