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:

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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: Rock n Rolla (2008)

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Plot: Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.

Rating: 7/10

I enjoyed this film. A Guy Ritchie film remains a Guy Ritchie film and he generally brings the goods to the table. Rock n Rolla has a specific tailored feel that I spotted in Ritchie’s recent The Man from U.N.C.L.E as well. The dynamic between One Two (Gerard Butler), Tom Hardy (Handsome Rob) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) is great, and when Handsome Rob’s sexuality is revealed, things get really hilarious. Thandie Newton manages to be a cold hearted bitch and still work it throughout. She was amazing to watch. I also love some Mark Strong anywhere. He was so much fun. The plot was a bit vague to me – the painting is definitely at the center of everyone’s problems and the drama its’ disappearance causes. It is a good film, rather lighthearted and if you prefer some class and sass in one film, give it a go. I much prefer The Man from U.N.C.L.E to this, but RnR was a pretty decent watch.

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

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Five years after the Viking village Berk made peace with dragons, all is still going well and the dragons now live amongst the villagers. They are still ruled by Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler) and while he is thinking of retirement and pressuring his son Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) to take over as chieftain, Hiccup and his dragon Toothless are busy exploring unknown lands.

Astrid (America Ferrera) finds Hiccup exploring, and when they see a wildfire, they investigate. They find a strange ice formation and also meet Eret (Kit Harrington), a dragon trapper who is especially interested in Toothless, who might just be the last Nightshade dragon alive. Eret tells them who his customer is – Drago Bludvist (Djimon Houson), a bloodthirsty and insane conqueror. Astrid and Hiccup flee on their dragons and tells Stoick what is happening, and after Stoick hears that Drago is involved, he orders the villagers to prepare for battle, refusing to let anyone go out and meet Drago head on. Hiccup and Astrid escapes and plan to go meet Drago to try and reason him out of his plans.

Hiccup is captured by dragon rider Valka (Cate Blanchett). She turns out to be his presumed dead mother, and she takes him to the dragon sanctuary she has helped build the last twenty years. She begs for forgiveness and he gives it when he sees the amazing amount of work she has done, and even Stoick forgives her when he arrives and she promises to return to Berk with them.

Drago and his dragon army arrive at Valka’s sanctuary and the Alpha dragon is overthrown, making Drago’s Bewilderbeast master of all the dragons. This causes Toothless to commit a horrible act he had no way to control, and Hiccup sends him away.

valka

Valka: You came early into this world. You were such a wee thing. So frail and so fragile. I feared that you wouldn’t make it. But you’re father, he never doubted. He always said you would become the strongest of them all. And he was right. You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a dragon. Only you can bring our worlds together. That is who you are, son.

Drago leaves to lay siege on Berk and Hiccup, Astrid and all their friends are responsible to get there and challenge him. Will they be able to stop the mad Drago? Can the Alpha’s hold be broken over Toothless? Will Hiccup be able to forgive his best friend? Will Hiccup accept his power and rule Berk?

Rating: 7/10

Somewhere between visiting the dentist and Chinese water torture is something I tend to avoid: watching animation. Firstly, should you dare to watch it in a cinema, there will invariably be screaming children whose parents can’t keep them quiet because they have been hyped up on pink cool drink and jellytots, secondly, I usually just prefer seeing actual people in a movie and thirdly, I can’t seem to stop myself from rolling my eyes at the unrealistic perceptions it creates.

BUT: there are a few Animations I can watch and enjoy. I love all the classic Disney movies (and yeah, I did moan just now about unrealistic perceptions), some of the Uber cool stuff like The Incredibles and Finding Nemo and then now the How To Train Your Dragon Franchise.

I love Toothless. It is the cutest damn thing ever to come out of a studio and his facial expressions are too cute for words. I like all the Dragons, and especially in here how they’ve connected to the Vikings and became interlinked with each other’s existence. I particularly liked Stovic (it was properly because I recognised Gerard Butler’s voice) and thought he was awesome and sweet and dealt well with raising his son and understanding how they were completely different.

So I loved this movie and will probably watch it again with the smallest amount of noises about hating animation. It is fun enough for adults to enjoy while taking their kids to the movies (a kindness of the creators) it built well on the story of the first movie and managed to have a new adventure ready and not copying the first story again. How to Train your Dragon 2 was a relief to watch when most of 2014’s most anticipated hits (for me) fell flat. Remember Vampire Academy?

Recommendation: obviously, children, but not mind numbing nonsense so adults can enjoy it too.

Movie Review: PS, I Love You (2007)

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During a road trip to Ireland Holly (Hilary Swank) meets Gerry (Gerard Butler) and they fell in love. He follows her to Manhattan, and they get married and set up house.

Years later they still live there. They are still deeply in love, but they have their issues like any other couple. Holly isn’t able to settle into a job and is constantly stressing about the fact that she isn’t ready to have kids. When Gerry suddenly dies of a brain tumor, Holly is devastated and struggles to cope with the loss of her soul mate. She becomes a recluse and her friends are deeply worried about her. On her 30th birthday, her friends and family show up at her house, gets her dressed up and takes her out. She also gets a cake delivered, with a note from Gerry stuck to it. In the note he tells her about his master plan to get her to move on – before his death he wrote a series of letters for her, and if she does the tasks he set her, she will continue to receive letters from him. He ends every letter with “P.S. I Love You”

Lifted by the idea, Holly starts to get her life back together. She and her best friends travel to Ireland, where she reconnects with his parents. There she meets William (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). They sleep together, and she is horrified when she learns that he was a close friend of Gerry’s. William is very kind about it all and ends up telling her stories about their shared childhood.

Holly returns home and locks herself away again. Slowly, she starts to recover and realises that she has a flair for designing shoes. With new focus, she really does get better, and her mother finally reveals that she is the one who helped Gerry distribute the letters.

In the end, Holly and her mother returns to Ireland and she meets William again, with the suggestion that love may be possible for them.

Rating: 6/10

The plot is ridiculous, the idea of love after death overused and the characters embarrass the watcher more than they charm. Somehow, with everything going against it, it works out. I’m not Irish so I don’t need to act offended that Gerard Butler gives an offensive attempt at it. (I can however tell you that Ryan Reynolds speaking Afrikaans in Safe House is pretty damn hilarious)

Losing Gerard Butler would reduce many a woman to emotional wrecks, so I am totally on board on the sadness. Hilary Swank’s portrayal of the grieving widow worked out well enough, although I didn’t really get how she and Gerry ended up together, even though they had the cutest holiday romance.

The support cast was quite solid. It has Kathy Bates as Holly’s mom, Lisa Kudrow as one of her best friends and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as William. I thought Nellie McKay’s, who starred as Holly’s scatter-brained sister Ciara, acting was atrocious. She didn’t come through as scatter-brained; she came through as a coke head. Harry Connick Jnr., who played the friendzoned Daniel was rather funny with his incredibly socially awkward behavior.

This is pretty old, so if you haven’t seen it yet, and you’re an emotional soul, or in the mood for a good cry, you should watch it.

Favorite quote of all the things said in here: Gerry in a letter to Holly’s friends: “You’re going to heaven for being my baby’s friend”

Life Lately

Social media causes fights. I was in the most intense disagreement on Facebook last Friday. It is so ridiculous that people seem to think they can attack you on your (very innocent) status and then get a fit when they are put in their place. Said person has since unfriended me, but I am completely okay with it. BUT I am still astonished to see how bigoted and idiotic people are. I am gobsmacked that people don’t realise that what they put on Facebook and Twitter can negatively impact their careers. That putting something out there can say something about your country or race when the majority really doesn’t feel that way. I am shocked that people who I grew up with, who had exactly the same opportunities as I, raised in the same social-economic environment, can become so completely weird and blind. It makes me truly, truly sad.

A Trio of losses.

Three greats died this week in three important circles: Paul Walker in Entertainment, Baby Jakes Matlala in sport, and then of course the colossal President Nelson Mandela of my home country, South-Africa. I am so honoured that the world is grieving with us. Currently, 70 heads of states are flying in for his funeral, which is the greatest amount of leaders ever gathered for a funeral. That, in itself, speaks of his legacy. This past few days I have witness our great nation once again showing the world who we are: Broken, sure, but mending and refusing to be told who we should be. We are once again united, and stand firm against the grief that threatens to overwhelm us.

Moving on

I have been trying to block out most of the Mandela coverage now. Save for news bulletins and tweets, I am trying to function. It is very difficult to actually read other news too, and rightly so, but I don’t want to get caught up in the frenzy. It has been exhausting this weekend, and I am too much affected by any news, always. So this weekend we went to Monte Casino, played ten pin bowling (I SUCK at it), watched Catching Fire and then ate and the Met Grill. It was lovely and I felt much better for it.

Unisa Results

The final release dates for all results is now the 20th of December. It irritates me to no end. I need to plan my syllabus for next year, you know. And who keeps results till 5 days before Christmas?!

I seriously need to buy Christmas presents. Like ASAP and I have no idea what to get. Perhaps I am slower than usual because I still can’t get my head around the fact that it is DECEMBER.

Movies: I finally saw Catching Fire after weeks for delays, and it was so amazing. This weekend I will hopefully watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I hope it is good. I wasn’t overly impressed with the first movie (A lot of theatrics and very little loyalty to the book) so I will reserve judgement for now. Also, I re-watched one of my favourite movies, PS, I love You. I have always enjoyed that film and to me, that is Gerard Butler in his prime. He is gorgeous, and kudos to Hilary Swank’s Holly for getting over his death – just not sure if I would have done it.

Currently reading: Beautiful Creatures (my 74th book). It is odd, but still good enough to try and finish it. I am nearly on holiday, so then I will most likely be closing in on 100 books if I have nothing else to do but read. Which is unlikely, since it is December and everyone and their aunt has a function, but I will do my best.

Speaking of holidays:  This is my last week at work, and between power-cuts, closed off roads (for the Nelson Mandela memorial at Soccer City FNB Stadium) and dumb nurses, life is going to be interesting. I apologise for any rants that may occur, blog or elsewhere. I can’t wait for the holidays. I am planning a visit to my best friend, who lives in the hottest place on the planet (okay, that is slightly exaggerating but Nelspruit is pretty toasty) and furthermore just relaxing back home. I really, really need it. I am at that point where I am likely to snap quickly.

5 Things Friday: Five romantic movies you have to watch

Happy Friday!

While you are reading this, I am probably running around like a headless chicken – my sister is getting married tomorrow. Many congratulations, sister and very-soon brother-in-law! May you have happiness and love in abundance for the rest of your lives. I am so proud of both of you.

Here is my installment of Five things Friday, and keeping with the theme of lurrrvee, Five Favorite Romantic movies I love and think you should watch.

Movie One: Crazy, Stupid Love

Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in this movie. Usually star studded films can steer horribly wrong, but I really liked this one. It had a few surprising twists and turns, and managed to be both funny and serious at times.

Movie Two: Dirty Dancing

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Patrick Swayze dancing. ‘nuff said.

Movie Three: Letters to Juliet

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I think this movie is seriously underrated. Amanda Seyfried is one of my favorite actresses (it may be because she is one of the only young Hollywood stars not acting out right now) and she is wonderful in this touching romantic film about finding lost love, and how you can achieve something if you never stop believing.

Movie Four: 10 Things I hate about you

This movie is one of my all-time favorites. Heath Ledger as a teen? It is hilarious to see 90’s high school kids as well.

Movie 5: PS I love you

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Prepare the tissues. I cry every single time when I watch it. Maybe it is only because Gerard Butler dies. But it is still excruciatingly sad.