Watched, Read, Loved: February 2017

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February being so short is all fun and games (particularly since payday is closer for a lot of people) but then suddenly you are in March and I don’t know about you, but I’m really like where the actual f is this year going? February was rather quiet compared to January’s movie intake, which I will blame on the shortness of the month and the fact that I got hooked on Daredevil, which certainly took up the majority of time I would usually have spent watching movies. But do you see me complaining? Nope. It changed my life, the show is THAT good.

On a personal note the start of February was rather sad. I kept thinking whether I should do some sort of separate posting about it, but decided against it as it seemed too morbid to post exclusively about death. One of my oldest friends committed suicide late January, and her birthday was on the same date as my father’s, who would have been sixty this year. In the past the weekend close to the 2nd of February would have usually been a massive amount of party juggling is now only a sad remembrance of two amazing people, and that is really just very sad to deal with.

Furthermore work was also a little crazy. I received a job offer and went through all the hoops to get a formal proposal. I ultimately decided to stay with my current company, a decision which I question daily. The pros and cons kept me awake for nights on end, and while I’m mostly happy with my decision the thought of a few things still make me wonder. It is not always easy here, but I have realized that the field I am in is rarely easy, so if I truly want to change I will do so after my degree and rather just change careers completely.

On the Tinder and dating saga: February is the month of Lurveeeee. I am very much past the point where Valentines actually holds meaning to me. I hate to be on the overly-negative-bandwagon, but it is a commercialized chaos and I am very uninterested in furthering every shop in town’s agenda. I just realized that I really have so much to say about this that I should do another Tinder and dating post. It has been a merry ride with asthma attacks during dates, single events, people who actually use the term hella cool and people who seem to think I’m dumb and don’t have basic knowledge of things.

Looking at everything I just wrote on there I am not surprised I didn’t reach my January high of movies. Here they are below, let me know what you’ve been up to as well in the comment section!

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Movies:

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): 8.5/10

I started February off with a bang and finally got to Hunt for The Wilderpeople. I reviewed it already because I loved it too much to keep it contained for too long. It is really far out of the type of movie I would usually choose to watch. This actually can’t be classified to a genre. Full of quips, this film is designed to warm your heart and make you think long and hard about the sanity of New Zealanders.

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The BFG (2016): 6/10

Wow, I really get why people didn’t like this! Long and overindulgent. Ugh.

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince(2009): 6.5/10

Can a movie ever really do justice to the book it was created from? The answer is always no unless it is Lord of The Rings. I’m not sure whether I’ll even do a review for this. I had it in my head to do a series at one stage, so maybe I will just write it up and get to it one day in the distant future.

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Shall We Dance? (2004):6.5/10

I watched this with my mom, and we both enjoyed it. It is mostly about an old man finding his groove again, and I liked it by the end. It is also not about cheating and I was very suspicious about that, which made me pleased in the end.

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Notting Hill (1999): 6.5/10

I apparently really like the 6.5/10 rating. It seems like a fair score if I liked it but it wasn’t amazing. Notting Hill is a passable film but it isn’t my favorite in the genre. I still think Julia Roberts is one of the most beautiful women to have ever worked in Hollywood.

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How to Be Single (2015): 6.5/10

This is a second watch for me. I really like a number of things about this movie – Rebel Wilson and Dakota Fanning do great work together. Dakota Fanning is a really talented lady, so I hope she does more work other than that BDSM crap. The message of this film is also really important.

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Books:

The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore)

Not sure if I should even list it on here as I read the last twenty pages in February, but there you go. It was quite enjoyable although it certainly wasn’t as captivating as the first book.

After You (JoJoMoyes)

After Me Before You, the touching book and the slightly less touching film, After You comes along. Lou is dealing with her grief, her inability to convey to strangers how she loved a man so quickly and powerfully in only six months and the judgment of every ass available. It is written in typical JoJoMoyes style and so far it is really enjoyable although I can’t see how she will reach the emotional highs of her first book.

Tribute – Nora Roberts

I enjoy Tribute on a loop every year at least. All I know from reading this book again is I want a Spock.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

Everything. This book is everything. It makes me so happy and content. It is such an important book in the series, and there are scenes in there that fills my heart up with so much happiness and light.

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Series:

X-files Season 2 – I’m a bit at a snag right now with X-Files. I enjoy it but it is so procedural I can drop and pick up without too many holes in the conversation.

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Daredevil Season 1 and 2 – I’ve been postponing this for ages now. WHY? It is amazing. It is 10 000% better than that awful Jessica Jones BS I subjected myself too. Charlie Cox as Daredevil is AMAZING. That introduction.The tone of the series.The action.The simple badassery. I am so involved in this. WOW. I will post both reviews and JJ soon, and you will see the remarkable difference.

What have you been up to this month?

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Book Review: After You (JoJoMoyes) – CONTAINS SPOILERS –

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Plot: How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

Rating: 8/10

The events of After You take place after Will Traynor’s assisted suicide in Me Before You. Louisa Clark, his handler and eventual love interest, is dealing with the aftermath of his death. Society is no different than usual and judges her for her actions, thinking that she benefited from his death and perhaps should have done more to have stopped him. But they aren’t on ground zero with Louisa. They don’t know how hard she finds it to cope and to live to up to the expectations she can feel from beyond Will’s grave to live an extraordinary life. An accident makes her parents wonder whether she was planning to commit suicide as well, and despite her best assurances she still attends a support group for bereaved people to ease her parents’ mind. Slowly, life starts to normalize and even look more positive, but the appearance of someone who she thought impossible usurps her life once again. Can she fix herself one more time? Move on from Will?

On the new character front Sam appears, and I can now list him as a book boyfriend. I loved him. I knew from the get go that this couldn’t be the guy Jake was referring to. I knew somehow somewhere there was a gap in communication, and serve Louisa right for thinking the worst. Sam was decent, trustworthy, dependable, really hot and not without scars. Someone perfectly whole wouldn’t have been a good choice for Lou. She’s seen too much and gone through a lot of heartbreak. I was ready to write all the angry letters to JoJoMoyes during the last few chapters in the book, but it would have been for nothing as the end result really pleased me.

The biggest shocker of the book is the existence of Lily, Will’s daughter. I immediately pitied Lily. Her mother was clearly horrible at parenting, she had no foundation and everything she needed to turn into a stable kid was removed at her mother’s whim. Discovering that she had a father that became quadriplegic and chose to end his own life couldn’t have been a joy, and realizing that the family he left behind was neither whole nor perfect sure was a shocker too. I called most of the eventual developments on this character, but that doesn’t mean that I am not happy she ended up with Mrs. Traynor. They both needed something to get them through life, and they are perfect to depend on each other.

Lou’s family is still a driving force in her life. Her brilliant sister, saddled with a young boy so early. Her mother discovering her feminism and her father’s objection to it causes some hilarity but is also a reminder of how life must look for women who spent their entire lives looking after their children. I really liked that these characters remained in the book as it was such a central part to Lou’s character.

I really liked the pace and development of each character. After You certainly is more conventionally romance than Me Before You was. I was reminded of how I thought Marian Keyes would be if she chose to write about normal things. JoJoMoyes has the ability to get you unhealthily involved. I was so stressed about every character in that book. Her support characters are as well developed as her main characters, and she writes them with empathy and humor. You can’t help root as hard for Lou’s mother who is refusing to shave her legs as you are rooting for Lou, worry about Jake, think about Donna and most of all, wonder about the wellbeing of the Traynor family.

I was a huge fan of this book. It made me sad when it ended. I would have loved a third instalment. I checked but I seem to be unlucky in that regard. I recommend naturally that you read the first novel first (the movie doesn’t do it justice) and then read this one. Both are compelling reads that will touch your heart.

PS: Can I please have a Sam?

Movie Review: Me Before You (2016)

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Plot: Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of color. And neither of them knows they’re going to change each other for all time

Rating: 6/10

If you read my review of the book here, you’d know that I enjoyed the book. Me Before You is quite the controversial book with a whole lot of people being upset about the approach to both paraplegic patients and euthanasia. I’m definitely pro euthanasia, and while I certainly understand why people are against it, I DO feel that people often look at it from the survivor’s perspective and not from the patients’ perspective. This is however not a debate about that, so let’s talk rather about the film.

It lacks the personality of the book. Some filler information was left out of the film, which was a good thing because there are times where the book does feel winding. It does leave out some things that should have been included though – you are never privy as to why the bond between Lou and Will becomes so strong. You also never see how sick and uncomfortable Will is, and how much he lost after his accident. Despite the impressive acting from Sam Claflin, he still at times comes across as a petulant rich white kid in a wheel chair, which isn’t what Will was in the books.

I did like that the relationship between Will’s mother and father is much better in the film. The book has them on the edge of divorce and I think that the story has enough melodrama without a crumbling marriage as well.

I didn’t like that they underplayed the difficult relationship Lou has with her sister. They are basically frenemies in the books, and turned into besties in the film. Lou’s home life is pretty bleak in the books, and apart from the discussion of some financial woes, you never really get to understand how much Will changed Lou’s life.

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The two main characters were well cast. I find Sam Claflin a really accomplished actor and he is able to bring Will to life as much as the script writers allowed him too. I had some issues with Emilia Clarke – her facial expressions were all over the show. She did manage to be Lou though, and I liked that.

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I loved the adaption of this scene! Really exactly what I imagined in the book. It was sweet and hilarious and showed the difference between Will and Lou’s frankly terrible and egotistical boyfriend.

Why the low rating you ask when I keep mentioning the things I liked? I thought it didn’t reach the emotional depths of the book, it didn’t show us why the two characters became so attached, it never really displayed how much Will actually lost after his accident. Basically if you see this film you will be a little sad, sure, but reading the book broke my heart in the way only a really good story can. What I’m trying to say here is that Me Before You is not a terrible adaption, but it does lack the heart to make it truly heartbreaking.

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March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

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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?