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.

Hes-Just-Not-That-Into-You-2009

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.

DUFF4

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.

Prisoners-E invite R2

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!

CSL

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.

born-in-shame

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.

series

2bg

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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Top Fifteen Favorite stars in young Hollywood

Woohoo! Happy Friday!! This post was supposed to be a Five things Friday but as you can see it escalated quite quickly! Here is some love for all the young ones in Hollywood… I know some of them can’t really be classified as really young, or even really good, but I like all of these for a variety of reasons. Read, enjoy, and let me know if you agree or disagree. I might just do one for older Hollywood too at a stage. I’ve linked to the posts of the movies I’ve reviewed of these stars so go take a look if you are wildly bored!

Emma Stone

Emma-Stone

Why I admire her: She is crazy talented, extremely funny and incredibly beautiful. She also seems to have a genuinely nice personality off screen, which is quite important to me.

Best role: What’s not to love? Zombieland, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, the list is endless.

Worst role: Ghost of Girlfriends Past

 Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch poses for photographs on the red carpet for the new movie "The Imitation Game" during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Why I admire him: There is such a unique and startling quality to him. He is incredibly talented and well suited to his most famous role. He has these unique looks that make no sense. I’ve never pinpointed why he is so attractive – it shouldn’t work and yet it does extremely well.

Best role: Sherlock (as Sherlock Holmes)

Worst role: har-har

Emma Watson

Actress Emma Watson attends the "Noah" Germany Film Premiere at Zoo Palast on March 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

Why I admire her: Not only is she a staunch equal rights activist, Emma Watson has manage to exit her Harry Potter years with grace and determination. I honestly can’t wait for her to be Belle in the new Disney adaption!

Best Role: Perks of Being a Wallflower (as Sam)

Worst Role: Harry Potter (as Hermione Granger)

Chris Hemsworth

 chris-hemsworth-2013

Why I admire him: Hehe, he’s ridiculously hot. The muscles and arms and hair and eyes and length and did I mention muscles? I’ve mostly really just liked the look of him, but he really did impress in Rush, which makes me believe that he can be in some really good films in the future.

Best role: Rush (as James)

Worst role: Thor (as Thor)

Chris Evans

 chris evans

Why I admire him: He has this extremely likable boy next door vibe. I also think he is exceptionally well cast as Steve Rogers, capturing that genuine essence of good so central to the character.

Best role: Captain America (as Steve Rogers)/Snowpiercer (as Curtis)

Worst role: Fantastic Four (as Human Torch)

Tom Hardy

 Tom-Hardy

Why I admire him: Well, duh. Look at him. He’s done some phenomenal roles as well, and has the extra addition of having pulled himself from a difficult past to be what he is today. #respect

Best role: Lawless (as Forrest Bondurant) and The Dark Night Rises (as Bane)

Worst Role: This Means War (as Tuck)

Andrew Garfield

 andrew garfield

Why I admire him: He’s extremely cute and extremely likeable and very good in the things I’ve seen him in.

Best Role: The Amazing Spiderman (as Peter Parker)

Worst Role: I’ve only seen him in Never Let Me Go other than as Spidey, and I liked that too, so I guess I don’t have one for him

James McAvoy

 James McAvoy

Why I admire him: The Scottish accent, the brilliance of how he portrays Charles Xavier. The hair. The acting. Have I mentioned the Scottish accent?

Best role: X-men (as Professor X)

Worst role: Wanted (as Wesley Gibson). He wasn’t necessarily bad, I just didn’t like the movie at all.

Ryan Gosling

ryan-gosling-LP

Why I like him: He inspired the “Hey Girl” meme. He’s pretty good at acting. He is the best Nicholas Sparks hero ever. He was hilarious in Stupid Crazy Love. He’s pretty much the coolest.

Best role: Drive (as the Driver)

Worst role: I will say as Noah Calhoun in the Notebook, but he’s actually really good in that too

Emily Blunt

 emily-blunt

Why I admire her: Her role as Rita. GIRL POWER. I also really enjoyed her in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s pretty cool.

Best role: Edge of Tomorrow (as Rita)

Worst role: The Five Year Engagement (as Violet)

Emilia Clark

emilia-clarke

Why I admire her: She seems like a person who enforces her privacy, and I think it is really important if you want to stay sane in Hollywood. I really like her casting as Dany – she does such a great job. And how insanely beautiful is she?!?!

Best role: Game of Thrones (as Daenerys Targaryen)

Worst role: Has she even been in anything else?

Shailene Woodley

shailene woodley

She’s the girl who made us all cry uncontrollably last year. She’s quirky and the outrageous things she says keeps me laughing for days. She seems genuine and she has such great stores of talent that she’s busy developing.

Best role: The Fault in our Stars (as Hazel Grace Lancaster)

Worst role: Divergent (as Tris Prior)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

 JGL

Why I admire him: He’s the cute geeky kid who grew up. I would really like to see him lead in something now!

Best role: Ten Things I Hate about You (as Cameron James)

Worst role: Another actor that I find extremely enjoyable even when I don’t like the movie 😀

Zac Efron

zac efron

did your screen also steam up for a second? 

Why I admire him: The funny thing is that this guy still needs to prove himself. I just really enjoy his looks, although he hasn’t been atrocious in his work, even if the movies have been bad.

Best role: The Lucky One (as Logan Thibault)

Worst role: Highschool musical (as Tray Bolton)

Channing Tatum

channing tatum

Why I admire him: He’s the extremely likable guy who finally made a name for himself.

Best role: 21/22 Jump Street (as Jenko)

Worst role: The Vow (as Leo)

 Honorable mentions: 

Ansel Elgort

Kit Harrington

Miles Teller

Chloe Grace Moretz (who recently won me over with Kick-Ass)

Rachel McAdams

Liam Hemsworth

Brit Robertson

What did you think? Let me know!

Nicholas Sparks Movies: A rundown of the good, the bad and the downright cheesy

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I hope you guys enjoyed my double posting yesterday – HINT: I accidentally scheduled both posts for Tuesday instead of Tuesday and Wednesday, and I realized this at work. Sometimes I really do wonder if I’m as smart as my mom thinks I am…

To continue our nice cheese venture we will today take a look at the Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations I’ve seen.  Of the nine movie adaptions Sparks produced I’ve seen seven, which you can see listed below. The other two are Message in a Bottle and Nights in Rodanthe is definitely something I’ll find the time to watch and then come tell you all about it.

When you willingly choose to watch a Nicholas Sparks movie, you can know for a fact that it will be unbelievable, inconceivable and utterly romantic. Nicholas Sparks is Disney for grownups – the male lead is sensitive and wants you to love him eternally and the woman is damn lucky to find him wandering on her little stretch of Southern American road. There will be villains but mostly there will be love and adventure and lots of smooch time.

Still, I can watch most of these movies and have fun while doing it. It sets you on an emotional high and even though it creates a false idea in your head permanently that men are like that, you still feel pretty happy afterwards (the depression sets in when Spark’s kills someone, and he loves killing, that man)

Nic Sparks movies watched, ranked from best to worst:

The Notebook (2004)

A Walk To Remember (2002)

The Lucky One (2012)

Dear John (2010)

Safe Haven (2013)

The Last Song (2010)

Best of Me (2014)

Female Leads

First Place: Rachel McAdams as Allie Hamilton

Allie Hamilton

Rachel McAdams has always been the epitome of class to me. Even from her days as skanky Regina George, McAdams made sure you notice her and it wasn’t surprising to anyone that she became the most successful of the Mean Girls clan. McAdams plays a darling Southern girl perfectly and even though she is hampered by the time she grows up in Allie Hamilton still gets her say in things and she is determined.

Second Place: Mandy Moore as Jamie Sullivan

Jamie Sullivan

A Walk to Remember went down when Mandy Moore was still relevant, and I’m surprised this didn’t take her even further into fame. She manages to be the sweet, innocent and sincere Jamie without being too sugary and that is a mean feat to achieve. She also worked really well with Shane West, and they complement each other well enough so that you end up sobbing for them. I really do enjoy A Walk to Remember – it is a book and a movie where Nicholas Sparks was still original and had fresh ideas, and you couldn’t predict what would happen.

#bringBackOriginality

Third Place: Amanda Seyfried as Savannah Curtis

DEAR JOHN

Amanda Seyfried probably ranks as one of my favorite young female actresses. I love her unique looks and her acting ability. She always seems so sweet and pure and that made her perfect as Savannah. I don’t think she has a lot of chemistry with Channing Tatum but they made a good pair onscreen and I also really liked Savannah’s character – she put others above her own needs and cared for the people in her life.

Honorable mention: Miley Cyrus as Ronnie Miller

I used to adore Miley Cyrus. Really, I know she grated on everybody’s nerves long before she grated against Robin Thicke, but I’ve always liked her voice. She wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination a good actress in the The Last Song, but it was pretty much the last time we all understood Miley Cyrus. I also really liked her and Hemsworth together (reunite now, lovebirds!)

Male Leads: Deliciousness always

nicholas-sparks-movie-actors-hotties

To land a spot as the main man in a Nicholas Sparks movie, there are two main requirements:

One: Be so hot you are one of the main culprits in a sudden increase in global warming

Two: Have the ability to look pained/pensive/heroic with extra benefits if you can do all these at once.

That said, most actors in these adaptions have done a very good job and they are all fine actors. I think some of them like Channing Tatum and Zac Efron (Especially Efron) are still proving themselves in Hollywood and romantic movies is a good way to get noticed #MatthewMcConaughey

First Place: Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun

Noah

My favorite actor in this set of movies is definitely Ryan Gosling: I love the man, I loved Noah in the books and how Gosling represented Noah in the adaption. Gosling himself is three hundred percent charm and can act exceptionally well. The Chemistry between the main characters is another topic but the intense attraction between Gosling and McAdams also contribute greatly to the success of both their roles.

Second Place: Shane West as Landon Carter

landon-carter

Shane West has the perfect face and personality to be the angry teenager with a chip on his shoulder. He worked as Landon Carter as few others could have and he brought the change that took place in Landon after he met Jamie to the table authentically. He had very decent character development – Landon was a spoiled rich kid that found something more rewarding to live for than getting in trouble all the time.

Third Place: James Marsden as Dawson Cole

James marsden BOM

I had a truckload of issues with this movie, but James Marsden as the leading man in Best of Me was a good choice, even if he had no chemistry with Michelle Monaghan. Marsden is cute as hell, he can act, he has gorgeous blue eyes and he is a perfect mix of defiance and sweetness in his portrayal of Cole.

Honorable mention: Zac Efron as Logan Thibault

Logan 1

For the sake of full disclosure, I’m admitting I just wanted him on here because he’s so gorgeous. That, and he really did the sad, hardworking ex-marine thing well (go talk to Zoë about that obsession of mine)

logan dog

Yes, It’s Zac Efron holding a dog. You’re welcome!

Death of a Central Character:

Contenders:

George Martin

Suzanne Collins

Veronica Roth

JK Rowling

Nicholas Sparks

In this epic battle Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins would square off, but I think Collins would win as the most psycho writer because we loved Finnick WAY more than we loved Tris, right? Then as our next set of contenders we would have George Martin killing Nicholas Sparks without mercy (beheading, of course) while JK Rowling would not even notice them and keep writing in her castle, smugly, because she killed Dumbledore, Mad-Eye, Hedwig, Dobby, Lupin, Tonks, Fred, Sirius and Snape within a book and a half.

My point here is that Sparks sure loves killing people off but it is usually after they’ve gotten some bits of happiness in. The impact is also less because his books are singular entries and not a continuing series, so your attachment, book or movie-wise is not gut wrenching forever.

The title for the saddest Nicholas Sparks movie is shared by The Notebook and A Walk To Remember. You can still argue that A Walk To Remember is worst, because Noah and Allie end up together for a few decades before they both die whereas Jamie dies on Landon a few months after they fall in love.

Book Vs Movie

book vs movie

But will I rewatch?

Best of Me (2014): No. It’s mediocre at best and there are far better alternatives if you want some cheesy romance.

Safe Haven (2013): Maybe – It’s not horrid but it’s not the best movie either

The Lucky One (2012): It has Zac Efron in, I definitely will

The Last Song (2010):  Hmmm, maybe.

The Notebook (2004): You mean apart from the other ten times I’ve rewatched? Then yes.

Dear John (2010): Hmmm, maybe.

A Walk to Remember (2002): Definitely. Nothing better than a good cry 😀

Hope you enjoyed this enormous post! Let me know what your opinions are about the movies you’ve seen on this list!

Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

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Ryan: Never mind, Houston, never mind the story! Ah. It’s starting to get hot in here. OK. Alright the way I see it, there’s only two possible outcomes. Either I, make it down there in one piece and I have one hell of a story to tell. Or I burn up in the next ten minutes. Either way whichever way, no harm no foul.

Plot: (Via IMDb) A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after a catastrophe destroys their shuttle and leaves them adrift in orbit.

Gravity Poster

I made this poster. Pretty chuffed with myself 😀

Rating: 8.5/10

So many feels!!! I can firstly mention that I have been completely cured of my hidden desire to be in space. Lying on the grass staring up will henceforth be sufficient.

Secondly, this is the first time in a long time I actually wished I had watched a movie in cinema. The effect of Gravity on IMAX would have been absolutely breathtaking, and I am really despondent I missed such a movie experience.

Thirdly, my derision with the Heat is now at a new level because Sandra Bullock in here and Sandra Bullock in there is just not the same thing.

I really appreciated the pace the movie progressed with. Everything that went down had a reason to it, and there weren’t those pesky drawn out scenes that I despise so much. The movie isn’t long and I was dreading length here initially, no one yaps too much, there aren’t too many characters, and the two available give such stunning performances I wish I knew why both of them didn’t get an Oscar for this. I could yap about graphics and stuff but it is not my field of expertise, so I will say it was excellently done and leave it at that. We can thus just focus on the beauty that is space, be humbled by how little we understand from it, and be eternally grateful that even though it is messed up, the Earth is an okay place to be in with its gravity holding us grounded.

Sandra Bullock’s character was amazing. She was so sad and broken, and her finding the courage to fight for her life when she felt she had nothing to live for will give me chills until the end of time.

I took away a real lesson from this movie: If your day is bad, it is highly unlikely that it will be as bad as Ryan’s in space. Gravity is all about the triumph of the human spirit, and I nearly pulled out a few hairs when it seemed the water was crushing her to death (watch the movie and you will know what I mean)

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Matt: I get it. It’s nice up here. You can just shut down all the systems, turn out all the lights, and just close your eyes and tune out everyone. There’s nobody up here that can hurt you. It’s safe. I mean, what’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died. Doesn’t get any rougher than that. But still, it’s a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go, then you gotta just get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride. You gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start livin’ life. Hey, Ryan? It’s time to go home.

George Clooney (who is like wine), perfected the role as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski. He was so calm and collected and such a relaxed presence even when things started going horribly wrong. I really enjoyed how he just handled and accepted what came up.

gravity-sandra-bullock-636-370

Bestie told me that Pappy has very strong feelings about this before I watched it, and I just had to see if he was right. He was (obviously) very right about it, and I LOVED it too much. I can definitely see myself rewatching and recommending the hell out of this movie – even if you don’t absolutely love it, you will still enjoy it. If I have to name my favourite top ten movies immediately, I can see myself working this in now!

Have you seen it? Did you like it? Let me know!

Five things Friday: Impressive movies I watched lately

Happy Friday!

It feels that I put up a FTF post about a million years (three weeks) ago, and when this idea suddenly came to me, I decided that I immediately had to adhere to this before stuff (soccer) corrupted my mind again badly that I forgot. Without further ado, here are five movies that I saw lately and was enormously impressed by.

Saving Private Ryan

I think I saw this movie as a teen a few years back, but when I watched it in April it certainly felt like new material. Saving Private Ryan is gory, sad, intense and apparently very realistic to the real thing that went down. I enjoyed every single suspense filled moment of it.

Lawless

Lawless_Poster

I enjoyed this Prohibition Crime Drama very much. Every performance was top notch, and I even liked the Beefster in here, something that very rarely happens.

Taken

taken poster

I saw some negative reviews on this movie that I can’t understand. I had so much fun with Liam Neeson going on an enormous ass kicking spree and thought the entire movie was extremely well put together.

The Green Mile

The green mile

A movie about death row did not sound like the most enticing tale ever, but I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the movie. Tom Hanks was once again perfect with his performance, and the way the whole story came together and how the plot lines worked made for excellent viewing material. I am currently reading the book, and so far it is an excellent adaption of how it went down in Stephen King’s novel.

Drive

drive

There was never a movie with so little conversation in that wasn’t a silent movie and still managed to stay spectacular as was Drive. It is Ryan Gosling’s finest role. He WAS the Driver, and the underlying tension and power of the character was nail biting all the way through.

What have you seen lately that you loooooved? Tell me!

Movie Review: Drive (2011)

drive

“If I drive for you, you get your money. You tell me where we start, where we’re going, where we’re going afterwards. I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything a minute on either side of that and you’re on your own. I don’t sit in while you’re running it down. I don’t carry a gun. I drive.”  The Driver

The Driver (Ryan Gosling) works as a getaway driver. He gives the criminals he drives for only five minutes to get in and out, and will leave them to their own devices should they take longer. His manager Shannon (Bryan Cranston) manages him in his three jobs – the getaway service, as a stunt double and as a mechanic in an auto shop.

Irene (Carey Mulligan) moves into one of the apartments in the building, and the Driver becomes her friend and helps her with small chores and connecting with her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). Even though he is attracted to her, he only acts as a friend because she is married to Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) who is in prison. When Standard comes home, he is suspicious and competitive of the Driver but after the initial awkwardness it is obvious that nothing ever happened and he becomes friendlier.

Shannon wishes to get the Driver into racing, fully aware of how amazing he will be on the track. He persuades mobsters Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and Nino (Ron Perlman) to invest in them and buy a stock car chassis so that the Driver can build it up and race it.

Meanwhile Standard is visited by Cook (James Biberi) who he owes protection money to for his time in prison. He is beaten up while Benicio watches and Cook gives Benicio a bullet before he leaves. When the Driver finds them he is furious that Benicio is now in danger, and Irene probably as well, and offers to be the getaway driver to steal $40 000 from a pawn shop that will cover Standard’s debt.

A lot of guys mess around with married women, but you're the only one I know who robs a joint just to pay back the husband. Crazy.
A lot of guys mess around with married women, but you’re the only one I know who robs a joint just to pay back the husband. Crazy.

Standard and Cook’s accomplice Blanche (Christina Hendricks) to pull off the heist, the Driver sees a dark Chrysler pulling into the lot. Standard is killed by the pawnshop owner as he leaves the building and Blanche barely makes it into the car and they rush away.

Blanch and the Driver hides in a hotel, where she confesses that she and Cook were double-crossing him and Standard. Two of Cook’s henchmen arrives, kills Blanche before the Driver kills them both. The Driver tracks Cook down and after he smashes his fingers Cook tells him Nino is behind the robbery and double crossing.

The Driver wants nothing of the million anymore, just to get rid of it. Nino dismisses the offer to take the cash plainly, and sends a hit man to the Driver’s apartment building. He enters the lift with the Driver and Irene, and the Driver notices the man is carrying a weapon, kisses Irene for the first time and viciously kills the hit man, terrifying Irene.

kiss

What will happen to Benicio, Irene and the Driver? Is there any chance they can ever be together? Will the Driver be ever able to get rid of the cash he doesn’t even want?

Rating: 8/10

Drive was so delightful. The movie was beautifully shot. The spans of silence worked to build the tension excellently and the depth of the Driver’s character was mesmerising when he defended himself. I didn’t find the violence too much at all, and seeing as I don’t have a fondness for guts everywhere I can’t see what people are harping on about. I never felt bored watching Drive and there was never the remote possibility of confusion – everything was so clearly shot that you knew exactly what was going down.

This is one of Ryan Gosling’s most intense roles ever played and certainly one of his best. It takes remarkable acting skills to get the message through without words, aided only by grunts and facial expressions. His character seems calm and a bit of a pushover and then when he is approached by people he did a job for in a social setting that switch is so fast and terrifying and effective.

Carey Mulligan seems to be gaining speed in Hollywood and I think it is well deserved. Sure, she fits into a very specific role but she does it so well that I love her every time I see her on screen. She is definitely becoming a favourite of mine.

The relationship between the Driver and Irene is so beautifully done. Initially the only thing the Driver does is be her friend and assist her. Only after her husband dies they share a kiss, but there is still something remarkably old fashioned about their love story.

The support cast did so well. Bryan Cranston was his ever delightful self, and I have to rave about Ron Perlman for just a few seconds. I find him hilarious. He is so over the top and strange and even when he is a gangster (Sons of Anarchy) there is something infinitely fabulous and mock-worthy about him. He is a great actor and always makes his characters so interesting.

I generally hate open endings. It is so frustrating to never know what happened to the characters! Drive is one of the few movies where it didn’t frustrate me, because the Driver did what he wanted to do – keep Irene and Benicio safe.

Have you seen this? What did you think?

Movie Review: The Notebook (2004)

The-notebook

Noah (Ryan Gosling) meets Allie Hamilton (Rachel MacAdams) when she comes to Seabrook Island, where he lives, to visit for the summer. Even though Allie is from an affluent family and Noah has nothing to offer her, they quickly fall in love. Her mother (Joan Allen) is less than pleased but remains uninvolved until Allie stays out late one night with Noah causing her parents considerable distress. Noah overhears Allie’s mom saying that he isn’t worthy of her and tries to leave, and Allie catches him and they fight about it. Allie is convinced they will resolve issues the next day but her mother forces her to leave. Noah is heartbroken and writes to her a letter each day for a year, but finally has to accept nothing will happen because all of them go unanswered.

Years later during the War, Allie meets Lon Hammond (James Marsden). He is everything Allie should be marrying – charming, attractive, successful and from an important Southern family like herself. He is very good to her and eventually they get engaged. Allie is very happy with her fiancé and life but her world is turned upside down when she sees a newspaper article with Noah in and the house he had promised he would restore for her. She decides to return to where she first fell in love and visit Noah.

notebook scene

The ever popular It’s-a-Sparks-movie-let’s-kiss-in-the-rain scene.

Their passion and love is immediately reignited. They realize that her mother had kept the letters from her and Allie had never read a word Noah wrote to her. Allie spends a night at Noah’s place and is surprised when her mother rocks up. They reconnect when her mother admits that her love life is similar to Allie’s, and that she chose her rich husband over a poor teenage boy in the same town ages ago. When her mother tells her Lon realized what is going on and is on his way, Allie knows that she should make a decision. Will she go with the man that can give her everything, and is a really good person, or with Noah, who is also a good person but not the man society has chosen for her?

Rating: 7.5/10

I really enjoyed watching this movie. It is a great book to movie adaption. I think it is the best Nicholas Spark’s version out there. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams have incredible chemistry as Noah and Allie. Both were well cast as the characters. I was really impressed with Ally’s accent – never once did she deviate from the Southern accent. The costume designing was well done – every outfit fits for the years it was developed for.

The movie is really sad for so many reasons – Noah knowing that he isn’t good enough for Allie by society’s standards, the war where he loses his good friend, the fact that Lon (I think James Marsden was excellent as well) is a really good man and will get hurt either way, Noah and Allie’s eventual ending and everything in between.

The movie manages to be a romantic drama without too much sticky sweet moments. That kissing scene in the rain is probably the best kiss in the history of movie kisses, ever. If you ever need to re-fall in love with Ryan Gosling (like that would ever be necessary) watch that scene and the entire movie because he is absolutely gorgeous in the Notebook.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Movie review: Crazy, Stupid Love (2011)

CRAZY STUPID LOVE_COMBO BD (1000250398).indd

Directed by: Glen Ficarra and John Requa

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell), a middle aged man with a fondness for ugly jeans, gets the shock of his life when he hears that his wife Emily (Julianne Moore) is leaving him and that she slept with a co-worker, David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). Devastated, he moves out to his own apartment. Soon he is going to a bar every night, where he complains loudly to his sad life.

That is where he meets Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Good looking, womanizing and charming, Jacob decides to take Cal under his wing and save him from eternal loneliness. Soon, Cal becomes well dressed, well-spoken and charming as well. His wife is shocked with his sudden change, and she has already started to doubt her decision to leave him. Cal and Emily see each other at a parent-teacher conference and things go great until he realises that his son’s teacher is Kate (Marisa Tomei), the first woman he seduced in the bar. Kate does not take rejection well and starts yelling at him in front of everyone, embarrassing them all.

Jacob is exceptional in the art of seducing woman, but he isn’t able to seduce Hannah (Emma Stone). His advances make no impression on her, and she rebuffs him even though her friend tells her she is crazy for doing it. Emma, a recent law school graduate, is dating Richard (Josh Groban), who is very pompous. When she passes the bar exam, she thinks he wants to propose but he just offers her a partnership in the firm, telling her that he isn’t on the marriage level. It makes her realize what a douchebag he is and she breaks up with him in spectacular fashion. She heads over to the bar she met Jacob, kisses him, and he takes her to his place. Not for lack of trying, they don’t sleep together, but spend the night talking and laughing. They start dating, and Cal and Jacob’s relationship drifts apart.

Meanwhile, Cal’s son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is in love with an older teenager – the girl who babysits him Jessica (Analeigh Tipton). Nothing she does will make him understand that she isn’t interested. Robbie has absolutely no chance because Jessica has a crush on Cal – to which he is completely oblivious to – but it is very strong. She takes matters into her own hands by taking naked pictures of herself with the intent to send it to Cal, but her parents catches her and all hell breaks loose. Her father is justifiably enraged and unfortunately thinks that Cal is a pedophile, and he heads over to the Weaver house to sort him out.

love is for

Cal realizes that the demise of his marriage is not only Emily’s fault, but that he also had a part in it. He makes a mini golf set in his garden and gets his children to help him out fix his marriage. All is going well until their eldest daughter – Hannah – shows up with her new boyfriend Jacob. Cal tells her that Jacob is scum, and she does what all daughters do – and ignores her father. To make matters worse, David Lindhagen and Jessica’s dad shows up and a massive fight breaks loose.

The exasperated cops eventually sort everything out and reprimand all of them, but Cal’s life is once again in pieces. Will he and Emily ever reconcile? Can Jacob convince Cal that Hannah made him change?

Rating: 8/10

Miracles can happen – as proven in SCL. It is romantic, it is a comedy, so it is worthy of being called a romantic-comedy. Most movies only manage one of the two – and most often it ends up as a mushy romantic movie with lame attempts at jokes.

Steve Carell as Cal Weaver:

cal weaver

I was pleasantly surprised at Steve Carell’s performance. I am usually not a fan – I don’t watch the stuff he acts in (stupid comedy) but as Cal Weaver he managed to convince me that he has some credibility as an actor. Cal begins as this sad, generic home dad who has forgotten why he loves his wife and who he is. Through the help of Jacob, he lives to his true potential – attractive enough to get girls and kind enough to keep them.

Ryan Gosling as Jacob Palmer:

SCL gosling

Deliciously good. He is already a good actor, but he was such a good choice for Jacob. He is sarcastic, funny, charming and intelligent in here. He shows that falling in love can change a man and make him become a real man. There is some real chemistry between him and Emma Stone, and that certainly contributed towards the success of the film.

Julianne Moore as Emily Weaver:

Emily weaver

As the lady who is going through a midlife crisis, who went and watched a Twilight movie on her own and who managed to get through a teenage pregnancy, Emily is a funny and yet inspiring lady. I’ve always enjoyed watching Julianne Moore in movies – she is very graceful and seems to live scandal free. She and Cal shows that even the greatest love goes through a bad crisis and with the right attitude can survive.

Emma Stone as Hannah Weaver:

Hannah Weaver

Her relation to the Weavers was excellently concealed until the right time and was brilliant to have been done so. I think she is amazingly funny and talented, equipped with hilarious facial expressions and attitude. Her break-up with Richard – done by the surprisingly hilarious Josh Groban – was very funny and he deserved what he got. Her initial dismissal of Jacob was awesome – it cut him down to size, established her dignity and set a standard where she could date him with confidence later.

Overall, it is a great movie that will also be enjoyable to people who don’t enjoy rom-coms. For one, there are no silly romantic gestures that will never happen in real life. Secondly, it is ridiculously funny. Thirdly, the cast is solid and able to act.

The only things I didn’t like were Analeigh Tipton as Jessica Riley. I seriously am disliking her right now –that ridiculous mouth and bad acting abilities tells me the new Michelle Trachtenberg has arrived, and Marisa Tomei, who I’ve never understood what the hype is about.

The ridiculous debate about the pronunciation of David Lindhagen was hilarious, Jacob’s fantastic reaction to meeting him even when he himself was fighting with Cal, how David was a relatively innocent person in the events (even though he slept with another man’s wife) and how he was involved in the fight in Emily’s poor garden.

Finally, it is one of my favorite movies in the genre. As I am writing this I can’t really recall a movie I like more in the dodgy rom-com area.

Go give it a try!

5 Things Friday: Five romantic movies you have to watch

Happy Friday!

While you are reading this, I am probably running around like a headless chicken – my sister is getting married tomorrow. Many congratulations, sister and very-soon brother-in-law! May you have happiness and love in abundance for the rest of your lives. I am so proud of both of you.

Here is my installment of Five things Friday, and keeping with the theme of lurrrvee, Five Favorite Romantic movies I love and think you should watch.

Movie One: Crazy, Stupid Love

Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling star in this movie. Usually star studded films can steer horribly wrong, but I really liked this one. It had a few surprising twists and turns, and managed to be both funny and serious at times.

Movie Two: Dirty Dancing

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Patrick Swayze dancing. ‘nuff said.

Movie Three: Letters to Juliet

letters_to_juliet

I think this movie is seriously underrated. Amanda Seyfried is one of my favorite actresses (it may be because she is one of the only young Hollywood stars not acting out right now) and she is wonderful in this touching romantic film about finding lost love, and how you can achieve something if you never stop believing.

Movie Four: 10 Things I hate about you

This movie is one of my all-time favorites. Heath Ledger as a teen? It is hilarious to see 90’s high school kids as well.

Movie 5: PS I love you

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Prepare the tissues. I cry every single time when I watch it. Maybe it is only because Gerard Butler dies. But it is still excruciatingly sad.