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!

Happy Women’s Day South-Africa: Top 15 Favorite Kick-Ass female characters on screen

Today is Women’s Day here in South-Africa. Over here we like public holidays quite a bit (although India has TWENTY ONE), so we are all having a day off today – Whoop!

To celebrate, I made a list of strong female characters on screen. I think we can all agree that there are too few well written, complex female characters, but these ladies below are amazing and did their job extremely well in their respective films!

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Fifteen: The Black Widow – Marvel movies

Female superheroes have increased marginally, and I am really happy about that. My only negative comment is that I am confused why female superheroes need to either wear skin tight leather suits or skimpy Wonder Woman outfits while their male counterparts wears aerodynamically pleasing outfits or war clothing. We have a far way to still go in this genre, but at least we can all agree that Natasha Romanoff kicks ass multiple times on screen and is a fully functional member of the squad. I really enjoy this character, and I think Scarlett Johannson has done a great job bringing her to the screen. It annoyed me a bit that her infertility was this massive discussion in one of the movies – the reproductive capability of her male teammates have never been discussed.

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Fourteen: Katniss Everdeen

Katniss as a character has many flaws – she is selfish and can’t choose between two men. While that is certainly a crime, I have never been able to really judge her too harshly for it. Her world is dark and horrible, and she has nothing wonderful. Turning away from the caring of a good man? It seems nearly cruel to expect her to do that.

But despite this obvious flaw, I really thought the character was badass and capable, and honorable to take her younger sister’s place in a situation where she was guaranteed her death.

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Thirteen: Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series

If this had been a literary list, Hermoine would have been much higher. Film Hermoine is great and Emma Watson did a good job with her, but my opinion remains that the film adaptions didn’t do justice to the sheer magnificence of the novels, on any level. Anyway, this isn’t a Harry Potter discussion, so I will just mention that Hermoine Granger is the reason those two boys stayed alive. She is strong, intelligent, fiercely loyal and brave, and her contribution to the wizarding world and the feminist cause must never be forgotten.

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Twelve: Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

When Legally Blonde dropped in 2001, every single person on this planet was charmed by Reese Witherspoon and the ditzy genius she created. There were tiny dogs, buckets of pink, manicures and textbooks, all in one film. I placed Elle Woods on this list because we too often forget that it is perfectly possible for a woman to love pink, to be girly and to be very determined, intelligent and capable all at one time. Another excellent thing in the film was that sisterhood won out in the end, and Warner Hungtinton the Third was booted on his ass.

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Eleven: Caroline Forbes, The Vampire Diaries

As the only series character to make it on to this post, you must know that I am very much team Caroline. Another pretty blonde girl who shows determination, loyalty and passion for life! In season one, Caroline works on your nerves pretty much incessantly. She’s insecure and whiny, and seems to be shallow and petty. However, the second she becomes a vampire and she realises that she will live an eternity in her own head, she gets a grip in such a remarkable fashion that I became her biggest fan.

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“I am no man”

Ten: Eowyn, Lord of The Rings

Perhaps the lady with the most iconic quote on the list, Eowyn, shield maiden of Rohan, is on first impression another lady who waits while her beloved father figure wastes away at the hand of the dastardly Wormtongue and her brother rides to war against orcs. It quickly becomes clear that this is a proud woman who was raised by warriors, and that she is simply tired of being left behind while those she loves die around her. She finds a way on to the battlefield, and if that chilling and rousing speech Theoden gives before his final ride isn’t enough, Eowyn steals everyone’s thunder by killing the leader of the Nazgul. She also gets her super happy ending at the end, which pleased me to no end.

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Nine: The Bride, Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino is a phenomenal film maker, and the roles he creates for women are legendary. The Bride is one such character, hell bent on revenge and making people pay for what was done with her. Uma Thurman brings this vengeful character to life with scary finesse, and even though this isn’t my favorite Tarantino film, the character itself is impressive as they come.

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Eight: Hit Girl, Kick-Ass

She’s super tiny, she swears like a sailor, she wears a bright purple wig and her father is Nicolas Cage. Who doesn’t love her? I was a major fan of both movies, and it would be amazing if they could make a third. Hit Girl is the best part of this franchise, showing that gender and size is insignificant when it comes to being a bad ass.

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Seven: Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The horror when Disney bought Star Wars was paramount. Everyone was sure it would be a disaster, and no one could even get a moment of sleep due to the inordinate amounts of stress this franchise was causing in their adult lives. LUCKILY, Disney actually ended up doing a great job, and introduced a bunch of new characters that were able to flow nicely with how things had been done in the past. One of the best new additions was Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, a survivor and a strong female character who can do things for herself. I really enjoyed this character – she is a fantastic blend of purity and strength and was wonderful and empowering to watch.

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Six: Rita Vrataski, The Edge of Tomorrow

A nice little situation of role reversal, Emily Blunt was a hardened war veteran who saved Tom Cruise’s ass REPEATEDLY from aliens. I loved the character – she was sassy, strong, smart and the heroine of the day.

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Five: Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale

Did you also just rub your heart because of the pain that shot through it when Vesper was mentioned? It HURTS. Vesper is hands down the best Bond girl that has ever been onscreen. Her sharp brain kept her well equipped to banter with Bond, and her eventual control over Bond ripped out my heart. The fact that Casino Royale is the best Bond film out there certainly helps, but this character in herself is powerful and strong and determined, attributes that were completely left out during the writing process for the other female characters over this incredibly long franchise.

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Four: Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

I mentioned in my review of Jurassic World that it felt awful to realize that Dr. Ellie Sattler, who was in the very original Jurassic Park in NINETEEN NINETY THREE was a better, well written and strong female character than the running-in-heels-Bryce-Dallas-Howard. Dr. Ellie Sattler, played by Laura Dern, is super smart, professional, excels in her field and gets to see Dinosaurs in JP. I have loved and admired this character from my childhood till now, and I am eternally grateful to the writers that they allowed this strong character to see the light.

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Three: M, The Bond Franchise

Dame Judi Dench is literal life goals. She is classy, successful and revered, and a girl can just dream to be her when she grows up. M is Bond’s boss, the only person who can try to control him, and their relationship is amazing and complex. I love the power of M, and Judi Dench is incredible to behold as this woman who puts her country above everything in her life.

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Two: Furiousa, Mad Max

Homegirl Charlize Theron teamed up with Tom Hardy in the return of Mad Max, and what a job she did. Furiousa is powerful and intense, and her survival skills in the mad world she finds herself in is incredible. The film should have been titled Furiousa, as it is about her and how she helped the wives escape from that dreadful man. The entire film is one big celebration of sisterhood and sticking together, and I could only cheer on the women as they battled for their freedom.

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One: Shoshanna Dreyfus, Inglorious Basterds

The final accolade was difficult to award, because all of the ladies on here are amazing. However, I do think that Shoshanna is worthy, and that her role in Inglorious Basterds is incredibly important. I loved her – her courage and determination, her absolute hatred of anything Nazi, and her eventual success at revenge.

Well, there you have it. There are hopefully a million other female characters that can be mentioned by you below, and I look forward to seeing your opinions!

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

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

Movie Review: The Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)

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Katniss: “I have a message for President Snow: You can torture or bombed us, blasted our district to the grounds. But do you see that ? Fire Is Catching… If we burn, you burn with us!”

Plot synopsis: With the Games now destroyed and in pieces, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, now end up in the so thought “destroyed” District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the “Mockingjay” and the symbol of rebellion for the people (IMDb)

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Rating: 8/10

Although not as entertaining or jaw dropping as Catching Fire, I really did enjoy Mockinjay Part 1. It didn’t contain so many filler scenes as I thought it would. I consider the “filler” scenes really as part of the story here – remember, The Hunger Games is written in first person so it is only natural that there would be parts where the other characters showed what they were up to, because it wouldn’t have been in the book. The movie ended where I thought it would – the only place that makes sense when you read the book and realise what happens. It is also a wonderful, true adaption – I really didn’t catch much changed, and if it was, it wasn’t significant. A major plus is that the movie didn’t feel stretched out or too much, and I was worried about that. There wasn’t too much real action, but the first part of the book is mostly sadness and not guns blazing. The uprisings in the Districts particularly touched me, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of that. The bombing at the trees and the hydro electrical plant gave me such chills. It will always move me when people rise against injustice. I liked that they included the Hanging Tree song; it was beautiful, chilling and authentic.

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Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) has so much screen time and I was EEK about it. He is responsible for saving so many lives after the bombing of District 12, but he is still carrying scars from what he saw, a weight on his shoulders to be a proper soldier to the District that saved him and pain because he knows that Katniss will never return his feelings. Liam isn’t as charming as his dear brother Chris (you may have heard of him), but I do like him as an actor and as Gale. He does slightly resemble Katniss, something that was essential in the books to pass them off as cousins for his safety, and he is very much as I would have imagined him if I ever read HG before the movies. Just as a note, I would have chosen Gale over Peeta any time of day and think Katniss is rotten for playing with Gale’s feelings just because she is unsure about her own. Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence have enough chemistry to make this relationship very intriguing.

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Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) is in the hands of the Capitol and being tortured for his possible role in what happened in the Arena. He keeps sending out anti uprising propaganda, and is not the most beloved person in District 13. However, Katniss knows it is not who he really is, and notices his deterioration.

Like I just said, I wouldn’t personally choose Peeta over Gale, but I love the character. He is so sweet and loyal, and just wants to love Katniss and have her safe. Josh Hutcherson does well because he has a kindly face that seems to smile even when he isn’t, and he impressed me again in here with his portrayal. It is eery how physically worsens, and how bad he eventually looks.

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Sam Claflin impressed me as Finnick Odair. He isn’t the biggest part of the series, and I loved how his role stayed relative to that in the book – there, but not overwhelming. Claflin does the portrayal great, because I really felt his intense pain at knowing Annie was at the mercy of the Capitol. I understand everyone was upset with the cutting of Sam’s underwear scene, because it would have been fun and would have lightened up the movie a bit, but I think most of Finnick’s scenes were well executed.

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Donald Sutherland as President Snow was AMAZING. He is incredibly well cast and he is chilling and really charismatic at the same time. Snow loves playing games with Katniss – it seems as time as the uprisings in the Districts are insignificant to him compared to the continuing fight he has with Katniss.

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Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, didn’t plague me as much as in the books. Lawrence makes her real, shows that the thorny exterior hides a terrified interior. The books sometimes only reflect her selfish behaviour and demands, but Katniss in the movie makes you understand that she is a product of her surroundings – maybe her indecisiveness to choose between Peeta and Gale isn’t greed but a desperate attempt to have more things to love and to be loved by. Not right at all – but sympathy can be had.

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Margaery Tyrell certainly looks different!

Lastly, I thought that Boggs, Cressida and the entire crew was well done, Elizabeth Banks shined once again as Effie Trinket, and Julianne Moore as Alma Coin was also a good choice. Woody Harrelson continues his role as Haymitch Abernathy, who is sober under the stringent rules of District 13, and that doesn’t make him nice at all. I like that he is always the one who tells Katniss where to get off, because she really deserves it.

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Recommendation: Hell’s yeah!

Word of advice to those who haven’t read the books yet for Mockingjay Part Two: Suzanne Collins didn’t pull a Veronica Roth, but she got REALLY trigger happy at the end of the series. #cries

American Hustle (2013)

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In 1978, con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) meets Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) at a party. They have an immediate connection and start a relationship. When Irving tells Sydney what he does for a living, stealing cash deposits from people looking for a loan, he thinks she hates him when she leaves. She returns as English aristocrat “Lady Edith Greensly”. Together they scam and work together and though Irving loves her he is hesitant to leave his solipsistic wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) because he knows he will lose contact with her son Danny who he loves like his own child. Rosalyn knows her husband is up to no good and threatens to report him to the police if he leaves her.

Richard “Richie” DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), an FBI agent, pretends to apply for a loan and when Sydney takes the deposit from him she is arrested and locked up in a cell. Irving is highly upset that she is in isolation and accepts a deal with DiMaso to help them arrest four conmen, caught through their superior skills in the business. Richie believes that Sydney is English, but not an aristocrat and no one informs him otherwise. Sydney is furious with the idea and wants to flee the country with Irving but he doesn’t want to leave because of his son. She tells him that she will do the deal but she is done with him and he can stand and watch as she manipulates DiMaso into liking her.

Irving employs the help of his friend, a man who pretends to be an Arabian Sheik (Said Taghmaoui). The Sheik is “looking” for investments in America. They target the Mayor of Camden, New Jersey, Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner), a man who really wants the best for his community and has been unsuccessfully campaigning to reopen Atlantic City, something he needs spans of cash for. Richie wants to make Carmine the target of the operation, but Irving and Richie’s boss, Stoddard Thorsen (Louis C.K) object to this. Sydney, who is still getting back at Irving, helps Richie manipulate the lady who does the FBI cash wiring and wires 2 million dollars into an account to back their story that they have the cash to give out loans. Anthony Amado, Stoddard’s boss, hears of Richie’s plans and goes over his head to approve Richie’s endeavours.

Richie, for all his eagerness, is still a newbie when it comes to operations. His over eagerness causes Carmine some alarm and he leaves, but Irving rushes after him and apologizes, and Carmine says he will do business with them only if he exclusively deals with Irving.

Richie goes behind Irving’s back and switches his Sheik with a FBI-agent who can barely speak the language. They arrange Carmine and the new Sheik to meet at the airport and they are invited by to a casino party hosted by Carmine. Victor Tellegio (Robert DeNiro), a Mafia overlord, is at the party and Irving is upset that they are now dealing with mobsters. Things nearly go south when Tellegio can speak Arabian. They are narrowly saved when a drunken man arrives and disrupts the meeting. Richie agrees to a 10 million dollar transfer to prove they are legitimate, once again something the neither FBI nor Irving cleared.

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At the casino party, Rosalyn meets mobster Pete Musane (Jack Huston) who she starts seeing behind her husband’s back. She mentions to him she is sure Irving is working for the IRS, and Pete threatens Irving but he assures Pete they will prove the investment is real. Irving, furious, confronts Rosalyn and she claims she did it because he makes her feel unloved. She agrees to keep his secret but says she think it will be better if they get divorced.

Richie admits to being attracted to Sydney. She confesses her real identity, and he becomes agitated and violent. Irving arrives and throws Richie out of the room, calming Sydney down while sorting out most of their problems. He assures her when it is all over that she, he and Danny will find a way to make a life together.

Richie and Irving videotape a number of Congress members receiving bribes. Richie gets yet another 2 million dollars allocated to the project to prove they are legitimate. A handover meeting is attended by Richie and Irving and Tellegio’s lawyer, Alfonse Simone (Paul Herman). Alfonse promises a number of criminal activities not knowing he is being recorded

Will Carmine be locked up as well? What will Tellegio do when he finds out he is being double crossed? Will Rosalyn really leave Irving, letting Sydney be with him? What will happen to the out of control Richie?

Rating: 6.5/10

I really don’t understand why everyone has been raging about American Hustle. I found it way too long, dragged out and then the ending rushed, and a very simple story at the end of the day.

However, the acting was outstanding and the costumes beautiful. The movie was stretched out over two hours and it was highly unnecessary with the tale being told.

American Hustle had a power-packed cast; something I feel can be detrimental to the story. Sure, it attracts a lot of interest, but fresh faces can give fantastic performances too. Christian Bale here stood out as the best of the cast as always. I love how he is always willing to go the extreme for his roles and he did it once again here. Jennifer Lawrence played her seemingly typecast role as a crazy woman well, and she was quite funny with her constant habit of setting everything on fire. Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper also gave good performances, with Bradley’s ‘fro stealing the moment. I thought Jeremy Renner did such a good job as the Mayor. The Mayor was mostly an innocent, good man, caught between the desperate attempts of the FBI to capture someone. Renner is quite a good actor and I’m tired of seeing him underdeveloped. I sincerely hope that this will be the beginning of good things for him.

So, basically alright but not worth the hype.

5 Things Friday: 5 Movies I’m totally excited about for 2014

Happy Friday!

For today: Five Movies being released in 2014 I am so excited about.

Enjoy!

Vampire Academy

So you thought the Vampire craze was dead? Nope. It is here and it is happening. Based on the best selling series of the same name by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy focuses on Dhampir Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and Moroi Princess Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry). I am really excited that it is being released within a respectable time frame in SA (next week).

VA

Divergent

Divergent

The Fault in Our Stars

It is definitely Shailene Woodley’s year. Starring in both the FiOS and Divergent, Shailene is set to rocket to stardom. I haven’t seen anything of her yet, but since both these movies are being made from two of my favorite books, I am putting a lot of trust in her acting abilities.

TFIOS

The Mockingjay Part one

mockingjay

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Captain America

What movies are you excited about for 2014?

PS: I linked the respective movies to their books, so go take a look 🙂

 

Movie Review: Catching Fire (2013)

Catching_Fire_Poster_1_14_13

Catching Fire takes place a few months after Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) became the first two victors to leave the Hunger Games alive. Before the Victory Tour – a tour designed to keep the horrors of the Games fresh in everyone’s mind, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) visits Katniss at her home. He tells her that her act of defiance – where she and Peeta agreed to eat poisoned berries rather than killing each other, showed people that it was fine to defy the Capitol, and that the result was that there are uprisings in the districts. He tells Katniss that if she wants her family to survive, she will show the entire Panem that she was just a silly girl in the cinema that was desperately in love.

This naturally is a problem because she is barely speaking to Peeta. He is still hurt by the fact that her feelings were just a show for the audience while his was real. While on tour they manage to become friends again, but even that isn’t enough. In the district where Rue, the girl who was so close to Katniss in the Arena, used to live, they witness an outbreak of violence when the crowd salutes Katniss. Katniss confesses to Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Peeta what Snow wants, but even when Peeta and Katniss act in love it isn’t enough to stop the rebellion that is rising.

Snow discusses plans to get rid of Katniss with the new head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensby (Philip Seymour-Hoffman). When everything else fails, they decide to send Katniss, with many of the other victors, back into the Arena for the Quarter Quell – a special Hunger Games that happens every 25th year to once again remind the people of Panem the price they pay for the rebellion long ago. How will Katniss and Peeta get out alive a second time with Snow seeking her death?

Rating: I would rate this movie an excellent 9/10.

WOW. Just wow. I finally got to the cinema this weekend to go and see it. There were so many reasons I just couldn’t get to the movies before this, so I went in three weeks later than I had planned. Everyone was declaring it one of THE movies of the year, and absolute must, and I was getting frustrated by not having seen it yet. The internet is such a bastard so I was cautious not to check out too many reviews – I have been burned before. The waiting was well worth it in the end.

It is so rare that a movie is 1) as good as its book 2) better than its prequel and 3) gets me teary eyed. Catching Fire managed all three. It packs a huge emotional punch. Katniss is much more lovable on screen than in the books. In the movies she is just a very confused girl in a horrible world, where fear is so acute she actually doesn’t know how to understand love. There were very few changes made from book to movie. I appreciated that, and have to mention that some of the changes were best for the movie.

Why is it better than Hunger Games (2012)? It is very difficult to pinpoint, but there are just so much more emotions in Catching Fire. It sticks to the story, and what is added doesn’t subtract from the message of the film. All the actors have developed exponentially, most notably Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. She has always been great, but she is so truly Katniss in Catching Fire that you feel that you are right there in the arena with her. Peeta breaks your heart with his kindness, and Gale breaks your heart with his stubborn bravery and pride. The scene where the Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch hear two of them will certainly be sent back into the arena is horrible. It broke my heart. The cruelty of President Snow, and how stupid he was to think that Katniss could stop the revolution, and punishing her when she couldn’t by sending her back into the arena. Effie Trinket got so much more show time and Elizabeth Banks really did well showing her as a frilly Capitol creation, but with a good heart who feels something for them despite her stupid costumes. Some of the scenes (like the poisoned smoke) are utterly disgusting and some (like the monkeys) had me jumping in fright. As you meet characters that will have significant impact later on, you already start grieving for what will happen to them. Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) isn’t the major sex-symbol he is portrayed as in the books, but he is brave, sweet, kind and loyal to Mags. Carrying her on his back reduced me to tears a few times. Plutarch Heavensby was brilliantly done. He has this underhanded brilliance that makes you suspect he is pulling a big one on President Snow – who was once again excellently done by Donald Sutherland.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I beg you to go now. You will be thanking me later.

Xx

5 Things Friday: 5 Things happening right now

5 things friday pic

South-Africa’s multiply disordered government

Our President put his foot in his mouth – Again

E-tolls is a new tolling system on the roads in Johannesburg that the South-African government hopes to implement. It is angering motorists because it is going to be ridiculously expensive, we are already paying an astronomical amount of tax and fuel prices are already so high nobody needs extra expenses.

Mr. Jacob Zuma released a statement saying plenty of unsavoury things about the anger directed towards E-tolling. Read it here. Great job, sir. We know you can’t run for President again but I’m sure your political party is super chuffed with you calling their primary voters backwards. GREAT JOB. I am actually imagining the Democratic Alliance (another political party in South-Africa) hosting a party in your honour.

Watching

I am currently watching Suits now. I expected it to be good, really, but was surprised at how much I am entertained by it. It is cut-throat, fast paced and high powered, and the characters are incredibly sarcastic and driven, and I love that.

suits

Movies

There are finally good movies being released. I love the whole experience of the movie – going to the cinema, getting popcorn, sitting in the dark and watching something come to life on a huge screen. I haven’t been the movies for a bit – mostly because I was broke, very busy and there weren’t any great movies on. THAT is why I am so excited. I’m going to make some time soon and go see at least one or two the next few weeks.

On the 8th of November, Thor: The Dark World is being released here in South-Africa. I can’t wait to see what Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman have done as Thor and Jane again.

thor-the-dark-world

Next on my watch list is Catching Fire which will be released on the 22nd of November. Part of the Hunger Games series focuses on Peeta and Katniss when they get sent back into the arena only a year after they won the Games together. Katniss knows President Snow hates her, but will she be able to be victorious again? I am skeptic about the actor cast as Finnick Odair, but I am willing to be open minded and see if they bring the second book justice.

Catching-Fire-catching-fire-35716281-600-840

Excited

In a month’s time, I am traveling to Cape Town, South-Africa, to go to the WSPID conference. Cape Town is one of the places I haven’t visited in my own country, and I am honestly excited to go there.

Desperately in need of:

A car,

A new haircut.

Time: For studying, Reading, Relaxing, Sleeping and Watching Series. All these tasks are crammed into the little time I have in the evening, and it is exhausting me. Luckily I am on study leave next week, so I have time then to study.

What’s happening in your life right now?

xX N