Read, Watched, Loved: May 2017

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Hey everybody! This post is going up super late this month – I was happily scheduling away on here and didn’t notice that I still hadn’t put this guy up. So as usual, here’s my monthly rundown (but for May). Let me know what you’ve seen and haven’t seen, and just generally how you are 🙂

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017) I don’t think anyone was able to hate this film. It was buckets of fun, and I really have such a soft spot for Baby Groot (who doesn’t?). It is similar to the first film but bigger and more of the formula that worked. The plot wasn’t as solid as the first, but I was able to have a fantastic time regardless of that.

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Pride and Prejudice (2005)I liked this movie so much that when I wanted to initially write a quick blurb for here I ended up writing out the review. It is a wonderful film. I am now convinced I need a Mr. Darcy. He’s difficult and worth it. The adaption is fantastic and the chemistry between the leads is amazing.

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Sweet home Alabama (2002) – I watched this as a young person – maybe at around 21 years or so, and really enjoyed it. I have such love for Reese Witherspoon, she truly is a beautiful and talented woman. Her character has the terrible task of choosing between Josh Lucas and Patrick Dempsey, and this movie has humor and heart to it.

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Jackie Brown (1997) I watched this for Tom and Mark’s Decades Blogathon.It is one of the few Tarantino films I hadn’t seen as yet, and found it a great pleasure to watch.

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The Host (2013) – I just had to watch this film again to compare source material to it. It is not as unforgivably bad as the internet make it out to be, and I had a rather enjoyable time watching it.

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice is a slow read, that is no lie, but I enjoyed it so much. It is a wonderful, wonderful book with many events and excellent character development. It also gave me yet another book hero to attach strongly to.

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Three Fates – Nora Roberts: I reviewed this before and seemed to have a good thing to say about it. Strange, because I don’t remember loving it so much. I am having a really good time rereading it again though, it is truly Nora Roberts and some good and light reading.

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The Host – Stephanie Meyer: I’m not sure whether the I was a masochist or just seeking enjoyment without thinking too much about it, but I decided to pick up The Host again. It is okay and certainly better than Meyer’s previous novels. It raises some moral questions and has interesting theories despite some slow parts.

What did you do this month?

Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

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Movies:

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Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

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One Day (2011): HATED IT.

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Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

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Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

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Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

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He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

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Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

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The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

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Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

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Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

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Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

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Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

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The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

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Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

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Crazy Stupid Love (2011): I definitely need to review this film again – It has been ages since I’ve posted it on my blog. One of the most inoffensive romantic comedies produced in later years, this movie will make you laugh and relate with some character in here.

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Nocturnal Animals (2016): This is my new hated film. Gosh, what a spectacular waste of my life. Pretentious bullshit.

 

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Black Hills – Nora Roberts

This is a particular favorite book of mine. I enjoy Dr. Lillian Chance – she is passionate about her work in the refuge she built and is smart and cool.

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The Concannon Sisters trilogy – Nora Roberts

While I do enjoy this series of books – Born in Shame, Born in Ice and Born in Fire, they certainly aren’t my favorite of the author. However, her love for Ireland does show when reading this, and I particularly enjoy the description of the scenery.

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Two Broke Girls Season 4 and 5

I’m enjoying myself way too much with this comedy. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I end up really laughing at it.

What did you do in April?

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

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The Original Guardians of the Galaxy was celebrated far and wide as original, refreshing and pretty much different from any normal Marvel film. I mean we love them, but they aren’t necessarily ground breaking in the stories they tell. I agreed mostly, but I also still felt that everyone and their grannies took the hype too far. Regardless of my opinion, the first film was a runaway success and since it is Marvel, a second one was inevitable.

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The sequel is in many ways an equal to original. Chris Pratt is Chris Pratt and the lovable and very attractive goofball. He is still surrounded by his team – Gamora (Zoë Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). They acquire more recruits this time – Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). It is starting to feel like the Space Avengers with such a large cast going on here, but I very much doubt that the majority of the audience worries about that too much.

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Plenty of things work – Dave Bautista’s literal minded Drax gets more dialogue and the things he says is what we think without saying it, making the situations he’s placed in quite hilarious. Telling the creepy Mantis she’s probably beautiful on the inside was quite funny and painfully blunt. Baby Groot is emotional manipulation – he’s so cute he could have danced the duration of the film and I would have liked the movie. Chris Pratt loses his shirt and I couldn’t complain about it. The directing is colorful and bright and suits the upbeat tone of the film. The dialogue is relatable and funny, the banter between the team easy and seemingly sincere. The soundtrack is a lot of fun and a continuation of the first film. Sylvester Stallone shows his face and boggles the mind that he’s still looking smoking when he is six hundred years old now.

What lacks is an actual plot. The writers focused on the one thing left unanswered in Volume 1 – Starlord’s patronage. Enter Kurt Russel, cool old-dude extraordinaire, as Ego the Living Planet. He’s not much of a villain with a lot of ego and little grey areas, and it is pretty clear quite quickly that he doesn’t want the best for his son. There are also gold people, led by Elizabeht Debicki’s Kismet, who are angry that Rocket stole shit from them and are now determined to wipe out the team. It’s a pretty weak story, sloppy in places and lazy writing. It doesn’t particularly fit into the Marvel Universe that has so carefully been crafted. Some redemption is provided by the presence of Baby Groot, the fights between Starlord and Rocket and the chemistry between Starlord and Gamora. I also didn’t particularly appreciate how every bad guy last time was sympathized with this time around – Nebula (Karen Gillan), the conflicted sibling of Gamora, is the grayest character of the lot. Her hatred towards her sister is based on her robotic punishment as a child, and we don’t really blame her, but was it necessary to include it so much again into the second film? Yondu remains damn cool and everything for a blue guy, and Michael Rooker is cool enough to be him, but again, so much unnecessary things in this film piled it up to one long watch. I appreciated the cameo by Sylvester Stallone, but really, was it necessary?

I enjoyed GoTG II. It is not a particularly strong film but it is fun and really funny. Marvel took a chance changing so much from their usual formula, and despite following some of their renowned plot moves, it is still the most original work they’ve done in a while.

A 7.5/10 for me

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2? What did you think of it?

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!

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!

Movie Review: Wedding Crashers (2005)

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Plot: John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey, a pair of committed womanizers who sneak into weddings to take advantage of the romantic tinge in the air, find themselves at odds with one another when John meets and falls for Claire Cleary.

Rating: 8.5/10

I watched Wedding Crashers for the first time a few nights ago. I know! It is terrible that I haven’t seen it yet! I really had the best time with it. The movie actually contains so much that I would usually find annoying – the two main characters are such womanizers, there are cliches and stereotypes everywhere, and the humor is often below the belt. Yet the Wedding Crashers worked – it was done with such a good feel that I couldn’t help enjoy it. I think Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson made an excellent comedic pair, and that Rachel McAdams and Isla Fischer made excellent counterparts. Christopher Walken and Bradley Cooper are also both really hilarious and Jane Seymore as the crazy mama made me laugh on a few occasions. The movie is well paced and ends before things become drawn out, and you all know I really do appreciate it. I wish more comedies could reach this level of bawdy and hilarity. I would definitely watch comedy more often then!

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Marvellous Mondays: Guardians of the Galaxy by the Review Club

Woohoo! Here is another fantastic post from Troy who blogs over at The Review Club. Go check him out, follow him, and enjoy this epic post! (PS: The list is here if you want to take part)

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Awesomely spectacular in sci-fi visuals, battle-tastic sequences and high class comedy.The tenth installment in the Marvel cinematic universe and 100% one of the best. James Gunn the director and co-writer of this penultimate Phase Two feature has mastered a wise cracking, zippy futuristic barnstormer to once again keep the threat of stale superhero movies well away.

‘GOTG’ kicks things off with a simple enough back story into Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) past of 1988 and from there he’s whisked away into the land of space and the unknown. This movie revolves around him 26 years later as his space pirating ways lead him to grab a much sought after orb. Having this item however is more dangerous than expected and in the process of keeping it he stumbles upon a motley crew of bandits who become friends. (Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper) They all must try and stop the orb falling into the wrong hands, i.e the paws of one mighty villain named Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).

*very mild spoilers may follow in this write up*

This is such a damn good movie, the movie keeps shuffling along at a speedy pace but never in a way that you feel it’s over before anything has begun. The story is suitably told even if it is predominantly a item for sale kind of shtick. It might be basic but it never feels dull with interesting character interactions to keep the story amusing and fresh. The book-ended Earthy quality to reflect Quill’s background help add that grounded touch to bring us back to more level standings after flying high in the future. The mum, present and Star-Lord aspects all get their time and help make the arrogant, witty dude in charge more three dimensional, which I believe was needed, even if skidding across an empty cave and singing into weird creatures is epic cool. The main likable story focus is centering on them as a gang, a unit, friends and possible a family because of them working together, all their rapports are scripted brilliantly with comedic one liners, miscommunications and personality divides all adding to the hilarity of this odd bunch coming as one. James Gunn and Nicole Perlman have done a top notch thing in writing this film, mixing funny with feels, whizz with calm.

The science fiction is like something wholly and delightfully different to the Marvel films to come so far. Each planet and scene is detailed with futuristic eyes for design and wonder that it’s a treat to see each place appear on the big screen, especially when captured on an IMAX screen. They all work with the unraveling plot and suit the impending darkness of Ronan’s influence. Though Xandar always seems clean, white and like some new Colgate commercial or a Jetson’s city. The sci-fi gizmos are fun and Star-Lord, you know….Star-Lord, oh forget it, he has a Batman like utility belt of gadgetry to deploy; from a handy helmet to some jet-packed boots. It’s all stamped with an assured extreme modern look that gives this film the fun identity you hoped it would have.

‘GOTG’ has a soundtrack of insanely great proportions that relate nicely to Quill as a human with his travelling mixtape, appropriately titled Awesome Mix Vol. 1 that gifts us the sounds of the 70’s and each song ties in with the action it’s played over. Of course there’s the great ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ by Blue Swede but other gems come from David Bowie, Marvin Gaye &Tammi Terrell, The Jackson 5 and The Runaways who have one of the best song-to-scene moments with ‘Cherry Bomb’. It’s a very musically felt film even when a song isn’t blasting through the cinema speakers like some phatboombox-esque disco tune. Peter Quill utilises on the moods of ‘Footloose’, he twinkle toes…quite a fair bit and even uses this knack for such a great way to deal with the enemy, very Han Solo tapping on a Stormtrooper to distract jobby.

Chris Pratt is a great leading man and shines as Star-Lord, seriously no idea? Okay, nevermind, the cockiness is just right, never leaning into proper douchebag territory, he has a great sense of comedic timing clearly picked up from his time in ‘Parks and Recreation’, but there’s a sensibility lurking under the leather and helmet of Quill and Pratt showcases this human emotional side when needed to settle the soaring visuals with hearty story, maybe not huge hearty story mind but hearty enough. Zoe Saldana is a great kick-ass assassin and plays green Gamora with the hit-girl precision, she also keeps Quill in check and turns a corner for him without even meaning to. Bradley Cooper is never seen but is utterly fantastic as the voice of the violent Rocket Raccoon, the furball is cute and somewhat softened by the end but he comes out with insults and lines to crack you up constantly, the funniest thing in the film by far. Stan Lee has a cameo, as per. Karen Gillan has black eyes and blue skin in her most evil role yet and she carries that baddie role well giving long stares into shots to convince you she can do harm, underused as a character and I was saddened that after hype of a great female fight between Saldana and her it feels cut short and not that impressive when it comes down to it. Lee Pace is bulky and very bad as Ronan and booms as the central villain, it’s a great play but this film does side more with the journey of the Guardians leaving the villains with less time to breathe.

The best thing about this film is you can tell the makers had a blast getting this made and so you have a blast watching it. It’s zany and piled to the stars with silly and smart comedy, shining special effects and grand fun. A Jackson Pollack comment says it all for some of the greatly scripted one-liners and the dazzling lights and kindness of Groot’s heart tell you how sweet and sad the film can sometimes be. It succeeds it making you care about the good guys an awful lot and each one gets enough screentime to warrant you liking them all, they’re the new Avengers in a way, more weird but just as easily to get attached to. Heck this film even bangs out a final act more impressive and neatly wrapped up than ‘The Avengers’ managed to achieve.

Mad fun, great sounds and sights can be found in this action filled space adventure. An exhilarating ride that makes you want to go round again and again.

8.5/10

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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What happens?

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted from earth by Ravagers seconds after his mother’s death. He is raised by them, and grows up under their leader Yongu (Michael Rooker).

Twenty-six years later Quill steals an artefact on the planet Morag. He is intercepted by Korath (Djimon Hounson), who is a servant for the cruel Ronan (Lee Pace). Yongu is furious that Peter did this without him and issues a bounty for him, while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to kill Peter and retrieve the stone.

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I am Groot!

Quill, Gamora, the bounty hunter Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a genetically engineered racoon and his tree-like friend Groot (Vin Diesel) are captured when Rocket and Gamora tries to catch Quill the same time on Xandar, the home world of the Nova Corps. They are sent to a high security prison where they eventually team up with Drax (Dave Bautista), an inmate who initially wanted to kill Gamora for her connection with Ronan. Quill convinces Drax that Ronan wants Gamora dead for her betrayal and that he would be doing his enemy a favour and Drax decides to tag alone in the hopes of killing Ronan himself. Gamora reveals that she has a buyer for the orb and that if they work together they can share the cash.

After breaking out, they attempt to sell the orb, but disaster strikes and they realise how dangerous the orb is that Peter stole – it is an infinity stone that is exceptionally dangerous. They agree that getting the stone back to the Nova Corps is crucial because if Ronan gets it he will destroy Xandar.

Will they be able to elude Ronan? Can Xandar be protected by the fanatical Ronan who is intent on destroying the planet? Will the Nova Corps believe that Peter is trying to help them?

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Rating: 7/10

I have to confess that I solely went to see this movie because I wanted to go to the IMAX theatre that opened in Pretoria recently at The Grove. It was so much fun. It is FAR and PRICEY but totally worth it – the mall itself is beautiful and new and wonderfully designed and the theatre is epic, although the leg space is a bit small. I really enjoyed the experience and the movie as a result.

Guardians of the Galaxy seem like something Marvel worked really hard on. it is beautifully done – the graphics are amazing and for once the 3D was actually obvious – have you felt as well that sometimes 3D seems so NOT 3D? The movie is packed with events and worlds and drama, humour and attitude.

Ronan the Accuser was frightening. He seemed genuinely cruel and without mercy, fanatical and bent on destruction. His outfit contributed towards the horror he carried with him, and his eyes genuinely seemed dead. I liked the fanatical side to the character – he wasn’t overly interested in world domination but wanted a brand of justice. It felt like a nudge to all the people in the world who murder on some misconception of giving justice to their own people.

Chris Pratt is suddenly this sexy man that has a real career beckoning in Hollywood. He is really funny as always and his character has so many quirks. He worked extremely hard to pull off a type of Iron Man superhero – who saves the day but is funny while doing it.

I really laughed at Drax – he is an ode to every person on the planet that doesn’t grasp sarcasm and is made up of pure logic. His story was sad and his initial despise of Gamora understandable. It was sweet to see how they all became closer as their adventure progressed, especially Gamora and Drax, who didn’t meet under the best of circumstances.

Good things in the movie:

Completely new story being told – very original stuff

The graphics was flat out awesome.

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Groot – especially in the tiny form. He might go into the cuteness overload club alongside Toothless and Stitch.

Stan Lee – duh, as always.

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Drax: NOTHING goes over my head!… My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.

Things that didn’t work:

Zoe Saldana – I feel like I can’t ever connect to her performances. She is firstly too fond of playing aliens and she doesn’t really ever feel authentic.

It sometimes feels too much – there is so much happening in this movie that you can lose track what is going down.

It is very long – three hours maybe?

The spoiler at the end of the movie was so not satisfactory considering the amount of credits you must sit through.

It didn’t give me that rush of emotions I was hoping for. I probably unfairly wanted to feel like I did the first time I watched the Avengers. This was good but the action never approached wow levels.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

American Hustle (2013)

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In 1978, con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) at a party. They have an immediate connection and start a relationship. When Irving tells Sydney what he does for a living, stealing cash deposits from people looking for a loan, he thinks she hates him when she leaves. She returns as English aristocrat “Lady Edith Greensly”. Together they scam and work together and though Irving loves her he is hesitant to leave his solipsistic wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) because he knows he will lose contact with her son Danny who he loves like his own child. Rosalyn knows her husband is up to no good and threatens to report him to the police if he leaves her.

Richard “Richie” DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent, pretends to apply for a loan and when Sydney takes the deposit from him she is arrested and locked up in a cell. Irving is highly upset that she is in isolation and accepts a deal with DiMaso to help them arrest four conmen, caught through their superior skills in the business. Richie believes that Sydney is English, but not an aristocrat and no one informs him otherwise. Sydney is furious with the idea and wants to flee the country with Irving but he doesn’t want to leave because of his son. She tells him that she will do the deal but she is done with him and he can stand and watch as she manipulates DiMaso into liking her.

Irving employs the help of his friend, a man who pretends to be an Arabian Sheik (Said Taghmaoui). The Sheik is “looking” for investments in America. They target the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), a man who really wants the best for his community and has been unsuccessfully campaigning to reopen Atlantic City, something he needs spans of cash for. Richie wants to make Carmine the target of the operation, but Irving and Richie’s boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K) object to this. Sydney, who is still getting back at Irving, helps Richie manipulate the lady who does the FBI cash wiring and wires 2 million dollars into an account to back their story that they have the cash to give out loans. Anthony Amado, Stoddard’s boss, hears of Richie’s plans and goes over his head to approve Richie’s endeavours.

Richie, for all his eagerness, is still a newbie when it comes to operations. His over eagerness causes Carmine some alarm and he leaves, but Irving rushes after him and apologizes, and Carmine says he will do business with them only if he exclusively deals with Irving.

Richie goes behind Irving’s back and switches his Sheik with a FBI-agent who can barely speak the language. They arrange Carmine and the new Sheik to meet at the airport and they are invited by to a casino party hosted by Carmine. Victor Tellegio (Robert DeNiro), a Mafia overlord, is at the party and Irving is upset that they are now dealing with mobsters. Things nearly go south when Tellegio can speak Arabian. They are narrowly saved when a drunken man arrives and disrupts the meeting. Richie agrees to a 10 million dollar transfer to prove they are legitimate, once again something the neither FBI nor Irving cleared.

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At the casino party, Rosalyn meets mobster Pete Musane (Jack Huston) who she starts seeing behind her husband’s back. She mentions to him she is sure Irving is working for the IRS, and Pete threatens Irving but he assures Pete they will prove the investment is real. Irving, furious, confronts Rosalyn and she claims she did it because he makes her feel unloved. She agrees to keep his secret but says she think it will be better if they get divorced.

Richie admits to being attracted to Sydney. She confesses her real identity, and he becomes agitated and violent. Irving arrives and throws Richie out of the room, calming Sydney down while sorting out most of their problems. He assures her when it is all over that she, he and Danny will find a way to make a life together.

Richie and Irving videotape a number of Congress members receiving bribes. Richie gets yet another 2 million dollars allocated to the project to prove they are legitimate. A handover meeting is attended by Richie and Irving and Tellegio’s lawyer, Alfonse Simone (Paul Herman). Alfonse promises a number of criminal activities not knowing he is being recorded

Will Carmine be locked up as well? What will Tellegio do when he finds out he is being double crossed? Will Rosalyn really leave Irving, letting Sydney be with him? What will happen to the out of control Richie?

Rating: 6.5/10

I really don’t understand why everyone has been raging about American Hustle. I found it way too long, dragged out and then the ending rushed, and a very simple story at the end of the day.

However, the acting was outstanding and the costumes beautiful. The movie was stretched out over two hours and it was highly unnecessary with the tale being told.

American Hustle had a power-packed cast; something I feel can be detrimental to the story. Sure, it attracts a lot of interest, but fresh faces can give fantastic performances too. Christian Bale here stood out as the best of the cast as always. I love how he is always willing to go the extreme for his roles and he did it once again here. Jennifer Lawrence played her seemingly typecast role as a crazy woman well, and she was quite funny with her constant habit of setting everything on fire. Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper also gave good performances, with Bradley’s ‘fro stealing the moment. I thought Jeremy Renner did such a good job as the Mayor. The Mayor was mostly an innocent, good man, caught between the desperate attempts of the FBI to capture someone. Renner is quite a good actor and I’m tired of seeing him underdeveloped. I sincerely hope that this will be the beginning of good things for him.

So, basically alright but not worth the hype.

Movie Review: He’s just not that into you (2009)

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He’s just not that into you, is a 2009 movie directed by Ken Kwapis that’s based on the self-help book with the same name by Greg Behrendt (I don’t read self-help books so I haven’t read it, but please let me know if you did and what you thought). The movie has a star studded cast – Jennifer Connelly, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Long.

It seems too jam packed with stars at times. Also, there are a lot of plot lines happening so it takes some concentration to remember who is dating who and what is happening where.

Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) lives in Baltimore. She misunderstands everything the men that she goes on dates with do, and spend days obsessing over men she had mediocre dates with.

After a boring date with Connor Barry (Kevin Connolly), Gigi goes a bit crazy, watching the phone constantly. She heads to the bar Connor mentioned he hangs out at, and meets Alex (Justin Long). They start becoming friends and Alex gives Gigi advice about men – sometimes harsh advice, but it is obvious that he is speaking the truth about guys, because he is one. She once again misinterprets his signals and starts believing that he is into her and that everything he does is to woo her. He gets angry and asks her why she didn’t listen to a word he said, to which she replies that at least she isn’t cynical and bitter like him.

Alex’s harsh words have the desired effect – Gigi starts becoming sensible about men and life, cancelling the drama she used to love creating for herself. Alex realizes that he is in love with Gigi and that he seriously messed up. Will he be able to win her affections back?

Another part of the movie focuses on Gigi’s co-worker Jeanine (Jennifer Connelly), who is having marital problems with Ben (Bradley Cooper). Married directly out of college, Jeanine and Ben are in a rut. They are redecorating the house and apart from that stress Jeanine is also constantly worrying that Ben is smoking again, although he always denies it.

Ben meets Anna (Scarlett Johansson) in a grocery store and they start talking. He is obviously attracted to her and initially tries to distance himself. She has absolutely no qualm about seducing a married man, comforting herself by the knowledge that they might be the perfect for one another. Anna is keeping Connor on the line by acting like she’s interested but never closing the deal.

Ben and Anna sleep together and Ben decides it’s time to leave his wife. He tells her that he cheated on her and she is heartbroken, and eventually decides that it is her fault. Jeanine heads to Ben’s office and they sleep together there but she doesn’t know that Anna is hiding in the closet and witnessing everything. Anna is furious with Ben and breaks up with him. Back home Jeanine finds Ben’s cigarettes and it is that, not his infidelity, that makes her lose it and toss all his clothes out of the house, with a note telling him she is divorcing him.

Anna starts a relationship with Connor but dumps him when he wants to move in with her. He meets Mary (Drew Barrymore), Anna’s friend and the woman who is helping him with advertisements, who is also very unlucky in love. They eventually start dating.

Beth (Jennifer Aniston) is another colleague of Gigi and Jeanine. She has hands down the best man out there, Neil (Ben Affleck). Their only issue is that he won’t marry her, even after seven years of dating, because he feels marriage is not necessary and will only damage their relationship. She leaves him when her younger sister gets married and realize that she will never get marriage out of him. As time goes by she realize that he is a wonderful guy and that she is lucky to have his love with our without a ring. She asks him back, assuring him that she now knows that marriage isn’t all that important when two people are really committed. Touched by her willingness to let the issue drop, he eventually proposes.

Rating: 6.5/10

I had a good time with this movie. There are so many cringe-tastic moments in here, mostly thanks to Gigi. She is the embodiment of a phase most girls go through – desperate and needy and embarrassing in their quest to find a date. Her evolvement is endearing to watch, and Ginnifer Goodwin brings her to life with finesse. Alex is strangely compelling as a guy who is a dog to women, but he knows it and accepts it. It seemed like fine justice that he falls for Gigi when she has moved on and that he has to run around to get her attention.

I had the most sympathy for Jeanine. Her husband is a douche – in fact this is one of the only times I’ve seen Bradley Cooper as such a loser. I had no sympathy either for Anna and how her love life went up in flames, because, sweetie; if he’s married he’s out of bounds no matter how cute he is.

Beth was a good character to show how even if your relationship is perfect, most people will always find something worth moaning about. I loved Ben Affleck’s character in here – he is the best guy of them all in He’s just not that into you.

This is a great movie to show to a friend who is acting like Gigi. There are a lot of truths being told and it is a great lesson to most people. It is a very girly movie so I don’t think a lot of guys are going to love it.