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.

twilight-graphics-twilight-new-moon-840934

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.

warm-bodies-10

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!

arrival-banner

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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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: Safe Haven (2013)

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The movie’s opening scene shows a young woman (Julianne Hough) fleeing a house holding a bloody knife. She buys a bus ticket, now with short blond hair and leaves the station. A man is shown flashing a police badge and searching buses for her, but she manages to avoid detection. When she arrives in Southport, North Carolina, she introduces herself as Katie and gets a job as a waitress. She buys a rundown house on the edge of town, and meets her neighbour Jo (Cobie Smulders) and they eventually becomes friends. Katie meets Alex Weatley (Josh Duhamel), the convenience store owner, and his two children, Lexie (Mimi Kirkland) and Josh (Noah Lomax). Alex was widowed when his wife died of cancer a few years back, and Josh has some troubles because he was old enough when she passed away to remember and miss his mother. Even though it is obvious that Alex likes Katie, she seems to thaw very reluctantly when it comes to him, but it is impossible to not love Lexie.

After driving Katie home with her groceries Alex notices that she doesn’t have transport. He leaves her a bike with a basket, intending to simplify her life, but she gets angry about it. Jo gently points out that Katie overreacted and she apologizes to Alex afterwards. A few days later they head to the beach on a family trip and later on Alex and Katie start going on dates together. They are soon dating and even Josh starts to enjoy the new addition to his life.

Meanwhile, the cop who was looking for Katie at the bus stop, Kevin Tierney (David Lyons) is still obsessed with finding her. He releases reports saying that she is wanted for a connection to a murder, and the police force in Southport puts up her picture in their police station too. Alex notices the picture and confronts Katie. She tries to tell him the truth but he is horrified that he endangered his children. She nearly leaves but he arrives in time to stop her. She tells him that Kevin is her abusive husband, and that she fled Boston after he nearly killed her. Alex promises that he won’t allow anything to happen to her. Kevin’s boss confronts him with the notice for Katie’s arrest, and discovers that the water bottle Kevin always carries contains vodka. He is asked to hand in his service weapon and badge. Kevin is sure that his neighbor helped Katie flee and starts watching her house obsessively. He breaks in and listens to a phone message where Katie tells her friend that she is okay. Kevin writes down the phone number and realizes that Katie is in Southport. He starts driving there.

On the day of a parade in town Kevin arrives. He is stupendously drunk. He heads into the convenience store and encounters Lexi. She lies to him when he shows her a photo of Katie. He searches the crowd and sees Katie kissing Alex and he becomes very angry. Later that night, Josh and Alex leave Katie and Lexi at home when they go help light the annual fireworks. Katie falls asleep and dreams of Jo telling her Kevin is in town. She wakes up and finds him downstairs. Scared for Lexi, she leads him outside. She begs him to leave town and he pretends to walk away. Katie puts Lexi in the highest room in the house for her protection and tries to contact the police. She sees Kevin dousing the house with petrol and rushes out in time to stop him lighting the house. She throws the lighter in the water but a spark from the fireworks set the house alight with Lexi in it. She starts struggling with Kevin, and Alex sees the fire and Lexi stuck in the house and rushes back. He climbs onto the roof and breaks a window to get Lexi out. Katie and Kevin are struggling and he tries to shoot her but she turns the gun on him, killing him.

Days later, Alex promises Josh that they will rebuild the house. He gives a letter to Katie that his wife wrote to his future wife and she reads it. Upon reading it she realizes that Jo is Alex’s dead wife and that a ghost has been visiting her all the time she’s been in Southport.

Rating: 6.5/10

So I read the book, which naturally meant I had to see the movie. It took me ages to get to actually watching Safe Haven, which pretty strange considering how much I love schmaltzy movies and books (not even ashamed)

Save Haven was a good adaption to the book. Alex didn’t have prematurely grey hair, but I thought it silly in the book so it wasn’t in the least offensive in the movie either. I am sure that Katie goes from blonde to brown, not the other way around in the book, but can be wrong, but that isn’t really an issue either. Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough had some good chemistry going between them which is obviously very important in a romance film. The kids cast were pretty damn adorable.

Rotten Tomatoes thought that Safe Haven sucked, but I have to disagree. Movies shouldn’t always be made to be critically acclaimed. I think it is important to produce movies that appeals to the general public too – that is how it becomes a financial success.

Safe Haven was based on the bestselling book by Nicholas Sparks with the same name. The movie stayed true to the book and that really impressed me. Duhamel and Hough have really good chemistry between them and they made a really good couple on screen. I’ve seen Duhamel in a few films but this is the first time I’ve seen Julianne Hough in a movie where her acting was actually good (before Rock of Ages, which I thought was a bit floppy, I thought her claim to fame was dating Ryan Seacrest – which isn’t something I would be proud of FYI).

The best performance however needs to go to David Lyons as Kevin Tierney. I could not have cast a better actor or thought of how he was portrayed in any way. His descent into madness was excellently done.

Have you seen the movie? Read the book? Let me know what you think!

Thoughts 3.1

I feel as if it has been ages since I wrote one of these. February flew past me with the rush to complete my book challenge, getting bogus assignments submitted (I still fully maintain that it is bogus because I simply don’t agree with the way the subject in question is compiled) and focusing on not eating a ton of nonsense (I failed spectacularly). So here goes:

Unisa

March is usually the beginning of most assignment submissions for Unisa. That means sitting my butt down and working (on real assignments)

It’s done

That is, the book challenge. I’ve been posting books throughout the year. I am likely to continue (I really do read a lot) but I’m going to reread tons as well and won’t be posting those again. I actually can’t wait to reread all my favorites.

New direction

I don’t think I will be posting specific challenges, though obviously I am not ruling it out. I think my only goal this year will be new things. New books, new music, new places, new movies, new experiences.

Upgrade

THANK FREAKING HEAVENS I AM NEARLY UPGRADING. This blackberry is driving me NUTS. IF I EVER EVEN ATTEMPT TO THINK ABOUT BUYING SUCH SHIT AGAIN BIND ME TO A CHAIR. PLEASE.

Weight, diets, exercise and exhaustion with my brain

Apparently, thinking constantly is part of my personality and star sign. It is true – I cannot stop my brain from incessantly thinking and frustrating me senseless. I just want a switch at night – can I possibly stop all these thoughts running havoc in my head?!

I am exhausted by the constant pressure of eating correctly and exercising. So I’ve essentially given up. I try to eat as healthy as possible, but I am starting to send thoughts to my brain dictating that I am not allowed to be mad at myself anymore if I fail. It is a constant process.

The Oscar Pistorius case

It really feels that everything South-Africans are proud of gets taken away. Look, we have a disabled athlete competing in the Olympics. Oh look, he shoots his girlfriend four times through a closed door on Valentine’s Day.

My opinion: It is a loss. Two beautiful, talented people. One is dead and the other one is on trial. There is no proper justice because nothing is bringing Reeva Steenkamp back. Is he guilty? I don’t think he was planning to shoot her. Is it possible he completely lost his temper and went after her? That is another question completely.

My opinion on the journalists in South-Africa: You suck. You are like a bunch of hungry dogs with a bone and have no respect or decency anymore. There is this one particular journo that is irritating me incredibly – I am not naming him – but he isn’t even remotely unbiased in anything. I am barely reading news or going on Twitter because everything is just being blown out of proportion these days.

Speaking of which

As I hope you know, South-Africa has one of the most successful youngest democracies in the world. Unfortunately though, our political parties are mainly jokes just like any other countries’. The leading party and the leading opposition (that isn’t difficult to figure out) are being complete and utter fools these days. Just grow the fuck up, please.

Movies

I’ve finally seen 500 Days of Summer (depressing) and Safe Haven (relatively good and a decent adaption of the book). I also re-watched Sleeping Beauty (the classic) and it is as awesome as my childhood memories dictate.

This one delivery guy at work

Smells like weed all the time. Honestly, who smokes weed while transporting medical samples?!

Excited about

CA winter soldier

The new Captain America movie coming out. Can’t wait!

A bit disappointed

That Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get his Oscar. Sigh L

The most irritating thing of all time:

Girls playing the I’m a wilting flower routine. How can anyone find this attractive? I want to slap people so hard that does this. Fuck man.

I should stop writing since I’m using the word Fuck a lot right now.

Sorry.

Fuck

And a pic:

3.1 ecard

 

Book Review: Safe Haven (Nicholas Sparks)

Safe Haven

Book: 44/100

Katie Feldman arrives in a small town to start her new life. Through miracle alone she escaped her abusive husband, Kevin Tierney, who is a police officer with an uncanny sense to connect information. Katie, previously Erin Tierney, successful fled from him and moved to a small southern town Southport. There she works in a diner, and lives by herself. She chooses the seclusion she lives in, but makes a friend with her new neighbor Jo. Jo helps Katie talk about her past, and makes Katie notice the attractive shopkeeper in town, Alex Wheatley.

Alex, a retired army officer, is raising his children alone after the death of his wife. He is a dedicated and loving father, and tries to give everything to his children. He only gets to make a connection to Katie after she strikes up a friendship with his young daughter, and after she indirectly saves his son’s life, they start to act more social around each other.

Katie knows that she is falling in love with Alex, and knows that she has to share her past with him. It is much easier than she suspected, because Alex suspected it already. Their relationship blooms, and the kids adjust to having Katie in their lives.

Back in Boston, Kevin isn’t coping with his wife finally outmaneuvering him. He is effectively a drunken sociopath, lying to all his co-workers about her whereabouts, threatening witnesses, and drinking himself into a stupor each night. On a sudden hunch, he starts to find out that she changed her identity to an elder couples’ deceased daughter. With this knowledge, he starts hunting for his wife.

Will Katie, Alex and the kids be able to stay safe from Kevin?

Rating:  6.5/10

Nicholas Spark’s is just one of those writers who have the magic touch. They can’t go through life without being discovered. Writers like Nora Roberts astound you with their attention to detail, but writers like Nicholas Sparks floors you with emotion. His books are so sentimental and touching. I am teary every time I read a new one. This book was exactly the same. He touches on important issues like domestic violence, and the law wrongfully protecting its own. As Katie rebuilds herself and discovers Alex and his broken family, you are drawn into the novel, becoming part of the story.

This book, like many of his other novels (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Dear John, The Lucky Charm, Message in a Bottle) has been adapted into a film. I haven’t seen Safe Haven as a movie yet, so I am definitely putting it on my to-do list to compare the movie and book.

I would definitely recommend this book to you if you enjoy emotionally taxing books.