Friday Fun: Life Lately (what’s happening right now) and responses to two award nominations

Hello! Happy Friday! Have we all dealt with the fact that we are half way through the year (I did a mid-year review here if you want to go check!). I know I’ve only semi accepted that half of this year is gone. Sigh. But anyhow, here is a rundown of everything going down in my life right now as well as responses for two awards I was nominated for.

Life:

It is slightly better and I’ve learnt to deal with my father’s not so great health. Mostly. It is still particularly hard, but I’ve kind of desensitized and that has helped me so much.

Planning to do a 10km walk in August for Women’s month. FYI – I’m not fit enough to do a 10km walk so I better get my ass into exercise mode.

I am obsessed with crocheting. It started out mildly – my older sister, mom and my sister’s mom-in-law started crocheting and I joined because it gets rather boring when everyone crochets and you are just sitting there twiddling your thumbs. Then I got obsessed and now I can’t stop. It is insanity. I crocheted a skull on Zoë’s request (pic below). I was so damn chuffed! I’m busy with a blanket and should finish up this scarf I am nearly done with. So.much.fun.

Books:

Nothing worth mentioning on here actually. I am reading all my favorite Nora Roberts books for the umpteenth time and I love it. I still need to read most of the books I listed here. Zoë loved the Rosie Project and recommended it to me, so that is my next avenue to explore.

Movies and Series:

I got to go to the cinema twice recently, and enjoyed both Jurassic World and Inside Out. I finally chose a movie to review for my Sugar Pappy’s Shitfest. Hopefully by next week you will have it, Sugar Pappy Giuseppe!

I tried watching Pretty Little Liars Season 5… Let’s just say NOPE. It’s cheesy and lame and every time I think the season is improving it slips again.

Have you seen the new Sherlock posters doing the rounds? I am so excited. Right now I will take any morsel they throw my way. I want to do a complete run of the show before they start again. #cantwait #sherlocked

Also – the new Hunger Games posters! ERMAGHERD If you haven’t read the book, or know what happens in the last section of the books, good luck. That is all I’m going to say.

Some moral questions:

Can we for a second ponder the incredulous world we live in? Where ratbags like Ariana Grande and Donald Trump gets more attention than Greece defaulting on its debt – or the war in Syria – or the AIDS pandemic?

Really world, get your priorities in order. FFS

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award-badge

1st Award Answers

Thanks to Christina from My Tiny Obsessions for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World blogger’s Award.

The Rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.

Put the award logo on your blog.

Answer the questions the tagger has given you.

Nominate ten other bloggers

Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.

Questions (lets go with a theme, shall we?! Quick and easy!):

Eleanor and park book

  1. Favorite book?

It changes from time to time – I fall in love with good books the way a teenage girl falls in love with boys – all the time. My most recent favorite book was Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. The Classics – Emma by Jane Austen. Epic Fantasy – Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince – JK Rowling.

 downton poster

  1. Favorite TV show?

Downton Abbey

 CRAZY STUPID LOVE_COMBO BD (1000250398).indd

  1. Favorite Movie?

Crazy, Stupid Love

  1. Favorite Book-Movie/TV adaptation?

The Lord of The Rings – JRR Tolkien

 chris-hemsworth-2013

  1. Favorite Actor?

On looks – Chris Hemsworth

On talent – James McAvoy (and his looks are gorgeous too!)

 Emma-Stone

  1. Favorite Actress?

Emma Stone

  1. Favorite Author?

Nora Roberts

  1. Favorite Book ship?

Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter – Harry Potter

Eleanor and Park – Eleanor and Park

Gus and Hazel –The Fault in Our Stars

 downton gif

  1. Favorite TV Show ship?

Michael and Mary Crawley

  1. Favorite Movie ship?

Alley and Noah – The Notebook

As for nominating, I’m just listing some awesome blogs – go check them out (the blogs are listed below the last nomination)(. If you want to answer these extremely random questions I chose as a separate post or just in the comment section of my blog, feel free 😀

Questions:

Favorite Superhero

Most Hated Actor

Most Hated Actress

Favorite Animation

If you had to be stuck with Joffrey Baratheon or Justin Bieber, who would you choose?

What is your favorite car make?

Do you like chocolate?

Would you wear Crocs?

When you are in traffic and people are being dumbasses, are you the person who gives the death stare or are you the person looking like you are going to explode, get out of the car and go Hulk Smash on them all?

If you had to change your nationality, to which country would you move?

Then Drew from Drew’s movie reviews nominated me for a Liebster award. Thanks Drew!

The Rules:

Thank the blog who nominated you and link back to them.

Nominate up to 11 other bloggers to receive the coveted award.

Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

Tell your readers 11 random facts about yourself.

Give the nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog when they post their nomination.

Can you wiggle your ears?

No haha. I really admire people who do!

Do you watch any web series? If so, what’s your favorite one?

I have no idea what that is. So I guess not 🙂 or I probably do, I’m just not aware of it haha.

What is the first movie you remember watching in the theaters?

Liar Liar.

Do you prefer 3D or 2D movies or are you indifferent?

2D. I think 3D is a waste of money and it is often not even that effective.

Do/Did you play any sports? Which ones?

I used to play Hockey. It is the best game ever

What is your favorite card game?

I am a master in Rummy

What is your favorite board game?

30 Seconds, teamed up with my sisters

What is your favorite video game?

If I play, Super Mario.

If you had a time machine and could go back in time without consequence of messing up the future, where and when would you visit and why?

I would love to travel back to see the discovery of major things – Fire, the wheel, electricity, etc. I would like to see the wonder and triumph on the faces of people who couldn’t even begin to realize that they had changed humanity for always.

Do you have a motto or mantra?

Everything becomes nothing. Depressing, I know, but it is the truest thing.

What is your favorite thing about blogging or being a blogger?

The first would be getting my opinion on things out there – it doesn’t feel that I’m just shouting my opinions into a void. The second would be is coming into contact with people I would never have met in my life without the blogging platform.

11 Random facts about myself?

Sheesh. I am not that random. I will try though.

I have a “Keep Calm and Carry On” mug in my office. I always look at it before I answer stupid questions. I think the mug has saved many lives as well as my job.

I love stationery. Papers, pens, books, sticky notes. I get so excited about it.

I want the word “insultment” to be added to the dictionary. It is beyond me that it hasn’t been added yet!

I’m a pretty aggressive driver.

I’m very open to people’s choices in life. I really don’t care what you prefer, as long as it brings no harm to other people. I can’t stand people who think they can tell other people who to love or what to believe.

I have a very bad habit of hiding someone’s feed on Facebook and then going back to their page and still looking at the annoying things they say. I don’t even know what is wrong with me.

I work in the third largest hospital in the world. It is… interesting to say the least.

If I only visit one other country in my life, I would choose France. I desperately want to see the Eiffel Tower. After that, I would head to Germany to go visit my ancestral homeland.

I used to really hate ginger cookies but now I love them.

I try to visit a new place in South-Africa each year. I live in this really picturesque country with such vastly different scenery. It is gorgeous and breathtaking here.

I am ridiculously amped to finish my pretty blanket

Tranquil Dreams

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Emmakwall (Explains it all)

Film Grimoire 

Cinema Parrot Disco

Justine’s Movie Reviews

Movie Rob

The IPC

Alex Raphael

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Top Fifteen Favorite stars in young Hollywood

Woohoo! Happy Friday!! This post was supposed to be a Five things Friday but as you can see it escalated quite quickly! Here is some love for all the young ones in Hollywood… I know some of them can’t really be classified as really young, or even really good, but I like all of these for a variety of reasons. Read, enjoy, and let me know if you agree or disagree. I might just do one for older Hollywood too at a stage. I’ve linked to the posts of the movies I’ve reviewed of these stars so go take a look if you are wildly bored!

Emma Stone

Emma-Stone

Why I admire her: She is crazy talented, extremely funny and incredibly beautiful. She also seems to have a genuinely nice personality off screen, which is quite important to me.

Best role: What’s not to love? Zombieland, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, the list is endless.

Worst role: Ghost of Girlfriends Past

 Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch poses for photographs on the red carpet for the new movie "The Imitation Game" during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Why I admire him: There is such a unique and startling quality to him. He is incredibly talented and well suited to his most famous role. He has these unique looks that make no sense. I’ve never pinpointed why he is so attractive – it shouldn’t work and yet it does extremely well.

Best role: Sherlock (as Sherlock Holmes)

Worst role: har-har

Emma Watson

Actress Emma Watson attends the "Noah" Germany Film Premiere at Zoo Palast on March 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

Why I admire her: Not only is she a staunch equal rights activist, Emma Watson has manage to exit her Harry Potter years with grace and determination. I honestly can’t wait for her to be Belle in the new Disney adaption!

Best Role: Perks of Being a Wallflower (as Sam)

Worst Role: Harry Potter (as Hermione Granger)

Chris Hemsworth

 chris-hemsworth-2013

Why I admire him: Hehe, he’s ridiculously hot. The muscles and arms and hair and eyes and length and did I mention muscles? I’ve mostly really just liked the look of him, but he really did impress in Rush, which makes me believe that he can be in some really good films in the future.

Best role: Rush (as James)

Worst role: Thor (as Thor)

Chris Evans

 chris evans

Why I admire him: He has this extremely likable boy next door vibe. I also think he is exceptionally well cast as Steve Rogers, capturing that genuine essence of good so central to the character.

Best role: Captain America (as Steve Rogers)/Snowpiercer (as Curtis)

Worst role: Fantastic Four (as Human Torch)

Tom Hardy

 Tom-Hardy

Why I admire him: Well, duh. Look at him. He’s done some phenomenal roles as well, and has the extra addition of having pulled himself from a difficult past to be what he is today. #respect

Best role: Lawless (as Forrest Bondurant) and The Dark Night Rises (as Bane)

Worst Role: This Means War (as Tuck)

Andrew Garfield

 andrew garfield

Why I admire him: He’s extremely cute and extremely likeable and very good in the things I’ve seen him in.

Best Role: The Amazing Spiderman (as Peter Parker)

Worst Role: I’ve only seen him in Never Let Me Go other than as Spidey, and I liked that too, so I guess I don’t have one for him

James McAvoy

 James McAvoy

Why I admire him: The Scottish accent, the brilliance of how he portrays Charles Xavier. The hair. The acting. Have I mentioned the Scottish accent?

Best role: X-men (as Professor X)

Worst role: Wanted (as Wesley Gibson). He wasn’t necessarily bad, I just didn’t like the movie at all.

Ryan Gosling

ryan-gosling-LP

Why I like him: He inspired the “Hey Girl” meme. He’s pretty good at acting. He is the best Nicholas Sparks hero ever. He was hilarious in Stupid Crazy Love. He’s pretty much the coolest.

Best role: Drive (as the Driver)

Worst role: I will say as Noah Calhoun in the Notebook, but he’s actually really good in that too

Emily Blunt

 emily-blunt

Why I admire her: Her role as Rita. GIRL POWER. I also really enjoyed her in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s pretty cool.

Best role: Edge of Tomorrow (as Rita)

Worst role: The Five Year Engagement (as Violet)

Emilia Clark

emilia-clarke

Why I admire her: She seems like a person who enforces her privacy, and I think it is really important if you want to stay sane in Hollywood. I really like her casting as Dany – she does such a great job. And how insanely beautiful is she?!?!

Best role: Game of Thrones (as Daenerys Targaryen)

Worst role: Has she even been in anything else?

Shailene Woodley

shailene woodley

She’s the girl who made us all cry uncontrollably last year. She’s quirky and the outrageous things she says keeps me laughing for days. She seems genuine and she has such great stores of talent that she’s busy developing.

Best role: The Fault in our Stars (as Hazel Grace Lancaster)

Worst role: Divergent (as Tris Prior)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

 JGL

Why I admire him: He’s the cute geeky kid who grew up. I would really like to see him lead in something now!

Best role: Ten Things I Hate about You (as Cameron James)

Worst role: Another actor that I find extremely enjoyable even when I don’t like the movie 😀

Zac Efron

zac efron

did your screen also steam up for a second? 

Why I admire him: The funny thing is that this guy still needs to prove himself. I just really enjoy his looks, although he hasn’t been atrocious in his work, even if the movies have been bad.

Best role: The Lucky One (as Logan Thibault)

Worst role: Highschool musical (as Tray Bolton)

Channing Tatum

channing tatum

Why I admire him: He’s the extremely likable guy who finally made a name for himself.

Best role: 21/22 Jump Street (as Jenko)

Worst role: The Vow (as Leo)

 Honorable mentions: 

Ansel Elgort

Kit Harrington

Miles Teller

Chloe Grace Moretz (who recently won me over with Kick-Ass)

Rachel McAdams

Liam Hemsworth

Brit Robertson

What did you think? Let me know!

Movie Review: Atonement (2007)

atonement-poster

“I am very, very sorry for the terrible distress that I have caused you. I am very, very sorry…”

Plot: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. Based on the British romance novel by Ian McEwan.

Atonement1

Rating: 7.5/10

I enjoyed Atonement. I had no idea what the storyline was even about, and going in blind is always entertaining. It has a heartbreaking story and ending, and you can’t help feeling like crap because you’ve had a much better life than anyone involved in there.

The characters had real depth and the actors were well able to keep you dedicated to watching the movie to the end. I was really excited to see Benedict Cumberbatch around and he is as great as always, although his character was reprehensible. I also got to see some more James McAvoy, and I am currently a huge fan of him after watching Days of Future Past. He is fascinating and lives himself into a character completely. He was so sweet and happy and got up to such ridiculous things – I knew his letter writing exercise would blow up in his face in the end and it did quite entertainingly.

Atonement Kiss

Kiera Knightley plays a character that you eventually just feel sorry for – she lost what she had just found and could never really get on with her life after that. She was first the girl who loved someone beneath her class, then the second she made peace with her feelings it was taken away from her so badly, and her life turned out in a way that she never would have guessed.

Atonement McAvoy

James McAvoy as the male lead in Atonement had me fangirling again. I discovered him only last year when I watched X-men: Days of Future Past, and right now the man can do no wrong in my eyes. He is an incomparable actor with great talent and he really makes you understand the depth of who he portrays. It was wonderful seeing him in a role where he is a straight laced guy – his roles are often of incredibly broken men (not that his character had it any easier in here than he had as Professor X)

atonement saoirse

Saoirse Ronan as a little girl was an amazing actress. She very nearly stole the show because she makes you understand that she is a sensitive, inquisitive young girl. I was so mad at what she did because I fully believe that it is not something a man can ever outlive, but then eventually had to sympathize with her because she acknowledged she was very young and had no idea what the consequences of her incorrect evidence would have.

The interesting chronological order of Atonement made you pay attention. Most movies follow the expected formula of moving forward. I enjoyed Atonement because you were taken back in time frequently and could not know when it would happen.

The movie is masterfully directed to make you fully understand the tragic lives of all the people who suffered from Briony’s horrific mistakes. Even when Briony realizes she was wrong, which is pretty much immediately, the damage is done and she has caused a great deal of people in her life incredible amounts of pain and injustice.

Atonement is a strong and poignant movie with excellent directing, and it carries a message of great importance – to be 110% sure before you accuse someone for an unforgivable crime, because you are never ruining only one life in the process.

Marvelous Mondays AND Blindspot series 2015: X-Men: First Class (2011)

x-men-first-class-movie poster

Plot: In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start world war III.

Rating: 7.5/10

 professor

Now this is what I call killing two birds with one stone! My Blindspot choice for March is incidentally a Marvel movie so I was really happy to watch it and get both done.

In typical Natasha Fashion, I watched Days of Future Past first and liked it so much I needed to see the movie that came before it.  I did, and although First Class was really good it has nothing on Days of Future past. I think Future Past carries such a punch because the world of the X-Men is falling apart and that they are down to their last hope.

I once again loved James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in their respective roles. They are both so good at what they need to portray – McAvoy is a brilliant scholar and Fassbender is a powerful man determined to get his revenge on those who hurt him. Fassbender was slightly lame when he finally killed Shaw – he was immediately into the “villain” mode, and I think he worked too hard on reflecting the now slightly dark side of his character.

I also really enjoyed Mystique in here – she is still young and fresh and not as angry as she is in Days of Future Past. Jennifer Lawrence did a really good job with her – Mystique’s youth is evident but she’s faced the world’s intolerance her whole life because of her condition. I really liked how she undergoes transformation – you can see her skin changing. I do think Mystique’s skin looked way cooler in here, I read that Jennifer Lawrence had make-up for this role but her reprisal of Mystique in Days of Future Past wore a suit because she was so allergic to the makeup.

I still think Nicholas Hoult is way too adorable for it to be legal, and his struggle with what he is as Beast was sad and authentic.  It was nice to see Rose Byrne where she’s not being and idiot in some comedy – she can obviously do better than that and I would love to see her in more movies where she has a role and character development.

Kevin Bacon was entertaining as Sebastian Shaw – he was cold and ruthless and cruel. I thought the fact that he was also a mutant was a nice little twist to the story.

My biggest problem with First Class was the length – it was exceptionally long and not strong enough to carry it. It didn’t carry the emotional punch that Days of Future Past carried, and McAvoy’s broken charm in DoFP was more compelling than the roguish ego he had in First Class.

Overall a great film, but I still think that Days of Future Past was better done.

Marvelous Mondays: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

xmen poster

Professor X: “So many battles waged over the years… and yet, none like this. Are we destined to destroy each other, or can we change each other and unite? Is the future truly set?”

Plot: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. (IMDb)

Rating: 8.5/10

As the first Marvelous Mondays post for 2015, I am actually bringing a post to the table. Yep, me! Zoë has already reviewed this movie here, and I am happy to agree with her that it was an excellent movie.

X-Men: Days of Future Past wasn’t a movie I was rushing to see or anything. I chose to watch it on a long road trip to make the time pass, and man, am I happy that I did it! I can’t recall seeing any of the other X-Men movies, and I was thus very surprised that I could follow appropriately. I do think if you have more knowledge of what went down in the other movies it would enhance the impact of this one, but there is enough information in to make sure you are able to understand the Mutants have lost basically everything.

It is a rare thing of beauty to witness two of the greatest actors of our time together on screen: Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. They have so much class and I really enjoyed how their characters can’t help but convey a sense of smugness when recalling their youth.

charles xavier

As if the two legends mentioned above are not enough, you get the unbelievable talent that is James McAvoy on screen as the young Professor. I have always been slightly indifferent to him even though rumours of his brilliance have always been rampant. He was so good and multi layered and real that I now desperately need to watch more things with him in it. He is definitely my pleasant surprise of last year!

I loved the graphics in here. The portals right at the beginning is just too cool and I wasn’t overwhelmed with CGI (hem, hem, HOBBIT). That scene with Quicksilver where he puts on his earphones was really a wowzer, I won’t lie. I also found the concept behind the Sentinels very sinister and really well thought out (yes, I know that they come from comic books but remember that I’ve never touched on the X-Men franchise before)

wolverine

Even with my limited knowledge I found the entire cast well capable of their roles and well chosen. I really do like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and found those bone claws just intense looking overall. I thought Michael Fassbender was excellent as well as Magneto, at once very charming but it was also obvious that he was very dangerous and that it wouldn’t be a good idea to mess with him.

magneto

I think I can admit that I really don’t get the hype around Jennifer Lawrence, but I do find her a very good actress. She wasn’t my favorite in the movie but I liked what they delivered on her past and how she had to realize her decisions would ultimately make or break the Mutants’ future.

mystique

It was a lot of fun seeing Peter Dinklage as Trask. I do think that he was underused and it would have been very powerful to see why he hated the Mutants so intensely, whether he was just a complete racist (because that is how I perceived him in here), or if he had a possible reason for doing what he did.

I guess you can all see that I was very impressed with this movie, and that I think you should watch it if you haven’t already.

Five Things Friday: Five stars who completely changed my opinion about them in the last few months.

Happiest of Happies, dear readers! I do hope that you had an amazing NYE and had loads of fun.

Today, for our first FTF post this year, I bring a list of actors and actresses that changed my opinion of them during the last few months. I might have disliked them for their bratty appearance or been indifferent to them overall, but hey, ladies and gents, you can rest assured now that Natasha of LOTCG likes you know (I do know that they can’t sleep at night knowing I disliked them :D)

Angelina Jolie

Maleficent

I mainly hated Jolie because my ex boyfriend loved her (yeah, I was real grown up back then), so when I went to see Maleficent I was like “Okay fine, I will just take a gracious hit for the team”.* The movie isn’t really her best movie, but she is good in it, and I really enjoyed her as the evil woman I had always secretly been fascinated by in the Disney world.

Chloe Grace Moretz

Carrie-Movie-Poster-3

Ah, Chloe Grace. I thought you were such a brat. Well, you probably are, but since I based my perception of you on the character you played in the disastrous Barnabas Collins: Dark Shadows, I do apologise and am sorry. Carrie and If I Stay are both movies that endeared her to me. Her performances are solid and I could find nothing wrong or irritating about it. You go girl!

James McAvoy

charles xavier

I do think Bkushi would defriend me if I ever hated on McAvoy, so I am so relieved that I never did, although I was very indifferent to him. Then, I saw X-Men, and I felt glorious sunshine over my face as I was awakened to his brilliance.

One of my favorite genres are superhero movies, there is no two ways about it. However, save a few exceptions, they are not overly deep and the characters are very one dimensional. James McAvoy takes his Professor and makes you believe that he is who he says he is, not just some oke wanting a paycheck. Anything with his name on is what I will be watching next, because this guy is heading to my favorite actors list so fast it’s not even funny.

Scarlett Johansson

lucy and friend

Despite the fact that I can’t ever manage to type her surname correctly, and always have to go back and effing fix it, I realized that Scarlett (note lack of use of damn surname) isn’t nearly as bad or talentless as I always said she was. I really, really liked her kick ass retaliation retribution in Lucy, and her Black Widow in Captain America, Winter Soldier, was better than the annoying Black Widow she sometimes plays.

Shia LaBeouf

Lawless_Poster

What is it with these ridiculous surnames? Anyhow, I read a lot of celebrity news on the internet (as a vice and when I don’t want to work). The Beefster REALLY loves his attention so I felt very MEH about him because I hate attention ho’s. I watched Lawless and was reminded that even though he was a twat and probably a bit of a narcissist, he could act at the end of the day.

What is your opinion about these stars? Do you have anyone else you would like to add to this list? Let me know! 🙂

Marvelous Mondays: Days of Future Past by The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Today’s Marvel installment if from my bestie Bkushi over at The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger. If you haven’t, go to her site and quickly click on her follow button. I guarantee you it is worth it! Thanks for taking part mah friend!

x-men days of future pst poster

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.”
– Charles Xavier

SYNOPSIS: The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future. – via IMDB

So after all this time, I saw that Days of Future Past was still chilling on Chemistry Kidney’s list, and I thought this was unacceptable in the most extreme kind of way. How was this possible? Does this movie not deserve love, if not at minimum its due? Well, I am here to right that.

For one, I was really excited about this movie. I was excited because Bryan Singer was coming back for it. I was thrilled because it was part of the new segment of these movies, featuring James McAvoy (and you all know how I feel about him), Michael Fassbender and some more fantastic actors and actresses. I was over the moon because it was going to be a mash up of the old and the new actors. Initially I was not sure how this was going to work out, but I had faith. I avoided reading too much about this movie because I wanted it to be fresh and new when I went in.

x-men days of future past face mashup

I was so amped to see this, and I was not disappointed at all. Days of Future Past touts some simply amazing effects (especially Blink’s portals), and the cast handled their roles incredibly well across the board, too. The story, which should have been incredibly complex, is presented in such a way that it does not lose the audience, which is no simple feat to achieve. It never once comes across as though it is treating the audience as though they don’t have the brain capacity to follow it either, which is also great. Anyway, Hugh Jackman returns to helm the role of the insanely popular Wolverine once more and it was a much better outing for him, considering The Wolverine was such a let-down. Wolverine features prominently here, but it never becomes only about him. There was such a vast amount of characters in this movie, but it didn’t cumbersome, though there are a few I would have liked to see more of. Maybe in future movies. Too many characters usually result in a terrible ordeal, but the balance was struck pretty well here.

blink trippy

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender take up their roles of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr and both excel at it once again (as though I expected anything else). McAvoy plays a more disillusioned and broken Charles, and he plays it fantastically. Tortured, bitter, depressed and prickly, he is holed up with Hank McCoy Nicholas Hoult plays Beast really well, and I think him and McAvoy work well together, too, and the arguments that Beast has with Wolverine are excellent. There was a ridiculously hilarious bit about the revered JFK and Magneto, and it had me laughing quite a bit, seeing as how I find the Kennedy assassination wildly enthralling. Anyway. Evan Peters, whose pictures popping up just before the launch of the film did nothing to allay worries about his character appearance (though his performance was never in question), stole the show in each and every single scene he featured. It was sheer perfection, and I think he was an excellent embodiment of Quicksilver. The film struck a perfect balance between action, drama, and wittiness, and needs to be commended for that.

quicksilver fast

I feel, sadly, that Peter Dinklage was criminally underused in here. Trask represented a character that could have been so much more intense and layered had they just spent some more time on him, though I understand the movie needed to move some things along (as it is, Days of Future Past comes in at 131 minutes). Still, I would definitely have enjoyed seeing more of him. A younger Stryker features too, and naturally I had fun with that. Jennifer Lawrence returns as Mystique, and is still impressive as ever in the role. The story revolves more around her decisions and the way she thinks than anything else, but it worked for this. She is an incredibly popular mutant, so that worked out just fine. I adored seeing Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen return for a last outing as the mutants we have come to love over the years, and while their roles were not huge, they were pretty integral to all that was happening. The Sentinels themselves looked great and were well done, and it is easy to see why they would be so terrible and scary.

stryker and trask

Overall, there is a lot to say about this movie, but I am going to stop for now. Obviously I was rather taken with this movie. If you have not seen it, go now and rectify that immediately. This was some of the most fun I’ve had at cinema in a while, and it loses none of its rewatch value, either. It is my favourite X-Men flick to date.Days of Future Pastis fun, smart, fast and entertaining – everything an X-Men film should be.

Marvelous Mondays: X-Men First Class (2011) by The Girl That Loved to Review

Today’s Marvel installment is by Sherise, who has an absolutely fantastic blog over at The Girl That Loved to Review. If you are not already following Sherise, you are missing out on some excellent blogging and I suggest you rectify this matter verrrry quickly :). Thanks for taking part, Sherise!

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This may be incredibly unbelievable to some of you, but I have never seen any of the movies in the X-Men trilogy. Never. The only one I had seen before First Class was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It’s very weird when I think about it because I loved the animated X-Men cartoon show as a kid. So basically when I saw X-Men: First Class I was viewing it with fresh eyes. I knew generally about the most famous X-Men characters, but that was about it.

What drew me to the theater to see First Class it’s opening weekend, despite not being a big X-Men fan, was the combination of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. These are two of the best actors of their generation and they elevate the X-Men franchise to new heights. They may not be big box office names outside the X-Men movies, but they are integral to the success of First Class and why I love it so much. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have intense chemistry. They are so much fun to watch bounce off each other. I would say First Class is one of the best comic book films ever made. It is very fun and light, but it also tackles some heavy issues.

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James McAvoy first won me over in Wanted. I was lured into the theater to see Angelina Jolie, but came out raving about James instead. His work in First Class is phenomenal. He brings a lot of humor to the film, especially in the first half. I get so much joy out of seeing Xavier hitting on college co-eds and guzzling down beer. And the way he says “groovy” is just, well…groovy. I think James humanizes Xavier quite a bit. Xavier is not all knowing and wise. He’s still a young guy figuring things out. But he is also firm in his beliefs and his desire to help other mutants.

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Michael Fassbender blew me away previously as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. He was so sexy and smoldering. A man tormented by his inner demons and life that had been thrust upon him. Viewed through that kind of lens, Erik/Magneto is very much the same. Only in First Class it’s more like “You killed my mother, prepare to die!”

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Any Princess Bride fans? What am I saying, everyone’s a Princess Bride fan. Anyways, Michael has the showier part than James. He even gets all the cool music! He makes Magneto so badass. First Class seems like one long audition to be the next James Bond. I’d watch that. While Xavier lightens the film, Magneto darkens it. He’s a pessimist basically. Michael’s charisma is incredible. I love near the end when Magneto floats out with Shaw’s body before him. He resembles a god. Throughout the movie I was blown away by him.

Okay, enough McFassy love, now let’s delve into some of the things about the film that don’t work. There are enough of them to keep this from being a truly amazing film. My biggest problem is Jennifer Lawrence and how Mystique is handled. Jennifer is fine when she is the human version of Mystique. But when she is blue skinned and yellow eyed… I don’t find her believable. Jennifer seems uncomfortable in Mystique’s skin. But when I think about it, maybe that’s the genius of her performance. Since Raven/Mystique can’t accept herself as she is. I wish she had more to do other than mope around about her appearance. I would have preferred someone older in the part though, someone more equal to James and Michael. The age thing isn’t a huge problem in First Class, but it becomes more prominent, for me anyways, in Days of Future Past.

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Then there is January Jones as Emma Frost. Most of the other actors are amazing, bringing so much energy to the film. Then there’s January with all the personality of a limp fish. It almost works sometimes, since Emma is a ‘cold’ character. But more often I found myself laughing at how ridiculous she looks and her monotone delivery. And the diamond special effects on her skin looked absolutely terrible. It was horrendous. Rose Byrne is a better actress, but I hate her character. She’s basically useless except for paralyzing Xavier (well, Magneto did it too but…). And the romance between the two is even more useless.

Other highlights are Kevin Bacon as Shaw, the villain. He is convincing and it looks like he had a lot of fun with it. Nicholas Hoult is quite good as Beast. When he’s big and blue he looks like a cute teddy bear.

I love X-Men: First Class. Instead of focusing on huge fight scenes and special effects, Matthew Vaughn focuses on the characters and their relationships with one another. I find it incredibly interesting and fascinating. The way Magneto and Xavier love and need each other, yet are torn apart by their very different beliefs. And how Mystique has a different relationship with each of the two men. My love for this film is why I was disappointed with Days of Future Past. I likedDOFP, but it’s basically the Wolverine show with an emphasis on action sequences. Where were my McFassy scenes? They were so few. And there were even fewer between the older and younger Xaviers and Magnetos. I feel that First Class was a great opportunity to reboot the franchise that was then undermined by DOFP.My rating for X-Men: First Class: 8/10