Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

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Movies:

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Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

One day

One Day (2011): HATED IT.

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Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

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Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

Eclipse

Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

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He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

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Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

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The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

Blood wars

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

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Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

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Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

Drive

Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

The guest

The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

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Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

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Crazy Stupid Love (2011): I definitely need to review this film again – It has been ages since I’ve posted it on my blog. One of the most inoffensive romantic comedies produced in later years, this movie will make you laugh and relate with some character in here.

Nocturnal animals

Nocturnal Animals (2016): This is my new hated film. Gosh, what a spectacular waste of my life. Pretentious bullshit.

 

books

Black-Hills

Black Hills – Nora Roberts

This is a particular favorite book of mine. I enjoy Dr. Lillian Chance – she is passionate about her work in the refuge she built and is smart and cool.

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The Concannon Sisters trilogy – Nora Roberts

While I do enjoy this series of books – Born in Shame, Born in Ice and Born in Fire, they certainly aren’t my favorite of the author. However, her love for Ireland does show when reading this, and I particularly enjoy the description of the scenery.

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Two Broke Girls Season 4 and 5

I’m enjoying myself way too much with this comedy. It shouldn’t be as funny as it is, but I end up really laughing at it.

What did you do in April?

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Book Review: The DUFF (Kody Keplinger)

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Plot: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Rating: 6.5/10

Things you need to know about this book:

The movie and the book are two different things. The producers essentially used the names of the main characters and little else. There is no Madison at all, Toby is one of the sweetest characters in the book and I’m pretty sure they changed her best friends’ names too.

The book is very teenagy. It’s not a bad thing, I actually enjoyed jt very much, but keep it in mind.

That said, this book isn’t for everyone. It is quick and easy reading, and is surprisingly dark about a few topics, but it definitely isn’t a book that is going to appeal to everyone.

Book or Movie? Surprisingly I prefer the movie more, a rarity for me. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, I just think the movie was better aimed at its’ target audience and had a lot more humor in.

The book is a bit optimistic about a few things, especially the return of Bianca’s father’s alcoholism. Perhaps it can happen that a person immediately snaps out of the relapse, but it is surely a rarity and I found it a bit ridiculous. Her reaction towards the divorce of her parents is also quite mellow, and it came across that the author didn’t want to invest time into this.

Are American teens really so promiscuous? I have always been a firm supporter when girls want to sleep around (cue: WANT). It is unfair that men can sleep with anyone they want to but women are judged harshly. I did feel a bit shocked though – the teens in this book is sleeping around freely and with everyone. Is this the norm or was it dramatized?? Am I still a bit of a prude? I don’t know, and I don’t really care, but that amount of free willy is a bit much to stomach.

This book was a whole lot of fun. It is super-fast and easy to read (I finished it in under eight hours across two days). It plays around with a lot of dark topics but doesn’t really get into it. I enjoyed whawt the book was telling us – someone might be absolutely perfect but if they aren’t compatible with you, it’s not going to work, and that a person’s actions are often not true to their real character.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Movie Review: The DUFF (2015)

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Plot: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts.

Rating: 7/10

I was avoiding this like hellfire because I just wasn’t in the mood for a movie that told young impressionable women that they needed to pretty themselves up for the sake of conformity. It was hilarious in Mean Girls, The Princess Diaries and She’s All That, but let’s face it, we need to start telling girls that it is allowed to be absolutely themselves and that popularity really isn’t all that.

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BUT, The DUFF isn’t really like that at all. When Bianca gets told by insensitive-jock-but-actually-not-that-bad Wesley (Robbie Amell) that she is the DUFF of her friend group (read Designated Ugly Fat Friend), she’s understandably upset. It’s obvious that she’s neither Ugly nor Fat at this point, but the producers wouldn’t go as far as casting a really ugly person, which would just be stupid from their point of view. She’s mad at her gorgeous friends, Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Kara (MahaleyHessan) for stringing her along, pretending they are friends, while they are just using her as wingman. They are confused because they had no idea they are that much more beautiful than she is, or popular, and a petty fight ensues. Oh, there is a love interest Toby (Nick Everman), who is soulful, poetic and makes Bianca turn into a mute, and a teacher who really loves Bianca and sees how much she has to offer (Ken Yeong).

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There’s thankfully only one clothing montage, in which Wesley helps Bianca (Mae Whitman), get bras and nice things to seduce all the boys. It’s cute and fun, but a recording of it goes viral and Bianca’s life becomes pretty shaky for a while, where she naturally contemplates things and becomes stronger as a result.

It’s nothing spectacular, but the DUFF touches on cyber bullying while dealing with bitchy teens. The constant hashtagging on the screen was weird as hell but as for serving the purpose of keeping the film modern and describing any new character that comes in.

As for dual love interests – firstly Nick Everman, who was hilarious as Toby. He was all in touch with his feelings and musical and in the end so full of shit, but Nick Everman injected a lot of humor to Toby. It won’t be a surprise that in the end Wesley is the real love interest (seriously – that is not spoiler alert, that is a bullet point in a movie like this). Robbie and Steven Amell seems like the slightly less dazzling version of the Hemsworth brothers. It would seem that Robbie acts slightly better, maybe because he doesn’t wear green eye makeup and say “You have failed this city” every episode, but this Amell was not bad at all. He was really well cast as a jock, because that is obvious, but there were a few more serious scenes where he projected his feelings well too.

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It would be unfair not to complement Mae Whitman. I thought she was adorable and that she went to some great lengths to prove that she was “original” and “different” – two really important things if you want to make it nowadays in Hollywood. She will be forevermore be cast probably as the quirky girl, but that isn’t the worst way to make money, and she does well enough with this type of material.

It’s very lighthearted, but the DUFF is fun, and manages to finally be a movie that whispers that you don’t need blond hair to be the best thing ever.

Have you seen The DUFF? Let me know what you thought!