Movie Review:  The Kissing Booth (2018)

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Plot: When Elle Evans (Joey King), a pretty, late-bloomer who’s never-been-kissed, decides to run a kissing booth at her high school’s Spring Carnival, she unexpectedly finds herself locking lips with her secret crush- the ultimate bad boy, Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi). Sparks fly, but there’s one little problem: Noah just happens to be the brother of her best friend, Lee, (Joel Courtney) and is absolutely off limits according to the rules of their friendship pact. Elle’s life is turned upside down when she realizes that she must ultimately make a choice: follow the rules or follow her heart. Based on Beth Reekle’s self-published coming-of-age novel that became an international sensation, THE KISSING BOOTH is a Netflix Film, written and directed by Vince Marcello.

Wow. So. Bad.

To be fair, I am older than the target population for this movie (like, way). But it took me about three attempts to really get through this movie. I have never heard such a screechy voiced intro like the voice over by Joey King in this film. It started off bad, it ended badly, and it was just all around bad.

This is a movie where a teenager goes from being not kissed to being not a virgin in the space of thirty minutes. It also involves a kissing booth, as you might have cleverly guessed.

Were the writers on crack? From too short skirts to hiding under your boyfriends’ bed while his mom hunts for his rotten socks, the writers spared no level of stupidity and accessed it all.

What could possibly happen in a movie where two best friend’s biggest friendship rule is to not fall in love with the other friends’ sibling? You guessed it. Elle (Joey King) falls in love with Noah Flynn (Jacob Elordi), the absurdly attractive older brother of her best friend Lee Flynn (Joel Courtney). When Lee finds out, he is the world’s biggest little piece of shit you could find. There is also really offbeat parts about Noah’s temper and that he is secretly very smart and just needs the right girl (who, incidentally, is underage).

Can you survive Elle’s really stupid personality and giggling and generally being insufferable? All the giggling and crazy overreactions are likely something teenagers still do, so please just keep me away from them.

I will give kudos to King, Courtney and Elordi – they really did the best with the material they were given.

Shame on you, Netflix.

It gets better – there is a SEQUEL.

Rating: 4/10

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Movie Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

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Plot: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.

So after all that complaints about the immoral Sierra Burgess is a Loser, I thought I could at least let you know about one of the Netflix films I adored. I have seen many good things online about To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and it was high on my list when I signed on for Netflix earlier in the year. And you all know by now, I seriously love a good romcom and I also feel that the genre has been terribly neglected the last few years, so I was all on board for this.

This is the cutest movie! Lana Condor is the cutest! Noah Centineo is the cutest! Cute! Cute! Cute! Can I say cute again? All you need to know – Lara Jean Covey (Condor) is one super – cute – teenage girl, independent, kind and smart. She’s also full of anxiety and overthinking and is now dealing with her older sister Margot (Janel Parrish, thankfully sane in this role), leaving for university. Lara’s life is turned upside down when the love letters she wrote to all her crushes suddenly reach their hands, with some disastrous and hilarious side effects. The one guy is her sister’s now ex-boyfriend Josh (Israel Broussard), which could naturally mean many unpleasant situations should Margot find out, the other one turned out gay, and then the other one is the beautiful and cute Peter Kavinsky.

Enter Peter, the teenage boyfriend we all deserved. No more toxic suggestions that men should be closed off and sullen, Peter is open, warm, interested and as full of personality as Lara herself. They strike an arrangement that can only take place in romantic comedies, but it is fun to watch. The arrangement? Peter wants to show his ex-girlfriend, for whom he still pines, that he has moved on in the hopes that she will realize her terrible mistakes. It also helps Lara, because not only is Peter famous and will help her social status, he is not Josh, which will save her relationship with her unsuspecting sister. All manners of shenanigans ensue, and this adorable cast really make the situations they find themselves in cute and fun.

There is also the appearance of John Corbett, himself a leading love interest once upon a time. He plays Lara’s dad, Dr. Covey, who handles raising three girls alone like a pro. His age reminded me of MY age, but it was nice to see him in something.

Hmm, what else? This movie goes in exactly the direction you would expect it to go – no surprises or sudden twists. It carries a whole different message than the other nonsense, and for that I can only be thankful. There is also just a teensy drop of help in there about cyber-bullying, and I hope if any girl has a video leaked of herself in a compromising position she knows what to do.

Can I also just say that I really enjoy the diversity in many of these movies lately? It seems a much better representation to have Asian people, black people, white people and all the other peoples’ being treated as main characters. It’s refreshing and so much better to see this than purely whitewashed movies.

I am giving this an 8/10, because although I have seen better movies, the rating is primarily for the cuteness of the cast and the whole feel good feeling around this movie.

Movie Review: Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

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Plot: A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.

I swear there are a couple of films from Netflix that I adored like crazy, but right now I can only write about the ones I infinitely despised. There was the truly horrific The Kissing Booth, which was just plain awful, and a review you shall be getting, but then there is this movie, which isn’t bad acting per se and contains the adorable Noah Centineo (always a plus), but the damn message they portray for impressionable young teenagers is so terrible I was in the mood to smash things.

Dear teenage girls – CATFISHING IS WRONG. It is wrong if you are traditionally attractive and it is wrong if you are traditionally unattractive. It is wrong if you are insecure and it is wrong if you have all the issues. It is never right.

In a nutshell – Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is a little pain in the ass who passes out the phone number of Sierra Burgess (Shannon Purser) as a cruel joke to boys who ask for her number. Veronica is the typical terrible pretty girl you just know will rear her head in this type of movie. Sierra starts talking to Jamey (Centineo), a handsome guy from another school who also seems like a decent enough person. It escalates and eventually Jamey wants a date. At this time Sierra has roped in Veronica to play along, because naturally veronica is insecure about her intelligence and needs tutoring and blah blah blah, we’ve seen all of this before. Said date happens, and when Jamey tries to kiss Veronica, Sierra jumps in and kisses the boy.

Let’s just be clear on what assault it – it is any situation where something is done to another person without their consent, and yep, this is assault. I hate to play this game, but if the roles were reversed and Jamey kissed Sierra without her consent, there would have been hell to pay in the media.

RAGE. FURY. DEATH.

Also, it is only Hollywood that will cast Shannon Purser in roles for the “more unattractive” – I find her quite gorgeous and natural and it irritates me to no end that Hollywood has such warped ideas about feminine beauty. She has had some roles (#JusticeForBarb) which highlights her talent and gives her a place to deservedly shine. She really shouldn’t have done this, because it takes away from her talent and plays into the hands of creepy old men who think they can dictate the messages we send to teenagers. Anyway.

Then there is Centineo, who is the cutest thing to rear his head in a long time. Just, again, someone isn’t automatically a good person because they have someone with a disability in their family (his deaf brother), but let’s also move on from that. A way this movie should have ended is Jamey getting a restraining order against both female nutcases in this.

Last of the unholy trio of terrible messages to portray on young girls, is Kristine Froseth as Veronica, the cute preppy girl everyone hated in school. She has issues as well, she’s insecure about her intelligence and about the older douchebag she had the misfortune to date. So much stereotyping!

Finally, again, this movie is a terrible message to girls and please correct them if they ever think it is okay to misuse boys just because the media told them to.

Rating: 5/10

Movie Review: Aquaman (2018)

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Plot: Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.

April is such an exciting month! Avengers Endgame AND Game of Thrones! Yup, I’ve seen the first episode, and it was good, I just can’t see myself reviewing per episode on here. Since I am SO ready for Endgame, I thought I would do a quick post on the only superhero movie I have seen that I haven’t put on here yet, Aquaman (although not even in the same universe, ha).

I saw this in the cinema in December 2018. It got some good reviews and reached the billion dollar club (The club which is not so elite anymore, but anyway). Some people thought this was a great film, and that’s okay. For me it was merely decent and while better than some of the other DC flicks, it still left much to be desired.

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I love Jason Momoa – he’s marketable, funny, beautiful and impressively big. I am not convinced he’s the best actor on the planet, but at this stage he doesn’t need to be. He chooses this big and gruff roles because it actually looks like that is who he is as a person. He does fine with Stephen Curry, and even though there are moments where he isn’t utterly convincing, he does remain one entertaining man. And even if he was terrible, you still get to see a really big and attractive man wet and built for two hours and 22 minutes. The love story between him and Mera (Amber Heard) felt really forced and unnecessary. A couple of superhero films have done really well by now without some romantic entanglement, and I think this would have survived without that as well.

Nicole Kidman plays Arthur Curry’s mom and the Queen of Atlantis. She’s named Atlanna, just so that no one gets confused who she really is. It’s a role far beneath her acting abilities and she navigates the sea without much issue. If you can believe that she mothered Momoa’s genetics, you can believe anything.

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Patrick Wilson plays Curry’s half-brother King Orm. He’s a terrible leader in this movie and also has dealing with the pirates Curry tackles in the beginning of the film. Other than Wilson’s deeply upsetting hairstyle, he does a decent (if one layered) villain. This is a nice setup for a second movie to begin with, which I am sure after a billion dollars no one will hesitate to commit to.

At the core, this origin story is nothing new. The release was well timed, in time for the relaxed holiday viewers. The last battle will leave you feeling exhausted because it is just so stupid and long. It’s really not that bad, just cheesy and silly. I definitely won’t commit to a second viewing, but that isn’t because of the quality – I rarely feel that superhero movies need to be watched twice.

Rating: 6/10

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Movie Review: A Star Is Born (2018)

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Plot: A musician helps a young singer find fame as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral

Some people are born with a whole lot of talent. Like, sickening amounts. Two such humans, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, decided to collaborate in a project we never knew we needed quite this much. They are a powerhouse combination as Ally, the down-to-earth-but-wildly-talented Italian American girl who meets Jackson Maine (Cooper), where he stumbles into a burlesque bar one night while she’s performing. Jack, a country megastar is an alcoholic and on a slow medical decline due to his ever growing hearing impairment. Ally seemingly stabilizes him for a while, and as her star continues to shine Jackson’s doesn’t really grow dimmer so much as that his out of control problems rips their life into chaos.

Let’s first focus on the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper. He is a great actor, but might I say he is an even better director? There are strokes of genius moments – focusing on Jackson instead of on Ally while she performs, giving him as the actor enough time to show the feelings the character is experiencing while Ally changes some of his previous ideas. It’s beautiful and touching and inspired. The movie is also incredibly real feel to it, never shying away from the sweaty looks while artists are onstage that makes them so undeniably human – there is one particular scene where Ally is performing one of her new songs to a large crowd and she is sweaty and messy and very human. I am not too great at chatting about why I believe a director is great, but can I finally also add that the colors and use of lighting in this film is really good.

As an actor, Cooper undertook 18 months of vocal training to perfect Jackson’s gravelly country drawl. He also performs all the songs himself and sang live in all the shots in the film. Like I said, sickeningly talented. There is also a heartbreaking raw desperation to Jackson – sad and lonely and dealing with an idolization of a father who was anything but great. It’s impossible not to be touched by scenes where he describes how he was treated by the father he idolizes, and it is clear that his problems started

There is nothing particularly fresh about how the story is told, and even the ending is slightly darker than the usual route, it still remains a well visited topic. A Star Is Born is unique because, in my opinion, the following reasons:

  • Lady Gaga is not only a phenomenal performer with one of the best voices of our time. She is more than a passable actress. Cooper chose well to have her in this role and the movie couldn’t possibly have enjoyed this level of success with a less convincing performer. I will be honest and say that I never cared for her crazy theatrics on stage, but as this form? I can become a major fan.
  • The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is off the charts. I hope they make more films together because they work seamlessly as a pair and were utterly convincing as a pair, so much so that there are STILL rumors about their off screen affair, which didn’t happen, because, ya know, maybe Bradley just isn’t the cheating type. However, it creates a tense and powerful atmosphere in this movie and the combination of the two makes you truly want it to work for Ally and Jackson
  • I had some moments rolling my eyes because the notion that only women who have poor self esteems and dress “down-to-earth” are worth noticing is played with a bit in here – let me just say that a woman can dress in a piece of meat and still be just as talented as Ally in ASIB (quite literally for Gaga), and still have the same amount of talent worth noticing.

Overall, this film definitely deserves the hype it got. and even though heartbreaking, I can commit to watching it again. It was THAT good.

Let me know if you saw it and loved it!

Rating: 8/10rev-1-ASIB-15481r_High_Res_JPEG

Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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Plot: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985)

Wow. I went to see this in cinema in December and never got around to reviewing it. It simply needs a spot on this blog because even though I never got around to posting a top 10 films for 2018, this would have ranked high up.

Let’s focus a few seconds on the performance that made this film – Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury. Malek has always embraced oddball roles with vigor and has no trouble taking on a human legend full of eccentricity like Mercury. The two sides of Mercury is explored – his crazy media and onstage persona and him as a loner and intensely private. Malek handles both with aplomb. He switches seamlessly between the two sides of Mercury and seems truly lost in his performances on stage.  I doubt anyone else could have given such a convincing performance. He deserved his Oscar, and he deserves all the praise being thrown his way for his work.

I liked that the movie focused on the band and how they developed, grew and thrived to become one of the greatest bands of all time. It could have gone without a few fabrications, such as a breakup by the band. I know there was some uproar online about the numerous factual inaccuracies in the film, but Bohemian Rhapsody is still one of the strongest films to walk out of 2018.

The other performances are stellar as well, although I would have enjoyed more time with the other band members on screen. I still don’t accept that Gwilym Lee portrayed Brian May – he looks so much like the real deal in the film that I won’t accept that they didn’t just dye the real Brian May’s hair brown again. Anyway, he obviously does a convincing job to portray the amazing guitarist. Joseph Mazello plays John Deacon and Ben Hardy Roger Taylor, and I think the only thing that could have made the movie better was more in-band conversations. Lucy Boynton plays Mercury’s female love interest Mary Austin, and yup, you guessed it, a fine job too. Allen Leech plays a villainous manager that corrupts Mercury and derails his life, and it was quite upsetting seeing my favorite Tom Branson behaving in such a manner.

I have been a Queen fan for a big part of my life. Their music is just so alive and interesting and original. I probably sound so much older than what I am when I say that they just don’t produce music like this anymore – the originality seems to have gone down the drain in lieu for bum shorts and gangster lyrics. It was an amazing to listen to all the songs in cinema and know every single word. There is also the incredible Live Aid performance reenacted in the movie, which made me re-watch the actual performance countless times.

Freddy Mercury succumbed to aids-related illness in 1991. His death continues to be one of the greatest losses in the music industry, with such an incredible talent gone forever. With the medical advancements we currently enjoy, he could have fought the progression of the disease for many years and continued to thrive. This film manages to capture the genius and essence of who he was. If you haven’t sat down to watch this yet, I really suggest you do.

Rating: 8/10

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Watched, Read Loved and what I’ve been up to in 2018

Hello everybody! I’ve been rather inconspicuous the last few months, and I’ve really missed blogging and interacting with everyone in the blogging world. I’ve posted a few times, and thanks to everyone that still popped in – you are appreciated! I’m almost ready in having a normalized life again, so I plan to be a bit more active with reading and posting about how I’ve managed to entertain myself since December 2017.

Firstly, I started my new position in the company I work for. It’s been quite a change, and I’ve been struggling to adapt to this new life of crazy deadlines and people with serious lack of work ethic. I’m almost motivated again, and I’m not blind to how extraordinarily lucky I’ve been to get to a point where my qualification and my job are actually aligned.

I’ve also graduated, and the event was… anticlimactic? I’ve worked my butt off to get here, and yet the day felt rushed and the moment passed too quick. However, my BSc is now in the bag and I can continue with this crazy career path of mine.

I am also finally in my own apartment. I hope someday soon it will actually feel like I live here, but for now I am just enjoying the experience and getting used to having my own place.

So yes. This year has been really big so far. We are only at the end of August now and I have been all over the place. It is good, right? To be honest it is all just a bit overwhelming.

This post has basically said nothing that I originally thought to write on it, but here’s a rundown of the films (it’s probably not all, because it has been so long), books and series I’ve explored.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies – One movie night and three really dedicated people lead to all three Hobbit movies being watched, with a variety of sarcastic comments (mostly from me) about the length and things that happen that is entirely unrelated to the actual Hobbit book. I haven’t  had a look at the reviews about these films up here for ages, and it is probably time to revisit them. They aren’t bad, but compared to The Lord of The Rings trilogy (incidentally never reviewed on here because I don’t know how to review perfection like that), they are a bit uninspiring.

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Edward Scissorhands (1990): A pretty cool film and very deserving of its reputation, I enjoyed seeing Johnny Depp in something pre-Jack Sparrow. This is some of Tim Burton’s best work and really great to watch.

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The Duff (2015): Yes, again. It’s great to watch and such a nice laugh, I can’t understand why this film received such a negative backlash at the time. It’s certainly better than it’s hormonal book counterpart! This reminds me of a 2015 version of Mean Girls (although Mean Girls is certainly better), and on that note, I probably watched Mean Girls sometime this year too, as well as Easy A, a simply hilarious staple for chick flicks.

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Pride and Prejudice (2005): Yes, also again. I can watch this all the time, and this rerun was triggered by reading the book again.

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Vampire Academy (2015) Okay this one does deserve the hate that gets thrown its way, but it is a guilty pleasure of mine.

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Jane Eyre (2011): I loooooovvveeeedddd this. It is a wonderfully accurate adaption to the book, and another film I’ll probably end up watching ten million times.

Ant-Man (2015): I somehow kept postponing this film, and it is so stupid because you all know how much I like watching Marvel superheroes do their thing. Eventually Ant-Man turned out really fun and is a great film, and I will actually manage to see the second one before the turn of the century.

Nacho Libre (2006) and Napoleon Dynamite (2004). I can at least claimed to have heard about Napoleon Dynamite prior to my watching it. The spectacularly ginger teenager Napoleon is really a staple image in everyone’s recollection of the internet, occupying his own, very unique space. It was really quite a weird film and I am not sure what else to say about it. Nacho Libre is also… really weird. Jack Black has some strange titles under his belt, and this might bee the strangest yet.

Jumanji (2017) – Jumanji deserves an actual review, not necessarily because of it’s cinematic prowess but because of my eternal love for Dwayne Johnson. This film was surprisingly good, and included another viewing of Jack Black, who was actually quite fantastic in this film.

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Fallen (2016) – Got in my YA dose with this, and I am not sorry for a second. Is it bad? yes. Do I care? No. I had fun.

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About a Boy (2002) – one of the better random films I picked up to watch the last couple of months. Review coming soon

Tomorrowland (2014), Freaky Friday (2003) and Did you hear about the Morgans? (2009) – neither of these deserves posters on this post. Tomorrowland is getting a thrashing in it’s review (when I end up writing it), because what a load of turd. Freaky Friday is fun, but it also serves as a really sad reminder of how someone can screw themselves up so badly. The last, Did you hear about the Morgans, is neither inspirational, funny or adventurous, and is some of the poorest films in it’s genre.

 

Blindspots: I’m behind (which is a shocking surprise, I know)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Ghostbusters (1984), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  (2005), Die Hard (1988)

2018 releases:

Avengers: Infinity War Tomb Raider Black PantherThe Maze Runner: Death CureThe Greatest Showman, Jurassic World (Fallen Kingdom), Deadpool 2

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The Obsession (Nora Roberts)Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Harry Potter (series), The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams), How To Hang A Witch (Adriana Mather), Shelter in Place (Nora Roberts, ongoing), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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I am really bad at finishing series. I will start off with great enthusiasm, but I never have the patience to get through the lull that inevitably strikes every show about halfway through when the original cast wants to leave and the writers are tired of finding something interesting to keep the watchers entertained. I was recommended to watch Call The Midwife Seasons 1&2 because of my love for Downton Abbey. It’s good, and I enjoy the show. I should continue into Season 3 soon and continue with my knowledge of female reproductive health when women had even less rights than we do now.

Friends Season 1-7: A series I actually finished! I loved this show. It is hilarious, and even though there are some lulls it stays funny, sweet and relatable.

Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 1 – this is a hilarious comedy and I will definitely watch some more. I was a bit crushed when they announced the series was coming to an end, but I see that there will be a final season of Jack Peralta and his fellow officers. Yay!

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Riverdale Season 1&2 – I have a review coming in shortly for season 2, and I really like this show despite the lack of quality the last part of season 2 had.

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Grey’s Anatomy Seasons 1 – 7: As I am finalizing this post I come to you from a space where I have now banned myself watching this show during the week. There are a couple of reasons why – the lack of will to live if I am not watching it, the extreme emotional attachment to the characters and the stern talking to I had with myself that they are not real and that I can’t stop watching at night and then I am exhausted the following day (really, I need a boyfriend or a life at this stage). I couldn’t have expected this show would be so good. I mean, at seven seasons I am only halfway through the series, because the show remains super popular and it is now at it’s fifteenth (?!) season. It is heartbreaking and intense and happy and sad, and I.AM.ADDICTED.

Pride and Prejudice (1995): I am telling all of you, I know I have an unhealthy attachment to this story. The series is by far the most accurate to the book, and it is a lovely adaption that makes me really happy to watch.

So, there you have it. I have been writing on and off on this post for ages, so it is so good to have it finally out there! Let me know what you’ve seen, whether or not it has correlated with my watches. Adios!

Book Review: City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)

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Plot: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know… 

My sister was campaigning that I  read this, hands wildly thrown in the air, that it was good and I needed to read this (you get the idea). I needed a healthy break from Grey’s Anatomy (seriously too attached), so it was a great time to pick up a new book series.

I think we all know these YA books are such hits with their population group because it tells the story of a teen who realizes that she really is different, and that it isn’t just her wildly out of control hormones making her feel excluded. I happen to still like them – they are fun and campy and you can use them as “filler” books between more serious reads.

City of Bones is a good example of this. Clary is likable, Jace is a good love interest. Jace has an attitude as big as the Great Wall of China so that makes him an entertaining character even when you want to punch him, which is quite often. There is a regrettable love triangle going on between Clary’s best friend Simon, Clary and Jace, and that is really typical and not too unexpected, but I still an arc like this as I consider it lazy writing. Imagine a series where two characters are completely into each other and a third doesn’t have to get hurt? For all Tris’ many mistakes, she and Four in the Divergent series never deviate from each other. But it does play into the dreamworld of a teen girl who wishes that not only one, but two, really handsome guys can pine after her

Simon is also a pretty cool only-human character (there needs to be one in every YA book). He is sweet and it is annoying that he lost his superior position in Clary’s life just because she realized her true identity. I hope he is around throughout the series. He’s a funny guy.

So if you’ve read the book you will know there is a major plot twist at the end. It made me furious furious furious (probably as intended). I hope some magic happens and it un-plots itself because I just can’t deal with this.

The book felt about a hundred pages too long. Gosh, the ending is just too drawn out and the author could have kept a few paragraphs off the book and still have gotten to the end like she did.

So now that I have bitched about the bad things, I will tell you that this is easy and light reading. The lore is explained as the book continues and it is as imaginative as we can hope from a genre that has explored every single avenue repeatedly. There are demon hunters, werewolves, vampires, faeries and an entire underworld that hosts them. The focus is on the demon hunters, and how snobby and elite they can be. The villain is all around bad and unforgiving, and not unlike Hitler in his beliefs. He is mad and determined and not even remotely afraid in taking out the people that needs to be taken out in order for him to succeed.

The main protagonist Clary is determined and can deal – she isn’t needy or silly or whiney, and she does her thing. I liked that about her, because too often female protagonists in their own story end up depending on every male available. Clary isn’t like that, and while she may be minuscule, she remains someone to be reckoned with.

If you like the genre, you will definitely like this. I will pick up the movie (even though it has terrible ratings), and maybe even the series – I see that got cancelled too – just to see whether their casting matches to my imagination

Have you read the series? No spoilers please!

Blindspot 2018: Die Hard (1988)

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Plot: John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

1988 was the year. My eldest sister was born and John McClane became became the hero of the Nakatomi Plaza attack when he took down Hans Gruber and his other German terrorists. So all in all, it was a good moment in history. Let’s also just take a moment to marvel at the fact at how the view of terrorism has changed,  as well as the nationalities of suspected terrorists.

I have been chewing on this a while – did I like it? Did I not? I really can’t tell for sure. I really like action movies, so it was a bit of a weird thing for me to not have seen Die Hard, considered by many to be 1) a Christmas movie and 2) one of the best action movies, like, ever. So, in the spirit of actually finishing up my Blindspot list this year, I sat down and got this done.

I have to confess that while I liked Die Hard just fine, I didn’t really love it. I felt disconnected from Bruce Willis being young and gung ho and ready to fight the bad guys. The dialogue is fantastic though, and John really is a smart mouth. I am sounding old again, but the dialogue in “today’s” movies just aren’t the same anymore.

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I’ve never seen Alan Rickman in a younger role. He has always been Severus Snape to me, (and now Marvin). It seems like a real shame and something I need to sort out – he is simply fantastic as Hans Gruber – controlled, brilliant, devious and a mastermind. If not for one rogue cop, this man would definitely have succeeded. Hans Gruber is a villain that you don’t get too often in action movies – he is not just a bad guy for shits and giggles, he is smart and has a plan and Alan Rickman acts convincingly as this ominous man.

There is also a bit of a buddy cop vibe going between John McClane and Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald Vel Johnson). Al is the first person to take John seriously and alert the cavalry that there is indeed a terrorist attack going down. Al gets a moment too at the very end to prove his bravery, and I can only hope he is in the next million films that were released in this franchise.

I also liked Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), but I have never really been able to sympathize with people who leave their cop-partners because of the workload (sure, infidelity or abuse, but he is busy protecting everyone). Despite her choice to leave John, she is given good dialogue and is not so afraid of the terrorists that she can advocate rights for her fellow hostages.

I’m giving this a 7/10 because it was good, not particularly great, but a decent watch that didn’t require too much brain power and a decent film to have noted as “watched”.

 

Series Review: Riverdale Season 1

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I have been on such a roll with great series lately. Riverdale seems to have been the trigger, because since I’ve watched Riverdale Season 1 and 2 (in a ridiculously short amount of time), I’ve rolled over to Grey’s Anatomy, and nothing I’ve heard, and I’ve heard only good things about that show, prepared me from the addictive, obsessive and unhealthy love affair I’ve developed with Seattle Grace Hospital.

Anyway, back to Riverdale. Netflix sure seems to be on a roll and in possession of a magic formula. They are producing great work – great original series, great superhero series, and, like Riverdale, great adaptions of classic comic books.

I had no clue what Riverdale was when I started watching, and no clue who Archie Andrews even was. I was soon hooked on the addictive teenage drama atmosphere, some legitimately creepy moments, and the romance, suspense and investigative Nancy Drew adventure.

Note: You will now have to deal with me discussing nearly every character because I enjoyed them all 😉

Season one focuses on the aftermath the disappearance and subsequent death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) brings on the sleepy town of Riverdale. The quiet town is shaken by his disappearance, and his twin sister Cheryl (Madeline Petch) creates chaos where she goes as her pampered life is torn to shreds. She’s a great character, because I can never quite like or dislike her. She has moments where she’s almost painfully sweet, struck by the loss of her brother, the only person who seemed to truly love her, and moments where she is unhinged, dangerous and selfish. Madeline Petch is a scene-stealer when she’s unhinged, and Cheryl provides some of the best drama in the show.

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Who is my favorite character? Probably Kevin (Casey Scott), but I love Betty Cooper (Lily Reinhart) almost as much. Kevin, as the gay best friend (pointed out by Cheryl Blossom – Madeline Petch – could easily have been generic and typical. Casey Scott saved his role and made his character my favorite by being so great and cute and managing to bring issues gay teenagers face to the show without making it fake or pretentious. Betty, on the top list of my favorites, is interesting as hell. She starts off as this pretty blonde girl who seems to be set to live the perfect life, but she has really dark edges to her personality that people won’t see if they don’t look. She grows stronger as the season progresses, as she is forced to deal with facts that her town and her people aren’t perfect and her enemies are closer than she could have thought.

Riverdale’s main character is Archie Andrews (KJ Apa). I am not sure whether I even like Archie most of the time. He can be pretty hysterical, somewhat selfish and a whole lot of stupid. He’s a perfect benchmark for a teenage boy. He can be blind to crushes, and has a very black or white mentality in the first season. I thought KJ Apa was cute, and has a look of a young Paul Wesley (you can debate in the comments) look to him, and then I saw he’s at least 5 years younger than I am and stopped thinking he’s cute because I am no cougar-auntie-person. Anyway, Archie is annoying a lot of the times and I disagree with many of the decisions he makes.

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We also got to a point where Cole Sprouse grew up. He did it in such a chill fashion, seemingly void of the drug addiction and predilection for attention most young stars suffer that time passed for him and no one knew it until now. He returns not as Zack or as Cody, but as Jughead Jones, friend to Archie and Betty. He has a mysterious role the first few episodes, and it only becomes clear later on whether you can trust him or not. I love Jughead in Season 1, because he is such a good example that you don’t have to be a stereotype just because your family is from the wrong side of the tracks.

Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) completes the main group of characters. Her father is a notorious criminal, and she has to deal with the rumor mill that he created. Her mother Hermoine (Marisol Nichols) is her rock and they have a pretty great relationship. I like Veronica, but she has moments where she does stuff that is really selfish and reveals that she has a darker side to her.

Riverdale is made more interesting by the parents of these teens. Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) seems to care only about her status in the community and getting as much revenge on Jason Blossom as she possibly can. She reveals herself layer by layer and she’s become one of my favorite characters as a result. She gains depth and you start to understand how much her love for her children drives her, even when she’s not always right.

Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) is the perfect small town man, who is hardworking, a good parent and dedicated to his town. He is a favorite because of all the parents he never deviates from who he is and loves his (very undeserving at times) son visibly.

Skeet Ulrich returns to rock our worlds as the devishly handsome father of Jughead Jones. Despite the dubious decision to name his son Jughead, and the obvious drinking problem and ganster activities, FP Jones is dangerous, hot, and also a surprisingly decent person once he gets his life under control. He seems this deadbeat dad and character and he eventually plays such an instrumental role in the drama in Riverdale. Ulrich does a great job with his slowly building tension and soon you will not know whether he is a friend or foe.

Riverdale includes great conversation to their episodes – slut shaming, being a gay teenager, being a black teenager in a predominantly white conservative community, having parents who aren’t always stable – there are many scenes in season one that is about a lot more than a generic who-dunnit show.

The revelation of who really murdered Jason Blossom was so shocking and such a plot twist, and I truly never saw it coming. It is excellent writing that concludes the season on a perfect note, and I could not wait to watch the rest.