July 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Gosh I’m glad it’s August! I am over the cold in Johannesburg. For reals man. July was a pretty decent month. I got to see my bestie, and even though the circumstances weren’t that great, I am grateful that I at least got to spend some quality time with her.

Personally I think my eyes finally cleared with a few people in my life – there is a certain level of selfishness I can’t tolerate, and this person finally reached it. I should have cut ties ages ago, but when I bond to someone, you really have to nuke me out of it. Well, I’ve been nuked.

Hmm, what else? I’ve had a couple of hectic weekends and it reflected on my scarcity on my blog, which always happens and always frustrates me. I’m going to do my very best to post more often, as it makes me super happy.

And here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching and reading. Enjoy, and tell me below what you’ve been up to 🙂

Watched:

At home:

Proposa

The Proposal

I saw this film before I opened this blog, and I have always thought that it was an okay film. I actually really enjoyed this so much when I watched it again. Queen Sandra Bullock and a very young and adorable Ryan Reynolds certainly make an interesting couple onscreen, and I thought the dialogue and hysteria was spot on and funny in the film.

Wedding planner

The Wedding Planner

Oh, Maththew McConaughey has a few gems under his belt before he started being all badass in things like True Detective and that other horsey movie that everyone liked. This is a boogy, definitely, and it was silly enough that I got quite annoyed. There were a few pros, which I will mention when I review the film soon, but let it be noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fantastic singer (for her genre) but acting should never be part of her repertoire.

 Valentines day

Valentine’s Day

VD worked well, and it is surprising because the film is packed with actors and actresses, and that rarely works. Mostly it is just a situational feel good film, but there is nothing wrong with that!

 Runaway_Bride

Runaway Bride

I’m on such a Gary Marshall/Julia Roberts run, it is not even funny. They do seem to be a dream team, because when they get together there always seems to be some romantic comedy as a result that is actually enjoyable to watch. Between this and Pretty Woman I enjoyed Pretty Woman much more, but I definitely liked this.

Skyfall

I already reviewed here, and if you haven’t read it yet, rest assured that I really liked this Bond film. It’s my second favorite after Casino Royale, and I must say, I am really surprised how much I’ve enjoyed all these films.

 Ugly truth

The Ugly Truth

It’s really ugly, and it’s really bad. The awful dialogue results in awful acting, I’m not really blaming our leads here at all, it’s just a shit film with crap writing and is as believable as anything Donald Trump says.

 27dresses

27 Dresses

JAMES MARSDEN. You have no idea the amount of hilarity this man causes in my family. I really like him, but his dress sense in this film was absolutely awful. Like, AWFUL. It is also a depressing movie – I will shoot myself before I’m a bridesmaid 27 times, it’s just not right or fair. I love our girl Katherine Heigl in here, and thought there were pretty good moments between the rapid romances and problems being solved easily.

In Cinema:

The Legend of Tarzan:

Tarzanposter

I reviewed this one here. It’s man candy season in this film. I’m not gonna lie. However, it isn’t nearly as bad as the trolls want you to believe, and I am still calling it the most pleasant surprise of 2016.

Series:

VDS4

Vampire Diaries Season 4

I finally switched it back on! It was a time issue, not because I’m struggling to watch it. It is still quite a solid show, but there are a few dips, something that probably can’t be helped when you travel this far into a show. I’ll post all the reviews once I’m done watching, then I can do them consecutively across a couple of weeks : )

Books read:

The Obsession – LOVED this!

Honest Illusions – It was okay – review here

Currently reading:

I’m actually in the middle of way too many books! I am reading Twilight again (the shame, I know) and I am definitely enjoying it more than Blood Bound (Rachel Vincent). I can promise you, when I get through this book, the review will be up here in no time and it will be a bad one – this book is so stupid. It is taking me ages to get through it, a damn shame because it is supposed to be a quick read.

So there it is – I am way behind on everything in life at the moment, but at least I got to do see and read some great material! What have you been up to?

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Movie Review: Skyfall (2012)

Skyfall poster

Plot: Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.

Rating: 8/10

CONTAINS SPOILERS

It’s going to be really silly to say again that I love Daniel Craig as James Bond, because I do, but I mention it every time. Anyway, the man is so prime you know? The eyes, the attitude, the suits. Skyfall introduces a broken Bond – he’s simply lived too long and seen too much at this point, and it is catching up with him in a bad day. For him a close call with death is in his daily routine, but after being shot by Moneypenny, he allows himself to be presumed dead for a few months to give himself some time to recover, and only returns when there is big drama in England and his loyalty to his country forces him too.

M is as enigmatic as ever, a power clad iron lady that rules the secret service. The relationship between Bond and M is fascinating, alternating between a very twisted mother and son dynamic, a questionable work relationship and a long standing friendship.

The death of M and Bond’s reaction was a really hard blow to stomach – they had a complex and interesting relationship, one of the few that lasted in Bond’s life. I loved M – especially because it is Judi Dench and only an actress of her capability could have shown so effectively that she would always remember her role to put her country first, and her humanity second – the hard choices she had to make with both Silva and Bond clearly highlighted that.

skyfall2

I really friggin loved Eve Moneypenny. She is so smart and the banter between her and Bond is good for the soul. Naomi Harris was an excellent choice for the role – intelligent, uber British, sassy and pretty.

Then there is the incomparable Ralph Fiennes. I love the man – he has such a diversity to anything he does and he is simply incapable of being in a mediocre role, simply because of his capability to make everything he does exceptional. I loved him as the good voice of reasonable reason – he wasn’t being a tool and underhanded for personal gain, he was simply doing his job and dealing with the fallout of a failed mission.

Daniel Craig;Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem joined Mads Mikkelson as some of the better (excellent) villains of the Craig era of Bond. He was an impressive villain, and gave way to one of the creepiest scenes in the film. The blonde hair is still the worst decision for him ever, but it suited the creepiness of the character. I also really liked the angle that Raoul Silva was an ex CIA operative and the reasons behind his vengeful quest, as well as how eerily calm he was. The method to his villainy incorporated the new modern technology its reach of power.

Ben Whishaw as Q was ridiculously cute. He had this nerdy confidence based on that while Bond would do well in the field, he was the guy making it all work out behind the scenes. He is VERY adorable in that nerdy way, not in a Bond way, but still good. The incorporation of Mallory, Eve Moneypenny and Q seemed nearly seamless in execution, without it being rushed or forced.

Anyway, that is it from me – Skyfall is worth the watch and great entertainment. It is Bond, but not Bond – women have been treated increasingly less as objects in the Craig era, and that is something that can definitely be attributed to Daniel Craig himself, a staunch feminist that has had issues that side with Bond since the start. It shows in Skyfall, where the leading women are Moneypenny and M, and both are equal and perhaps even superior to Bond himself. For that I can simply salute this film!

skyfall3

Movie Review: Quantum of Solace (2008)

QoS1

Plot: James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country’s most valuable resource. All the while, he still tries to seek revenge over the death of his love.

Rating: 7/10

The worst thing about this film? It is really forgettable. I watched it a bit more than a week ago and I struggled to remember what went down and how I felt about it. However, I enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to finally watching Skyfall soon!

The most important thing in QoS is that James Bond isn’t over Vesper. He’s barely keeping it together, and although he won’t admit how badly she hurt him, he is slowly losing his control. He is more ruthless than he has ever been, and he doesn’t care who gets taken out while he’s doing his job. Daniel Craig – every time I watch a film with Craig in I’m reminded why I firstly really admire him and secondly find him so insanely attractive. He’s so… contained? He is a fantastic actor, he can switch charm on and off as he pleases, and I haven’t seen all the Bond films out there, he seems like one of the best.

I also really love Judi Dench as M. I mean, for reals, who doesn’t? She’s fierce and classy and a wonderful actress. The relationship between Bond and M is so interesting – complete trust most of the time and the acerbic tone of their conversations gets so funny.

The action sequences and directing is very well done, I’m not really a pro on this, but it looked really good.

As for the entire plot, it is good that they took over some of the storyline of Casino Royale, dealing with Bond’s suppressed rage and grief over the woman he loved. The organization behind Vesper is the main tone of the film, and remains shrouded in secrecy throughout. I did feel that some things were confusing and that the writers had no real plan to tell a story and at some points I genuinely wanted to rewind and try and find answers again.

quantum-of-solace

If I think of the recent Bond villains– Mads Mikkelson and Christoph Waltz, then Mathieu Amalric’s Dominic Greene falls far short of the mark. He wasn’t really imposing and his character didn’t have any drive to him – it made the movie much less great than it could have been.

quantum-of-solace-olga-kurylenko

As for the Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko, there have probably been many worse than her. Arriving after Vesper was sure to be a complete nightmare – how was the character to compete? Camille was a bit hollow and one dimensional, but she didn’t truly offend my senses.

I enjoyed it, but thinking back now it’s more a 7 than an 8. Casino Royale is pretty much the gold-standard to me in the Craig leg of Bond, and I think QoS suffered as a result coming directly after it. It is also one of the films in the franchise that builds on what happened in previous movies, making the storyline chunkier (in a good way).

Have you seen this? What did you think?

Movie Review: Spectre (2015)

spectre-james-bond-daniel-craig

Plot:

While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Rating: 8/10

December 2015 is such a massive month in the cinema. We’ve seen Mockingjay Part II, Spectre just released, Star Wars, which I’m sure will make everything this year pale in comparison is nearly out and Creed is getting a few good punches in before the end of the year.

Well, I signed on for Spectre because even though I am not a super fan, I thoroughly enjoy Daniel Craig as James Bond. It didn’t disappoint. Spectre is extremely enjoyable experience and doesn’t feel like two and a half hours.

As mentioned, I’m not one of the Bond super fans – nothing against it, but my knowledge of all the films is terribly poor. I’ve (unfortunately) seen Die Another Day and the incredible Casino Royale, maybe a few others, but that is it. So I can tell you what I thought of this film as an entity on its own and not really as part of the Bond franchise.

Bond Still 2

Let’s talk a bit here as the 007 himself, Daniel Craig. I think he is truly the definition of virility – he just looks so well for his age and exudes charisma and power. He is cocky but also gives flashes to a scarred man that is haunted by his past. I find it a very intriguing combination.

Bond still 3

The Bond ladies shine in Spectre. Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux both make me feel slightly ill – can such beauty be possible? Granted, Bellucci only has a few seconds on screen but she slays when she is on Lea Seydoux plays main Bond girl Dr. Madeleine Swan and does a great job. She is a central part to the fight to tract down and the destruction of Spectre, and without her Bond would have been mincemeat.

Bond still

Villainville is quite large with an intimidating amount of characters signed on to kill Bond. We have Christoph Waltz with a fantastic turnout as Oberhauser, Dave Bautista terrifying as Mr. Hinx, Andrew Scott as C, the character who successfully fulfils the need to portray a corporate suit as a villain. I would have enjoyed a bit more on Oberhauser and how he came to be so hateful, but I really can’t see how that they would have fitted that into the film.

The directing looks amazing and is splendidly done by Sam Mendes. He did a fantastic run with his time with Bond, and the shooting is beautiful in that warm slightly washed out feel.

The story itself is quite interesting and although I wished it could have been much more fleshed out, it was really well linked. I won’t say too much of this because it heads into spoiler territory, but it was really painful to see how Bond’s pain could be so linked.

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My very favourite scene? The opening with the Day of the Dead parade. It looked fantastic, Bond’s suit was fantastic and the whole setting set a great premise.

Spectre worked remarkably well. I truly do think that they could have developed the story just a bit more, but further than that it was a great film, both standalone and into the Bond franchise.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

5 Things Friday: Trailer time

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY

IT’S FRIDAAAY!

I’m not nearly as excited as I was last week Friday, because THEN I drove down to see my bestie. It was AWESOME.

Anyway,

This was only a four day week for South-Africa because we, true to our fondness for public holidays, had one to celebrate Women’s Day this past August – my only question is why the men got off as well, but I guess I will never get the answer to that.

To celebrate this short week that went quicker than most, because DUH, one day less of work, let’s look at some new (and some not so new) trailers that has me excited to see their full movies.

Batman vs. Superman

Release date: March 23, 2016

Pros:

I think this can work well if it is properly done

Cons:

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor?? I can’t see that happening. What is with the hair?

This isn’t really a con, it is just apprehension. Batfleck. I don’t know. Ben Affleck is a good actor and all but I can’t see how he will top Bale.

 

Suicide Squad:

Release date: August 5, 2016

Pros:

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. I think that is going to be amazing.

The whole feel of the trailer – WOW DC, it is looks eery and gritty and sexy.

Cons:

Jaret Leto as the Joker. We will see, but I wasn’t all that impressed by him.

I’m not even sure what Will Smith is doing in here?

The Revenant:

Release date: December 25, 2015,

Pros:

I get to see Zoë dancing around in happiness because DiCaprio is on screen.

Hallo, Tom Hardy

Hallo, Leo

Tom and Leo together? Bring me that popcorn

Cons:

The plot isn’t that obvious in the trailer. Maybe it is a good thing.

 

Mockingjay Part II

Release date: November 20, 2015

Pros:

The second part of that book is much more exciting than the first part, and that is what everyone was complaining about in their reviews of Part one – it was a little bit boring.

The Cons:

That trailer, if you look properly at it, really doesn’t happen what will go down in the final part of the movie.

 

Spectre

Release date: November 6, 2015

Pros:

Daniel Craig as Bond

Cons:

Can’t really think of any right now

Whoop!! What are you excited to go see?

Movie Review: Casino Royale (2006)

Bond-saved-a-company

Plot:

Armed with a licence to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, but things are not what they seem.

Rating: 8.5/10

I’m going to review this more as a separate film than looking at it through the Bond Universe. I’m told it is as good as a Bond film can be, but I am not experienced enough in the art of Bond that I can make valid arguments for the pros and cons of it within its expansive genre.

 James

Daniel Craig as a spy for the British Government, and he is badass while doing it. He is fearless and does not think of any consequences, he has a gigantic ego that gets him into trouble most of the time and he loves his women nearly as much as he loves his job.

M accuses Bond of being heartless and cold, and he is most of the time, but the one time where his humanity comes through compensates for every second he was ruthless and cold. It is the most touching scene and beautifully shot, powerful to behold and probably the only of its kind in Bond’s history.

 le chiffre

Le Chriffe: He’s so villainous and powerful and worthy of being hunted by a double-0. Mads Mikkelson has an other worldly face. If it didn’t seem so preposterous I would think he had plastic surgery – he seems almost alien but it works for him. I don’t find him attractive, but I do find him someone I would look at twice and listen to what he wanted to say. Le Chiffre is multi-talented – he could be a classy espionage like thief when he wanted to be but he could get downright dirty when the need was there.

 vespr and bond

Let’s talk about Vesper:

I’ve always seen this girl everywhere and I’ve always wondered why people love her so much. Now I know because I love her as well. She is so capable of dealing with Bond’s ego and holding him in place. She is independent and has her own agenda. She is also kind and humane and is the perfect contrast to Bond’s cold/resigned behaviour to killing people when necessary. I can get Bond being destroyed by her betrayal – she seemed the perfect mate for his character.  I watched it with Zoë and told her that Vesper would either die or betray Bond but I did not expect both would happen. I was devastated for Bond because he had such a deep and open connection with her. (PS: Don’t ever try to get something out of Zoë, her lips are sealed about spoilers and nothing can pry it open).

The movie is a superb balanced show – the action is never too heavy, there is brainy action as well as brawny muscles, the car chases, athletic sprints and combat scenes looks believable, there is romance but it isn’t gross or soppy. I think this is a Bond movie anyone would enjoy, even if you are not a Bond fan.