Watched, Read, Loved: June and July 2017

*warning: gargantuan post ahead*

I want to start every post now with “yes, it’s me, and I am still alive”. What a couple of months this has been! July has hands down just been the slowest month in everything for me. It was a roller coaster – I was away in Nelspruit end of June to bid my bestie goodbye, then for two weeks in Potchefstroom for university work and then I had to rush to finalize my younger sister’s 21st birthday. And when I looked down at the date it was suddenly the 19th of July and there were no blog posts from me! SHOCK, HORROR. So I am trying to move my blog into activity again, and herewith some of my favorite posts, a Watched, Read, Loved list for both June and July. I really hope to be back to full time blogging in August, I’ve really missed everyone and the feeling of having a creative outlet.

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I started off June by watching Wonder Woman (2017). I’m not really a weeper, but let me tell you I was misty eyed reading some of the truly excellent tributes that poured in. Little girls in costumes, women everywhere just flooding cinemas to watch a superhero films and all the financial and critical acclaim that accompanied this film just filled my heart. I can’t do any more justice to this excellent work of director Patty Jenkins that has already been done, but I assure you that I will always try.

Say Anything

I also saw Say Anything (1987) for the first time. I can now put a film to the iconic John Cusack pose that is everywhere on the internet, and I’m not really surprised that I enjoyed this film because it is right up my alley. It is a short, fun and easy watch and really good in its’ genre. I must post its review soon but a severe case of apathy towards typing out reviews has taken hold of me at this stage.

 

I also saw Rules Don’t Apply (2016) which has the unfortunate distinction of being one fantastic box office fail. It’s not really bad, it is just frustratingly boring. It could have been great with its excellent set design and costumes, solid acting and notable performances. It just lacked heart and a decent turn of events.

I picked up Mother’s Day (2016) to watch with my own mother, because I can promise you Gary Marshall won’t be putting too risqué sex scenes in any of his films. I was right – there is little to no romance. If you can get past the notion that Jennifer Aniston is supposed to be the old, washed out mom in here, you will likely enjoy it. Julia Roberts is hidden under the most horrible wig I have ever seen, but the film is sparingly okay and has some legitimately funny moments in. It also casts Jason Sudeikis, and I have never seen him in anything except this and that godawful We’re the Millers – can someone tell me why he’s famous?

I also watched Bad Moms (2016) which was rather fun and hilarious. I know, I was shocked too.

Then there was Jackie (2016), a movie that got an Oscar nod for Natalie Portman. While her performance certainly deserves a nod, the movie itself is quite slow and not really worth the hype.

On the Afrikaans movie front I watched Platteland again. It is such an intense musical, and as Afrikaans as can be. I really do have a fondness of locally produced movies, and my plan to branch a part of this blog off into local films will hopefully happen sometime.

Homecoming

Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) was a first of three July cinema watches for me. I really still struggle to formulate thoughts on this film. I sincerely didn’t hate it, but I have struggled to see the reason for Spiderman for years now, and this reboot even more so. Tom Holland is okay I guess. I particularly liked Zendaya. I think it is safe to say while I still have time for amazing and new superhero films (such as Wonder Woman), the generic Marvel film has become somewhat of a repetitive bore.

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I still cannot believe that I refreshed my makeup, made sure my outfit was okay and went out on a damn Friday night (this is torture for me) to watch Valerian and a City of a thousand planets. You will see that review hopefully Friday, but heads-up: I hated it.

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I also saw Dunkirk this last weekend and that at least was worth my time. Christopher Nolan is the salve to every hurt a bombastic Bay/Snyder movie throws out, and the beautiful, heart wrenching film hit me quite in the feels.

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Series:

Yes, I know. I need to tame this wild Pride and Prejudice obsession that has gotten over me. Not only did I see the 2005 film AGAIN – this is in addition to the watch I did in May of it, I also got my hands on the 1995 series version of it. I am a bit torn. I’ve read far and wide that it is the best adaption, and while it is certainly the most faithful adaption, I really hated the score – classical music makes me want to pull my hair out.

I finally started watching Alias season 4. It isn’t bad, still has plenty of Michael Vartan in, and I want to finish it before it somehow gets spoiled by the internet for me.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 6: Season five of this vampire-tastic show took me ages to finalize. It was slow, badly planned and really unimaginative in some places. I am glad to report that season six is wonderful – it is the first season with really legitimately funny moments in, and I am having a fantastic time.

Game of Thrones Season 7: This is still ongoing and I am avoiding people or comments like the plague who have watched it – the internet is the rudest place ever.

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On the reading front I haven’t been exactly revolutionary, but I have picked up Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon. I have never read anything by this author, and I am really enjoying it so far. It is fast paced plot and is well written with likeable characters. I didn’t think I would like a lawyery story, but it seems I was mistaken. I’ve hit a lag with it, and should really finish it up. I’ve slightly changed my opinion with the events that just loops all the time.

I have reread a bunch of Nora Roberts novels – Blue Smoke, The Obsession and some small ones which I really can’t recall the names of. I’ve also picked up Jewels of the Sun and Tears of the Moon, and I will review the entire trilogy once I am finished with the third book.

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I am also now reading Come Sundown – I did all the dance moves when I got a special on Loot (online shopping rocks) for this new release of Roberts. I always weep because I’m just not okay with forking out the prices retailers ask in South-Africa for new releases, so this was quite a score. I can tell you now that there is something different to Come Sundown. I will see how it ends, but it is one of the most unique books Roberts has ever done, and the tone is quite different from what she usually does.

I also should really get in to finalizing those 100 Happy Days post on here. They are just so much work and admin that I am not in the mood. I did finish the challenge, and you can few that all on my Instagram account.

As for adventures, I quickly went down to my bestie to see her one more time before she goes on her international adventure. The next time I see her will be in London, which at this stage is simply mind boggling to me.

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Series Review: Alias Season 1 (2002)

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What I liked:

  • The pilot episode – so long and intense and comprehensive. It had a lot to cover and managed to get the events in without becoming boring. And that red wig man.
  • The relationship dynamic – Sydney and her university friends, with her father, the extremely complex one she develops with Arvin Sloane and the complicated work relationship she finds herself in with Michael Vaughn. Her relationship with her SD 6 partner Dixon is prototype cop/spy partner relationship – extreme faith and support and I really liked that.
  • The actors – Jennifer Garner, Michael Vartan, Bradley Cooper, Victor Garber, Carl Lumbly, Kevin Weisman, MerrinDungey
  • The story and how heartbreaking it when you sit think it through – Sydney’s loss of her fiancé, the awful reveal of what SD6 is and her turning against them, and the knowledge that most of the people within the ranks of SD6 truly believe that they are working as a clandestine operation for the CIA.

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  • Can we just talk about the episodes with Quentin Tarantino in? I laughed and laughed despite the desperate situation of the characters. He is SO bad. The man is such an insanely talented director but that where it stops – like keep him of the screen haha.
  • The progress Sydney and Jack makes as father and daughter. Sydney has legitimate issues with her father – he can be cold and removed and is terrifying to boot. When she learns that he works for the people that had her fiancé slaughtered, they take another knock. That is not the end to the story and the two learn to trust and rely on each other and become more comfortable with each other as the show goes on.
  • Vaughn’s relationship with Eric Weiss. I DO like Eric. He is such a comedic drive to the show and full of quips.
  • JJ Abrams is such a champion of women. Sydney Bristow’s is loyal to her friends, sweet, kind, intelligent, kick ass and caring. She’s written as a multi-dimensional character that saves herself and those around her. I really enjoy the character and appreciate how she was written and brought to life by Jennifer Garner.
  • It would be easy to be annoyed with Will Trippin – he’s so sweet and kind and totally inlove with Sydney, and a complete spanner in the wheel where certain other people are concerned. Yet he manages to be sweet without being annoying and kind without coming across as insincere. He’s also a good journalist with a nose for a story and I suffered untold horrors about this character. Bradley Cooper is so sweet and young in here.
  • I thought Sark (David Anders) made the perfect villain. He is so cold and collected and young at the same time. He’s not that often seen in this season, but his introduction is chilling and mind teasing.

What I didn’t like:

  • The Francie stories –don’t get me wrong, I like Francie and her role in Sydney’s life, but Francie’s love life is completely NOT what this show is about.
  • Sydney’s mother – this started to irritate me even this early on. I think Alias has enough to deal with without bringing another character into the equation.
  • Anna Espinosa – she seemed like a pointless exercise to be the girl-Sydney-must-fight.

Rating: 8.5/10

I really enjoyed this season and it was such a good choice to visit again! I’ve already finished the second season, which was almost as good, and can’t wait to finish it all!

Watched, Read, Loved: January 2017

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I’m not going to bless you with that whole “how quick did this month go” crap, because let’s face it; January 2017 took its sweet time being done. At this stage I’m so deliberately avoiding bitching about politics on here, but please note that I do a whole lot of bitching in private about that man who is committing genocide.

I had my birthday on the 25th. I am now officially on the wrong side of 25. I’m 27, so I’ve already been on the wrong side for a whole year, but I was ignoring that at 26. Apart from suddenly stressing about retirement plans and the meaning of my entire existence, I’m not too stressed. I have decided that 27 good things WILL happen to me this year, so I will keep you in the loop.

Here is what I got up to this month, which is an impressive amount! #GoMe

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Movies watched:

10 Things I hate about you:

Confession time: if I had to go live on an island indefinitely with only ten movies to watch, I’d very likely pack 10 Things I Hate About You in.  I love everything about this film – how 90’s everything is: Julia Stiles’ hair, the clothes everyone wore, the music and the cars. I die every time Heath Ledger gifts us with that smile; it is equal parts pain and pleasure. The quick bantering and the ridiculous teenage humor make me laugh every single time. I actually wrote a post about how much I love this film, so I won’t turn it into a whole review here, but I’m sure you are getting the point here that I love this film.

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How to lose a guy in ten days: Kate Hudson used to be my ultimate girl crush as a teenager – she’s so pretty and preppy and blonde. I’m now at a point where I want actresses to be more than pretty, preppy and blonde, but I still find her a good romantic comedy lead. She wouldn’t hold up in more serious roles, but these? I’ll cast her any day. It also contains the delicious Matthew M.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): I finally managed to finish up my Blindspots for 2016. To round the year of with To Kill A Mockingbird was a great idea – what an incredible film.

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Passengers (2017): These films with the strange release dates make it impossible to put them in the correct year. I watched in this year, hence this year will be referenced. I actually really liked it and think that the Oscar nod for set design is well deserved. I know it didn’t go down well with everybody, but I actually quite enjoyed it despite the numerous flaws.

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Fool’s Gold (2008): This falls in the time frame where Matthew McConaughey became the romantic comedy guy, something which still grates on a lot of people today. I do think that Fool’s Gold lacks certain important things like a proper plot, but I didn’t hate it at all.

Scream 4: I finished up my run on the Scream franchise this month. I am so sad! Because while I can definitely watch it again, I won’t ever be able to watch it for the first time again. I’m only posting this for Halloween, because I’d love to actually do a Halloween month this year, but please know that I did love this so much!

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Sicario (2015): Don’t you just love when a film is good enough to inspire you to read up on what you are watching? Shortly after the film ended I read up all about Juarez, Mexico, and the increasingly dodgy sounding CIA. Sicario is a great film that stays with you after you watched it and I will definitely be revisiting Denis Vileneuve’s film in the near future.

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The Princess Diaries:A Royal Engagement (2004): I remember this as a decent movie, which it was NOT. I adore the first Princess Diaries, but the sequel suffers from the sequelitis and it is rampant with bad acting, bad pacing and general badness. The years have been kind to Chris Pine – he is so much more attractive right now than he was in 2004.

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Love, Rosie (2014): I’m still trying to formulate some thoughts on Love, Rosie. Did I like it? Moderately so. I know for a fact that it contains some of the most awkward of scenes ever invented, and I was horrified and cringed so much. It gets a little drawn out and the story is never really strong. I do think that Sam Claflin is simply beautiful and that if just smiled all the time the world would be a better place.

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Vrou Soek Boer (2014): I got my fix of Afrikaans films with Vrou Soek Boer in January. It translates to “A woman is looking for a farmer” but it was a much cuter film than that translation suggested. I enjoyed it very much!

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Sisters (2016): This is surely the biggest waste of cash of 2016 for me. I bought this on DVD, sure I would at least like it okay. Nope. I hated it. What a stupid, unfunny film.

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The Accountant (2016): To embrace my mood of needing to watch people beat up things I picked up the Accountant. Ben Affleck’s hit of 2016, where he is an autistic superhero, fulfilled that need on some level but I was also left feeling vaguely unsatisfied with the ending.

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Series:

The X-Files Season 1: I am having so much fun with the X-files. There is nothing better when you discover a series and along with the discovery is the fact that there are so many seasons with a lot of episodes per season. SCORE! It took me a few episodes to get used to the layout of the show as well as the whole 1992 vibe the first season has going for it. It is pretty good and smart, as well as some funny conspiracy moments going on.

Alias Season 3: Alias has been great to me. I still need to finish Seasons four and five. I had some issues with the third season such as Sydney being a complete psycho, but overall still really great.

True Blood Season 1: I’ve been in the mood torewatch this for a while now. After watching a few episodes that need was cured because True Blood has some grating characters in that I somehow softened in my memory. I might still finish it, but right now there are other better shows that deserve attention.

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Books:

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The Collaborator (Margaret Leroy): Few books have stayed with me like this book has. I’ve had the worst book hangover since then and such troubles finding another book to seek my teeth into.

The Road to the Sea (Ciara Hegarthy): I’m going to go rampant on this book when I finally review it. Overly descriptive and insanely boring, this is one of the least favorite novels I’ve picked up in a while.

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The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore): I’m almost done with Book Two in the Lorien Legacies. Although I am still enjoying, the first read and progressed a whole lot better.

What have you been up to?

December 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Happy 2017 everyone! I pretty much disappeared from the blog in December. I needed a break. I often am way too harsh on myself about blogging – wanting desperately to post five times a week. It is important to remind myself though that blogging is supposed to be fun and for times where I actually have the time. So I gave it a bit of a break and I am back feeling all refreshed!

It was also quite a sad December globally with the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. It seemed like 2016 kept knocking everyone down and I am really glad it ended. Let’s hope for a peaceful and fantastic 2017.

Series Watched:

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Vampire Diaries Season 5: I am currently stalling with this season. It is a pretty rotten season and by far the worst of all the seasons so far. I need to finish it up but definitely not feeling all the bullshit of the season.

Alias season 1 and 2: EEK! I am having so much fun! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to review this.

Movies Watched:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars movie. It was good, great excitement and all. I did like The Force Awakens better though.

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Memento: This was my second last blindspot for 2016. It is mind tingling and interesting, well directed and acted. Definitely worthy of watching, despite me taking ages to get it done!

Annie: I put this on for my mother to watch. It was okay – very singy and full of children but not overly offensive. It’s definitely a film that parents can watch with their children without wanting to cry because it is so boring.

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Twilight: I had such a weak moment! Want to review them all at some stage again.

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Scream 1, 2 and 3: this was so much fun. I’m planning to do the fourth one soon. Great entertainment!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Same here. I am having way too much fun with these old school thrillers.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  second time watching this and I loved it way too much.

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The DUFF: I am racking up the watches on this film. I showed it to my mom and my bestie on separate occasions and they both really enjoyed it. Why so much hate against this film? I know it is completely different from the book, but the additions worked really well.

The Departed: The Departed is a film my bestie has told me to watch or be disowned. So I watched it with her just to make sure she had the evidence and everything 😀 did I like it? Yeah. Excellent performances and directing all around. I got a bit exhausted with the length of it, and that is about the only thing I didn’t like.

Me Before You (2016): after reading the thought provoking book I was quite amped for the film. I pushed it back when the reviews didn’t garner the most promising reviews I pushed it back. Bestie and I watched it on our visit, and it was okay. Not really bad, but Me Before You doesn’t carry as much emotional baggage as the book does.

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Cruel Intentions: What a deranged film. I enjoyed it, but wow, deranged. Not something to watch with your parents, if you weren’t already aware.

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Ocean’s Eleven:  I really liked this! Heist films done right is a treat for the soul man. Clooney and Pitt together? There can’t be a better idea out there.

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Seven:  I got to see a young Brad Pitt as the excitable and young cop and Morgan Freeman as the intelligent, calm cop. It’s quite dark and deals with a demented serial killer. It had a dark and depressing atmosphere.

Books Read:

Dawson’s Creek – this is a compilation of short stories based on the series. I’d love to watch the series at some stage, but the book isn’t worth reviewing.

The Collaborator – Margaret Leroy – I can’t wait to post this! I really loved the book, and was so unhappy when I finished it.

The Martian – Andy Weir. The Martian was my favorite film of 2015, and I really wanted to get my hands on the novel. However, I’m struggling at this stage to get through it as it contains some unnecessary jargon in my opinion.

What were you up to in December? Tell me!