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!

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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

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Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019)

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Plot: Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

There’s that friendly rivalry between Marvel and DC, which actually just ends up benefiting them both. Fans of either side usually flock to cinemas either way, because if you love your superheroes, you love your superheroes. DC took a tentative step forward by bringing forth the fantastic Wonder Woman, which did great despite the internet trolls. Never one to lie down, Marvel countered with the equally great Black Panther, who also did great despite internet trolling racists. If we need a friendly rivalry to promote inclusion of women and people of color in films, then I am happy to have it. Marvel subsequently added more pew to their pew-pews by bringing forth Carol Danvers, potentially their strongest hero (ine), managing to include a female led film in their repertoire and also some much needed help to the depleted Avengers crew.

So, I thought this was great. I am stealing an opinion from a friend here, but as I quite agree I will tell you about it – the only (small) thing about Wonder Woman was that they included a whole lot of Pantene-esque scenes with Gal Gadot’s beautiful hair everywhere, highlighting just how beautiful she is. Carol Danvers is a straightforward fighter and her strength is highlighted by how completely bad-ass she is. I personally think that Brie Larson is just gorgeous, but the film never really focuses on her looks but more on what she is able to do.

Brie Larson is fantastic in this! There were some negative feedback about her not smiling enough in the film – who the hell has time for smiling anyway when you are saving earth and discovering where you come from?! That said, if you are only open to watching this film and not sitting in your mother’s basement and spreading hateful comments on the internet, you will notice that Carol Danvers has a whole lot of emotion flitting across her face – humor, sarcasm, kindness, empathy, and yes, even a smile or two. Larson is a phenomenal actress with a few impressive movies behind her name, and she certainly does not deserve any negative feedback for this role. I also seriously loved how they depicted the relationship between her and co-pilot and best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) – we need more of this on screen, the true female friendships that inspire greatness, loyalty and courage. The same can be said for the respect and honor between the two trainee pilots and Dr. Wendy Lawson (Annette Benning), who I was surprised and happy to see in this even if she could manage a role like this blindfolded and tap dancing.

Samuel L. Jackson gets significant screen-time to link Carol to the Avengers, and man, he was a treat as always. It is great CGI to make him appear like his 1995 self, and the chemistry between him and Larson is great – it seems like they are true friends. It also provides some backstory on Nick Fury, which is something we all wanted – like why does he have that eye-patch? When exactly did he begin the Avengers initiative? All these interesting questions are answered and more.

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There has been so much talk of this movie by now you don’t need me to tell you that there is a highly entertaining cat in this film, or that Jude Law is gorgeous as Yon-Rogg, and that Ben Mendelsohn does a good job as Talos. What you need to do is go watch this in cinema and help Captain Marvel march towards a billion dollars, to prove that the world is inclusive and awesome.

Have you seen this? Let me know your thoughts!

Rating: 8/10

Movie Review: Captain Fantastic (2016)

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Plot: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

I have only had the pleasure to find a handful of films that had the power to make me consider whether my beliefs need to be reevaluated, managed to be ingenious and non-offensive and maintain originality. I also need to listen when the entire world tells me to go watch a movie because I will like it. Finally sitting down to watch Captain Fantastic was a rewarding experience and something I will gladly do again.

It’s an easy way to go with this review, but let me tell you, Captain Fantastic, is, well, friggin Fantastic. Viggo Mortensen, also known as Lord Aragorn and King of My Heart*, plays Ben Cash, a survivalist living with his 6 children and wife Leslie in the Washington wilderness. Following Leslie’s suicide, Ben decides to take his children to her funeral, inciting the wrath of his father in law, who does not agree with how his grand children are being raised.

The movie was ready with answers to all the questions I could think of. The first is naturally the presumption that survivalists are ill-informed and uneducated. Leslie was an attorney before she and Ben moved to the Wilderness. Ben’s youngest daughter is more capable of reciting and understanding the Bill of Rights than the teenager of his sister. They are taught to think critically and not only to parrot information, but to understand and dissect facts. They are well fed and although their lifestyle is unorthodox, they are taken care of. Ben doesn’t abuse his children – physically or through the neglect so accidentally bestowed upon children in modern society.

Ben also tells his children the truth. He doesn’t hide it that their mother committed suicide, and meets his and their grief face on. He doesn’t lie about sex or make it a taboo subject – it is just another topic in their household. While I can’t really see myself being quite that open to young children, I do like that it didn’t turn into this sneaky taboo thing our Western society makes it to be.

Then there is also literally everyone else in the movie, who believes Ben is either insane or just plain wrong. And are they wrong? They are all acting out of concern and clearly love Ben and his children. Ben’s father in law (played by Frank Langella) is the most vocal about it and even though he serves as the “antagonist”, he’s clearly not a bad man and wants the best for his grand kids who he so clearly adores.

I don’t have kids and I don’t plan on having some anytime soon, but I think the majority of parents want the best for their children. This movie explores a far right approach to parenting and is shot well enough with enough consideration to present this insane approach as viable. Viggo Mortensen and the rest of the cast are incredible carriers of this story – the accolade of best actor would have been well bestowed on this nominee at the Oscars. There is depth and knowledge in the way he carries this role and seems to be Ben completely. I also particularly liked George McKay as Bo, because his story was at a critical time where he had to move on to the next phase of his life. His knowledge about everything yet about nothing when it comes to being a real teenager was well played out by the actor, and he also managed to make the situations he finds himself in a bit funny while also highlighting what is wrong with Ben’s parenting approach.

The ending is satisfactory – a little yielding in Ben’s approach to accommodate the needs of his growing children, and yet it still remains in line with what he holds as the truth in his heart. It does show that at the end of all his eccentricity, he loves his children and is willing to do everything for them.

Rating: 9/10

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Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows)

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Plot: “I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

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I absolutely LOVED the movie (review here); so much so that it spurred me to start writing on my blog again. Naturally no force on this planet would keep me away from the book, and I got the last copy at my local bookshop – even though at an exorbitant price – seriously, how do they want people to keep on reading when it is so expensive? – I was still willing to fork out the cash because I just had to know.

I do love the romantic notion that one hard copy book can travel across oceans and reach people you would never have come in contact with. It’s part of the fun of buying a second hand book – someone else has read and enjoyed that particular book.

In this case, it leads to a life changing journey for author Juliet Ashton, who herself is still recovering from World War II, travels to Guernsey to meet their illustrious book club and one of it’s intriguing members – Dawsey Adams. He writes to Juliet after finding her details inscribed in one of his second hand books, and their pen-pal relationship develops nicely enough that she decides to embark on the journey that will alter the course of her life.

The one thing that took getting used to is that the book is written entirely as letters. This makes things a bit difficult, and certainly something to get used to, because there’s no “real” interaction between the characters and everything is written after the fact. I did get used to it, but like I said, it took a while.

With any book to movie adaption there will be a few changes. This is no different matter, but none so severe that it makes me like one more or one less. Dawsey Adams is definitely less attractive than the beautiful Michiel Huisman, although his character is just as beautiful in the book as in the movie. Again, Glen Powell and his absurd levels of charm make Mark Reynolds a nicer guy in the movie than he is in the book – he seems a whole lot of toxic in the book. They are also never engaged, as they are in the film.

I don’t want to give away too much for those who are planning to pick up a copy, but if you do I really hope you like it. It is still a testament to the beautiful country of Guernsey and their almost overlooked horrors experienced in the war. I am as a result also quite interested in who Charles Lamb was, the country of Guernsey, and any man who might be similar to Dawsey! 😉

Have you read the book? DO let me know!

Movie Review: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

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Plot: In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

I may not actually know how to blog anymore, but here goes. But some films deserve to be written about. This movie just deserves to be up here, and for the three still reading this blog, this is for you.

I have been keeping my eye on the release date of the mouthful of a film: The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society in South-Africa for a while, but became quite despondent when I saw just how limited release was planned. Fate intervened, and I got tickets to a special screening of this film. (Lucky me!)

I didn’t know all the deets about the film, but I was excited because it looked like my dormant British heart (I am sure I am 50% British because I love everything about their entertainment culture and history), the location of which I have always been interested in and an interesting mix of cast, I thought would be satisfied. My hopes were not smashed in one of these aspects. It is also good once in a while to completely not know what will happen in a movie.

When phrases like “Move over Darcy, this is Dawsey Adams” makes the round, you must know I will arrive at the scene to form my own opinion. However, this statement is way off base and those who agree with it have certainly never picked up a copy of Pride in Prejudice. Although both men are nearly perfect (and imaginary) depictions of what anyone would hope to find in love, they are dissimilar to each other. I won’t say too much about Mr. Darcy, you can read my lyrical waxing on a number of posts in this blog about his fine character, but Dawsey Adams (by the delightful Michiel Huisman) is straight off delightful from the very beginning. He is pure and wonderful and takes on more than he ever should have by taking care of a little girl, at first glance his own child, while Elizabeth Mackenna (Jessica Brown Findlay) is mysteriously not on the island when writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) arrives. He is a pure hardworking farmer that has witnessed the ugliest side of war. How must he have felt when he couldn’t join the forces and fight against the Germans due to a medical condition? How powerless when he witnessed the casual cruelty of the Germans occupying Guernsey? When he also had to deal with the fact that not all the German soldiers were evil? So many questions.

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Lily James provides a charming performance as Juliet Ashton and highlights well her underlying trauma of the war, a woman trying to fit herself into a world where she is wildly successful but still managed by all the men in her life, no matter how charming they might be. One of these men is her handsome fiancé Mark Reynolds, an American soldier who has put a very, very sparkly ring on her finger. Mark (Glen Powell), is as perfect as you can hope to find a man – dashing, kind, generous, helpful, and yet the watcher knows for certain the love Juliet and Mark has is just not enough to carry them.

Things I liked:

  • Let’s start with the quoting of one of Jane Eyre’s most infamous passages during the book club meeting Juliet attends – I am currently rereading this gothic romantic masterpiece, and I was extremely impressed that they included it in the movie. The rendition by Isola (Katherine Parkinson) was at once slightly hilarious and touching.
  • On that topic, the character of Isola Pribbly provides just the correct amount of comedy to the film. She was a favorite in the cinema and all her lines, slightly drunk and ever endearing, made me wish I could be friends with such a fantastic woman.
  • The Downton Abbey Flashback! Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay and Penelope Wilton made this a family affair. Whether it was deliberate or not, the combination of these four actors made me more ready for the Downton Abbey movie (hopefully) later this year.
  • Penelope Wilton is a fantastic actress and her grief in losing so many people in the war made more than one person in cinema emotional.
  • Matthew Goode needs more screen time in my life. I firstly loved this character because he was on Juliet’s side, and not some sort of villain as is often the case with agents depicted in movies, but her genuine friend and confidante. He also provides a solid performance.
  • The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society is not only a romantic film, it is a tribute to the land, the people of Guernsey and the aftermath of war, the rebuilding of life and dealing with repercussions long after an event has passed. The romance is indeed secondary, and the true love is indeed for the beautiful tale told.
  • The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society made me remember half-forgotten memories and feelings – I remember reading about the evacuation of the British children to their countryside during the war, I remembered how my sister and I loved to keep flowers in books and parse them. It is shot and directed beautifully and the scenery is as charming as the story itself.
  • The handsome Matthew Goode is Juliet’s agent and close confidante. He is as always endearing and I can see this man being a fantastic friend. I liked that he was on her side – how often is the agent/manager actually an antagonist? It’s exhausting and bad writing. Not all business partners are bad.
  • I can carry on for hours about each character – which I am glad Mark Reynolds wasn’t a bad guy, and how charming Glen Powell was in his depiction. The hypocritical Christianity of Adelaide Addison – such a fantastic job by Bronagh Gallagher – I have rarely seen such a tasteful depiction of the pettiness in which righteous, bored old women can fall into.
  • The chemistry between Lily James and Michiel Huisman – such a slow, burning and quietly increasing vibe. They made this movie by appearing so perfectly compatible.

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I will round it off here, and tell you to just go watch it. If you don’t like it I am not sure we can be friends. I am currently reading the book, and I need the DVD as soon as it is available in South-Africa. If I don’t have it to watch on repeat, I will surely die a slow and lonely death.

On that dramatic farewell, do let me know if you saw this!

Rating: 8.5/10

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!

Riverdale

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.

greys

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)

COB

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)

DieHard

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.

die-hard-rex

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”.