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?

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?

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?

Movie Review: Passengers (2017) – CONTAINS SPOILERS –

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Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

Rating: 6.5/10

– CONTAINS SPOILERS –

When a movie gets trashed second after it was released, it is safe to assume that it is either:

  • The movie is legitimately a terrible film
  • The movie didn’t live up to its’ expectations and delivered something else
  • The critics hated the film because of some petty reason

Passengers is somewhere between two and three. The film’s last hour and half (perhaps more than that) is a romantic drama film set in space. I’m sure that upset a number of people who might have expected a Sci-Fi film. I also think the hate train might have been loaded to capacity with people reacting unnecessarily harsh to a moderately decent film because everyone was doing so.

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The majority of the film is spent exploring Jim Preston and Aurora Lane’s horrified realization that they woke up on their spaceship way too early to reach their destination, Homestead II – 90 years too early. Aurora suffers another setback when she’s made aware by the barman-robot Arthur (Michael Sheen) that Jim (Chris Pratt) deliberately woke her up and that her pod didn’t malfunction. She’s understandably very upset with this death sentence but is forced to put it aside when the ship starts acting erratically and it becomes clear that no one on the ship will arrive at Homestead II if they don’t find the source of the problem. Captain Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburn) wakes up in time to conveniently steer Jim and Aurora in the right direction.

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I enjoyed the scarcity of people in Passengers. Chris Pratt and his female equivalent Jennifer Lawrence make a charismatic team. Pratt is able to accurately portray the loneliness of Jim’s life in the year before he wakes Aurora up. Aurora (Lawrence) is different in nature than Jim. She’s a writer and immediately begins to report her life on the ship. She initially refuses to believe their fate and is forced to accept eventually that Jim is speaking the truth. Michael Sheen is able to be a convincing robot, keeping his facial expressions carefully contained. Fishburn is the last character that enters the film was a good captain if you are able to look past the fact that it is amazing that the captain woke up and not someone else. The film is scarcely populated and it works well.

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The film also looks really good. That spaceship was something to behold inside and out. It looks modern and is one of the films that bring spaceships to the new century. The swimming pool was mind boggling – I wouldn’t go close to that mass of water that is kept in its’ place by such fragile means. The robots on the ships look great – and a dash of cuteness is mixed into the plot with the housekeeping robots.

What didn’t work? Well, the holes in the plot is bigger than the holes in the spaceship. Are these two really choosing to live on that ship for the remainder of their lives with only the other as company? How will they prevent children? What about the finite amount of food on the ship? Are they dooming their fellow passengers to a journey without food? How did the asteroid not immediately destroy the ship? It is extremely convenient that the fire started becoming unmanageable when they found it? Speaking of extreme convenience, how about the third passenger that woke up is able to access secure locations?

Despite the numerous unanswered questions, of which I’m sure many other bloggers can add more to, I actually ended up enjoying Passengers. I think that the leads were compatible. Jim can be forgiven his selfishness by considering his loneliness. Their heroic antics are heart warming, especially for the following passengers. If you keep your eyes closed and ignore all the questions, I’m sure you will enjoy Passengers too. But what I will end this review with one more question – Why did they change the ship into a swamp at the end?

Links I love V

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Links I Love: Part V

First of all, we must discuss the big #Brangelina split. I think we all like to pretend that we’re just involved in our own lives my own life and couldn’t give jack shit about celebrities, but let’s just drop all of that for a few and focus on this. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? The internet has been on FIYAH this last few days and it’s been pretty hilarious. My favorite so far is why Jennifer Aniston is not giving a shit that Brad is getting divorced, brought to you by Huffington Post.

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If there was ever a Jennifer Lawrence in a male form, Chris Pratt would be it. This seems like a great film, something new in space films – I mean, the avenues seemed to have been exhausted to venture into and there two actors are certainly capable to bring it to the table and carry a film as the only two characters.

This Epic Game of thrones theme cover – AHHH it is absolutely amazing

Where is the love? Black Eyed Peas remix

This gave me all the chills. We’ve come to the brink of societal collapse, and on days where I am feeling particularly morose I can’t help but wonder when exactly World War Three is going to break out. It is such a depressing and scary notion, but we cannot expect countries to sit by and constantly have their citizens slaughtered by lunatics. Anyway, on this completely depressing subject, I found the Black Eyed Peas remix of their hit song that was originally released in 2003. It is a song that has always had a lot of resonance, but it seems even more profound today. The remix is incredible and is an excellent production.

What Thor was doing during Captain America:

Bless Marvel for always being some form of a clown. I really enjoyed this clip and thought it was a perfect thing to release to hype people up for Ragnarok.

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You need to watch this – South-Africans can be so damn cool when they want to be.

This Snow Patrol crowd that sung the song back to the bad ❤

Okay, there you go. Hope you enjoyed these!

Best films of 2015: 1 – 10

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Happy Thursday everyone! Somehow we all miraculously made it through the first week back at work. Let’s keep it up! To make your day worth it (jke), here is my top ten for 2015.

Note: I somehow lost my original post, so this may or may not turn out great.

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10: Jurassic World

Original rating: 7.5/10

Does it still hold? It might eventually fall to a 7

What I Liked: Jurassic World managed to revive the franchise and is blockbuster entertainment at its’ finest. I adored Chris Pratt in here, and he is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

What I didn’t like: The more time passes the more the film seems incredibly sexist.

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9: Kingsman: A Secret Service

Original rating: 7.5/10

Does it still hold? I actually think it deserves an 8

What I Liked: This was a really unexpectedly great film. The film is classy and very sassy and a tounge-in-the-cheek look at spy films. Colin Firth is especially in fine form. He can certainly consider more such roles!

What I didn’t like: That last scene where Buggsy goes and does the dirty with the Queen or something felt misplaced in the film.

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8: Ballade vir ‘n Enkeling

Original Rating: 8/10

Does it still hold? It really deserves an 8.5/10

What I liked: The showcasing of South-African talent and the nailbiting events. I really can’t wait to give this disturbing and heart-wrenching story another watch.

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7. Avengers: Age of Ultron

Original rating: 8/10

Does it still hold? I think I would rate this a 7/10 if I watched it again.

What I liked: Marvel has the ability to go really big and really grand. They are a powerhouse right now and it is obvious in anything they release in the market right now. I know everyone isn’t such a big fan of this film, because it has a number of valid issues, but I really did have a good time when I saw it in cinema.

What I didn’t like: It is excessively long. And the brave South-African cops are all lies.

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6. The Man from U.N.C.L.E

Original rating: 8.5/10

Does it still hold? Yeah

What I Liked: The classy feel of the film, the hilarity, the Russian accent, the Cavil. I’m also becoming such a huge fan of Alicia Vikander that I will watch anything with her in right now.

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5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Original Rating: 8.5/10

Does it still hold: 9/10

What I liked: YASSS everything.

What I didn’t like? There is nothing. Nothing.

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4. Inside Out

Original Rating: 8.5/10

Does it still hold? Definitely

What I liked: This is such a surprising film and I really don’t like animations as a rule.

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3. Ex Machina

Original Rating: 8.5/10

Does it still hold? Yep

What I liked: It is a well acted movie on A.I. and really worked out well. It is weird and Oscar Isaac shines. The ever delightful Domnhall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander are great in their respective roles.

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2. Star Wars

Original rating: 9/10

Does it still hold? Yes

What I liked: Primarily that it is a great film that can be watched even if you don’t know everything about the franchise.

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  1. The Martian

Original Rating: 10 / 10

Does it still hold? 9.5/10

What I liked: The Martian is truly everything I could ever want in a movie.

Well, there you go. Let me know your favorite films of 2015!

Movie Review: Jurassic World (2015)

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Plot: A new theme park is built on the original site of Jurassic Park. Everything is going well until the park’s newest attraction–a genetically modified giant stealth killing machine–escapes containment and goes on a killing spree

Rating: 7.5/10

We return to Isla Nublar in a movie that should have been called “Will the Humans never learn?”. Twenty years after the catastrophic events of the first Jurassic Park, Jurassic World is fully functioning as a massive and successful theme park. Park manager Clare (Bryce Dallas Howard) constantly seeks to find new ways to up the visitor rate at Jurassic World. One of these methods involves some dumb assery that involves Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) creating the Indominus Rex to attract more visitors. The I-Rex, created from different dinosaurs’ DNA, soon shows remarkable capabilities and intelligence, and it is quite soon when the park needs to deal with the knowledge that their 22 000 visitors and Staff members are in danger of becoming luncheon. Clare gets the help of the cocky Owen (Chris Pratt), to save her dumbass nephews from the I-Rex when they don’t follow orders and return to safety.

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Well, I had a whale of a time with this movie. I started out slightly apprehensive because not all the reviews have been great. It was completely worth the watch. It is not as good as the 1993 Jurassic World (I think that will always be my favorite based on nostalgic happiness) but definitely better than the 1997 and 2001 versions. The story isn’t that intricate and the characters are one dimensional, but that is not always needed all the time for some popcorn entertainment. The action looks really and the dinosaurs are as much nerdy entertainment as they were in 1993.

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Chris Pratt definitely works well as a cheeky adventure type and I can see why people would love him as the next Indiana Jones (except Zoë, 😀 ). He’s gorgeous, he’s funny, he has attitude and he acts quite well. Bryce Dallas Howard is actually nauseatingly beautiful and was quite good as the uppity Clare. The kids irritated me, both of them, and I hate that there needs to be kids in movie like these. Ugh.

The dinosaurs were well produced and seemed as realistic as prehistoric animals could possibly look in the 21st century. I really enjoyed the relationship Owen had with his velociraptors and I thought them quite cute if you ignored that they were basically planning everyone’s deaths when you turned your back.

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So many people were bitching about Clare running in heels throughout the movie. Can I just firstly say that feminism will only succeed the day we stop questioning the shoes women wear. HONESTLY, who friggin cares? Secondly, when would she have had the time to change her shoes? It’s not like the I-Rex would stop stomping around and not eat her so that she could change into her Nikes. Thirdly, the shoes suit her character. She’s a business woman, she’s pedantic, and she dresses nicely. So deal with it, okay?

I did find that the movie was really sexist in some aspects. I would usually let it slide because the moments were silly, but I think if your 1993 predecessor has more feminist notions than the 2015 sequel, something must be mentioned. Owen especially treated Clare like a moron. I mean, she didn’t create the super monster without disclosing its’ genetic traits, did she? No. It gets better throughout the movie and she saves the day a number of times, but Owen’s treatment of her started out extremely sexist and I did not appreciate it one bit.

Apart from them failing our equal rights ideals, Jurassic World was really well done and very entertaining. I think most people will really enjoy this – it is popcorn fun, so don’t expect too much in terms of multi layered villains (I mean, the I-Rex wanted basic food that’s all). There are some touching scenes with some of the dinosaurs and the characters have their expected romances and fights, and it will certainly keep you entertained for the duration of the film.

5 Things Friday: Five Things I am completely excited about

Happy Friday all!! Today is my last day of holiday (sad sigh) so I am cheering myself up with things I am completely excited about that is upcoming soon (or not so soon). Enjoy!!

1) Mockingjay Part One

When will this happen? Hopefully I will get to watch this Saturday. Even though reviews have been mixed, I am still excited to see what Katniss Everdeen gets up to.

Expected Rating: 7/10. I’m very sure that people are probably complaining about the correct things.

2) The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

I love the Lord of the Rings so much I haven’t yet reviewed it yet on this blog – I don’t want to screw it up, you see. I have enjoyed these movies OKAY – they are long, I disagree strongly with the presence of a Dwarf and Elf love saga and am amused by the fact that they could make three movies of that teensy book. BUT it is the only movie my dad sees in cinema and can’t wait to watch it with him – he and I are the true fans in the family and can discuss this for hours afterwards.

When will this happen? Within this month

Expected Rating: 7/10. Very sure the length of this movie will irritate me.

3) Jurassic World  

When I heard the imminence of another Jurassic World I was like erm, really? Wasn’t there about fifty million installments, each a bit worse than the previous? I loved the first movie a lot as a kid! I have to say, this is looking very good because 1) Graphics, 2) Chris Pratt, 3) DINOSAURS + SCIENCE.

When will this happen? South-Africa doesn’t have a release date yet on IMDb, so hopefully within 2015.

Expected Rating: 8/1Looking good!

4) Avengers: Age of Ultron

Despite he fact that the filming on the South-African highway gave me an hour delay in my plans a few months ago, I am ridiculously excited. I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When will this happen? 2015

Expected Rating: 8.5/10 EEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5) Sherlock Season 4

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There is not a lot out on this yet, but it is apparently expected within 2015. I need this to happen very soon because I have been Sherlocked for months now and it is not stopping. I actually I think I will rewatch this within the next few weeks. .

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I had to put this in because it is so cool!!

When will this happen? (hopefully) 2015

Expected Rating: 275/10 (not even a typo)

What are you excited about?

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

Lego Movie (2014)

Lego-movie-2014-poster

Emmet: “You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it’s also true. It’s about all of us. Right now, it’s about you. And you… still… can change everything”

The Ancient Wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) tries to protect the “Kragle”, a powerful weapon, from falling in the hands of villain Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Vitruvius is blinded in his attempt and Business steals the Kragle. Vitruvius prophesies that “the Special” will one day find and use the “Piece of Resistance”, a powerful tool that will stop Business and the Kragle.

Years later, a normal construction worker Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is living his life in exactly the same way as the rest of the city. One day at work he notices a suspicious character searching through building material and sees a beautiful lady. He tries to stop her, but she disappears, and Emmet heads down to see what has been cracking. He stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance, has visions and passes out.

When Emmet wakes up he is in police custody under the surveillance of Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), the sidekick of Lord Business who has a split personality – Bad and Good Cop. The Piece of Resistance is stuck on his back now, and nothing he can do can get it off. While under interrogation Emmet learns that Business wants to freeze the world with Kragle, to keep everything as it is. The woman Emmet saw on the construction saves him and introduces herself as Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). While fleeing, he manages to convey the message that he is in no way special and she is very disappointed. Wildstyle takes Emmet into another “world”, the Old West. She explains that people used to travel freely between worlds, but Lord Business detested it and tried to seal them off from each other by building walls between each world.

In the Old West, Wyldstyle introduces Emmet to Vitruvius. She explains about Master Builders – people capable of building things without instruction manuals. She and Vitruvius are both Master Builders, and all like them are despised by Business for their creativity creates chaos in his perfect world. Business and Bad Cop tried to catch all the Builders, but some of them remained free. Emmet insists he has no such talent but Vitruvius is convinced that with enough exploring he will find his talent.

Bad Cop is soon on their tail and they have to flee the Old West through the pandemonium that ensues. Wyldstyle’s boyfriend rocks up and he is Batman. He saves them in his Batmobile and they head to Cloud Cuckoo Land, where they meet princes Unikitty and the rest of the remaining Master Builders. The Master Builders are not impressed when they learn Emmet has no real talent and refuse to help him fight Business. Bad Cop finds them and captures most of the Master Builders, destroying Cloud Cuckoo Land. Emmet, Wyldstyle, Batman, Vitruvius, Unikitty and Benny, a spaceman, manages to escape on a submarine. They are saved by a pirate named Metal Beard when the submarine sinks.

Emmet realizes that the flaw in all of their attempts was that they did exactly what Business expected them to do – work with their own individual creativity and not as a team with a plan. He therefor creates a plan and they all follow his instructions, and head to Business’s headquarters. Will they succeed in time to save all the worlds? Can Business be stopped?

Rating: 6.5/10

I’ve decided to go ahead and like this, although I fully expected to loathe it purely because it is animation, and about BLOCKS. A movie about building blocks just didn’t seem like the world’s most riveting movie ever and since I rarely find any animation worth re-watching or praising, I did not think I would be laughing or vouching for anything.

However, I was soon hoping Emmet would succeed and that he and Wyldstyle would end up together. He was a very generic guy, just doing his job every day and suddenly he was thrust into saving the world. I liked how he never tried to be the best but always insisted that he was just a normal guy (unless when he was boasting to Wyldstyle of course).

Lego Movie has an extremely catchy song. I was dancing to “everything is awesome” and singing it to people for days after watching Lego. I think Lego is an extremely clever company and this is a brilliant way to up sales. I loved the cheesy message in there that people can be heroes without being extraordinary, I LOVED that their hair could be so easily removed and changed (a girl can dream) and I found the references to popular superheroes quite cleverly done.

I wish they could have kept it at being an animation and not incorporated humans into it and having Will Ferrell in there (totally unnecessary) and I am not too sure if it was a good idea naming the villain Business – is Lego tricking children into hating corporate establishments #DeepQuestion

Recommendation: Honestly, kids should watch this.