Book Review: The Rise of Nine (Pittacus Lore)

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Plot: The Mogadorians who destroyed the planet Lorien continue to hunt for the Garde, the small group of Loric survivors who have taken refuge on Earth. During a dangerous mission at a Mog base in West Virginia, John found and rescued the brutish Nine. But even with their combined powers, special abilities known as Legacies, the pair barely escaped with their lives. And in the process, John’s best friend, Sam Goode, was lost and taken captive by the enemy.

In order to save him—and our world—John and Nine must join forces with Six and Seven who have been battling the Mogs in Spain, and who are now trying to locate Number Eight in India. The Garde must come together before it is too late. They are Lorien and Earth’s only hope.

Firstly, it took me ages to write this review. Analyzing how I felt and whether the book was good took me a chunk of time. This is the third book in the series, and I would love to continue until I have finished the entire set. (Read reviews here and here or the first two books). Of the three novels I liked this one second best, after I am Number Four, although I still felt that it had plenty of mistakes.

Despite the title suggesting that The Rise of Nine is focused primarily on the adventures of Nine; the book shifts between the members of the Garde.  You barely get to know Nine – he just seems like a big brash teenager with way too much ego and way too little sense. He frankly irritated me, and he is by far not my favorite. His pissing contest with Fouris ridiculous, and if I wanted to watch Fast and The Furious for a battle of the penis, I would have. I see Michael Bay had a favorable review of these books, and it makes sense – there is a lot of bang and smoke but very little effect. Reading “The Rise of Nine” was like reading a Michael Bay film – not something I’d actually recommend that often. The book has so many drawn-out fight scenes it feels like I would guess how a book version of his work would read.

I really like Six, and wouldn’t mind a book focused on her. I guess that this series is aimed at teenage boys, which makes that wish highly unlikely to occur, but she’s an interesting character and one of the strongest. Also, least annoying.

I’m not sure where they are heading with the American Government siding with the Mogadorians, but it seems rather vague and silly at this point in the books (though not looking at the current administration, which makes it more likely). While I remember this sore point for me – the “Mogadorians” or “Mogs” is the stupidest name I have ever heard for a fictional race.

The number of dumb decisions these kids make is very high – you can just see high hormone levels drives their life choices. Particularly the final and ridiculous battle with Setrakus Ra. This “all powerful being” attacked in the middle of the series when half the Garde is seriously maimed and they still escape without a casualty? Stupid stupid.

There are some glitches and the writing is by no means perfect, and I really think I’m just too old now for this, but the books are good for light reading and are a fast thing once you get going. I found that final fight stupid. It is starting to feel that things work out for these kids because they must, not because of some brilliantly revealed plot. I am still enjoying the Legacies the kids develop, that at least remain pretty cool.

I will likely read the rest in due course, because it is good for when you want to read but don’t want to think too much about it. I wouldn’t recommend this series to anyone over seventeen actually, but it isn’t too rough just for some mindless semi-dystopian drama.

Rating: 6/10

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Movie Review: The Girl on the Train (2016)

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Plot: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shock waves throughout her life.

Based on the popular debut novel by Paula Hawkins, we meet Rachel (Emily Blunt), our really annoying protagonist. She’s a spiraling alcoholic, and her days are spent obsessively observing a couple on her way to work. She sees a 3D version of someone’s Facebook profile – just the pretty things. They seem perfect, and Rachel dreams about how happy and content they must be. When Rachel sees Megan (Hayley Bennett) in the arms of another man on the balcony, Rachel cannot comprehend why she’d do such a thing. Megan and Scott (Luke Evans) seem so perfectly happy. When Megan disappears, Rachel knows she saw something on the night’s disappearance. But she’s plagued by what she saw and how she’s implicated in Megan – who shares a striking resemblance to Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife – disappearance.

Meanwhile Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) is happily married to Tom (Justin Theroux), Rachel’s ex-husband. The only blight on their happy existence is the continuous stalking by Rachel. I mean how dare she be mad and unstable after her husband cheated on her and is now married to fellow-cheatee?

Flashbacks to Megan’s life and her therapy sessions with Dr. Kamal Abdic (Edgar Ramirez) show a deeply disturbed woman dealing with some intense demons. She’s also not the lily white person Rachel dreamed about. The question remains what happened to Megan – did she make a run from her reputably abusive husband, or was she killed?

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I enjoy a good murder mystery. The Girl on The Train theoretically into that category. Is it good? The Girl on the Train is steeped in melodrama and the excellent performances by Emily Blunt and the rest of the cast help, but unfortunately this doesn’t completely save the film. I enjoyed all three main female leads.  Megan (Hayley Bennett) is the most risqué of the characters. Hayley Bennett did a great job in making an unlikeable character likeable, but more background would have been great for more sympathy. On a quick glance Anna is just a trophy wife. However, as the film continues more of Anna shows and her character become more complex, and soon she’s right there on the suspect list. The interactions the female characters have with each other is great – full of underlying tensions and suggestions.

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I enjoyed Luke Evans. It is so good to see him in things; I think he’s a great actor. There is an air of mystery around Scott – is he an emotionally manipulative person as it becomes suggested or is he simply another pawn in Megan’s life? I also really liked Edgar Ramirez, and his character is one of the only ones I had empathy with. It is the first time I’ve seen Justin Theroux in something, and to be perfectly honest I wasn’t all that impressed.

It is hard to sympathize with Rachel. She’s an alcoholic who is obsessive and out of control, and her obsession with her ex-husband and his new wife is borderline psychotic. Emily Blunt is fantastic as always – she has a knack for making you like these out of control characters. Sadly her great performance isn’t enough to stir sympathy up for Rachel. In the last dying moments of the film, which becomes increasingly dramatic, I did feel sorry for Rachel. If you’ve seen it you know what went down, but for those who haven’t yet I won’t give away the big dramatic twist. It was intense, and I was semi-impressed as I only guessed half of it right.

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I’m torn if I want to read the book – there is obviously more layers to the story than the movie could portray. There is an interesting underlining topic of how crazy maternal instincts can cause women to become – I find that really fascinating – and another whole unexplored section of marital dramas between couples. However, the book drove bestie crazy, and I’ve heard that the first person dialogue is enough to want you to make Rachel even more.

Have you seen/read The Girl on the Train? Let me know your thoughts on it!

Rating: 6/10

Movie Review: The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

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Plot: Shunned by everyone for being the son of an evil warlord, a teenager seeks to defeat him with the help of his fellow ninjas.

In an unexpected turn of events, I consented to watch the Lego Ninjago movie Sunday night. There are a number of films which I’ve seen, and wanted to see, in cinema this year, of which Ninjago didn’t even register as a possibility. However, I was under obligation to adhere to the “birthday-person-is-allowed-final-word” clause, and I sat down and watched Ninjago.

I suspect Lego is laughing all the way to the bank. It is pure genius business decision, and contains enough adult humor to entertain parents while stressing them out – every child that sits through one of these films will end up wanting some new Legos (hell, I think a lot of adults end up wanting new Legos after a film like this). It is a feast for childish imagination and is bright and colorful and really very excitable. I want to sanctimoniously preach to the parents who had their children out of bed on a Sunday night at our 20:30 screening, but I guess that is beside the point. It is child based and sweet, although it does pale in comparison to 2015’s Lego film. It is funny and cute but lacks some of the sharp dialogue that has become expected in animation films.

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Ninjago also has some seriously crazy moments and I couldn’t help but wonder which choice herbs they were smoking when thinking of the ideas they implemented. It was very weird. I liked Jackie Chan as Sensei Wu, Dave Franco as Lloyd Garmadon and Justin Theroux as the not-so-evil-supervillain Garmadon. Typing that out made me realize that this film barely had a plot or a conclusion (the end is particularly haphazard), but ultimately, for children, it is fine. Personally I enjoyed the first Lego film more, and I’ve been informed that Lego: Batman is a finer film than Ninjago.  However, Ninjago has some laugh-out-loud moments and it was bright, quirky and still not nearly as bad as I expected so all to them.

Have you seen Ninjago? If so, what did you think?

Rating: 6.5/10

Halloween Month Movie Review: Hocus Pocus (1993)

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Plot: After three centuries, three witch sisters are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it is up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to their reign of terror once and for all.

What better month to finally watch Hocus Pocus? Following news of an imminent and probably unnecessary sequel, combined with the onset of Halloween, I knew I had to finally sit down and watch this favored and loved cult classic. It was a completely different movie than I thought it would be! The acting of Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy is amazing and hilarious. Sarah Jessica Parker in particular surprised me. She’s just Carrie Bradshaw in my mind, and I couldn’t see her as something else. Well, as the beautiful, crazy and really damn weird Sarah Anderson she was all the levels of entertaining – such an inspired and crazy performance. The three actresses as the Sanderson sisters work great together; they share symmetry in their movements so accurate it is almost like watching a dance routine. Realizing that Sean Murray – always Timothy McGee in NCIS to me – is the poor Thackery Binx also gave me such delight.

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I really enjoyed the performances by the Sanderson sisters and how ridiculous they were and still so nastily evil, but I did find the story just a bit lacking. There isn’t always too much structure, but even with this flaw I still had a really entertaining time with it. It’s the generic “the youth defeats the evil” storyline, and while you would just love to question everything about it, I suggest you don’t, and watch Bette Midler with really weird dentistry enchant you and make you cackle with glee.

Have you seen Hocus Pocus? Let me know what you thought!

Rating: 6/10

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Watched, Read, Loved: September 2017

Yay! Spring is here in South-Africa and I couldn’t be more excited. When the weather is so much better I am so much better. Getting to work while the sun is actually up makes me a much nicer colleague.

I’ve been doing a couple of Parkruns. My work gave us all the opportunity in taking part in the Discovery Pulse challenge, which made me realize (again) how little steps I take each day. I’ve been trying to average it at 5000 steps, but that is already a challenge. The challenge officially began on the 27th of September 2017, and I really am working hard to do everything healthier – eating, sleeping, more exercise, less stress (HA!). It runs for three months and I will definitely let you know how it progresses.

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Movies

The Fate of The Furious: Continuing the ridicule of series that is the Fast Franchise, Dominic Toretto this time abandons his family for some obscure reason. I really enjoy these films because they are so brain dead and is just easy entertainment, but this one was particularly ridiculous.

Hidden Figures: So.Much.Love. It is heartwarming and beautiful with excellent performances, and I am so happy the film was released in such an important time in history. Not only is it about racial prejudice, it is about female empowerment, determination, love, courage and there are also great scenes of the early days of NASA.

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Walk The Line: I was SO proud when I finally watched this – I’ve had the DVD on my shelf for many years now, and I remember hearing people rave about it but I never really made the effort to see for myself. Well, it was great, and a great Blindspot choice for me.

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The Girl on the Train: It was okay. I enjoyed Blunt (I always do), and her supporting female co-stars where all very strong. I also really do like Luke Evans. The big plot twist – I caught it half right so I was marginally impressed. Definitely not as good as Gone Girl, but interesting all the same.

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Easy A (2010): Emma Stone is one of my favourite young Hollywood stars. She’s just so incredibly talented and really funny. Easy A is some of her earlier work and she’s hilarious as Olive Pendergast. If I ever have daughters I hope they are like Olive – not willing to take bad behaviour from friends, loyal, hilarious, inventive and wildly inappropriate.

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Wild Child (2008): Many people wouldn’t necessarily like this film, but I really do. It is one of my favourite teen movies, and although it isn’t as sharp as Easy A, Mean Girls, Heathers or Clueless (other favourites), it still remains one of the nicest things to watch, reminiscent of a time where Emma Roberts and Alex Pettyfer were clean cut, sweet individuals (probably not that sweet).

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Australia (2008): One of Baz Luhrman’s work I have had the least exposure to, Australia is a tribute to the wild and terrifying glory that is the continent of Australia. Hugh Jackman is ridiculously attractive, wildly blown out of proportion delicious, and the dainty and unexpectedly hilarious Nicole Kidman impressed me with some of the humour she injected into her character. This was definitely a great watch and I will watch it more in the future

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Clueless: Clueless is one of my favorite “high-school” films. It is so silly and sweet and Paul Rudd is so adorable and Alicia Silverstone is so friggin adorable. You can’t feel bad after watching something like this, you just can’t.

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Books:

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Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn I actually started reading this after The Girl on The Train, because it made me want to explore more thrillers. I am really enjoying so far and finding the writer pretty good at telling a story.

Hot Rocks: Nora Roberts I can’t decide whether it will be worth my time actually reviewing this. I’ve now successfully proven to bestie that I can actually read and review a book and then just not remember it, and it might very well happen with this novel. It wasn’t bad and I actually had a pretty great time, but it feels superfluous reviewing every single Nora Roberts book I read

Book Review: Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

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Plot: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

*Contains spoilers*

I had such a good experience finally reading Gone Girl. I watched the movie  in 2014 (I can’t believe it’s’ been three years!) and rated it my favorite film of 2014  . I plan on watching it soon again to be able to compare with the book, which I’ve owned almost equally as long but didn’t have the inclination to read. Finally picking up the novel was a good idea. I have the slight wish of not having seen the film before I read the book, because instead of discovering that plot twist I was merely awaiting it’s arrival. Would I have seen it coming? I don’t think so. Amy’s diary entries are so sweet and caring and she seems stupidly devoted and optimistic towards her marriage. Nick seems desperate and slimy and an all-around horrible spouse, a man whose frail ego was damaged when he lost his job and his wife didn’t fawn over him all the time. Amy seems like a sweet-hearted fool for about half of the book and then you get to know the psychotic sociopath beneath her pretty exterior.

Gone Girl has a fast tempo and I found it written well. I enjoyed Flynn’s writing style and the way her character’s thought patterns works. The characters are flawed indeed. I sincerely hope there aren’t any Amy’s’ out there in the real world. Amy and Nick are both repulsing, and they are a strong reminder to know your partner very well before even contemplating marriage.

Gone Girl is not a book that celebrates the best in human kind or is sweet, fluffy or romantic. It is full of nasty realizations about relationships and how bad they can be. I have to say that while I usually pick up more lighthearted novels I did enjoy this one. It’s more realistic than most though there are elements which are hopefully too shocking to be true.

I wasn’t fond of the end. Amy gets away with so much and in return she gets more leverage over Nick and no repercussions.  It jarred with my (and probably everybody’s) sense of justice. Nick in no way deserves an easy existence – he really is quite a slime ball, but Amy getting everything she wants just didn’t feel right and had the book fall slightly on its’ face in the end – like a Goosebumps for adults, the world isn’t rid of Amy’s evil.

It is just a thought here, but I think the book can also send a negative message to the world. So many women are murdered by their husbands, are abused and discarded when they cease to hold interest for their spouses, where a book where the female is clearly the villain and clearly a psychopath does not do well for the eradication for these murders.

Gone Girl was a good read, highlighting the craziness that a couple can bring forth in one another. It’s (hopefully) much dramatized but kept me entertained for the entirety of the book. Have you read Gone Girl? Let me know!

Rating: 8/10

Series Review: Stranger Things Season 1

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Plot: When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.

I can begin this review by telling you that there is no way I will properly be able to express quite how much I liked Stranger Things. More than one person had told me I really should watch it, that I’d like it, that it was fantastic. Did I immediately listen? Of course not. It is me we are talking about here. When I finally got to it, well, everyone turned out to be right. It turned out to be a good decision at least on my part to only watch it recently – we are now closer to the release of Season 2 than I would have been if I watched it when it came out, and I would have suffered for months on end like the rest of you.

Let’s first talk about the music. It is so 80’s pop. I loved it. The tracks perfectly create a nostalgic feeling, and they highlight each situation for maximum effect. It reminded me so much of the music in The Guest, which is also rich in 80’s nostalgia and also sums up my vastly inferior knowledge of this interesting genre.

The cast is incredible, and mostly led by kids at that. Kids, entertaining me?! The majority of the cast still buy clothes in the infant section, and that is usually a safe indicator that the show is not for me. Gallen Matazarro with his amazing lisp, Caleb McLaughlin already being cooler than I will be, Finn Wolffhard working his nerdiness like a pro, Noah Schnapp as the missing kid– can we please have more of him in Season two? These kids are adorable. They have excellent dialogue, and their 80’s innocence of bikes and tapes and technology is refreshing and unexpected. A favorite scene is where Eleven accidentally starts taking off her shirt because she doesn’t have social cues and they are all like WHOAH. So.Sweet. It is a refreshing change from the children we now have that are on phones all the time and have lost all innocence.

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Milly Bobby Brown is Eleven, and I am sure that you’ve heard everyone say that she’s amazing. I am here to tell you that it’s true, she’s amazing. Eleven is such a sad character. Immensely gifted and supernatural, she’s so sad with all that power. No one ever really loved her; she’s had zero exposure to the outside world and no peers to play with, and everyone she’s ever met up until the diner guy (still mad about that) has betrayed her trust. Her friendship with Mike is so sweet and innocent and hurt my poor little heart. The trailer for season 2 has shown her face again and for that I am so thankful – she’s a key point in this show’s power.

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Natalie Dyer (Nancy), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan) and Joe Kerry (Steve) are the slightly older age group in Hawkins who are involved in the Upside Down. Nancy is the pretty and smart girl, who is frustrated by her suburban existence and the knowledge that the marriage her parents have is one of convenience. Dating Steve must be an exciting thing – he’s handsome and popular and a bad boy who isn’t so bad when you take a good look. It took me a while to actually like him, but there is a great amount of character growth for him through the course of the show. Jonathan is also a great character, and he is an impressively okay result of that horrendous father of his.

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Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers and David Harbour as Jim Hopper lead the adult portion of the show. Joyce is frantic about her son, and it is only a mother’s obsession with keeping her children safe that enabled her to find what she fount. Jim Hopper starts the show by appearing as a useless cop, but his progression in the show is amazing. His story is back breaking and the more you get to know about Jim the sorrier you feel for him. He has one of the best quotes in the show, which I will use for years to come.

The first two or three episodes I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell I’m actually looking at, but even while not knowing; it is too good to not watch. I would have watched the entire show in one sitting if I had 8 hours of leisure at any given time. It’s unique, creepy and flat out gross at stages, and the fight of pure innocence against disgusting darkness and meanness will keep you glued to your seat and routing for the good guys.

I actually moped when this show was done, and am not above watching it again. The show is a fantastic adventure, a tribute to old school thrillers and one of the most inventive shows Netflix has produced. I simply can’t wait for the second season, and can only cross my fingers that they create something similarly amazing.

Have you seen Stranger Things? Talk to me about it in the comments!

PS: Can we just discuss how incredible Netflix opening sequences are?!

Rating: 9/10

Movie Review: The Finest Hours (2016)

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Plot: The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952

On the 18th of February 1952, Boatswain’s Mate First Class Bernard “Bernie” Webber, Andrew Fitzgerald, Ervin Maske, and Richard P. Livesey saved the lives of 32 men that were stranded on the SS Pendleton. They raced against unimaginable odds and time to reach the broken ship, and their heroics to this day stands as the greatest rescue in the US Coast Guard history.

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It’s an inspirational story that is bound to get your heart pumping and leave you in awe of the four men that set out on a tiny boat in a big storm to save the lives of desperately endangered men. But Disney got their hands on it, and a Disney film will never produce the horror and adrenaline that event surely had. It was a watered down, poorly directed film that made an actor like Casey Affleck look awkward and misplaced and uncomfortable as hell. I’ve seen him now in a few things, so that might just be his personality.

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Finest Hours contains a staggering number of cheesy phrases. There were constant yelling of things like “hold on boys” and “if I can do it so can you” and “we can do this” and “great job”. It was awkward, I felt awkward and the entire thing can be summed up in that one word – AWKWARD.

The beautiful Chris Pine continues to be everywhere. His beautiful mug is showing up in a lot of places these days, and you won’t hear me complaining. I just saw Wonder Woman, which places him pretty high on my list of Chrises (that list must happen), so this was obviously never going to end up as my favorite role of his. He’s not bad, however, and he is very convincing as Bernie Webber. Shy and sweet and loyal to his work, Bernie has some baggage. Pine does everything he can to make you like Webber. When Webber meets Miriam Pentinen (Holliday Grainger), their relationship is as sweet and stereotypical of the 1950’s as you can think it to be. Miriam chooses Bernie despite her fear of water – as she says “how do you know what lies underneath?” quite often. I share this sentiment with her, which is why I’d never date a coastguard. I can’t understand why she would choose that either. But anyway.

The disbelief in this film is too much for the real life events to seem authentic. It is poorly scripted and most of the time I really didn’t know what was going on. Miriam only seemed selfish and unsupportive of her fiancé, and that irritated me quite a bit. The cheesiness of the lines is bad enough that I’m sure the actors had a difficult time saying it out loud and not visibly cringing.

Sadly, The Finest Hours is not as fine as the title might suggest. Cheesy, silly and at places downright unbelievable, Disney did not do a good job honoring Bernie Webber.

Rating: 5/10

Movie Review: Sully (2016)

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Plot:The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight’s passengers and crew.

Situations where airplanes malfunction rarely have a happy ending. It’s either disappearances or crashes and morbidity is synonymous with these events. So when Captain Chelsea “Sully” Sullenberger sent out a mayday signal on the 15th of January 2009 after birds took out both of the engines on the Airbus 320 on Flight 1549 which Captain Sullenberger was the pilot of, no one believed it possible that Sullenberger could put down the plane on the Hudson River successfully. In doing so, he saved the lives of his 154 co-passengers. The successful landing was a combined result of a lifetime of experience and a man that not only excelled at his job but was born to do it. I followed this story obsessively when it came out, and recently checked again the technical difficulty this landing required. I love stories about human courage and defeating unimaginable odds (who doesn’t?), and the event kept me glued to the screen for weeks.

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That said, I’ve burned my fingers the last few months with real life events turned into movie adaptions. It’s a seemingly difficult task for directors to tell these stories accurately and keep the inspirational levels as well as the truth intact. However, with Sully, director Clint Eastwood made a film that wasn’t only true and inspirational, it is Oscar worthy.

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Tom Hanks plays veteran pilot Chelsey Sullenberger. He does so by portraying a pilot who had the correct level of confidence in his abilities, which he combined with good sense and humility. Hanks shows you all the sides – the PTSD, the stress he and his family is shouldering, the fatigue and overpowering sense of media frenzy. Aaron Eckhart is the lighter of heart Co-pilot Jeff Skiles. His importance to the success of the landing is paramount, as he did not, as I would have, started yelling “what the fuck” at the top of his lungs.

The passengers get their moments too – a woman with her elderly mother, a mother with her infant daughter, business men and women, a father and his sons rushing to make the gates for the flight – real people with real lives all just planning a quick trip. It adds a human element, and the chanting of the passengers as they braced for landing is heartbreaking to listen to.

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I was engrossed by Sully. It is chilling and inspiring and I will definitely watch it again. Eastwood and Hanks are a power combination that should be explored further. If you need to feel inspired, watch this. It is a story about thinking on your feet, being insanely courageous and calm, and using the experience life has given you to fulfill your life’s work.

Have you seen Sully? What did you think?

Rating: 8/10

Blindspot 2017: Walk the Line (2005)

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Plot: A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash’s life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

I’ve really had a very good run with my Blindspots this year. I really pretty much enjoyed every film on the list I’ve chosen, which makes it that much better than last year’s. I continued this good streak with Walk the Line, the 2005 biopic of Johnny Cash’s life. There is a bit more to the success of watching this film, as I’ve had the DVD for four years now. The protracted delay in seeing this reputably excellent film started to get silly, hence the adding to the Blindspot this year.

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I enjoyed Walk The Line very much. Joaquin Phoenix is simply phenomenal as Johnny Cash. He manages to be tortured, sad, brilliant and talented. He has an excellent voice. His love story with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon) is not some silly romance. It has depths and it develops over years of challenges for both of them. The film doesn’t try and make Cash a hero – they show a man who had a hard life and who had a lot of inner demons. His relationship with his father, Ray Cash (Robert Patrick), is hard and littered by a lifetime of resentment, anger and unresolved issues. I cannot praise Phoenix enough – the brilliance of his portrayal and the amazing voice he just pulled out of a hat and worked with. Ginnifer Goodwin has the undesirable task of being Cash’s first wife Vivian, a woman who was clearly never happy with anything Cash did for his family. She came across as the quintessential housewife of the 1950’s – bored, whiney and unhappy with everything that she ever received. In contrast Reese Witherspoon is the bounciest of bouncies with June Carter. Witherspoon has a surprisingly sweet voice and she delivers the performance of her life as Carter. She manages to portray a woman who is successful, charming and very much human. Her Oscar as best actress in a Leading Role is well deserved, though I do wish that Phoenix received an Oscar for his role as well.

The soundtrack is another rousing success. Littered with Cash’s poignant work, the soundtrack tells a story all on its own. I also really enjoyed the pacing of Walk The Line – it is never slow or boring and it doesn’t lose track of the story it is trying to sell.

I am so happy I finally sat down and watched this – I’ll definitely watch it again. Have you seen Walk The Line? Did you like it?

Rating: 8.5/10