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:

BEauty poster

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.

basic instinct

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.

chef

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*

PPZ

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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Movie Review: The 5th Wave (2016)

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Plot: Four waves of increasingly deadly alien attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother.

Rating: 7/10

I’m really still quite surprised dystopian / YA is making it on to the big screen. During the vampire craze the only vampires that really made it onscreen was the bunch from Twilight. I guess that speaks as highly for the content of the YA adoptions as it does of its fans. It’s been shaky at times but that was clearly either because the movie was done so badly (like Vampire Academy, but since that has become my guilty pleasure I won’t say too much), or the fans couldn’t really care very much (Beautiful Creatures, which I won’t watch, because I hated the book)

Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb has been really mean to this movie. It has extremely low ratings on both and I can’t understand why after seeing it. It has a few predictable plot twists and feels like it stole some ideas from other franchises, but it is generally a good film and I found a number of things to enjoy about it.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays lead female character Cassie Sullivan – a teenage girl thrust into the apocalypse when her biggest problem the previous day was catching the attention of Ben Parish (Nick Robinson), high school jock and general cutie. You are treated to a series of flashbacks that aim to tell you what happened to earth, who the extraterrestrial force might be, and what the 5th Wave will be – the last in a series of waves that will succeed in wiping out humanity.

The flashbacks does its job, but as with all Dystopian works it can’t possibly hope to cover enough to even make sense. It is not terrible offensive though, because you end up understanding what’s important and rooting for your main characters.

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“I am young innocent child and you must protect me!” – every YA child, EVER

The 5th Wave has what it needs – the young and vulnerable character that needs to be protected – Sammy Sullivan, played by Zachary Arthur (at least they didn’t choose Art Parkinson AGAIN), the loving parental figures that will ten-to-one be meeting their maker, the stern military figure who you can never be sure to trust or not, played by Liev Schreiber and even the sad love triangle (though not annoying in the first installment, but definitely going to escalate moving forwards).

The Aliens inside a human tricking you into trusting them is really the Host style. It also has some links to the Hunger Games and many other dystopian novels, but the story isn’t bad and even vaguely interesting. It does seem a bit lazy from the authors to constantly choose glob-aliens – give them tentacles or something but make it more interesting.

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I did enjoy the cast though. Chloë Grace Moretz is always a win according to me, since she’s eternally loved as our Kick-Ass heroine. I am not overly fond of children in movies, but Zachary Arthur didn’t annoy me too much and that is always a compliment. I also thought that Nick Robinson was quite good, and genuinely looked like a teenager – they get so preposterous with casting grown men as teenage boys sometimes. I did enjoy Liev Schreiber, who plays the cold military man very well. Evan Walker, played by Alex Roe, was well… well. Let’s just say I really enjoyed every scene he was in. Goodness. It is also pretty great seeing Maika Monroe in here and thoroughly unrecognizable to boot. Let me know if you spotted her!

Fifth-Wave

… and another one

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The 5th Wave won’t be the greatest film of 2016 or the greatest dystopian adaption (which remains with the Hunger Games), but it doesn’t deserve all the tongue thrashing it received. I hope the rest of the series is made because I will watch it if it does. I am definitely going to give the books a try, and give you some feedback on it!

Have you seen the film? Any thoughts?

Movie Review: The Guest (2014)

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Plot: A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence

Rating: 9/10

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The Guest is a slice of utter perfection that came to us in life. I went in without any idea what to expect, having only read spoiler free reviews. It makes the best type of viewing, really. The insanely high ratings are well deserved and this thriller is perfectly put together. The chemistry and sexual tension between Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe… what the fuck. It was such a strong presence and present all the time. Dan Stevens. Those eyes.The body.The attitude.The acting.The bathroom scene. Have I mentioned the eyes? The focus on the male character’s appeal rather than the female’s.THE CHEMISTRY.

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Okay, now that the Dan Stevens perve is out of the way, let’s get back to the other aspects that worked: The storyline of a grieving American family still crippled by loss is a valid topic in our current world. It makes so much sense for them to immediately accept a friend of their deceased son into the family house without too much questioning. Dan Stevens delivers a perfect portrayal of a young army soldier – he’s all manners and politeness and kindness with a mix of loss that makes you want to accept him immediately. He offers the family assistance in every way, he gives advice to the youngest son Luke (Brendan Meyer) who is being badly bullied by other children, assists mom (Sheila Kelly) with things dad (Leland Orsor) is too busy for, listen to dad’s problems – it is clear that while they lost a family member, the family is still flooded with daily problems while coping with their loss. The only suspicious family member is Anna (Maika Monroe), perhaps because she is at a suspicious age and not as easily fooled as her younger brother or parents. Her observant nature alerts her that everything is not quite well (not a spoiler – this is in all the synopsis/trailers out there) even while she finds him more and more compelling.

Maika Monroe in The Guest

Maika Monroe..great stuff. I love her gruff and sulky attitude and how her personal style fits so well into it. She has so much sense in here, and I cannot say how much I loved that they kept the integrity of her character intact. She was sleeping in the room next to an insanely attractive and interesting man who she clearly had intense chemistry with but she still stayed loyal to the man she was dating. YAY for finally putting a pretty, sexy, sharp girl on screen that doesn’t just bang the newest hot guy. THANKS TO THE GUEST WRITERS FOR THIS.

I'm just enjoying putting pictures of him all over this post
I’m just enjoying putting pictures of him all over this post

The blood and gore was on a level that worked – it wasn’t senseless and was well executed.  The action scenes are flawlessly executed and not drawn out. The film is shot very well in a delightfully clear style and the sound track complements the story and the sequence of events escalates clearly. I loved the décor and subliminal messaging and especially the theming around the last few scenes. My only issue was that David Collins’ life wasn’t really explained in detail and that part felt slightly rushed. I might have missed this, but is it ever really explained why David truly arrived at the Peterson family? If it was, I missed that part.

This movie severely disrupts my top ten for last year and I will have to review it dramatically. The Guest is everything entertainment should be: thrilling, dramatic, sexy and entertaining as hell.

This pic... is.. everything
This pic… is.. everything