Blindspot 2017: Seven (1995)

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Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.

Rating: 8.5/10

Set in a dark and dreary city, homicide detectives Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt must investigate what is turning into a serial killer’s mad spree through town, emulating the 7 deadly sins in the most horrific of ways. Detective Freeman is retiring and after years of witnessing the horrors a decaying city can provide, he’s not too keen about taking up another job. But he somehow can’t pull away – he’s forced to worked with the new young detective and solve this last crime.

I enjoyed how dark and dreary the city was. The constant torrential downpour makes England look like a sunny palace. It’s so heavy, and combined with the decay of the city a sense of hopelessness lies in the air.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is a sharp contrast to the city. She’s everything the city isn’t – fresh and sweet and kind. I really liked her, how she balanced her husband out and wasn’t everywhere in the story and somehow remained so important in it.

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A thing that stands out sharply is the difference between the two detectives. Both are good men but so much difference in character. The younger detective is impulsive, perhaps because of his age. He’s by no means unintelligent but is far less cerebral than his older counterpart, who is often reflective and studies the crime and reasoning behind it well. The dynamic between the detectives shift – initially Freeman is cold shouldering his colleague (I think mostly due to impending retirement) but he begins to warm to Pitt with the case developing.

What is it about Kevin Spacey that he is so well capable to play such derange characters? It is creepy. He is creepy. So calm with an underlying menace. Madness coated in quiet demeanor. That flat of his. His belief in his work. A subtle creep. Sheesh.

How intense was the ending?! Edge of your seat business. John Doe concocted everything to make his plan infallible. I was horrified and entertained, because sheesh, what a nail biter.

Serial killers always have this dark glamour about them. It is wrong, but I have been interested in their mind games for years now – how they justify, what motivates them and how carefully they pick their victims. Seven is a film that follows one such killer in his demented ways in the best method I’ve ever seen. The film is backed by solid performances, directing, score and story to bring a thriller that will remain with you well after the end.

If you are looking for a film that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy, Seven is definitely NOT for you. It is scary and gross and relentless and keeps you nailed to your seat, but come prepared because scary man. Scary.

 

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Blindspot 2017: The List

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A few things I can tell you about this list:

  • I deliberately chose “lighter” films than last year. My 2016 list and 2015 list contained some serious heavy weights. I’m happy I got through them all, but to change things up I chose some films that were in a different genre than the other frequenters of my Blindspots.
  • This list started forming as I was thinking about how little of Brad Pitt’s work I’ve actually watched – he’s quite popular on here.
  • I am going to have a lot of fun watching these, I can tell.
  • I actually have a small list of other films that I’ll post some time that I also want to watch this year despite it not being Blindspots.
  • Here is my actual list below that I hope to enjoy and actually post monthly for the rest of the year.
  1. Scream (1996)
  2. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
  3. The Departed (2006)
  4. Seven (1995)
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
  6. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  7. Ghost (1990)
  8. Basic Instinct (1992)
  9. Goodwill Hunting (1997)
  10. Interview with a Vampire (1994)
  11. The Italian Job (2003)
  12. Walk the Line (2005)

What did you choose this year? Let me know!

December 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Happy 2017 everyone! I pretty much disappeared from the blog in December. I needed a break. I often am way too harsh on myself about blogging – wanting desperately to post five times a week. It is important to remind myself though that blogging is supposed to be fun and for times where I actually have the time. So I gave it a bit of a break and I am back feeling all refreshed!

It was also quite a sad December globally with the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. It seemed like 2016 kept knocking everyone down and I am really glad it ended. Let’s hope for a peaceful and fantastic 2017.

Series Watched:

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Vampire Diaries Season 5: I am currently stalling with this season. It is a pretty rotten season and by far the worst of all the seasons so far. I need to finish it up but definitely not feeling all the bullshit of the season.

Alias season 1 and 2: EEK! I am having so much fun! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to review this.

Movies Watched:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars movie. It was good, great excitement and all. I did like The Force Awakens better though.

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Memento: This was my second last blindspot for 2016. It is mind tingling and interesting, well directed and acted. Definitely worthy of watching, despite me taking ages to get it done!

Annie: I put this on for my mother to watch. It was okay – very singy and full of children but not overly offensive. It’s definitely a film that parents can watch with their children without wanting to cry because it is so boring.

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Twilight: I had such a weak moment! Want to review them all at some stage again.

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Scream 1, 2 and 3: this was so much fun. I’m planning to do the fourth one soon. Great entertainment!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Same here. I am having way too much fun with these old school thrillers.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  second time watching this and I loved it way too much.

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The DUFF: I am racking up the watches on this film. I showed it to my mom and my bestie on separate occasions and they both really enjoyed it. Why so much hate against this film? I know it is completely different from the book, but the additions worked really well.

The Departed: The Departed is a film my bestie has told me to watch or be disowned. So I watched it with her just to make sure she had the evidence and everything 😀 did I like it? Yeah. Excellent performances and directing all around. I got a bit exhausted with the length of it, and that is about the only thing I didn’t like.

Me Before You (2016): after reading the thought provoking book I was quite amped for the film. I pushed it back when the reviews didn’t garner the most promising reviews I pushed it back. Bestie and I watched it on our visit, and it was okay. Not really bad, but Me Before You doesn’t carry as much emotional baggage as the book does.

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Cruel Intentions: What a deranged film. I enjoyed it, but wow, deranged. Not something to watch with your parents, if you weren’t already aware.

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Ocean’s Eleven:  I really liked this! Heist films done right is a treat for the soul man. Clooney and Pitt together? There can’t be a better idea out there.

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Seven:  I got to see a young Brad Pitt as the excitable and young cop and Morgan Freeman as the intelligent, calm cop. It’s quite dark and deals with a demented serial killer. It had a dark and depressing atmosphere.

Books Read:

Dawson’s Creek – this is a compilation of short stories based on the series. I’d love to watch the series at some stage, but the book isn’t worth reviewing.

The Collaborator – Margaret Leroy – I can’t wait to post this! I really loved the book, and was so unhappy when I finished it.

The Martian – Andy Weir. The Martian was my favorite film of 2015, and I really wanted to get my hands on the novel. However, I’m struggling at this stage to get through it as it contains some unnecessary jargon in my opinion.

What were you up to in December? Tell me!

Blindspot 2015: Invictus (2009)

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Nelson Mandela: “Brothers, sisters, comrades: I am here because I believe you have made a decision with insufficient information and foresight. I am aware of your earlier vote. I am aware that it was unanimous. Nonetheless, I believe we should restore the Springboks; restore their name, their emblem and their colors, immediately. Let me tell you why. On Robben Island, in Pollsmoor Prison, all of my jailers were Afrikaners. For 27 years, I studied them. I learned their language, read their books, their poetry. I had to know my enemy before I could prevail against him. And we DID prevail, did we not? All of us here… we prevailed. Our enemy is no longer the Afrikaner. They are our fellow South Africans, our partners in democracy. And they treasure Springbok rugby. If we take that away, we lose them. We prove that we are what they feared we would be. We have to be better than that. We have to surprise them with compassion, with restraint and generosity; I know, all of the things they denied us. But this is no time to celebrate petty revenge. This is the time to build our nation using every single brick available to us, even if that brick comes wrapped in green and gold. You elected me your leader. Let me lead you now.”

This is the second review of my Blindspot choices, check out my review of Casablanca here

Plot: Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

 

Rating: 7/10

In my usual way with my superb planning skills, I didn’t post a Blindspot post last month, so this month there will be TWO. I have a long line of reasoning why exactly I didn’t post in February, but it will take way too long to type out so let’s just talk what I thought about Invictus!

Respectfully said, it usually irritates the shit out of me when the world tries to understand and dissect South-Africa’s history and the Apartheid struggle. I feel that few other countries understand the emotions involved, especially when it comes to Nelson Mandela and the 1995 World Cup. I really wanted to see the movie but knew I would likely walk out unimpressed with it.

It did come as a surprise that I enjoyed parts of it. Morgan Freeman did a beautiful job portraying Mandela, although his South-African accent slipped quite frequently and the American came through very strong. Freeman managed to bring that incomprehensible humility and forgiveness that is such a big part of Mandela’s character.

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Matt Damon gave me days of laughter as Francois Pienaar. The few Afrikaans words were hilarious in pronunciation, and his determined switching back to English immediately is quite humorous if you consider that Pienaar is as Afrikaans as a koeksister. I did like Damon in here though; he made you understand how difficult it must have been for Pienaar to carry a nation’s reconciliation on his shoulders.

I enjoyed seeing some South-African actors in here and it’s pretty awesome that they got to play a part in a Hollywood film. It was very obvious by the accents who were truly South-African and who had taken lessons to pronounce those “Rs” so loudly. (Tip: All those bodyguards are definitely South-African)

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I liked how the movie followed numerous characters through the movie to try and capture the reconciliation process: The black boy who initially wouldn’t touch a Springbok jersey in fear of retaliation from his friends who ended up attending the final game, the white South-Africans who initially booed Mandela in the stadium who ended up cheering themselves hoarse for him, Pienaar’s hopelessness in carrying his team through the tournament ended up in him ferociously leading them through the tournament and then finally Mandela’s bodyguards who distrusted each other and ended up playing rugby together and cheering at the final.

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I had some issues with the directing – it seemed rushed in places and vague in others, and didn’t feel properly worked off. I also wished they could have done the national anthem properly, because their take on it is NOTHING like the roaring at South-African sporting games (they could basically just have taken any old recording and that would have been way better)

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Overall I enjoyed this movie, and although it didn’t capture the heart of what really happened, it also didn’t annoy me too much.

Movie Review: Lucy (2014)

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Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is twenty five and lives in Taipei as a student. Her new boyfriend asks her to deliver a case to a Mr. Jang (Choi Min-Sik), and she refuses multiple times, but he cuffs the case to her arm and she is forced to enter the hotel and deliver the package.

Her boyfriend is shot before her eyes and Mr. Jang’s henchmen drags her to a suite, where she is forced to open the case. The case contains a new synthetic drug CPH4, and before she knows it, the drug is implanted in Lucy’s abdomen, and she must deliver within 24 hours or die when the plastic bag inside her disintegrates. Lucy is kept captive while waiting for the flight, but one of her captors kicks her and the bag breaks, opening it and pushing all those drugs into her system.

The effects are remarkable; something Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) has hypothesised about but never had a hope to witness. Lucy contacts him and tells him what is happening to her and agrees to meet with him in twelve hours.

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Lucy: We’ve codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible, we’ve created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale

Meanwhile, there are still men with CPH4 in their bellies on the way to different countries. Lucy contacts Police Captain Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked) in France to tell him what is happening, and he is convinced to take action. All three men are taken by the police and rushed to hospital, but the Taiwanese drug cartel takes also arrives to take the drug. Chaos ensues, but Lucy is able to get all three packets of CPH4 from the now dead drug mules.

As Lucy’s access to her brain capacity increases, she becomes telekinetic and able to manipulate people and matter. With these mind-blowing powers comes the knowledge that her body cannot bear the drugs infinitely and that she isn’t infinitely strong enough to survive all the mental capacity she is now subjected to. As she races to Professor Norman, Mr. Jang is still on his pursuit to get his drugs back. Can Lucy share her knowledge before her face off with Jang or her meeting with her own death?

Rating: 8/10

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I saw this movie over this weekend thinking that we were actually going to watch Sex-tape because some of my friends claimed they were too scared to watch Lucy. I am so happy that I got to see this instead because yet another Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz movie is not at the top of my to-do list.

Lucy is a movie that is actually worth the hype. I get why people would want to see it. Gripping story plus good action usually wields excellent results.

I really enjoyed Scarlett Johansson, and Analeigh Tipton wasn’t enough on screen to irritate me. The story had an excellent pace and I really thought that even though the hypothesis was far-fetched, the story did what it could to remain believable. As Michael said in this blog post, we need more female leads in action movies that don’t constantly send out sexual innuendos and need a man to save her. Lucy did everything herself, she kicked ass, her tale didn’t revolve how tight her clothes was (ahem, Black Widow, Scarlett) and the men ended up awed by her powers.

Thoughts while watching:

Firstly, don’t trust the Taiwanese. I did not spot any Taiwanese in Lucy that had a smidgen of dignity.

Can Morgan Freeman please, please do the voice over for my life?

I need Lucy’s super skills for traffic every Monday morning.

Don’t date guys you meet in a drunken adventure in a club at night, and more importantly, leave the first time when he asks you to do something questionable outside a high powered hotel.

Spanish/French/Whatever cops with crooked noses are surprisingly hot. Maybe it is the accent?

Even though there are some questionable scientific discoveries, I really had fun watching this. Morgan Freeman looks and sounds like the highly qualified professor that he portrays, and then the man dumbstruck with the fact that what he has hypothesised has happened.

Reasons why I really liked it:

Female kicks ass – there are not nearly enough action movies, or any genre of movies for that sake, that hosts a female lead who seriously kicks everybody’s ass, finds a way to save herself and not need a man to do it.

Oh, science. I enjoyed Morgan Freeman as the Professor and I just enjoy movies where science is celebrated and explored.

Good acting, lady. My usual range of comments about Scarlett Johansson is not always flattering, but she deserves accolades for Lucy. I thought she coped exceptionally well with having an unimaginable amount of life threatening drugs in her system. SJ was a superhero at the end of the day, and I didn’t even feel sorry for anyone she took out of her way – they truly deserved that.

Good recipe of drugs, drama, action and sadness. What do you do when you realise that you have unimaginable knowledge for a short time and then you will die? You contact the leading academic in the field, lure the madman out who is responsible for your upcoming death, give the police of France a day they will never forget and kick serious but. I wasn’t bored even once, I didn’t wonder when it would end and the action scenes weren’t boringly drawn out till I wanted to cry.

Recommendation: You won’t be ruining your day by watching this, but if you are scared easily I won’t recommend it. Go give it a try!

Six Degrees of Separations Blogathon: Linking Robert Downey Junior and The Green Mile

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When Zoë first asked me if I would like to take part in this blogathon I was quite excited but extremely confused at the same time – the theory behind the blogathon was fantastic but sounded completely undoable.

The six degrees blogathon is based on the theory that every single person on the planet can be linked to another person in six steps. These posts connect random stars to stars or movies. Here goes!

Then I heard the topics of my linkage –  The Green Mile, an epic movie but a quite old one, and an actor I have always thought very present right now, Robert Downey Junior.

I knew I would have to bring a person in that spanned the time difference between the two links, and I was completely surprised when I finally figured it out.

Thanks for nominating me, best one! It was LOADS of fun and I can actually picture myself doing this for days on end!

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1. One of Robert Downey Junior’s most known roles is as Iron Man/ Tony Stark in the Marvel Universe’s Avengers franchise

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RDJ is such a great, charismatic man and I respect him so much for rebuilding his life.

2. Chris Hemsworth stars with RDJ as Thor in the Avengers, and he is the brother of Liam Hemsworth in real life

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(The above beauty is brother of the below beauty)

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3. Liam Hemsworth is Gale Hawthorne in the Hunger Games, in which Woody Harrelson stars as Haymitch Abernathy, the mentor of Katniss and Peeta.

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4. Woody Harrelson stars alongside Morgan Freeman in Now You See Me

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5. Morgan Freeman also stars in the Shawshank Redemption, directed by Frank Darabont

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6. Frank Darabont is also the director of the Green Mile (1990)

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I nominate Melissa from Snap Crackle Watch to link Robert Downey Junior with Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark. Enjoy!

PS: Go read Zoë’s post – Truly awesome!

Lego Movie (2014)

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Emmet: “You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it’s also true. It’s about all of us. Right now, it’s about you. And you… still… can change everything”

The Ancient Wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) tries to protect the “Kragle”, a powerful weapon, from falling in the hands of villain Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Vitruvius is blinded in his attempt and Business steals the Kragle. Vitruvius prophesies that “the Special” will one day find and use the “Piece of Resistance”, a powerful tool that will stop Business and the Kragle.

Years later, a normal construction worker Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is living his life in exactly the same way as the rest of the city. One day at work he notices a suspicious character searching through building material and sees a beautiful lady. He tries to stop her, but she disappears, and Emmet heads down to see what has been cracking. He stumbles upon the Piece of Resistance, has visions and passes out.

When Emmet wakes up he is in police custody under the surveillance of Bad Cop (Liam Neeson), the sidekick of Lord Business who has a split personality – Bad and Good Cop. The Piece of Resistance is stuck on his back now, and nothing he can do can get it off. While under interrogation Emmet learns that Business wants to freeze the world with Kragle, to keep everything as it is. The woman Emmet saw on the construction saves him and introduces herself as Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks). While fleeing, he manages to convey the message that he is in no way special and she is very disappointed. Wildstyle takes Emmet into another “world”, the Old West. She explains that people used to travel freely between worlds, but Lord Business detested it and tried to seal them off from each other by building walls between each world.

In the Old West, Wyldstyle introduces Emmet to Vitruvius. She explains about Master Builders – people capable of building things without instruction manuals. She and Vitruvius are both Master Builders, and all like them are despised by Business for their creativity creates chaos in his perfect world. Business and Bad Cop tried to catch all the Builders, but some of them remained free. Emmet insists he has no such talent but Vitruvius is convinced that with enough exploring he will find his talent.

Bad Cop is soon on their tail and they have to flee the Old West through the pandemonium that ensues. Wyldstyle’s boyfriend rocks up and he is Batman. He saves them in his Batmobile and they head to Cloud Cuckoo Land, where they meet princes Unikitty and the rest of the remaining Master Builders. The Master Builders are not impressed when they learn Emmet has no real talent and refuse to help him fight Business. Bad Cop finds them and captures most of the Master Builders, destroying Cloud Cuckoo Land. Emmet, Wyldstyle, Batman, Vitruvius, Unikitty and Benny, a spaceman, manages to escape on a submarine. They are saved by a pirate named Metal Beard when the submarine sinks.

Emmet realizes that the flaw in all of their attempts was that they did exactly what Business expected them to do – work with their own individual creativity and not as a team with a plan. He therefor creates a plan and they all follow his instructions, and head to Business’s headquarters. Will they succeed in time to save all the worlds? Can Business be stopped?

Rating: 6.5/10

I’ve decided to go ahead and like this, although I fully expected to loathe it purely because it is animation, and about BLOCKS. A movie about building blocks just didn’t seem like the world’s most riveting movie ever and since I rarely find any animation worth re-watching or praising, I did not think I would be laughing or vouching for anything.

However, I was soon hoping Emmet would succeed and that he and Wyldstyle would end up together. He was a very generic guy, just doing his job every day and suddenly he was thrust into saving the world. I liked how he never tried to be the best but always insisted that he was just a normal guy (unless when he was boasting to Wyldstyle of course).

Lego Movie has an extremely catchy song. I was dancing to “everything is awesome” and singing it to people for days after watching Lego. I think Lego is an extremely clever company and this is a brilliant way to up sales. I loved the cheesy message in there that people can be heroes without being extraordinary, I LOVED that their hair could be so easily removed and changed (a girl can dream) and I found the references to popular superheroes quite cleverly done.

I wish they could have kept it at being an animation and not incorporated humans into it and having Will Ferrell in there (totally unnecessary) and I am not too sure if it was a good idea naming the villain Business – is Lego tricking children into hating corporate establishments #DeepQuestion

Recommendation: Honestly, kids should watch this.