Watched, Read, Loved: April 2017

April is the best month for South-Africa. Seriously – we have so many public holidays people are actually nice to each other. I took off a chunk of time as well, and it did me the world of good. I actually got some sleep in, saw my bestie and watched some amazing films. Without further ado, here is my rundown of April 2017.

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Movies:

BEauty poster

Beauty and the Beast (2017): The painful excitement that came when I heard they were doing a live animation of my favorite Disney classic was excruciating. Would it work? Would it fail? The QUESTIONS that plagued me.Additionally, B&B was released in South-Africa later than the rest of the world because of South-Africaitis, and there were conflicting reports to be read. Anyway, grabbing popcorn and sitting down to see this was really wonderful. I liked it, and will watch it again. I had Gaston stuck in my head for a week. I better not hear that tune soon.

One day

One Day (2011): HATED IT.

basic instinct

Basic Instinct(1992): This is part of my Blindspot 2017 series. This year I am doing remarkably well with it, because Zoë and I watched a bunch of them in December because #besties. Basic Instinct is next on the list and quite the shocker. OMFG my poor eyes.I might never recover.

Anywhere but home (2008): I thought this comedy was quite funny the second time around (I know I’ve seen this before but I can barely remember it). It’s also titled “Four Christmases”. I’ve never understood exactly why some movies get two titles. Anyway, if you can believe that someone like Reese Witherspoon would end up with someone like Vince Vaughn, you can get through the movie. It has some funny moments, and sure they are the typical things you’d expect, but they are funny regardless.

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Twilight: New Moon (2009): I’ve been meaning to blog about Twilight as a set for ages now. I did Twilight (2008) easily, but had a couple of months delay by what succeeds it. New Moon is the most insufferable – both book and movie – but I sat through it eventually.

Eclipse

Twilight: Eclipse (2010): Eclipse is a strong successor and definitely superior to the ghastly New Moon. Edward is still an obsessive stalker, Bella is still pathetic, R. Patz and Kristen Stewart still can’t act. But decisively better than the infuriating New Moon.

Safe Haven (2013): The casting for Nicholas Sparks film is never specified for acting abilities. I guess the author/filmmaker knows his audience too well, and knows if he provides enough pretty people the film will be acceptable to his fans. He’s not wrong. I enjoyed Safe Haven and the acting is really better than the acting in The Lucky One. The kids were cute and the story was okay.

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He’s just not that into you (2009): I always enjoy watching HJNTIY. My brother-in-law did not appreciate us making him watch it though, telling me that it is not also a guy-friendly film as I initially thought.

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Warm Bodies (2013): I just love this film. Nicholas Hoult is a zombie, and when he eats the brains ofTeresa Palmer’s boyfriend, he starts seeing some memories and slowly returns to human form. The cast, led by Hoult, are all quite charming and for a story that shouldn’t work it works really well.

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The DUFF (2015):yes, I watched it again. One of my favorite films at the moment. Such hilarity.lethal weapon

Lethal Weapon 1 (1987) & Lethal Weapon 2 (1989):
It was my first time around watching this buddy-cop series, and I really enjoyed it. The 1980’s were a glorious time to be alive obviously!

Blood wars

Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)

SO SLOPPY.

chef

Chef (2014): Chef is a film about good food and happy endings, and well deserved of its’ praise. I really quite liked this film!

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Arrival (2016): My review will be up next week. I loved this. Handsdown one of the finest films of 2016.

Drive

Drive (2011): I remember enjoying Drive the first time around, but I really couldn’t remember everything about it. I enjoyed it so much this time too, it is a phenomenal film and some of Gosling’s best work.

The guest

The Guest (2014): This film has a lot of science reasons it works well to the appreciative eye, but I can tell you that I would have loved it without the science too. Gorgeous directing, a solid plot and excellent score, this film is a great film to watch again and again.

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Prisoners (2013): Prisoners currently ranks as my least favorite Villeneuve film. It is on no level a poor film, it was just not my favorite of his. And it is five hundred hours long. *Scientific fact*

PPZ

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016):

I can watch this movie indefinitely. It is the best!

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.

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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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Movie Review: The Way Way Back (2013)

The way way back

Duncan: “How long have you been working there?”

Owen: “Oh, the park? Um, I’ve always been there. Ever since I was a small Cambodian child. Of course, that was after ‘Nam. I was in the shit. Then I joined the circus to become a clown fighter. I know about 46 ways to kill a clown. I hate clowns. I’m kidding except for the part where I really do hate them.”

Plot:

On a trip to Cape Cod, 14-year Duncan (Liam James) has a conversation with his mother’s boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell). Trent asks Duncan to rate himself out of ten, and after some thought Duncan mentions he thinks he is a six. Trent says that he thinks Duncan is a 3/10, and that just starts the journey of a vacation of emotional bullying. The teen must watch his mother acting like a school girl and Trent’s daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) flouncing around. He is obviously unwanted and when he finds a pink, girly bike he takes it and starts cycling around.

Duncan soon discovers the Water Whizz, a water park away from their beach house. He is employed by Owen (Sam Rockwell), the park’s slightly strange yet hilarious owner who is held in line by an employee Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph). Everyone at the park speaks reverently about a legendary act: passing someone in the tube slide.

Duncan

Duncan has a lot of fun at the park and he gets some much needed confidence from it. He even manages to have a conversation with Susanna (Anna-Sophia Robb), their neighbour Jenny’s daughter. Susanna isn’t in the best place either in her life, with her parents divorced and her mom, who isn’t necessarily a bad mother, drunk most of the time while on vacation. Susanna is a bit older than Duncan but seems willing to spend time with him instead of with her very shallow friends, of whom Steph is one of. They progress from very stunted conversations to sharing their similar troubles and quickly become friends.

Duncan sees Trent kissing another woman and is furious that his mother is falling into the same trap which she was in with his father. He yells at her at a party about it and storms away after people are forced to physically restrain Trent from hitting Duncan. Duncan spends the night with his friends at the Water Whizz. He returns the next day to find that they are all packed up and leaving, and that his mother will likely stay with Trent. Duncan climbs out of the car at the petrol station and runs to the park, and gets Owen to do the slide with him. They emerge victorious, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Owen stands up for Duncan when Trent tries to pull him and quickly let’s him know what Owen thinks of him. Duncan leaves the hero, and in the car gets another reward: his mom climbs through the car to sit with him the back, causing hope that she will leave Trent or at the very least start standing up for her child.

Rating: 7/10

I had a lot of fun with The Way Way Back. I don’t often watch coming of age stuff because I often find the acting and the script sorely lacking. This wasn’t like that at all. Although the storyline was an often used one, I found it refreshing and sweet. The movie explores good topics – how people should undergo tests to see if they will become proper parents and the things children go through to grow spines. I absolutely detested Trent and what he represented and I didn’t have much time for Duncan’s mother at all. She was way too immersed in her life to notice what went on in her child’s.

Liam James was well cast as Duncan. I constantly thought: “wow, look at this poor awkward kid”. He had nowhere where he fit in. He had a douchebag for a potential stepfather, his own father was busy having a rendezvous with his younger mistress and his mother was so wrapped up in her own new lover she couldn’t see how horrible he was to her child. It was so liberating when he found the Water Whizz Park and how he discovered key elements of himself there. He was sufficiently entertaining enough that every time he stood up to Trent I wanted to give the kid a high five and applaud.

Steve Carell surprised me. Except Stupid, Crazy Love, he is always in ridiculous roles that irritate me very much. He was SUCH a douche bag! I was shocked how well he became Trent Ramsey, a moron that told a 14-year-old that he is a 3/10. I was shocked by his reprehensible character and how he was so underhanded to make Duncan look like a bad kid.

Alison Janney as Jenny was rather hilarious. She was constantly drunk and so not comfortable being a mother to that poor boy with the eye. I was pretty steamed at her sometimes but at the end realized her character wasn’t such a bad person, but the fact that she is an awkward mother just clashed t-old that she was so stressed that her ex-husband would take away her children.

Sam Rockwell as Owen was one of the key elements that made the Way Way back a good movie. He was hilarious. He has some serious talent if you compare his diverse roles here and in the Green Mile, where he played psychopath Wild Bill Wharton. I really had some laughs in all his scenes and he stole it on every occasion. I just loved how he was portrayed as easy going and fun but when he met Trent he was obviously the better man and knew what was right and wrong.

Anna-Sophia Robb was entertaining as Susanna. I’ve only ever seen her in the Carrie Diaries so seeing her in something else was fun. She is a decent enough actress and I think she will become a fine actress in a few years’ time.

The WWB is recommended for those who need some cheering up 🙂

Have you seen the Way Way Back? Tell me what you thought 😀

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.

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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

dirty dancing

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.