Blindspot 2018: Choices

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Well, I’m still need to watch two movies on my 2017 Blindspot list, but here are my next pickings. They are as eclectic and all over the place as last year’s list, which I actually enjoyed so much because it had a bit of everything.

Ghost Busters (1984) 
Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson 
Credit: Columbia Pictures/Courtesy The Neal Peters Collection

Ghostbusters – Time to see exactly how great this is and to get why all the men got so huffy about the all-female cast of the 2017 version, which I also haven’t seen yet.

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The Matrix – I am assured I only need to watch the one

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Erin Brockovich– I am a huge Julia Roberts fan and I really need to finally see the film she won her Oscar for.

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s – For the joy of seeing Audrey Hepburn in her most iconic role

Shutter-Island

Shutter Island – need I say more? A psychological thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio

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Blade Runner – I was really interested to see the 2017 version (hello, Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford), but felt it would not be the best idea to start at the second film.

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Revolutionary Road – It is another film with DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, so I am definitely okay with that. #JackAndRose

Jaws

Jaws – chomp chomp chomp

Hitchhiker

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – I’ve been threatened with my life if I don’t rectify this apparently appalling crime.

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Silence of The Lambs – I’m probably going to tuck my feet safely under blankets with the lights on for this, but I’m game.

Die hard

Die Hard – I really do enjoy action films and this film seems like one consistently considered a favorite among them

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The Curious Life of Benjamin Button – This film was the most frequently almost-replaced-on-here-film, but I am still ready to watch and enjoy and watch a young Brad Pitt.

There are a few I’d almost chosen, listed below, which I would still like to get to. Although since I’m not done with 2017’s list yet, just focusing on finishing the chosen ones seem like a pretty sound decision.

  • Ant Man – literally the only Marvel movie I haven’t seen yet in later years
  • Good Fellas – because, Pacino.
  • The Sixth Sense – this was a close call but the internet has long since spoiled every single scene in this so I’ll just watch it when I can
  • The Hateful Eight, because Tarantino. Did not make the list because I’ve heard while it is Tarantino, it isn’t the Tarantino
  • American Pie – A bit of lightheartedness to these proceedings, if you will

If you are taking part this year, let me know!

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Watched, Read, Loved: November and December 2017 and a (belated) happy new year!

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Happy New Year dear friends! The past two months have been whirlwinds! I’ve forgotten how to even blog, and I will be super surprised if my WordPress account actually allows me to log me back in.

Needless to say, it has been hectic – when is it ever not though? I finally completed my degree. I always imagined how it would feel getting that notification, and nothing came close to it because hyperventilation was the prevalent feeling – this panicked excitement and too much happy. I’ve also subsequently been promoted, so November and December were interviews and crazed stress. January is all about settling in to my new role and getting my replacement into her new role, so I can promise some extra crazy moments around the office.

We had my sister’s babyshower, and it was a wonderful day. She’s had some scares with her pregnancy, but I am happy to report that her baby girl is now happy and on her way at the end of January. The day of the babyshower was extremely hot! (It was after all December in South-Africa). We made way too much food but had a lovely time celebrating. If I may say so myself – I can organize an event! 😀

I also managed to have some recreational fun. We went to Sun City in Rustenburg, South-Africa. It has a “sea” and it was a fun day away from Johannesburg. (Also an international five star resort, and looks like the intro to Jurassic Park) However, if I ever go again, I will stay the night. The drive back was straight from a horror movie.

We also went to The Garden of Lights, annually hosted by Emperor’s Casino. It was nothing like I imagined it would be – so charming and gorgeous. It is definitely something I will revisit in the years to come.

Another nice day was visiting the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. They are so wonderfully green now and it was therapeutic strolling between the plants.

I went on another Tinder date. It’s actually a recurring event with this one guy. I just don’t know what to make of the situation at this stage. I’m sure he’ll make a decent boyfriend, I’m just not sure if he will make one for me. I also went to another singles event, which was really nice. However, the people that attend persistently do good in short bursts but later just fade into the background.

It seems too few paragraphs to describe the past few months. I feel like my life has expanded and grown, and you won’t hear from me that 2017 was a bad year. It was a pretty good year for me. I’m extremely grateful how much I’ve managed to achieved, and hopeful that I will reach some major milestones this year – which I’m keeping secret for now, but the moment they happen I will let you know.

I only have one “resolution” this year, and that is to use less plastic. Plastic consumption in South-Africa is pretty bad, and I am also a culprit. The government implemented costs on plastic bags a few years ago, but as it is still only about 20 cents a bag there hasn’t been a lessening in the staggering plastic consumption in South Africa. So I am planning to take a woven bag with me from now on and to pack my groceries in there when I shop, so as to help in a small way save this planet of ours.

Well, here is a rundown of my entertainment adventures below. Let me know your opinions! (Sitting on a thousand unread personal emails, so I might have missed some really important moments)

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The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). Hmm. There are so many strong feelings about this film currently on the internet.  Let me tell you, my feelings were strong after exiting the cinema. I’ve mellowed some, but I am not a fan of this film. I need to write a proper review for it, and I will save my commentary for then.

Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017): These amazing ladies have decided to exit while they are on top. I enjoyed this film so much. It is such silly humour and can be pretty darn vulgar, but at the same time it does my heart good to see female driven comedies shine on their own.

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PS I Love You: Gerard Butler, my pants were on fire. I like this film, despite fully knowing so many people hate it.

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Lego Batman (2017): What a smart, funny, dialogue savvy film. The best Lego movie and one of the finest DC movies.

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Fifty First Dates: I remember loving this film as a child, and eagerly ordered the DVD when I stumbled upon it. It’s still good – a strange mix of Adam Sandler’s best and worst sides. I can at least let my Adam Sandler movies I actually like list grow to three – The Wedding Singer, Mona Lisa smile and Fifty First Dates. The rest remain garbage though.

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Lethal Weapon 3 – I got the third and the fourth movie to watch after Zoe and I watched the first two. I had a great time with this one as well, and the three movies I’ve seen are all equally good. How looky was Mel Gibson before he became the bitter old white man?

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Grease – It really seems unnatural the way John Travolta’s hips move in this film. How young was he?! How young was Olivia Newton John?! Had a lot of fun watching Grease, but it is undeniably a long film.

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Sy Klink Soos Lente – I got in my Afrikaans fix twice in films the past few months. Both (the second below) made me so happy and proud of my language and what we are achieving in cinema. Sy Klink Soos Lente is funny, smart and sweet, and I have watched it once more since the first time.

Vir die Voels

Vir Die Voëls – Same as the above. The writing is significantly better than most South-African films, and there is an awareness of dialogue in both these films that impressed me. It’s not just words, it is how Afrikaans people speak. I will definitely sit down for this again!

Eat Pray Love – I grabbed this off the shelf for something to watch with my mom. I’ve always liked this film, but this time around I found myself slightly irritated with the level of first world problems the character experiences – it’s just so much easier to have a midlife tantrum when you can travel the world. Javier Bardem in this remains gorgeous.

The lord of the rings

The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King: My heart. I am so attached to these films. They are everything. I actually don’t want to review them – how to bring justice to some of the best films ever made? My heart.

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Justice League – Yep, seemed to have done this in November/December too! To be perfectly honest I enjoyed this more than – gasp – Star Wars. It is definitely one of the better offerings from DC.

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The Italian Job (2003) – Another Blindspot off my list! This went okay, just not a favourite Blindspot this year.

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Zoë got me the best Christmas gift EVER – all the way from England (I’m still naive enough to get such a massive kick from an international shipment). DOWNTON ABBEY BOXSET!!!!! I cannot describe my intense love for this show – it is simply so wonderful. I am already on to season two, and the sarcastic remarks, the amazing running commentary of the Dowager Countess, and the unbearably lovely Matthew Crawley (SOB) keeps my so entertained my pinkie is going to shoot in to the air anytime soon.

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I actually have read way too much to even remember. I am still busy with Under Rose Tainted Skies – it’s good, just very angsty. I’ll finish it soon and tell you all about it, but teenagers are generally difficult to deal with and this one even more so. I am currently devouring Marian Keyes’ This Charming Man, arguably my most favourite read of hers. It’s written so well and flows through the course of the story easily. I also revisited Laurian Clemence’s Mushy Peas on Toast, one of my favourite South-African reads ever, and consumed an unhealthy amount of Nora Roberts. Nora is a spiral – I will read so much of her and then not look at another author for ages, which is lazy and unhealthy on my part. I know I read the two books in the Stanislaski brothers again – which I enjoy despite my opinion on Ukranians not quite matching Nora’s, I also read one of the MacKade books (Return of Jared MacKade), and revisited the Guardians Trilogy. I also read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (the original book, not the play, which I avoid on principle), and this makes me in the mood for Harry Potter, a complete reread. Who knows, maybe I will even watch the movies as a series. I am also in the mood to read Eat, Pray, Love again by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s the True North of my love of her books, and I’d like to experience it all over again.

What were you up to this festive season? Let me know!

Blindspot 2017: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

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Plot: A gentle man, with scissors for hands, is brought into a new community after living in isolation

Here at the last bit of my 2017 Blindspot reviews I found a movie that was so wonderful I actually wanted to finish it (I am currently so busy my attention span with anything not work related is intolerant at best). I also wondered whether this would be too quirky for me – this film is a classic and has a huge fanbase, but is known to be a whole lot of quirky, and while I like some of these types of films I do have my threshold.

Well, Edward Scissorhands was not such a case. It is wonderful and will likely finish as my favorite Blindspot this year. The set and costume design is wonderful. The directing is magnificent – Tim Burton provides a darkly magical film that is somewhat sad. The movie is the work of an original genius – Tim Burton before things went skew. Who would have thought to tell the story of a man with scissors as hands, and despite that alarming quality being a kind and untainted soul? I had no idea what this film was even about, and was expecting a darkish thriller fantasy thing,  and it was quite wonderful to experience it so fresh and new even though Edward Scissorhands is as old as I am because it was so much different.

Edward-Scissorhands

The lack of wonder a post-Jack- Sparrow Johnny Depp inspires is felt more acutely when you see him in his earlier work such as this. He is inspired, quirky, and enormously talented and manages to convey so much without moving that many face muscles. Whatever he’s become, he is truly wonderful as Edward.

Then there is Winona Ryder, who was truly really pretty as a young girl. My love for this actress has increased exponentially in the last few years – I’ve seen Heathers and then naturally the incomparable Stranger Things, in which she’s both great in despite it being decades apart. Her character Kim is the typical pretty high school cheerleader, who dates the buffoonish Jim (Anthony Michael Hall). She arrives late to the scene, where Edward is settled in and enjoying company with her family when she returns from a camping trip with said buffoon and some friends. She’s naturally quite horrified about this new addition to her family, and even the town’s clear adoration of Edward doesn’t make her too fond of him in the beginning.

Tim Burton manages to tell a story about small town America that is crafty, wildly creative and very accurate. The ice cream coloring from the houses is ghoulish and the “pretty” neighborhood has a rot beneath that is quickly revealed when you learn more about the residents. The residents dwellings are as unlike to their personalities them as Edward’s is unlike him – his is dilapidated and dark while his inside is good and kind, and the town residents have lovely homes with ugly hearts. Especially Joyce (Kathy Baker), who delivers a fine but quite scary performance of a tiger on the prowl, vicious when she doesn’t get what she wants.

The soundtrack is also so beautiful. Whimsical and sad, it highlights each moment in the story perfectly. I’d love to listen to it on other occasions. So perfect and magical.

Then naturally there is the fact that this film doesn’t make you sit long. An hour and forty minutes is all Edward Scissorhands demands from you, and not a second is wasted on unnecessary storytelling. Tim Burton expertly takes you from one surprise to another, and he never lets you get bored or disinterested.

I absolutely loved this. I still have to big movies to finish for my blindspot for 2017 – Goodwill Hunting and The Nightmare Before Christmas, so it might be a bit early to say this was my favorite one this year. What I do know right now is this is one of the films I am the likeliest to rewatch in coming years.

Rating: 9/10

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)

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Plot: Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices

In 2012 someone had the idea to create a movie about an Acapella university group with an essentially all female cast. It was a surprising success, people (mostly females) driving out to see women be funny, silly, talented and live in a sisterhood. They returned in 2015 with lesser men in the cast, and their hilarity continued to an extent that personally, for me, it surpassed the 2012 film in terms of quality.

Nothing would stop a production company from milking a successful movie for a number of sequels, so Universal Pictures granted the production of a final, third Pitch Perfect. I collected my own girl squad (men were welcome, they simply weren’t keen), and set off to watch this final film.

I laughed. Rebel Wilson steals the show, again, with her fabulous return to Fat Amy. She’s got a massive agenda in this film – her father Fergus (John Lithgow) reenters her life and we get to see something of Amy/Patricia’s past. Is her father really reformed or is he there for some nefarious reason? I won’t tell you everything, but Rebel Wilson stunned us and she made us cry with laughter in the cinema with her amazing skills.

Naturally Beca (Anna Kendrick) has her issues being a know it all and a bit of a snob. She’s landed a promising position at a record label, but that is not good enough for her because she has all the opinions and also has never had a real job – that would have made her realize that new staff can’t always have their opinions listened to at the first go. She resigns, because finding another job is easy in the Pitch world, and when Aubrey (Anna Camp) has a proposition for the team to go sing at a military base for the troops she and the other Barden Bellas grab it with both hands.

Off they go to a number of improbable situations that will still make you laugh extra hard. Hunky Theo (Guy Bernet) has a thing for Beca and army officer Chicago Welp (Matt Lanter) develops an interest in Chloe (Brittany Snow), who is hilarious on her crush on him.

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More usuals are also there – Hana Mae Lee returns as Lilly, the really supremely strange Bella. Kudos to Lee, she has worked this awkward and hilarious character excellently. Ester Dean brings cultural and sexual diversity to the Bellas and is one of the most talented cast members in the film. Jessica, or Kelley Jakle, had me laughing at her comments, especially the “shot of white privilege” one.  John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks also returns to their respective roles as John Smith and Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger, the hilarious and desperate commentators who follow the Bellas everywhere they go.

Pitch Perfect 3 is a closing chapter for the franchise and they send their characters of in ideal, if a bit too perfect, fashion. Everyone ends up where they always wanted to be – vet school, owner of a franchise, a singing career, or Amy, as we all do, with tons of cash and not having to answer to anyone. Some of the jokes are a bit skew, they aren’t as hilarious or as original as they were in the first two films, but these characters have become part of very fond memories for me. I watched the first one with quite a hangover and had to rewatch to actually like it, and the second one had me crying with laughter. This one? A bit lame but it was like watching old friends drive off in to the sunset.

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Have you seen Pitch Perfect 3? Let me know what you thought!

Rating: 6/10

Movie Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Last Jedi

Plot: Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order

I will start out this review by just reminding everyone that Star Wars isn’t my primary Nerddom. I’d choose Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings over it any day. I’d choose many things above it any day – within Disney itself I’d rather focus on the Marvel stuff than Star Wars. So I was excited about this, but I wasn’t ready to weep and rave (won’t be that person for this on any day to be perfectly honest).

The movie… rather lacked in what I expected of it. There were some decent things, and it really looked good, but The Last Jedi has absolutely no point in the franchise – the rebels are absolutely no further in their quest and they are still as screwed as they were at the end of The Force Awakens. I’ve since endured arguments that some very BIG things happen in this film – can’t say because way too spoilery – and yes, that is probably true, but I still stand that the resistance gained nothing by The Last Jedi.

In no particular order, here is a list of things that frustrated me endlessly in this film.

Finn (John Boyega) has absolutely no point in this entire film. He is sent on a bogus mission with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and develops some love story there. Let me just reiterate this – I love a good love story but in a film where it isn’t needed, it is sad and desperate. These two characters could have been left out of the film and it would have done nothing to harm the plot.

Then the return of Luke Skywalker – I expected a whole lot more from this character than the bitter old guy that was presented. Mark Hamill has since spoken out against the director, and I think he might be on to something. Without giving away too much, the move is still very counterproductive. The scene with him and Kylo Ren was impressive, I will give them that. Luke Skywalker and Rey also had a really good vibe between them and seemed to build off each other quite well.

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I’ve seen some complaints that Daisy Ridley’s Rey didn’t really grow in this film. She’s still stubbornly sure that Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) can be saved, despite having seen his worst side. I don’t really have a problem with her, though she felt like a secondary character instead of a main one.

It is so great to see a Sci-Fi film (or any film for that matter) include so many female leads. The top three grossing movies of 2017 all have female driven casts – Beauty and The Beast, Wonder Woman and this. There is naturally Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher (to whom the franchise still stubbornly clings to), new comer Kelly Marie Tran, Billie Lourd, and Laura Dern, who not only managed to be a kickass character that could handle Poe’s attitude but had the most amazing purple hair and gave me such envy. Gwendoline Christie continues her role as Captain Phasma, but I am saddened to report that in The Last Jedi at least she’s on screen remains filler.

Adam Driver is the most fascinating new addition to the Star Wars franchise. He is enigmatic, conflicted and all the levels of mesmerizing as Kylo Ren. His shirtless scene is impressive – is Adam Driver really built like such a tank, because I’ve always perceived him as lanky, which also gave birth to the hilarious #KyloRenChallenge. Driver captures the level of conflict Kylo Ren feels at the same time, and a sad moment where you learn why he turned so decisively from Luke Skywalker.

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The adorable BB-8 is on the loose, and his sinister counterpart isn’t any less cute. The new animals – what are those things? Are also cute and very expressive, which provided more than a few laughs in cinema.

My plan this year is to refresh some of the films in the franchise – I’ve might like this more when it fits into a bigger picture. Right now it is only remembered as long and an excellent money scheme by the ever powerful Disney.

Rating: 6/10

Blindspot 2017: The Italian Job (2003)

Italian Job Poster

Plot: After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally.

This month is running the risk of churning out very little blog posts. That’s okay. I’d rather post when I’m in the mood versus loading crap because I have some demented sense of responsibility. I sat down to get through this Blindspot entry after my emotional breakdown finishing Spartacus. I can’t even contemplate reviewing it yet, I go into a hulk smash mode whenever I think of it – just ask Zoë. So I am not committing to watching another show right now. I can’t deal with having my heart ripped out of my chest a second time.

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So on to The Italian Job – it was quite okay if a bit forgettable. Mark Whalberg pretends he can act and we let him think he can. Seriously, I’ve always thought of him as Second-Tier Matt Damon. Then Donald Sutherland – what’s the word on him out there? He seems to have been 76 for 76 years; I can neither contemplate him as younger or older than he always seems to be. I’m also not really onboard with saying he’s a fantastic actor – age is not an indicator of talent. President Snow is a top tier thief in The Italian Job, recently on the run from his parole officer, when he meets up again with Charlie (Whalberg), and a Fast and the Furiousesquetype of team of thieves. There’s Jason Statham as Handsome Rob (don’t get why people think he’s handsome – he’s short, angry, and can’t act), then two other guys. Or three other guys. Not sure. They are all introduced in a typical fashion, with flashbacks and quips. Some of the dialogue is quite off, the humor doesn’t always hit the right spot, and it is very easy to forecast the resolution of this film. Homegirl Charlize Theron is the best with acting in the bunch working to find her father’s killer, and she made the movie okay for me. She’s a smart sort in this film, making sure the skills she learned from her nefarious father is turned into a legal and thriving enterprise. Also – really blonde and pretty and completely devoid of her South-African accent.

It seems like an Ocean’s Eleven, without the extreme charm of George Clooney and Brad Pitt to carry it when needs be. The acting and storyline isn’t as solid as it should be either. They rely heavily on the use of Mini Coopers to provide flash, and I guess when the car manufacturer launched again back in 2003 it was a big deal. But shoot me – I don’t see a man driving a mini as significantly manly. The car is so tiny – if you want to rob things just use a big vehicle.

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The Italian job a decent enough heist/thief movie, with the characters as always trying to show you how nice thieves really are. Did I miss the part where the name of the movie links to the content of the movie? Or is it merely because their job in Rome resulted in the death of one of their team members? I can’t really tell, so let me know if you know.

I’ve had such a fantastic list in 2017 so The Italian Job isn’t near to the best I’ve seen, but it is quite enjoyable all the same. You don’t need to think too hard about it, so it was really quite okay to watch with my broken Spartacus and Gannicus’d heart.

Rating: 7/10

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Justice league 2017

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

Watched, Read, Loved: October 2017

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My battle cry should be: “What a Month!”. 2017 in particular has felt like a whirlwind. Every month, so busy, so rushed. Work has been mad. Growing career wise is exhausting. There have been a number of unpleasantness in my team – people resigning, a sexual harassment case (super happy to report that my esteem for my company rose with how they handled the matter), and naturally just the normal amount of pettiness, drama, laziness and idiocy I’ve come to expect from working professionals. However, that said, some demented part of me enjoys working in such a difficult environment. It is enormously satisfying when people bend to your will, see your point, praise your efforts and start acting less like two year olds. I’m probably going to go crazy while doing it, but man, what a ride.

Some things are stressing me out still – waiting for my final results to get my degree is one particular one, and my University is as relaxed about releasing results as they usually are. It is so frustrating to be on a cliff, waiting for an answer, so close to the finish line. That and the course was pretty damn hard, so I am STRESSED. One moment I am convinced I passed and the next moment I’m sure I failed. I’m not the most pleasant person to be around right now, of that I can assure you.

I am also planning my oldest sister’s baby shower. She’s married with a baby on the way; I applaud myself when I comb my hair in the morning. These are the paths we take. However, planning an event is something that always stresses me out – I am such a perfectionist and if I don’t feel something is nice, I get really grumpy. With that is all the baby things too – stressing me out, because my ovaries are going to die soon (I might remove that sentence, I might not). Looking at children in the mall and wondering why anyone would put up with that is what I think of the most, yet at the same time there is something to be said about leaving a legacy. But I also like having my entire salary to myself, and let me tell you, pregnancy seems to come with many ailments that makes me want to revise my previous notion that pregnancy isn’t a sickness.

To load more on my plate, I’ve literally started loading things off my plate. That’s right – I’m at the “healthy lifestyle” game again. It’s a pretty pompous term, but I enjoy using it and it is certainly a better one than the word diet. I’m taking it very basic – cutting out most carbs and eating veggies and protein, with lots of water. I don’t drink any sugar carbonated drinks, so that isn’t a problem, but I do consume copious amounts of Coke Light. Working on lessening that too, as my primary objective is living as clean as possible and not consuming pseudo junk. I like to think I’ve become a regular at our local Parkrun, my total tally of walks is now somewhere around ten. I’ve even done one on my own, because I’ve realized that fitness and companionship aren’t always something that can happen at the same time. So far I’ve lost 3kg, which is obviously slower than I’d like, but it is a consistent trend downwards that makes me happy. I am also sleeping better and feeling more alert, which are two things I desperately needed.

So after an entire dialogue about all my problems, here’s what went down entertainment wise this month.

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Thor: Ragnarok (2017): This was one of the big ones I wanted to see. My darling favorite superhero returned to the big screen, and I was ready. Thor has never been my favorite franchise of Marvel, but on a science level it has always worked really well. This time around Waititi joined in to direct (and star), and I actually watched it TWO times in cinema – super super rare for me. The second watch did highlight some issues – some of the pacing is off, especially by Tessa Thompson, but it was still so much fun that I am not willing to alter the 8.5/10 I gave it.

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It was also Halloween month, so I picked up Hocus Pocus for the very first time in my life. It was okay, I’ve definitely seen worse and better, but I did enjoy the drama of the three witches and how excellently they acted it out.

Dis Koue Kos, Skat, was my Afrikaans feature for the month. Think Eat, Pray, Love, with less praying (and travelling). Anna-Mart Van Der Merwe, a South-African film legend, stars in this excellent film as a newly divorced woman settling into her new life. I had  a lot of fun with it.

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Lego: Ninjago movie (2017) – This was October as well?! October WAS a long month! I had a lot more fun with this than I thought I would, which is saying something.

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Star Trek (2009) – it took me nearly ten years to watch this, and I am happy that I finally did. Review coming soon.

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I kept it pretty simple this month with reading, revisiting the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It’s simple reading, perfect for stressful days where you just need a bit of chill and sexy vampires.

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The real reason for the little amount of movie watching that went down can be pinned to Spartacus. I finally started the series. It’s pretty good despite awful dialogue, though just not one of the shows to watch with your parents / child. EVER.

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What have you been up to this month?

Series Review: Stranger Things Season 2 (2017)

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If you’ve read my review of Season 1, well, then you know how much excited I felt for the arrival of Stranger Things Season 2. I love Stranger Things more than Eleven (Jane?) likes Eggo Waffles. I would have loved to binge the entire series, but work kept me so busy I had to act like a normal person and settle for one or two episodes each night.

The first season of Stranger Things was such a compelling hit because it was so unexpected. The shock of the upside down and the ingenuity of the writing contributed towards addiction and despondency I developed and experienced subsequently when I finished the measly amount of available episodes. Season two kept some of the elements, but loses that biggest appealing factor – the surprise. Sure the children are as adorable as ever, there are some seriously excellent scenes and flashbacks to the 80s, but the wow factor was missing save for the first episode and episodes eight and nine. The writing was off at times and felt lazy at times. Episode 7 irritated me so much I nearly didn’t finish the series. It was an absolute disaster. Removing Eleven from Hawkins and sending her to find her “sister” among a merry bunch of thieves for an entire episode? What a stupid power trip and unnecessary when there were a million other things that episode 8 could have focused on.

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New additions Dacre Montgomery, Sadie Sink and Sean Astin were welcome additions. Dacre Montgomery seems particularly well cast as Billy the Bully – he’s an 80’s bully personified with his mullet, cigarettes, blaring rock music and really tight pants (circulation could not have been easy). He was particularly good in scenes where he loses his cool and you are able to see that this kid isn’t just a run of the mill bully; he has serious anger issues and is dangerous. Montgomery lived himself into the role and is utterly convincing – excellent work from this young Aussie who donned an American accent like it was no big thing. Sadie Sink is Max, who is in the unfortunate situation of being Billy’s stepsister. She hides her stress and worry and fear under some smart mouth comments, and I enjoyed her. It is also nice seeing another girl join the male dominated cast. Sean Astin as Bob was a sweetheart and I enjoyed seeing him in something again. He had some unlikely hero moments and although he was obviously written as a bit of a nerdy, offbeat character there was such goodness in him that you couldn’t help but root for him even though clearly he’s in the way of a romantic engagement I root for.

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I really like that they promoted Joe Keery to series regular as Steve Harrington. Steve has the best character growth, some of the best lines (#FarrahFawcett) and is such a likeable guy. He’s evolved from the typical high-school prick. He still at odds with Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) for the affections of Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) and in season one I was unsure who I would choose, but Steve is now clearly my favorite. He has some great moments where he gets all parental and authoritative with the younger kids, and I had such a good time witnessing him. I like the mentoring relationship he’s begun with Dustin, who in himself is so darn adorable with his pearly whites.

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My favorite characters at this stage are Hopper, Steve and Dustin. My least favorite is Nancy because that girl must stop messing with Steve and Jonathan’s feelings. I won’t go on a rampage against her but my tolerance for girls who play with multiple men’s’ feelings are quite strong. She redeemed herself somewhat in the last episode, though she still makes me narrow my eyes.

I won’t discuss all the characters – seriously, my love is strong. Caleb McLaughlin gets more screen time and I loved it. Lucas is such a great character and revealed his inner strength when he stood up to Billy. Finn Wolffhard has a great career ahead of him – boy can act! Noah Schnapp is updated to series regular and boy, did little Will suffer greatly again. Poor kid. He managed to be creepy and still have the audience feel protective over him. Milly Bobby Brown is as fascinating as always – she taps so much emotion into her performance it seems unreal that she’s only 13 years old.

The 80s nostalgia makes me so nostalgic – and I wasn’t even around back then. That dance scene in the final episode made me so darn happy and reminiscent about my own primary school days – who hasn’t done those awful “close” dances? So much love. Oh, and Dustin’s hair in that episode. GOSH so darn cute.

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The last two episodes make great strides in repairing the disaster of Episode 7. It is still more lopsided than it needs to be, and the writing needs a more structured approach in season 3. I would love to have Billy get involved in what is really going on in Hawkins, that would help wipe that punk ass attitude off him. I would also like to have him evolve a bit more, become a slightly decenter person while maintaining the ‘tude. If Eleven cannot be called Jane, that would also be great. Maybe Steve can get someone who isn’t Nancy because she doesn’t deserve him? More Dustin too, with his pearly whites.

Rating: 7/10

Movie Review: Wild (2014)

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Plot: A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent personal tragedy.

I seem to have a knack about sitting down to watch films about real events lately. When it is done right, these films are fantastic. When it is done wrong, well, then obviously not.

Wild is somewhere between the middle – I didn’t hate the film, but I found Reese Witherspoon’s character an emotional drain. Wild is about Cheryl Strayed’s successful hike through the Pacific Crest Trail, where she rediscovers herself after the death of her mother. I’ve been through the death of a parent, so I am with everyone on the level of grief it brings. However, grief does not equal lack of accountability and I found the multiple cheatings on her husband rather distasteful, and it’s depiction of it pretty gross. There is also a heroin addiction in play, and I really pitied her husband by the end of it. Witherspoon is a good enough actress to show the selfishness of Strayed’s character on screen. Make no mistake; her journey alone in the PCT is the correct way to rediscover herself, to reset, and to begin again. The solitary journey through the wilderness appealed to me, as did the incredible scenery and the wonder of the different landscape the USA has. I also really liked that she, a woman alone, set out and discovered the world. It is also a bit strange for me to imagine as South-African – I would never dream of hiking somewhere alone in fear of safety.

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The ending especially grated on me – ending a film on an open dialogue with some profound quote is one of the greatest crimes in humanity. Give me a conclusion – show how she apologizes to her ex-husband, show how she changes her life and show her marrying Michiel Huisman – gorgeous McGorgeousface – just show me SOMETHING that isn’t an open ending.

The sex flashbacks were rather distasteful and I would probably have liked Wild better if it wasn’t so frequent. It makes the film so much dirtier than it needs to be. It does serve as a contrast to the pure beauty of nature, so there is that at least.

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Overall, Wild really wasn’t my favorite film. There are ways they could have done it better. Witherspoon is an outstanding actress so I did appreciate her efforts, but man, those character flaws in the film put me off.

Rating: 6/10