Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

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Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

You can say a lot about the lackluster of appeal the majority of movies DC has eked out has, but I do admire how devoutly DC sticks to Zack Snyder. Whether it is detrimental or genius or blindly devout, they are sticking with this guy and we must all just deal with it. Patty Jenkins did a fantastic job with Wonder Woman, and she’d be a strong contender for any DC material out there, but I guess these guys are just not ready to let a woman do the job she’s certainly qualified for and choose a lesser able man to do it.

BUT, despite what the internet is telling you (Seriously people, you don’t have to hate everything just because it’s fun to smack down films), Justice League qualifies as one of the better DC movies. Certainly second to Wonder Woman, but compared to the joke that was Suicide Squad (which I didn’t hate completely) and the absolute disaster that was Batman vs. Superman (I’d like to forget that one completely), the Justice League is nearly Oscar material in comparison.

Snyder, who I’d like to say at this stage it can’t all be his fault, has a distinct modus operandi. The excessively dreary dialogue and repressive atmosphere that makes you question why you ever liked movies, the irritatingly long fight scenes (remember Zod vs. Superman? FML), the monumental and recurring and completely unnecessary GCI. It’s exhausting, but up until this point DC has not suffered at cinema. They have likely noticed how much more popular their competitor was, and it was a really good decision to attempt some lightheartedness while also keeping the signature dark style.

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However, only one of these irritations became a reality. The fight sequences were handled ridiculously quick compared to Batman vs. Superman as well as the drawn out Superman film in 2013. There were attempts at humor, which worked for the most part. The story was less cluttered and the dialogue had a clear direction. The CGI was the main culprit and was horribly abused. Since Henry Cavill is on the poster, it can be safely deduced that he’s in the film, so that is not a major plot spoiler I’m giving you now (or if it is you lack deductive skills). Followers of Cavill on Instagram will know that he’s sporting a moustache for an upcoming Mission Impossible film. (He, and maybe Tom Selleck, remains the only men to successfully WERK the moustache) He was contractually obliged to keep said moustache throughout shooting, and when Justice League reshoots clashed with the ‘stache, the powers that be decided to CGI the shit out of Cavill’s face. The results are startling, leading many people to wonder if he is, in fact, Human Shrek. The scene where his face is altered is clearly visible and terrible work – I can’t imagine how that got approval. His resurrection is fake and devoid of feeling because of CGI-Superman. I was confused in cinema – his face was distorted and it looked terrible. I sat in the second row of the cinema (was fully packed), so got a very close up and disturbing view of CGI-Superman. Even knowing now why he looked like that does not make it better in any way.  He had a whole lot more teeth than what is usually visible on his beautiful and talented face. That said, Cavill is a superb Superman – he has the gravity required for the success of the role and certainly looks the part. It also takes a whole lot to convince me that Jason Momoa is the second prettiest thing on screen.

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Justice League is miles, and I mean MILES, better than Batman vs. Superman. Ben Affleck has become more comfortable as Batman, he has some believability in the role now, and manages to inject some humor and sarcasm into his portrayal that was desperately needed. He has injected a humanity into his portrayal that was absent in BvsS, something that made him that much more a success of a character. There are also multiple mentions to the fact that the reason he’s a superhero is because he’s rich, which got some chuckles from the crowd. Ezra Miller is a great Barry Allen – he’s so hilariously young and awkward and he is responsible for making the movie more lighthearted. I’ve been pained by Miller in the past – his usual roles are so weird and whiney, but he was an excellent choice for this role. I could have done with some more backstory on Allen, as well as with Cyborg (also an excellent casting choice in Ray Fisher), and the delicious Arthur Curry (Momoa). They showed enough of him to make me excited to watch Momoa as Aquaman for that origin story. It struck me that it was the first time I heard Momoa actually speak English (his other native tongue being Dothraki), and for his major return to the spotlight this seems to be a great role for him.

Wonder Woman returns to Gotham, and her work is questioned by Batman, who displays into the White Man syndrome fantastically. He queries why she hasn’t been a beacon to people, never considering that she gets to make that choice herself. All her actions are basically only to show how strong her male colleagues are, and when Aquaman (Jason Momoa) sits on the Lasso of Truth, her beauty is complimented whereas Superman, Cyborg and The Flash have their abilities complemented, a sure sign that a male director called the shots. I love Gadot as Wonder Woman, and it is an unquestionably the better film. I’ve seen some unhappiness by the Amazonian’s decidedly smaller costumes, and it’s true – Themyscira underwent a troubling fashion change at the hands of Snyder.

I cannot stress enough how good the casting is in this film. Ezra Miller impressed me to no end, and he has a quirky banter with his team mates. He even manages to be endearing. Momoa is well, Momoa, big and manly and tough. The glimpse into the underwater world we will get to visit in Aquaman was beautiful, and I can’t wait.

A not so good thing about Justice League is the utterly forgettable Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). He’s poorly introduced, and for all the hard work in keeping the “boxes” safe, he just smashes through all lines of defense. He is also yet another CGI villain from DC. His vampirish followers are slightly scary. His end is ridiculous and leaves room for so much open ended questions. Where did he even go? That end is also preposterous – as my friend pointed out we have all these super-humans battling Steppenwolf and the second Superman pitches everything is saved? What is the point of the Justice League then? How about the incredible Cyborg? The warrior Wonder Woman? The Flash that is seemingly only as fast as Superman, eliminating the need for him almost entirely? Aquaman that saves the team from certain death by water?

I’d love seeing a more realistic villain – this guy was so vague about his purpose and half the time he was a secondary focus point. Can we maybe have less CGI villainy and more real-human villainy? I hope with Lex Luthor in the credit shots we are going to have that the next round.

I enjoyed JL – it is not without flaws but it is the first real attempt DC made to correct their ensemble films. It’s been a good year for these guys and I’d love to see what they conjure up next year.

Have you seen Justice League? Leave your thoughts below

Rating: 7/10

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Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious (2017)

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Plot:When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of terrorism and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.

I am quite the big fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. I reviewed the entire series a while ago, and naturally the mere mention of the return of Dominic Toretto and his family was enough to get me excited. These movies have become progressively bigger and more extreme as the series developed, and the Fate of The Furious makes no exception.

To be honest, this is the first film that I felt was overly ridiculous. It has always been very ridiculous with this franchise, but this one went very extra. The “banter” between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham made my toes curl with embarrassment. Seriously – the testosterone these two emit in each other’s presence was nothing short of hilarious. Dwayne Johnson had some pretty funny lines as a school soccer coach, and his desperation in having his girls win the game to avoid a Tay-Tay concert was quite funny and understandable. Fast 8 tries to market Jason Statham now as one of the team, as a Shaw brother it is quite confusing as he was a main villain about fifteen seconds ago.

Dominic Toretto abandoning his family seems crazy, and that is exactly what he does. Villian Cypher (Charlize Theron) shows Dom something on a screen and it is enough to make him drop his wife Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez) and his team. What could make him do this? What does Cypher want? That’s never too clear, because I don’t think the plot is the primary point of this film, and we are left in the dark more than once.

I won’t say why Dom did what he did, but there WAS a BIG reason. Naturally Brian (Paul Walker) must be mentioned loudly at least once, and that he can’t come help because they decided he needs to be away. I don’t really agree with the decision on that, because Brian O’Connor in the Law of the Furious would never drop Dominic Toretto – however sad Paul Walker’s death may be, I think the character would have died too instead of abandoning his family.

Charlize Theron’s Cypher has a very blurry reason for the things she does. The chemistry between her and Vin Diesel is less than zero, and that kiss they share is cold and plain weird (despite Diesel’s strange comments about it). There is a lot of explosions and more bad dialogue, and when Diesel, Johnson and Statham appear together onscreen the manly manliness is almost too much to witness. The rest of the crew – Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Megan (Nathalie Emmanuel) and  Ludacris (Tej) get laughably terrible lines. Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is still cool AF, and he’s joined by tough guy Scott Eastwood as a new recruit. The awesome Kristofer Hiviju is Cypher’s henchman, and I still love Tormund even though he’s a baddy in here.

The last few scenes of the film is naturally very dramatic and highly unlikely, and the end is  mushy but manly-still. This formulaic fan festival of epic proportions is outrageous, crazy and very similar to the last couple of Fast films. I found it slightly less engaging with a little worse dialogue, but I’m not even fooling myself – if there is a Fast 9, I will still watch it.

Rating: 6/10

Halloween Movie Review: Scream 2 (1997)

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Plot: Two years after the first series of murders, a new psychopath dons the Ghostface costume and a new string of killings begins. 

Contains spoilers!

Sydney has miraculously survived the killings in Woodsboro and is now in college. She’s still close friends with Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) and in contact with Deputy Dewy (David Arquette). Dewy is as sassy as always, and has his comebacks lined up when he sees the formidable and career driven Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox). Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber) might not be a serial killer, and he might not have killed Sydney’s mom, but he’s far from the nice guy and still desperately seeks his fame. Sydney is dating Derek (Jerry O’Connel) – a pretty sweet and smart guy, but can she really trust him after her previous boyfriend turned out to be a murderous sociopath? I naturally suspected the crap out of him, and was sad when he turned out to be innocent AND dead.

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The opening scene isn’t close to as wrenching as in the first Scream, but still good. You have to love the 90’s fashion though. Jada Pinkett (I think this was before she was Smith) is all sassy and then gets stabbed to death. O well.

I do like that the films are consistent – the characters are the same and they are written in the same way. The tone remains witty and funny with some gems delivered from Dewy.

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Can I just mention again how much I love how loose footed these killers are? They are falling all over the place and it is hilarious. They can be punched and aren’t superhuman. I just love how Sydney punches the shit out of people. You go girl!

Scream 2 was pretty close to as good as the first film for me. The third one lacked compared to these, which is really sad, but the first two? Absolute gems.

Rating: 7.5/10

Movie Review: Hidden Figures (2016)

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Plot: The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.

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Focusing on the trio of female scientists Katherine Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson at Nasa in the sixties, Hidden Figures plays a vital role in educating the world about the stories of the repressed who rose to great heights while fighting unimaginable odds. The three ladies each had incredible aptitude for their work. Katherine Jackson was so accurate in her calculations her work was better than a computer. Dorothy Vaughan taught herself a computer language when computers were a foreign and scary concept. She became the first black female supervisor at Nasa. Mary Jackson fought for her right to become an engineer, and was the first black mathematician and engineer in the NACA, which would become NASA in 1958.

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Actresses Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe shine in their roles, and their fast talking, quick thinking, superbly dressed and outrageously talented selves kept me glued to the screen for the duration of the film. It is impossible to decide who gave the best performance. Octavia Spencer is one of my favorite actresses in Hollywood and seeing her as a determined genius of a woman is already a reflection of herself, it is just the career that differs in her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan. Janelle Monáe gave me endless happiness with her attitude and her resilience to get what she wanted. Taraji P Henson delivers a demure and dedicated performance as Katherine Jackson, a woman so excellent in her profession she was more accurate than the computers so painstakingly installed by NASA. Katherine had to face inconceivable barriers in her job – not only was she black, she was a woman as well when those two categories were still fighting for rights back in the sixties. She faces uphill battles – the sexism and racism of her colleagues, finding a bathroom – this battle of hers had me the most outraged as it is an inhumanity I have never even been able to comprehend. She does this with grace and poise and so rarely loses her shit I marked her as a saint.

Kirsten Dunst is the white supervisor to Spencer’s Dorothy. Her racism isn’t deliberate or particularly spiteful;but it is so ingrained and habitual that it somehow offends more than the blatant racism Katherine faces. There is some saving for Dunst’s character, and I particularly appreciated the scene where she addresses Dorothy as “Mrs. Vaughan” – a courtesy that was long overdue.

Strong male performances by Kevin Costner as the gruff and motivated Al Harrison – a man portrayed as open eyed and realizing that science and math doesn’t have a skin color. Jim Parsons takes on the role of the close minded bigot Paul Stafford, although I got the impression that the character had bigger problems with Katherine’s gender and the fact that she was a better mathematician than he than her skin color, but even despite that Stafford was a mean and rude man who needed a kick under the ass. Mahershala Ali plays Katherine’s love interest and eventual husband Jim Johnson – he’s so charming and dignified I nearly fainted. Aldis Hidge (Levi Jackson) is a contrast to the calm Jim emits – his anger is raw and justified against the government who denies him and his family the rights so easily afforded to white people. Glen Powell as John Glenn was so incredibly charming and beautiful, and I rooted for him immediately when he chose to greet everyone at NASA, not only the white people.

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Hidden Figures is well written, warmhearted and satisfactory conclusive. Each woman gets what she needs – a promotion, extra education or the incredible right to work as part of the team who would put a man on the Moon. It might be a bit blasé in some parts – Kevin Costner hitting down the signs on the bathrooms and declaring that everyone can urinate where they want was slightly overdramatic, but the sentiment was good.

Another part of the film that I liked was the orbiting into space – it felt real somehow, the hard work, frustration and endless dedication of NASA to get men into space. It is so impressive when you think about that they didn’t have the knowledge NASA now has, they’d never done it before. They were working without computers and relied on human accuracy to attempt something that hadn’t been done before. It is impressive and inspiring.

Hidden Figures filled me with awe, respect and also a great deal of shame. I’ve never had to work as hard as these characters to be accepted in to society, I’ve never had to run to another bathroom because of my skin color, I’ve never been denied tertiary education or a promotion because of a thing I can’t do a thing to change. Systematic oppression is a real thing and I’ve often thought about it lately – society has come a long way in making sure everybody has rights, but are we still subconsciously treating people different when they don’t look exactly as we do? It’s something to consistently address until the last dregs of oppression dies away.

Hidden Figures was not only about skin color, it was about female empowerment, the power of education, the perseverance of the human spirit and about how giving up should never be an option. Excellent performances make this film an entertaining and wonderful watch, and if you haven’t done so yet, I would strongly suggest you rectify that matter.

Rating: 8.5/10

Movie Review: Australia (2008)

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Plot: Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

Some human rights are less equal than other human rights.

That is an unambiguous fact displayed in Australia, the Baz Luhrman epic. The Aboriginal people were the first people to inhabit Australia 45 000 years ago. They are fascinating and diverse group with over 500 different types of Aborigines, with different languages and territories spread over the dangerous continent. The Aborigines have suffered greatly since the first British invasion, and have lost land, culture and their freedom. The film Australia explores this as one of its’ concepts, primarily the fate of children who had an Aboriginal mother and a white settler father. The making of these children were depicted as consensual sex, although I really doubt whether that was the case most of the time.

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I have a deep appreciation for Baz Luhrman. He has directed a large portion of films I call my favorite. – Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby. He has a sense of fancy and shine, and a love for the epic that can’t be anything but admired. Moulin Rouge is my favorite, but after seeing Australia again I realized my vague recollection of the film didn’t do justice to its’ true quality.

Nicole Kidman displays an astonishing amount of wit and humor, a role which I haven’t seen her embody until now. Baz Luhrman and his extravagant affairs suit her – my other favorite of hers (and his) is the heartbreakingly beautiful Moulin Rouge, which is on my soon-to-be-rewatched list as well.

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I will keep my comments regarding Hugh Jackman as clean as possible, but this is one of his finest physical appearances I have ever seen. It is greatly exaggerated it is good to see the sexual focus on a male instead of a female (I can really only think of The Guest as the only other example)

Australia is both heart-breaking and beautiful. The chemistry between Kidman as Lady Sarah and Jackman as Drover is strong, and their love story is beautiful and unrestrained. There is a beautiful romance I read that takes place in the Australian outback (I sadly can’t recall the name), and the struggles of Drover and Sarah reminded me very much of their plights.

Brandon Walters as Nullah is a fast talking child, and his innocence and freedom is beautiful. It broke my heart how badly the Aborigines were treated, how very little rights they were afforded and how they had everything taken away from them – the Australian government only issued an official apology to the Aboriginals in 2008 for the crimes against their race, which is a fine case of too little, too late.

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The backdrop of the film is naturally the raw and intense landscape of Australia’s Outback, which provides a visually stimulating experience. Australia has been accused of being overly long, and yes, it certainly is a doozy, clocking in at two hours and forty-six minutes. As many of you know, I am always first to complain about movies that are too long without any real substance, so if I tell you I didn’t feel that Australia was drawn out and overly long, I really mean it. You just have to be willing to sit down for quite a while and get through it, but the conclusion is rewarding and beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed Australia, and would recommend it to people who love Baz Luhrman. It made me read up on the Aboriginals, the atrocities against them, improved my already substantial admiration for Nicole Kidman and convinced me that the acquired taste of an Australian accent could be easily achieved if Hugh Jackman strutted in tight pants across a desert uttering words that I could barely understand but definitely appreciated.

Have you seen Australia? How did it rank for you?

Rating: 8.5/10

Halloween Blindspot 2017: Scream (1996)

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Plot: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

I watched Scream for Blindspot in early in the year, but sat with the review the entire year just so that I could do it in Halloween. I also demanded to watch the subsequent three films, so they will on as reviews this month as well.

I enjoyed the sharp and witty dialogue between the characters. They were quick mouthed towards the killer, and the killer himself had some excellent things to say too.  Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is a female heroine dream and her punching people made me really happy. She handled being stalked by a killer and simultaneously dealing with her mother’s death very well and I love seeing her throw a punch. She’s also not a complete pain in the ass and doesn’t moan about every damn thing.

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Scream is also pleasantly non-gory – sure there are some gruesome scenes but no torture (a complete no-no for me) as I was expecting. The deaths were satisfyingly dramatic. The first death is just so sad and well directed – I was ready to actually just cry for Drew Barrymore (however – take the popcorn off the stove man!)

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Deputy Dewy is such a fun and hilarious character. David Arquette nailed that role and his facial expressions are admirable being able to change his complete facial structure. Gale Weathers is a character that you really want to hate but end up admiring more than anything else by the end of the film. Neve Campbell’s Sydney is a kickass heroine and I was cheering for her all the ways through. I also liked Jamie Kennedy’s Randy – this guy was on top of things and had all the information for a horror movie well documented and studied.

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So you can gather that I had a great time with this film. It is a lot of fun, and there are some jump scenes here and there but it is actually impossible to be really scared while watching this film. If you somehow managed to not see this film in the million years its’ been out there, definitely go watch it!

Rating: 8/10

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

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.

Film Title: The Girl on the Train

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

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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Happy Mean Girls Day!

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Yesterday was October 3rd. Every Mean Girl alumni knows what that means – it is the annual celebration of  the day Aaron Samuels asked Cady Heron what day it was. It reminded me that I recently watched Mean Girls again, and was as always super entertained by this highly quotable, relatable, hilarious comedy.

Most Mean Girls stars (Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Jonathan Bennett and Daniel Franzese) reunited to ask for aid to the Las Vegas shooting victims in honor of their Mean Girls Day, and I thought that was a really nice gesture.

To celebrate this annual anniversary of one of my favorite films, here is some hilarious quotes:

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I feel exactly like you with regards to this film, girl who doesn’t even go here!

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Janis Ian gets my feelings about people using terrible grammar and being silly while at it!

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Karin, I get this question a lot!

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We know, Gretchen, we know.

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And lastly, some amazing and inspirational words from Kenny G.

What is your favorite Mean Girls quote?