Watched, Read, Loved: June and July 2017

*warning: gargantuan post ahead*

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

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

Say Anything

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Homecoming

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

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

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

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Series:

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

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

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

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

books

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

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

come sundown

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

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

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

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Movie Review: Life After Beth (2014)

Life after beth poster

Plot: A young man’s recently deceased girlfriend mysteriously returns from the dead, but he slowly realizes she is not the way he remembered her

Rating: 7/10

I was actually rather keen to watch this movie – I haven’t seen too much of Parks and Recreation, but I really do find Aubrey Plaza funny in it, and knowing Zoë’s admiration of Dane DeHaan and Matthew Gray-Grubler, well, it had to be seen right?!

It was fun. It is not the best movie out there but it is amusing. Aubrey Plaza plays herself – pretty, sarcastic and cranky. Dane DeHaan does really well in portraying his grief on his girlfriend’s death and the complicated feelings he has about the fact that their relationship was going downhill before her death. I found Matthew Gray-Grubler way underused – his character was legitimately funny and he did a really good job (also – he’s WAY cute!). I also thought that Anna Kendrick had absolutely no story arc and that she was just a prop used. The story could have been a bit more in-depth and the whole Zombie thing should have been better explained.

However, I found this slightly offbeat story very amusing and thought it was a great movie for starts still working hard to make a proper name in Hollywood. I really do like the entire cast and the movie was well executed. The movie is fun to watch and doesn’t drag, and entertained me quite a bit!

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro (2014)

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The movie starts with a flashback, showing Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) on a plane, uploading files. His wife Mary (Embeth Davitz) heads to the bathroom and Richard is attacked by an assassin. Richard manages to upload the data just before the plane explodes, killing everyone on board.

Years later, Richard’s son peter is busy saving the world, disguised as Spider-Man. Spider-Man is regarded by many as a vigilante, but it is clear that he is helping rid Manhattan of criminals. He catches Aleksei Systevich (Paul Giamatti) who is trying to steal a truck from Oscorp containing plutonium vials. Spider-Man saves the life of an Oscorp employee, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a guy with serious confidence issues who regards himself as unimportant. Spidey tells Max that he is very important and that he is his Spidey’s friend. Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is on the phone with Peter, asking him where he is. Peter sees a vision of George Stacy, Gwen’s deceased father who had asked Peter to steer clear of Gwen for her safety. Later that night he ends their relationship again, trying to honor that promise he made.

spidey and max

Spider-Man and Max 

Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to Manhattan to visit his dying father, Norman Osborn. Norman, the CEO of Oscorp, tells Harry that he is a disappointment to him and that the disease that is killing him will kill Harry as well unless he manages to find a cure to it. Norman dies, leaving his young son as the CEO of the billion dollar empire. The board of Oscorp is a bit worried and Harry quickly makes enemies with them. Peter, Harry’s old friend, visits him and after a bit of awkwardness they connect again.

Max becomes obsessed with Spider-Man. He is still being bullied at work and he is ordered to fix some faults in an Oscorp lab on his birthday. He loses his footing and falls into a tank with modified electric eels and they attack him, mutating him into Electro. He heads towards Time Square, confused, and Peter rushes to him after hearing Gwen might be heading to England on scholarship. Max causes a blackout with his surging power, but Spider-Man is unable to calm him down when the police shoot at him. Max is taken to the Ravencroft Institute for further investigation.

Electro

Electro

Harry is worried when he starts to see his disease developing. He realizes that Spider-Man is an example of his father’s successful research and thinks that some of Spider-Man’s blood will save him. He asks Peter, who sent in a picture of Spider-Man, to contact him and ask for his blood, obviously not knowing that Peter IS Spider-Man. Peter is worried that the blood will make Harry sicker or make him something dangerous, as previously seen. They part with bad blood between them. The Oscorp board-members rock up and frame Harry for Max’s accident and he is successfully removed as CEO. Harry’s assistant tells him of equipment and venom that can save him, hidden somewhere in the building. Harry goes and talks to Max, asking for help. Max agrees and kills his captors. They escape, Harry injecting himself with the venom. What will happen to Harry and Electro? Can Spider-Man save Manhattan once more and will Harry ever find out that Peter, his friend, denied him blood that could save him? Will Gwen go to England or continue risking her life to be with Peter?

Rating: 7/10

I really enjoyed this. I know a lot of people had some issues with it, but I thought it was really entertaining. The special effects were sound and I liked how Peter Parker developed, fought with himself and his morals and how he constantly struggled with his feelings for Gwen Stacy compared to the promises he made to her father. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is really strong and they make a very strong pair on screen. I love Spider-Man’s cocky attitude and humor. He is really funny and I had a few good laughs during the movie.

I thought Dane DeHaan was excellent as Harry Osborne. He was so sad and broken by his horrible father and he really tried to be a good guy. I liked the relationship between Peter and his aunt, and how sad it was when she thought he was seeking information on his parents because she wasn’t a good enough mother to him. I like how they give a bit more clearance where his father went and what exactly happened there and how it affected Peter. I thought the special effects were well done, both on Electro and the Green Goblin. I loved Electro, but thought he and the GG should have been more developed and gotten up to more nonsense than they did. Jamie Foxx was thoroughly entertaining as Max, surprising me with how well he played a geek who really didn’t fit in and was bullied by everyone. I had sympathy with his character and understood why he went crazy when he finally had a bit of power.

Have you seen it? What did you think?