July 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Gosh I’m glad it’s August! I am over the cold in Johannesburg. For reals man. July was a pretty decent month. I got to see my bestie, and even though the circumstances weren’t that great, I am grateful that I at least got to spend some quality time with her.

Personally I think my eyes finally cleared with a few people in my life – there is a certain level of selfishness I can’t tolerate, and this person finally reached it. I should have cut ties ages ago, but when I bond to someone, you really have to nuke me out of it. Well, I’ve been nuked.

Hmm, what else? I’ve had a couple of hectic weekends and it reflected on my scarcity on my blog, which always happens and always frustrates me. I’m going to do my very best to post more often, as it makes me super happy.

And here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching and reading. Enjoy, and tell me below what you’ve been up to 🙂

Watched:

At home:

Proposa

The Proposal

I saw this film before I opened this blog, and I have always thought that it was an okay film. I actually really enjoyed this so much when I watched it again. Queen Sandra Bullock and a very young and adorable Ryan Reynolds certainly make an interesting couple onscreen, and I thought the dialogue and hysteria was spot on and funny in the film.

Wedding planner

The Wedding Planner

Oh, Maththew McConaughey has a few gems under his belt before he started being all badass in things like True Detective and that other horsey movie that everyone liked. This is a boogy, definitely, and it was silly enough that I got quite annoyed. There were a few pros, which I will mention when I review the film soon, but let it be noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fantastic singer (for her genre) but acting should never be part of her repertoire.

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Valentine’s Day

VD worked well, and it is surprising because the film is packed with actors and actresses, and that rarely works. Mostly it is just a situational feel good film, but there is nothing wrong with that!

 Runaway_Bride

Runaway Bride

I’m on such a Gary Marshall/Julia Roberts run, it is not even funny. They do seem to be a dream team, because when they get together there always seems to be some romantic comedy as a result that is actually enjoyable to watch. Between this and Pretty Woman I enjoyed Pretty Woman much more, but I definitely liked this.

Skyfall

I already reviewed here, and if you haven’t read it yet, rest assured that I really liked this Bond film. It’s my second favorite after Casino Royale, and I must say, I am really surprised how much I’ve enjoyed all these films.

 Ugly truth

The Ugly Truth

It’s really ugly, and it’s really bad. The awful dialogue results in awful acting, I’m not really blaming our leads here at all, it’s just a shit film with crap writing and is as believable as anything Donald Trump says.

 27dresses

27 Dresses

JAMES MARSDEN. You have no idea the amount of hilarity this man causes in my family. I really like him, but his dress sense in this film was absolutely awful. Like, AWFUL. It is also a depressing movie – I will shoot myself before I’m a bridesmaid 27 times, it’s just not right or fair. I love our girl Katherine Heigl in here, and thought there were pretty good moments between the rapid romances and problems being solved easily.

In Cinema:

The Legend of Tarzan:

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I reviewed this one here. It’s man candy season in this film. I’m not gonna lie. However, it isn’t nearly as bad as the trolls want you to believe, and I am still calling it the most pleasant surprise of 2016.

Series:

VDS4

Vampire Diaries Season 4

I finally switched it back on! It was a time issue, not because I’m struggling to watch it. It is still quite a solid show, but there are a few dips, something that probably can’t be helped when you travel this far into a show. I’ll post all the reviews once I’m done watching, then I can do them consecutively across a couple of weeks : )

Books read:

The Obsession – LOVED this!

Honest Illusions – It was okay – review here

Currently reading:

I’m actually in the middle of way too many books! I am reading Twilight again (the shame, I know) and I am definitely enjoying it more than Blood Bound (Rachel Vincent). I can promise you, when I get through this book, the review will be up here in no time and it will be a bad one – this book is so stupid. It is taking me ages to get through it, a damn shame because it is supposed to be a quick read.

So there it is – I am way behind on everything in life at the moment, but at least I got to do see and read some great material! What have you been up to?

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Movie Review: The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

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Plot: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

Rating: 7.5/10

I realize that this is against popular opinion to have really enjoyed this, but who cares about popular opinion anyway? I really enjoyed this, and found it the biggest surprise of 2016. If you can deal with the fact that this is somewhat like Jungle Book but with bulging muscles, more humans and some steamy kisses, you are sorted to have a lot of fun.

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You’ve heard by now that Samuel L. Jackson is tasked with bringing the comedic relief and pulls it off, because that’s what great actors do. He’s totally great, also not a big surprise, a warrior that has seen too many obliteration of freedom and can’t really deal with it anymore.

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Christopher Waltz is good as but perhaps expectantly the soft-spoken villain, something he is excellent at but is limiting his genius when it comes to his work – no great actor deserves to be typecast that way. His one and only aim is to make the King of Denmark really rich and successful, and he seems void of true cause. Djimon Hounsou is a tribal leader that wants Tarzan dead, and the reason is heartbreaking. That, explored, could have been excellent material, but it was thrown down the ravine as soon as they could move Tarzan on further. I loved the look of Hounsou’s tribe, which is in actual fact a real look for some African tribes.

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Alexander Skarsgard is the titular Tarzan, and if you don’t explore the nagging questions like how he adapted to England when he had very little contact with humans in his formative years or how he remained so built, and how he’s even speaking any language, you can enjoy the quiet intensity he obviously worked hard at. Margot Robbie is Jane, and although she had the sassiest comebacks and one escape attempt, she just waited mostly for Tarzan to fetch his Jane, and I couldn’t help but be a little pissed off at her.

There were some truly beautiful scenery of wild and tribal life. I appreciated that while Tarzan had a connection to all the animals, they didn’t go so far and have him speak with them – that would have sent this film into the abyss. There were some moral eyebrow lifting to the slave trade. It seems inconceivable that people really justified barging into a continent and ripping control from the natives, and yet history proved itself over and over again that people really did have that audacity.

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Like I said, the film was thoroughly enjoyable. It was easy to root for the good guys. No one had grey areas and the villain, for better or worse, was pretty straightforward. I thought Skarsgard impressive, imposing, and very drool worthy. I wish they had given some form of a backstory – the flashbacks were far and few in between, and this would have been a better sequel than a first film. He seemed intense and socially shy, and that worked out fine. Skarsgard was even WITH a shirt most of the time, dramatically decreasing the cheese feast I thought it would turn out to be.

Overall, I’m keeping my opinion that this was a 2016 goodie. It’s not perfect, and certainly lacks backstory, but the fight to keep the Congolese people free from slavery is heartbreaking and emotional, especially if you consider the constant state of current political turmoil in that beautiful piece of the world today.

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Series Review: True Blood Season 3

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Rating: 6.5/10

Hmmm, I was on quite a roll after finishing Season two and had the need to check if it True Blood could at least remain its’ fun factor. It does, although there are some major irritants that start popping up during three.

Season Three was the last season where there were more good than bad moments. I still laughed out loud in a few places, and there is a semblance of continuity and structure here and there. The plot holes aren’t huge yet, something that becomes a big problem later on. I have such beef with how these vampires’ death becomes change all the time, because it changes every season.

TBS3 Sookie and Jess

This show is addictive and yet I can never really pinpoint what in this show makes it so impossible to walk away from. Bill is still a huge martyr in here which makes him nearly as impossible as Tara Thornton to cope with, but his spine keeps growing and eventually he becomes something that even while you don’t like him, you grudgingly respect him. I have hated the whole run with Bill’s maker since it started out, and while it was better explored than in the books, Lorena was around way too long for me to enjoy the plot line. The actress irritates me so much and I would probably have been less irritated with the character if the actress was different.

 TB Sookie and Eric kiss

Season three has some real development for Sookie and Eric and I enjoyed that. I’ve always thought that if she ends up with a vampire it should be Eric, because Bill is just such a pain in the ass all the time. The first official kiss of Eric and Sookie was quite nicely done – in season three there was still some originality and not just ridiculous interactions between characters.

What I liked:

Lafayette Reynolds: Lafayette dies quickly in the books but I am so happy that they kept him in the show. It’s quite hilarious because he has one of the best subplots and it doesn’t even come from the books. I think he is a great representation of the gay community – he is obviously interested in men but it is quite clear that you should not mess with him, not one bit. I thought the introduction of Jesus was beautiful because he was a guy that was GOOD – he didn’t have some ulterior plot to hurt Lafayette in the long run.

The deviation from the books:I am usually the first to complain when a show/movie ignores what the book did and go into a new direction. It can work however, exactly like they did here. The books are fairly preposterous at a few places and as ridiculous as this show is, it would have been impossible to send Sookie to a conference for vampires (please don’t let that happen later on or I will look stupid).

More Eric: This show runs like this: BAD, BAD, BAD, TARA CRIES, SOOKIE MAKES EVERYTHING ABOUT HER, BAD, BAD, Tara cries, BAD, BAD, OOOH ERIC, SHOW IS SAVED. He’s gorgeous and sarcastic and funny enough to carry the show through extremely silly places.

Jason Stackhouse: Oh my life, what an adorable moron. I honestly don’t know who my favorite character is – Jason or Eric. Jason is so hilarious and the things he says can make me laugh for days. He goes through an awful lot of character development which is one of the show’s redeeming qualities.

Hotshot: It is so hillbilly and incestuous and perfectly brought to life.

Alcide

#ForScience

Alcide: He’s pretty much exactly as I wanted him to be and Joe Manganiello certainly looks the part.

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Jessica Hamby: I was prepared to hate her at the end of season one but Jessica grew on me. She is the perfect teen in the story – she messes up a whole lot but she has a good heart and is genuinely trying to figure out who she is.

What I didn’t like:

TB3 Tara

Tara Thornton: I think the only character more annoying than Tara Thornton ever is Carrie Mathinson, but that is only a maybe. Tara has a default facial expression, and her constant sobbing and moaning about her horrible life is too much for me. Lafayette and Sookie both have as much problems as she does, Jason probably more, but THEY aren’t constantly sobbing and hating the world.

Russell Edington: I thought that the actor was a bad choice and I found the vampire ridiculous rather than scary.

Lorena and Bill: How can two such annoying people be allowed on screen at the same time?

Sam’s birth family: The entire story arc irritated me endlessly and it was once again something to fill the series out that dragged too much in the end.

The very different ways vampires die when exposed to the sun:

Godric and Russell were about the same age, and this is what happened to Godric when he went out in the sun:

This is what happened to Russell when he went out into the sun:

TBS3 Russel

(Sorry for the crappy pic – This was the only one I could find on the internet and I searched for ETERNITY) 

Consistency?

TB3 was watchable, funny and enjoyable. I think if you want to stop at the end of the good stuff, this is probably the last season to watch because it goes downhill very fast from here.

Series Review: True Blood Season 2

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The quickest plot synopsis of series history:

Bill still loves Sookie and Sookie still loves Bill, but her eyes are opening to the fact that 1) he’s not human and 2) vampires do stuff that are disagreeable with morally sound humans. Eric wants Sookie to look for his maker Godric who has gone missing (all very fishy because Godric is ancient and well capable of protecting himself). Jason is dealing with the death of Amy and finds a new hobby in becoming part of the Fellowship of the Sun and their elitist vampire hunting clan. Tara is still being a selfish twat thinking just about poor her and continues befriending the decidedly odd Maryanne Forrester and “Eggs” Tally. Will everything work out yet again for the residents of Bon Temps and their long toothed friends?

Impressed or depressed?

Impressed. I really thought they improved on the overall quality of the show.

What I enjoyed:

Eric’s short hair. It looks GOOD.

Eric and Pam getting more show time. Something that was essential in my eyes. They are the most entertaining and I love how they are so not human.

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Jason Stackhouse getting more show time. I get real frustrated with silly filler subplots but this is one I actually enjoy. Jason is sweet and he has some hilarious one liners. He has real potential to be something and in season two he starts realizing that becoming what you are meant to be means working hard to find out exactly what that is.

sarah and steve

Steve and Sarah Newlin. Does anyone else think Michael McMillian and Anna Camp were perfect to be the extremist leaders of the Fellowship of the Sun? I was roaring with laughter how ridiculous they both came across and what a façade they both put up constantly. Sarah especially was a classic with her interesting views on passages in the Bible. I have to say I was snorting quite a few times at how she interprets things.

Godric (Allan Hyde) was a good addition to the show. Although he didn’t get much show time, Eric’s bond to him was beautiful and he was so wise and ancient. Miles better than book Godric!

I liked that Lafayette didn’t die like he did in the books, but why on earth did they work it that he was tortured by Eric?

I love Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack) so much. His character is just the sweetest, and he rolls mostly with everyone’s moods and tantrums. I loved how he finally started standing up against his mother and how he just adapted to whatever problem his relationship with Jessica brought up.

hoyt

Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Wolf) had the potential to be an annoying disaster, but I really grew fond of her during season two. Her introduction at the end of season one seemed ominous and like a really annoying subplot, but the writers managed to redeem her by making her a symbol for sympathy rather than irritation.

The only thing I did like about the Maryanne subplot was “Eggs” Talley, but come on, can anyone seriously consider a relationship with someone whose nickname is Eggs?

What I didn’t enjoy:

Can Tara’s character be killed off? Seriously, how boring is her entire story? It is one of the most frustrating things in the show and how she always seems to get herself into shit.

Maryanne Forrester (Michelle Forbes). I didn’t like her, not one bit. Her character was overused and should have stayed a tiny subplot like the book.

I was cheering when Daphne Landry (Ashley Jones) pitched up in Sam Merlotte’s life. I was a bit dismayed because everything about the character was “bit-part” and I was proven correct in time. I do wish that Sam could get a decent woman, because let’s be honest here, he ain’t never getting Sookie.

The way Bill says Sookie gives me such a pain in my butt. HONESTLY, he sounds like he is auditioning for a steamy movie. Fuuuu

Conclusion:Not the best show ever to be on air, but fun all the same. With a few improvements it can actually be really cool.

Series Review: True Blood Season 1

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Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is a resident in Bon Temps, a small southern town. She lives with her grandmother and works as a waitress in Merlotte’s, who is owned by Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammel), a man with a secret, a murky past and a great crush on Sookie. Sookie’s life isn’t easy at all – she has telepathic abilities she struggles to control, and spends a large portion of her time having to try very hard and not to answer unspoken questions.

The world changed when vampires declared their existence after the successful manufacturing of True Blood, a synthetic yet effective form of blood. Provided with a food source that wasn’t alive, they could safely come out and live amongst their breathing counterparts. The world is still much divided – some people are obsessed with vampires and their super healing and hallucinogenic blood, others are wary and some like extremist church Fellowship of the Sun are extremely against their existence, citing them as an abomination sent from the devil.

Sookie isn’t quite a vampire fanatic, but she wants people to accept them because she understands too well the feeling of being secluded just because you are different. Merlotte’s gets its first vampire one night, and Sookie is immediately taken with Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who seems to respond to her as well. She saves Bill’s life after he is attacked for the purpose of being drained of blood, and after his initial displeasure of a woman saving him they start a tentative relationship.

sookie and bill

Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) is Sookie’s brother. He seduces the ladies left, right and centre and lands himself in a spot of trouble when everyone he bangs ends up dead. Jason knows he’s innocent, but detective Andy Bellefleur doesn’t think so. Jason becomes hooked on V, an acronym for Vampire Blood, and the town drugdealer Lafayette eventually refuses to sell it to him. Desperate for more blood, he heads to vampire bar Fangtasia where he meets Amy Burley. She provides him with V and they become involved, although it quickly becomes clear the Amy isn’t nearly as harmless as she appears.

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Sookie feels the need to clear her brother’s name, and quickly establish that all of the deceased ladies had previously had some sort of dealing with vampires. Bill agrees to take her to Fangtasia, so that she can listen to the thoughts of the humans there to maybe find out what is going on. It is at Fangtasia where Sookie meets Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) a prominent figure in the vampire community. He is Bill’s boss and very old and powerful, and everyone defers to him. Sookie saves Eric and his right hand Pam (Kristin Bauer) from a police raid and when Eric establishes Sookie’s powers, he uses her to find out who’s been stealing from him. Bill is forced to kill the offending vampire and as punishment he is ordered to turn a young girl into a vampire.

This however, does not prove Jason’s innocence, and when Amy is found murdered next to him in bed, he is finally charged with murder. Can Sookie prove Jason’s innocence? Who is actually behind the brutal murders? How will Jason cope knowing he was zoned out and couldn’t prevent Amy from being killed right next to him? What will Sookie do when she finds out that Bill turned an innocent girl into a vampire?

Rating: 6/10

Look, I don’t think I will offend anyone by stating that this is one of the worst pilot seasons ever made. The acting is atrocious, there is no chemistry, and the characters are annoying as hell. Tara Thornton is probably the most annoying person ever written. There is a very fine line between honesty and rudeness, and she is quite often on the wrong side. The actress irritated me endlessly and the character was devoid of any associability for me. I am not overly fond of the casting of Sookie Stackhouse, but made peace eventually with Anna Paquin as she puts effort in and improve with time. The casting of Sam Merlotte worked out very well and he is what I thought Sam would represent. I also think the casting of Alexander Skarsgard as Eric was perfect because physically he IS Eric and his acting is some of the best in True Blood. Stephen Moyer is a thorn in my side – the way he pronounces “Sookie” makes me faintly mad with irritation. He joins the dubious acting side of the cast and pretty much irritated me the entire season, but since the character in the books are just as annoying, maybe he was just doing his job.

Bon Temp is also very much like I thought it would be. It is dinky and run down and the residents are dancing the narrow line if when crossed could be rated hillbilly. Some characters I enjoyed plenty: Lafayette, Arlene, Hoyt and Terry. They are all unique or sweet and make the show liveable. Lafayette especially intrigued me because while he is obviously gay and a bit of a transvestite, everyone knows not to ridicule him or mess with him. Andy Bellefleur is exactly what I hoped he would be: a bit of a bully in desperate need of affirmation.

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True Blood isn’t exactly as the books written by Charlaine Harris, but there is enough in for you to know what is going to happen eventually. I liked most of the changes, although I didn’t really enjoy the extreme transformation Tara went through – her role in the story completely changed and her nature as well. I don’t think all the sub plots of True blood is really necessary – Tara’s whole drama with her mother (why are we interested and what influence does it have on the plot development?), Jason’s incessant banging and subsequent troubles were way too exploited, even though I eventually grew fond of his vacant expressions.

True Blood season one was absolutely dinky and painful in some places and tries desperately hard to be dark, broody and sexy, and fails most of the time. I persisted through the tortuously slow first episodes and the last are more palatable. I am watching Season two now, and it already improves on many of the first’s mistakes.

Recommendation: Vampire Diaries is by far the more enjoyable between these two series, but if you’ve had your run of VD and needs something new in a dying genre, give it a try, but don’t get your hopes up for instant addiction.

Thoughts 11.1

Well, howdy do friends. It has been a while since I wrote one of these, or anything for that matter. It’s November, so I’m probably not the only one who is cranky, tired and over this shitty year. BUT, let’s be positive and take at what is happening:

This kept me giggling for days:

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(Because it is so true. I don’t know who said it but wisdom is wisdom. Note: I made this very basic image myself so POINTS FOR ME)

Watching right now:

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True Blood Season one. I am in two minds about it, whether I hate it or love it, but I am nearly through it and will eventually put up a review.

I finished Homeland Season 2 this past weekend and am really happy that I started watching. You can read my review of the first season here.

Reading:

Nothing new right now. Just rehashing all my favorite Nora Roberts books, as usual. True Blood did put me in the mood to finish the Stackhouse series!

Movies I’m excited for:

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Actually really just one: Mockingjay part one. EEK!!!!

Movember:

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Source

I LOVE beards. Just ask Zoë because she isn’t overly fond of them and we are always discussing the pros and cons. I think Movember is fun, because hey, when else is it acceptable for guys to look a little bit like they own white minivans? I’ve been just a bit sneaky and got some of my bestie’s favorite guys with beards in an attempt to convince her 😀

Chris Pine

We all know my love for Mr. Pine ❤

evans

#yum

George Clooney With Beard

We have this saying in Afrikaans: “Oud maar nog nie koud”  Mr. Clooney, you define that saying.

FOR BESTIE: BRINGING IN THE BIG GUNS

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I believe the term is “bite me” #geddit

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Even though he is an engaged man now 😦

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PS: Two of these lads will appear in a colab Captain America post Zoë and I are doing Monday. Keep an eye out for it friends!

Over and out,

N