Watched, Read, Loved: November 2016 – Most dramatic month ever?

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What a month! It’s been crazy. I wrote this long ass post about all my opinions and then I was like eh, don’t need it, not my country, not my cheescurl. So let’s just go on with the usual here and do the rundown of what I was up to this month as usual, shall we?

I finished exams – YAS. So far I’ve passed everything with one result still pending. I’m darn pleased with myself, to be honest. So close to being done I can smell it. I’ve been rather irritated with some things at work, but my eyes have been opened a bit – I am so fortunate to be employed by a stable company where there is a 30% unemployment rate in South-Africa right now, and I should really be more thankful about that. I also broke plates at a Greek restaurant, and I now fully understand why the Greek people are so joyous – it is therapeutic! I also managed to be caught in rain storms quite a few times, and as I’m writing this I have a disgusting head cold going on – sneezing, coughing, basically being the person I’d generally want to murder.

Watched in cinema:

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Dr. Strange(2016)

I enjoyed this film quite a lot. It really IS Iron Man on drugs and has the exact same story, but I liked it nonetheless. Benedict Cumberbatch truly is the definition of the term strange, and works superbly in this Marvel film. (and he WERKS that cape)

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (2016)

I made no secret in my review that I had zero time for this film. What a precious waste of my time and abuse of the Potter world. Ugh.

 Watched at home:

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Aliens (1986)

So much epic. I am so glad I sat down and watched this, my 2016 blindspot series has been quite the disaster and I’m scrapping it off the menu for 2017 completely. However, I did enjoy a whole bunch of the watched films, and this was one of them. Ripley is so badass man, so badass.

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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

As mentioned above, I’ve been kicking and screaming trying to finish my Blindspots while totally not in the mood, but this turned out to be so beautiful and heartbreaking. Totally worth the time and paying attention to the English subtitles.

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Series:

Vampire Diaries Season 5

It’s good, but definitely lacks a bit in terms of my favorite – season 3. However, Elena isn’t the world’s most annoying vampire ever, which can only be an improvement. Review will hopefully be up soon 😀

Books read:

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The Dressmaker– Kate Alcott

Despite this being the title of THREE DIFFERENT NOVELS – which lead to a variety of confusion -I have all the love for this book. It is definitely not the same story as the movie that I want to watch with Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, but I am so happy I took a chance. What a lovely, interesting and thought provoking read this was!

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The Power of Six – Pittacus Lore

The second book in the Lorien Legacies is also turning out to be a fantastic read. It is well written and well thought out, something most of these dystopian/alien/teenage books lack completely.

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I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

I reviewed this over HERE, and it was one of the better books I read this year. Very impressed!

Love by Design: Loving Jack and Best Laid Plans – Nora Roberts

I’ll never really review this – it has little to no story line and is essentially just some smooch smoochy stories. Even in my bedraggled study brain mode this was too dumb for me, and I probably skipped quite a few pages because there are only so many scorching kisses that can be read.

Reread:  Convincing Alex – Nora Roberts

A reread that won’t be seeing another review. I find these books fun and vacant, and having met real Ukranians I can assure you that they are not Mikhael and Alexi Stanislaski, ladies.

Reread:  Luring A Lady–Nora Roberts

Same as above. It was fun while it lasted!

Reread: The Obsession (Nora Roberts) – I have so much love for this book and author (as you all know), and I’m enjoying it the second time around – I borrowed it to a friend shortly after finishing it the first time, and I must say, it is as good as my first impression of it.

What have you been entertaining yourself with? Tell me in the comments 🙂

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Movie Review: Dr. Strange (2016)

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Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts

Rating: 8/10

Dr. Strange is by far Marvel’s best looking film to date. The images are extraordinary and a showcase just how far Marvel and technology has progressed up to now. I was very much impressed by all the pretty looking effects and mind breaking images. The slightly lacking plot is saved by the incredible talent that is Benedict Cumberbatch, who enters the superhero craze by taking on a role that wouldn’t have fitted any other actor and suited him perfectly. I think his success comes not only from his talent (which is astronomical) but also his clearly focused approach to his career development – he hasn’t taken on a bad choice in years. I enjoyed him as Dr. Strange, obviously, his work as a neurosurgeon, his crippling loss and refusal to be something what he considers less, and his subsequent rise as a very reluctant, disbelieving superhero.

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The androgynous mastermind Tilda Swinton takes on the role of Sorcerer Supreme. I liked her – she’s so strange and otherworldly and I could completely support her as a century old being with magical power. Chiwetel Ejiofor was wonderful but underdeveloped – I found his pure spirit and belief wonderful, and he deserved much more development on screen.

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I thought the end was a bit drawn out and wished for its closure a while before it ended. It would be unfair to say the plot had holes – it didn’t, but I would have appreciated more information. A lot of the time I felt that the golden magic they were making was simply parlour tricks. I thought the villains looked faintly ridiculous with their golden eye shadow and eyeliner gone wrong.  It’s probably the first time I’ve been unimpressed by Mads Mikkelson – this role didn’t suit him at all. I also thought the love story was a bit superfluous – really, why even include it at all, and that Rachel McAdams should probably have had more time on screen because she’s a wonderful actress.

I really loved the bookcases – if I had so much space I would definitely do that! I also quite enjoyed the librarian; he had some good interactions with Dr. Strange.

Dr. Strange wasn’t perfect, but it was really good, really unique and a brilliant new approach from Marvel. I’m quite convinced that nothing will stop them now, they are taking careful steps to avoid boring their audience. If you haven’t seen this yet and isn’t tired out by superheroes, I definitely suggest you give it a try!

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Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

The martian Poster2Plot:During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive

Rating: 10/10

I have never, for any movie, given a full score on this blog. It stems from my grade four days where the teacher believed that nothing deserved a perfect score because then there wasn’t room for improvement (Such a cheerful woman).

Well, Mrs. Van den Berg, The Martian is perfect so I’m giving it 10/10. I can’t think of anything that annoyed me or should have been done in another way. The Martian is both a cinematic masterpiece and a feel good movie, which, as we know, is impossible to pull off.

Don’t be mistaken, you are going to sit and watch the Martian for a long time – it is very close to three hours. However, I did not even care about the time passing. Any shorter would have rushed the whole movie and it would not have been so good. Ridley Scott is in top form and I hope he stays that way. The pace of the movie is tightly controlled and he worked the cast to perform their best.

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I will question the sanity of the Academy if Matt Damon does not get an Oscar. The film also deserves the Oscar for best film. Mark Watney is perfectly written. He manages to be on Mars, stranded, dying, but still find a way to keep himself alive. He has made me more determined to pass Botany, because that shit saves lives. His humor and determination to solve problems, and the sad way he keeps himself sane and only loses it a handful of times makes him one of my favorite characters to ever be written.

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I will start the discussion of support characters with Melissa Lewis, played by Jessica Chastain. Jessica Chastain is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses. She carefully picks her roles so she doesn’t end up with mediocre movies; she is phenomenally talented as an actress and is incredibly beautiful. Melissa Lewis made an amazing woman and commander, the way she managed her team and how she went about it. It makes me really optimistic that there were so many strong female character roles in The Martian – it is uplifting and not one of them were typecast or silly or dumbed down at the end.

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Continuing onto the crew, I thought that Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Michael Pena and Aksel Hennie all did superb work as the other astronauts in the Ares III. They all had their independent roles and personalities and weren’t only there as seat fillers. I especially liked Alex Vogel’s (Aksel Hennie) love and commitment to his family. I found the smidge of romance injected into two of the character’s story really sweet and perfectly placed – it was only a very small part of the story.

Then the crew on earth had Sean Bean in, whose notable performance can be further celebrated by the fact that he did not die. It’s true, I’m not lying. They even injected a Lord of The Rings reference into one of his scenes, and I enjoyed that thoroughly. I really liked his character Mitch Henderson – Sean Bean can really pull of the quietly-dignified-but-still-disapproving look so well.

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I can keep on discussing further performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, MacKenzie Davis and Donald Glover but I won’t as this is getting to a rather long review. However, I will briefly mention Kristen Wiig, who impressed me by not being another comedic role and who did a wonderful job as the NASA spokesperson.

The humor that was part of the movie was perfectly written in and beautifully portrayed. The many uses of ductape was probably a favorite of mine – it is everywhere in the film. The adoration for coffee was another favorite as well as the exasperation you saw on so many employees’ faces when they were told to get a job done faster than what made sense.

The camaraderie between the astronauts was hilarious and touching. It seemed as if they were real coworkers and their banter was endearing.

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There are a lot of things I want to keep on mentioning – I never want to forget how much I enjoyed this film the first time I saw it. Its success lies in being so human – Mark Watney does nothing that makes you pity him, but his lonely fate on Mars is heartbreaking to behold. His crew’s anguish in leaving him behind and how the citizens on the planet band together to bring him back home was a glimpse of the good side of humanity. NASA seems to be fangirling about the Martian as much as we are, and that makes it even more fun. I can’t help but think The Martian coinciding with the discovery that there is water on Mars isn’t a PR dream for them right now.

We probably can’t be friends if you dislike this movie. I am sorry. Go watch it, go like it, and come talk to me.