Movie Review: Aquaman (2018)

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Plot: Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land.

April is such an exciting month! Avengers Endgame AND Game of Thrones! Yup, I’ve seen the first episode, and it was good, I just can’t see myself reviewing per episode on here. Since I am SO ready for Endgame, I thought I would do a quick post on the only superhero movie I have seen that I haven’t put on here yet, Aquaman (although not even in the same universe, ha).

I saw this in the cinema in December 2018. It got some good reviews and reached the billion dollar club (The club which is not so elite anymore, but anyway). Some people thought this was a great film, and that’s okay. For me it was merely decent and while better than some of the other DC flicks, it still left much to be desired.

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I love Jason Momoa – he’s marketable, funny, beautiful and impressively big. I am not convinced he’s the best actor on the planet, but at this stage he doesn’t need to be. He chooses this big and gruff roles because it actually looks like that is who he is as a person. He does fine with Stephen Curry, and even though there are moments where he isn’t utterly convincing, he does remain one entertaining man. And even if he was terrible, you still get to see a really big and attractive man wet and built for two hours and 22 minutes. The love story between him and Mera (Amber Heard) felt really forced and unnecessary. A couple of superhero films have done really well by now without some romantic entanglement, and I think this would have survived without that as well.

Nicole Kidman plays Arthur Curry’s mom and the Queen of Atlantis. She’s named Atlanna, just so that no one gets confused who she really is. It’s a role far beneath her acting abilities and she navigates the sea without much issue. If you can believe that she mothered Momoa’s genetics, you can believe anything.

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Patrick Wilson plays Curry’s half-brother King Orm. He’s a terrible leader in this movie and also has dealing with the pirates Curry tackles in the beginning of the film. Other than Wilson’s deeply upsetting hairstyle, he does a decent (if one layered) villain. This is a nice setup for a second movie to begin with, which I am sure after a billion dollars no one will hesitate to commit to.

At the core, this origin story is nothing new. The release was well timed, in time for the relaxed holiday viewers. The last battle will leave you feeling exhausted because it is just so stupid and long. It’s really not that bad, just cheesy and silly. I definitely won’t commit to a second viewing, but that isn’t because of the quality – I rarely feel that superhero movies need to be watched twice.

Rating: 6/10

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Movie Review: Australia (2008)

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Plot: Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.

Some human rights are less equal than other human rights.

That is an unambiguous fact displayed in Australia, the Baz Luhrman epic. The Aboriginal people were the first people to inhabit Australia 45 000 years ago. They are fascinating and diverse group with over 500 different types of Aborigines, with different languages and territories spread over the dangerous continent. The Aborigines have suffered greatly since the first British invasion, and have lost land, culture and their freedom. The film Australia explores this as one of its’ concepts, primarily the fate of children who had an Aboriginal mother and a white settler father. The making of these children were depicted as consensual sex, although I really doubt whether that was the case most of the time.

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I have a deep appreciation for Baz Luhrman. He has directed a large portion of films I call my favorite. – Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby. He has a sense of fancy and shine, and a love for the epic that can’t be anything but admired. Moulin Rouge is my favorite, but after seeing Australia again I realized my vague recollection of the film didn’t do justice to its’ true quality.

Nicole Kidman displays an astonishing amount of wit and humor, a role which I haven’t seen her embody until now. Baz Luhrman and his extravagant affairs suit her – my other favorite of hers (and his) is the heartbreakingly beautiful Moulin Rouge, which is on my soon-to-be-rewatched list as well.

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I will keep my comments regarding Hugh Jackman as clean as possible, but this is one of his finest physical appearances I have ever seen. It is greatly exaggerated it is good to see the sexual focus on a male instead of a female (I can really only think of The Guest as the only other example)

Australia is both heart-breaking and beautiful. The chemistry between Kidman as Lady Sarah and Jackman as Drover is strong, and their love story is beautiful and unrestrained. There is a beautiful romance I read that takes place in the Australian outback (I sadly can’t recall the name), and the struggles of Drover and Sarah reminded me very much of their plights.

Brandon Walters as Nullah is a fast talking child, and his innocence and freedom is beautiful. It broke my heart how badly the Aborigines were treated, how very little rights they were afforded and how they had everything taken away from them – the Australian government only issued an official apology to the Aboriginals in 2008 for the crimes against their race, which is a fine case of too little, too late.

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The backdrop of the film is naturally the raw and intense landscape of Australia’s Outback, which provides a visually stimulating experience. Australia has been accused of being overly long, and yes, it certainly is a doozy, clocking in at two hours and forty-six minutes. As many of you know, I am always first to complain about movies that are too long without any real substance, so if I tell you I didn’t feel that Australia was drawn out and overly long, I really mean it. You just have to be willing to sit down for quite a while and get through it, but the conclusion is rewarding and beautiful.

I thoroughly enjoyed Australia, and would recommend it to people who love Baz Luhrman. It made me read up on the Aboriginals, the atrocities against them, improved my already substantial admiration for Nicole Kidman and convinced me that the acquired taste of an Australian accent could be easily achieved if Hugh Jackman strutted in tight pants across a desert uttering words that I could barely understand but definitely appreciated.

Have you seen Australia? How did it rank for you?

Rating: 8.5/10

Watched, Read, Loved: September 2017

Yay! Spring is here in South-Africa and I couldn’t be more excited. When the weather is so much better I am so much better. Getting to work while the sun is actually up makes me a much nicer colleague.

I’ve been doing a couple of Parkruns. My work gave us all the opportunity in taking part in the Discovery Pulse challenge, which made me realize (again) how little steps I take each day. I’ve been trying to average it at 5000 steps, but that is already a challenge. The challenge officially began on the 27th of September 2017, and I really am working hard to do everything healthier – eating, sleeping, more exercise, less stress (HA!). It runs for three months and I will definitely let you know how it progresses.

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Movies

The Fate of The Furious: Continuing the ridicule of series that is the Fast Franchise, Dominic Toretto this time abandons his family for some obscure reason. I really enjoy these films because they are so brain dead and is just easy entertainment, but this one was particularly ridiculous.

Hidden Figures: So.Much.Love. It is heartwarming and beautiful with excellent performances, and I am so happy the film was released in such an important time in history. Not only is it about racial prejudice, it is about female empowerment, determination, love, courage and there are also great scenes of the early days of NASA.

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Walk The Line: I was SO proud when I finally watched this – I’ve had the DVD on my shelf for many years now, and I remember hearing people rave about it but I never really made the effort to see for myself. Well, it was great, and a great Blindspot choice for me.

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The Girl on the Train: It was okay. I enjoyed Blunt (I always do), and her supporting female co-stars where all very strong. I also really do like Luke Evans. The big plot twist – I caught it half right so I was marginally impressed. Definitely not as good as Gone Girl, but interesting all the same.

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Easy A (2010): Emma Stone is one of my favourite young Hollywood stars. She’s just so incredibly talented and really funny. Easy A is some of her earlier work and she’s hilarious as Olive Pendergast. If I ever have daughters I hope they are like Olive – not willing to take bad behaviour from friends, loyal, hilarious, inventive and wildly inappropriate.

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Wild Child (2008): Many people wouldn’t necessarily like this film, but I really do. It is one of my favourite teen movies, and although it isn’t as sharp as Easy A, Mean Girls, Heathers or Clueless (other favourites), it still remains one of the nicest things to watch, reminiscent of a time where Emma Roberts and Alex Pettyfer were clean cut, sweet individuals (probably not that sweet).

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Australia (2008): One of Baz Luhrman’s work I have had the least exposure to, Australia is a tribute to the wild and terrifying glory that is the continent of Australia. Hugh Jackman is ridiculously attractive, wildly blown out of proportion delicious, and the dainty and unexpectedly hilarious Nicole Kidman impressed me with some of the humour she injected into her character. This was definitely a great watch and I will watch it more in the future

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Clueless: Clueless is one of my favorite “high-school” films. It is so silly and sweet and Paul Rudd is so adorable and Alicia Silverstone is so friggin adorable. You can’t feel bad after watching something like this, you just can’t.

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Books:

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Gone Girl: Gillian Flynn I actually started reading this after The Girl on The Train, because it made me want to explore more thrillers. I am really enjoying so far and finding the writer pretty good at telling a story.

Hot Rocks: Nora Roberts I can’t decide whether it will be worth my time actually reviewing this. I’ve now successfully proven to bestie that I can actually read and review a book and then just not remember it, and it might very well happen with this novel. It wasn’t bad and I actually had a pretty great time, but it feels superfluous reviewing every single Nora Roberts book I read

Five Things Friday: Five movie deaths that made me shed a tear

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Hi there! It’s been ages since I’ve posted a Five Things Friday post – sorry about that. I’ve been crazy busy trying to finish my book challenge, reading enough books for it, posting them before the deadline (which is the end of February and I still have 15 books left!). I decided to kick start the 2014 leg of the five things series by posting five movie deaths that made me shed a tear (or at least gave me some shiny eyes). I’ve never been one to tear up in movies, but there have definitely been a few where I’ve felt incredibly sad when someone died. Enjoy!

Boromir in the Fellowship of the Ring

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Through the entire journey from Rivendell, the snow on the Mountains, Moria to the Orc attack, Boromir struggles to fight the lure of the Ring of Power. Eventually the urge becomes too strong and he tries to take the Ring from Frodo. The Orc attack happens then, splitting the party up, but Boromir redeems his honour by dying for the Hobbits.

Boromir’s death scene is one of the most powerful of the movie and perhaps even the entire trilogy. It is about him reclaiming his honour and also about him declaring Aragorn his king.

Satine in Moulin Rouge

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It is a Baz Luhrman film where everything feels real. Satine is lying on the floor dying in a beautiful Valentino dress just after declaring her love for Christian. The cast of Spectacular Spectacular are celebrating the success of their show. Satine just falls to the floor and Christian notices.

Floodgates.

Jack Dawson in Titanic

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Jack Dawson nearly didn’t make it onto the list. This wasn’t Leonardo DiCaprio’s best role, but he did a good job. What really got me wasn’t Jack floating down in the icy ocean; it was Rose’s subsequent actions and will for survival. Letting him go and choosing to live is the most powerful choice she made in the movie, including her decision to leave her wealthy lifestyle behind to be with him. Her courage made me very sad.

Dobby the House elf in Harry Potter the Deathly Hallows

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Although much in the movies doesn’t do justice to the books, Dobby’s death was pretty decently done. The entire character was a success from his inclusion in the Chamber of Secrets (although WHY they didn’t include him in the subsequent movies – Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince is beyond me because it signifies Dobby’s  importance in Harry’s life – his brave death and Harry’s reaction was really well done.

And the one movie where I actually started crying: If Only (2004)

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The entire movie you see how Ian Wyndham (Paul Nicholls) finds it easy to forget about his girlfriend Samantha’s (Jennifer Love-Hewitt) existence. Then she dies and Ian gets to turn time back and relive her last day. He knows what will happen, you do, and yet you can’t help but hope she will live. And then she does. Ian dies in her place and she gets to carry on. In that moment you realize that he really loved her incredibly much even though he forgot to show it. 

I cried so badly. It is the saddest moment where ion jumps over Samantha to protect her as the car crashes. Her realizing what his strange behavior really meant and that he was reliving the day and choosing to save her.

What movies had great death scenes that made you sad?