March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

march to may

I was all over the place with this post , claiming that I would do some monthly rundowns. I was planning to, I really was, but as you know life is a busy little bastard and all you can do sometimes is hold on for dear life and hope not to fall off the wagon.

In Cinema:

I’ve been to cinema quite a lot the last couple of months. There were a few films I wanted to watch before the internet spoiled everything, and for the most part I walked out relatively pleased.

  1. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The biggest problem with Batman vs. Superman? It lacked heart. Not all films should be lighthearted, but BvS had no comic relief and no passion – you need either of the two. I didn’t hate it though, but I do think that DC should have worked a little harder if they really plan to have a fighting chance in an environment so dominated by their biggest rivals.

  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

I will definitely watch this again – it is easy, comfortable watching, not necessarily great but it was quite fun. It also contains my husband, and that can’t be ignored!

  1. The Jungle Book

Beautiful and charming, it impressed me with its gorgeous CGI and traditional storyline. Not my favorite Disney live action film, but it was good nonetheless. I am still the most excited for Beauty and the Beast next year. I CAN’T WAIT.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Woohoo!! This was so great! It probably deserves a higher score from me, because on reflection I had a blast with it.

At Home:

Blindspot:

March: Love Actually – it was OKAY. Not really my favourite romantic comedy and I won’t be watching it again.

April: Home Alone – not gonna lie, I hated this. I am way too old for this shit

May: Warrior Sooo good, but not something I’d recommend as a pick me up.

Other films:

Begin Again (2013) – I really enjoyed it! It is surprising and not really as close to a romcom as it might sound, and I especially enjoyed the track.

The Fast and The Furious (2001) – This way Throw Back was the best and entertaining. I had the best time even though it is as ridiculous, gawdy, a murky story line and terrible acting. It’s all about investing in the future films, you see.

Wild Child (2008) – Wild Child is a favorite movie of 2008 for me. It has everything – the teenage drama, the love story, the gorgeous hero, friendship, everything! I had to force myself not watching it again right after!

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Series:

I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries at the moment and having a complete and utter blast.  I stopped half way into Season two to focus on exams, but I am so onboard getting my ass to season 7 eventually! Can we just say #teamDamon all the way?!

Reading:

Last Chance Salloon (Marian Keyes) – hmmm, not my favorite Marian Keyes. It was good in some places but it took me ages to get through it – long, laborious reading.

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Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) – surprising and good, well thought out, not overly sloppy.

The Welcoming (Nora Roberts) – for the life of me I can’t write a review on this for some reason. It is very bland, definitely some of Nora’s most basic work. It isn’t bad or offensive, just pretty tame and nearly put me to sleep in some places.

I finally finished Big Magic after months of searching for it! I’d love to read it again, with a highlighter and a note pad.

Currently also reading:

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. – this book is a real drag, to be honest. I don’t get why the author is compared to the likes of Marian Keyes – Binchy writes books that make me fall fast asleep. I thought perhaps this book was different from the other one I read by her, but it is shockingly the same – the exact same format and story if you take away all the frills.

Collaboration:

I reviewed over on T9M’s site The Help (2011) – such an awesome flick!

I also reviewed for Kim and Drew‘s 80’s blogathon – When Harry Met Sally – what a great film, definitely worthy of a classic status.

What have you been up to?

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Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016)

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Plot: As a war between rival queen sisters Ravenna and Freya escalates, Eric and fellow warrior Sara, members of the Huntsmen army raised to protect Freya, try to conceal their forbidden love as they combat Ravenna’s wicked intentions

Rating: 7/10

I’m probably being very lenient with the rating, because this movie has quite a bit of flaws. For all its’ flaws it is an entertaining watch. I didn’t expect a second movie after Snow White and the Huntsman, but how could I not? Hollywood will milk a success till it lies twitching feebly on the ground, milked of everything that made it so good to start with.

The Huntsman is back, sans Snow White. She’s busy being haunted by the Mirror and is not Kristen Stewart anymore (I think Stewart was not interested in showing her face again lest we remember her shenanigans with the previous director).

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The Huntsman, or Eric, is living a holistic life after defeating Ravenna, and is not impressed with the charm or charisma when the handsome Prince pitches and requests that he hunt down the Mirror and prevent evil to rise again. He takes along his two dwarf friends, who are really against female dwarves for some reason.

And for no further plot reasons than to bring romance into the story, two female dwarves join the hunting party. Soon another lady arrives – Eric’s long dead ex, Sarah, played by Jessica Chastain. Naturally questions arise and we, and Eric and Sara, see what happened that fateful day when he thought he saw her murdered.

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There is also another Queen in the mix – Queen Freya (Emily Blunt), who lost all her niceness when her child was burned in her crib by her lover (I really don’t blame her for losing her niceness). As she’s Ravenna’s sister, there is plotsies afoot, and she sets out with her newly acquired power to take a lot of land by icy force and force children to love her – I mean who wouldn’t when the choice is between love and being murdered? Love comes easily then.

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Winter’s War takes a lot of stories and tries to combine them. Some is really unnecessary and a lot of the time Winter’s War looks like a really pretty perfume ad, but it really isn’t bad. The cast is stellar and Emily Blunt is particularly enjoyable (though please don’t think for a second I didn’t enjoy my husband CH as well!). There is a lot of sadness, something Blunt does really well, and Charlize Theron is disgusting, frightening, beautiful and evil as her return as Ravenna. The mirror also stays amazing – how they brought that concept to the screen looks ridiculously cool.

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I love love love Chris Hemsworth. I thought I would always choose him as Thor, but this roughly hewn and really charming Eric works so well. And, accents. GAWSH. I think this role suits Hemsworth well because it firstly gives him something to be other than Thor Odinson and secondly it is written in a way, and especially in the second movie, to highlight his natural charm and that gorgeous smile. I am obviously a massive fan and will gladly pitch whenever he is onscreen, but it isn’t only for the looks – he is a decent actor and although I am a bit sad to say this and it is because he hasn’t really had time to prove himself in very serious movies, he is an excellent popcorn entertainment actor.

If you want to enjoy Winter’s War, it really is possible, because it isn’t bad. I think we should all just sometimes remind ourselves that it is okay to enjoy a movie because it is fun and sweet and looks pretty – not all things need to be dark and intelligent and serious!

Some more, ehm, shots of the movie:

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Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

The martian Poster2Plot:During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive

Rating: 10/10

I have never, for any movie, given a full score on this blog. It stems from my grade four days where the teacher believed that nothing deserved a perfect score because then there wasn’t room for improvement (Such a cheerful woman).

Well, Mrs. Van den Berg, The Martian is perfect so I’m giving it 10/10. I can’t think of anything that annoyed me or should have been done in another way. The Martian is both a cinematic masterpiece and a feel good movie, which, as we know, is impossible to pull off.

Don’t be mistaken, you are going to sit and watch the Martian for a long time – it is very close to three hours. However, I did not even care about the time passing. Any shorter would have rushed the whole movie and it would not have been so good. Ridley Scott is in top form and I hope he stays that way. The pace of the movie is tightly controlled and he worked the cast to perform their best.

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I will question the sanity of the Academy if Matt Damon does not get an Oscar. The film also deserves the Oscar for best film. Mark Watney is perfectly written. He manages to be on Mars, stranded, dying, but still find a way to keep himself alive. He has made me more determined to pass Botany, because that shit saves lives. His humor and determination to solve problems, and the sad way he keeps himself sane and only loses it a handful of times makes him one of my favorite characters to ever be written.

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I will start the discussion of support characters with Melissa Lewis, played by Jessica Chastain. Jessica Chastain is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses. She carefully picks her roles so she doesn’t end up with mediocre movies; she is phenomenally talented as an actress and is incredibly beautiful. Melissa Lewis made an amazing woman and commander, the way she managed her team and how she went about it. It makes me really optimistic that there were so many strong female character roles in The Martian – it is uplifting and not one of them were typecast or silly or dumbed down at the end.

 Martian crew

Continuing onto the crew, I thought that Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Michael Pena and Aksel Hennie all did superb work as the other astronauts in the Ares III. They all had their independent roles and personalities and weren’t only there as seat fillers. I especially liked Alex Vogel’s (Aksel Hennie) love and commitment to his family. I found the smidge of romance injected into two of the character’s story really sweet and perfectly placed – it was only a very small part of the story.

Then the crew on earth had Sean Bean in, whose notable performance can be further celebrated by the fact that he did not die. It’s true, I’m not lying. They even injected a Lord of The Rings reference into one of his scenes, and I enjoyed that thoroughly. I really liked his character Mitch Henderson – Sean Bean can really pull of the quietly-dignified-but-still-disapproving look so well.

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I can keep on discussing further performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, MacKenzie Davis and Donald Glover but I won’t as this is getting to a rather long review. However, I will briefly mention Kristen Wiig, who impressed me by not being another comedic role and who did a wonderful job as the NASA spokesperson.

The humor that was part of the movie was perfectly written in and beautifully portrayed. The many uses of ductape was probably a favorite of mine – it is everywhere in the film. The adoration for coffee was another favorite as well as the exasperation you saw on so many employees’ faces when they were told to get a job done faster than what made sense.

The camaraderie between the astronauts was hilarious and touching. It seemed as if they were real coworkers and their banter was endearing.

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There are a lot of things I want to keep on mentioning – I never want to forget how much I enjoyed this film the first time I saw it. Its success lies in being so human – Mark Watney does nothing that makes you pity him, but his lonely fate on Mars is heartbreaking to behold. His crew’s anguish in leaving him behind and how the citizens on the planet band together to bring him back home was a glimpse of the good side of humanity. NASA seems to be fangirling about the Martian as much as we are, and that makes it even more fun. I can’t help but think The Martian coinciding with the discovery that there is water on Mars isn’t a PR dream for them right now.

We probably can’t be friends if you dislike this movie. I am sorry. Go watch it, go like it, and come talk to me.

Blindspot 2015: Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar

Plot: In the near future, Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen its lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.

Rating: 8.5/10

Dr. Brand sets the somber tone for Interstellar with his rendition of Dylan Thomas’ famous words: “Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”The devastating wasteland that earth has become has had a profound effect of the human race – Earth has finally revolted against the never ending abuse it received and is slowly getting revenge – the human race is dying out.  NASA, nearly defunct, searches desperately for a planet that can sustain human life; as well as a way to get there alive.

Left to right: Mackenzie Foy and Matthew McConaughey in INTERSTELLAR, from Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers Entertainment.

That is how Cooper, a retired astronaut, gets to go into space again. His daughter Murph never forgives him, even as time passes in its strange pattern and she grows older.

I expected to hate Interstellar. I actually hoped I would – nothing is more annoying than the hype big movies generate. Sure, it is great for their budget, but it is so conformist. I thought it would be fussily intellectual – which I hate – but it wasn’t. There were some big concepts but it didn’t go overhead. The concepts weren’t constantly being discussed on screen either, which helped move the story in understandable lines. Interstellar managed to march towards three hours without killing the storyline. It was needed to properly illustrate the story.

 Matthew-McConaughey-in-Interstellar

The graphics were amazing. Christopher Nolan and his team did a phenomenal job. The vast emptiness of space was beautiful and in stark contrast with the destructive zone Earth has become – there is a feeling that at least the human race didn’t destroy space yet. The wormhole – can I just say WOW? That doesn’t sum it up accurately but it was the only feeling I felt, awe. The water planet and then crazy Matt Damon’s planet, and I will get to him in a moment, was absolutely beautiful to behold.

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The cast did a wonderful job. Matthew McConaughey as Cooper – his apathy with being on earth, his decision to leave, his role as an astronaut – it was wonderful.  I love his slow Texan drawl so much. It makes him sound lazy and hurried at the same time, and it worked for the character. I wasn’t jumping around when I saw Anne Hathaway, but it is a testament to the excellence of Interstellar that she didn’t annoy the living hell out of me. Both McKenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain as the young and older Murphy did great – the two meshed their actions well enough that they ended up looking as the same person. Murphy’s story was really sad; losing her mother and her father and then having to watch the years pass knowing he was out there and never getting to see him. I also enjoyed Timothee Chalamet and Casey Affleck as young and older Tom Cooper, although the character took a backseat compared to Murph’s story.

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Now, let’s just focus for a few seconds on the MAD Matt Damon. I think he did a really good job in here, that his role was well done and that he was great in his part here – not a big one but an important one, showing the perils of being alone too long as well as being crazy. Why anyone would let him back into space (i.e. The Martian), I don’t know, but I’m worried.

Now, it has to be mentioned why I haven’t rated this movie at least a 9/10 – the quality certainly justifies it. I cannot for the life of me understand why LOVE had to be brought into a movie that is pure, wonderful science, and by one of the only TWO women in the movie. Anne Hathaway’s amazing Brand was totally killing it, and there she went, her choices being influenced by her silly little love story. It didn’t gel and deducted awesome points from the character and the storyline. It is a movie about SCIENCE. Done.Love is a human emotion and thus not quantifiable, idiots. If it was Anger, Jealousy and Hate would also be quantifiable.

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Apart from that one slight, Interstellar was a jaw dropping, humbling experience. I will gladly watch it again – it seems like the type of movie where you will always notice something new. The great concepts, the wonderful score by Hans Zimmer, the graphics and the acting makes for a masterful movie that can now live with the greats.

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PS: I will post two Blindspots in October, as I had no time to review one in September 🙂

Five things Friday: Impressive movies I watched lately

Happy Friday!

It feels that I put up a FTF post about a million years (three weeks) ago, and when this idea suddenly came to me, I decided that I immediately had to adhere to this before stuff (soccer) corrupted my mind again badly that I forgot. Without further ado, here are five movies that I saw lately and was enormously impressed by.

Saving Private Ryan

I think I saw this movie as a teen a few years back, but when I watched it in April it certainly felt like new material. Saving Private Ryan is gory, sad, intense and apparently very realistic to the real thing that went down. I enjoyed every single suspense filled moment of it.

Lawless

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I enjoyed this Prohibition Crime Drama very much. Every performance was top notch, and I even liked the Beefster in here, something that very rarely happens.

Taken

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I saw some negative reviews on this movie that I can’t understand. I had so much fun with Liam Neeson going on an enormous ass kicking spree and thought the entire movie was extremely well put together.

The Green Mile

The green mile

A movie about death row did not sound like the most enticing tale ever, but I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the movie. Tom Hanks was once again perfect with his performance, and the way the whole story came together and how the plot lines worked made for excellent viewing material. I am currently reading the book, and so far it is an excellent adaption of how it went down in Stephen King’s novel.

Drive

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There was never a movie with so little conversation in that wasn’t a silent movie and still managed to stay spectacular as was Drive. It is Ryan Gosling’s finest role. He WAS the Driver, and the underlying tension and power of the character was nail biting all the way through.

What have you seen lately that you loooooved? Tell me!