Blindspot 2017: The List

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A few things I can tell you about this list:

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

What did you choose this year? Let me know!

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Happy Women’s Day South-Africa: Top 15 Favorite Kick-Ass female characters on screen

Today is Women’s Day here in South-Africa. Over here we like public holidays quite a bit (although India has TWENTY ONE), so we are all having a day off today – Whoop!

To celebrate, I made a list of strong female characters on screen. I think we can all agree that there are too few well written, complex female characters, but these ladies below are amazing and did their job extremely well in their respective films!

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Fifteen: The Black Widow – Marvel movies

Female superheroes have increased marginally, and I am really happy about that. My only negative comment is that I am confused why female superheroes need to either wear skin tight leather suits or skimpy Wonder Woman outfits while their male counterparts wears aerodynamically pleasing outfits or war clothing. We have a far way to still go in this genre, but at least we can all agree that Natasha Romanoff kicks ass multiple times on screen and is a fully functional member of the squad. I really enjoy this character, and I think Scarlett Johannson has done a great job bringing her to the screen. It annoyed me a bit that her infertility was this massive discussion in one of the movies – the reproductive capability of her male teammates have never been discussed.

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Fourteen: Katniss Everdeen

Katniss as a character has many flaws – she is selfish and can’t choose between two men. While that is certainly a crime, I have never been able to really judge her too harshly for it. Her world is dark and horrible, and she has nothing wonderful. Turning away from the caring of a good man? It seems nearly cruel to expect her to do that.

But despite this obvious flaw, I really thought the character was badass and capable, and honorable to take her younger sister’s place in a situation where she was guaranteed her death.

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Thirteen: Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series

If this had been a literary list, Hermoine would have been much higher. Film Hermoine is great and Emma Watson did a good job with her, but my opinion remains that the film adaptions didn’t do justice to the sheer magnificence of the novels, on any level. Anyway, this isn’t a Harry Potter discussion, so I will just mention that Hermoine Granger is the reason those two boys stayed alive. She is strong, intelligent, fiercely loyal and brave, and her contribution to the wizarding world and the feminist cause must never be forgotten.

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Twelve: Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

When Legally Blonde dropped in 2001, every single person on this planet was charmed by Reese Witherspoon and the ditzy genius she created. There were tiny dogs, buckets of pink, manicures and textbooks, all in one film. I placed Elle Woods on this list because we too often forget that it is perfectly possible for a woman to love pink, to be girly and to be very determined, intelligent and capable all at one time. Another excellent thing in the film was that sisterhood won out in the end, and Warner Hungtinton the Third was booted on his ass.

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Eleven: Caroline Forbes, The Vampire Diaries

As the only series character to make it on to this post, you must know that I am very much team Caroline. Another pretty blonde girl who shows determination, loyalty and passion for life! In season one, Caroline works on your nerves pretty much incessantly. She’s insecure and whiny, and seems to be shallow and petty. However, the second she becomes a vampire and she realises that she will live an eternity in her own head, she gets a grip in such a remarkable fashion that I became her biggest fan.

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“I am no man”

Ten: Eowyn, Lord of The Rings

Perhaps the lady with the most iconic quote on the list, Eowyn, shield maiden of Rohan, is on first impression another lady who waits while her beloved father figure wastes away at the hand of the dastardly Wormtongue and her brother rides to war against orcs. It quickly becomes clear that this is a proud woman who was raised by warriors, and that she is simply tired of being left behind while those she loves die around her. She finds a way on to the battlefield, and if that chilling and rousing speech Theoden gives before his final ride isn’t enough, Eowyn steals everyone’s thunder by killing the leader of the Nazgul. She also gets her super happy ending at the end, which pleased me to no end.

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Nine: The Bride, Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino is a phenomenal film maker, and the roles he creates for women are legendary. The Bride is one such character, hell bent on revenge and making people pay for what was done with her. Uma Thurman brings this vengeful character to life with scary finesse, and even though this isn’t my favorite Tarantino film, the character itself is impressive as they come.

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Eight: Hit Girl, Kick-Ass

She’s super tiny, she swears like a sailor, she wears a bright purple wig and her father is Nicolas Cage. Who doesn’t love her? I was a major fan of both movies, and it would be amazing if they could make a third. Hit Girl is the best part of this franchise, showing that gender and size is insignificant when it comes to being a bad ass.

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Seven: Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The horror when Disney bought Star Wars was paramount. Everyone was sure it would be a disaster, and no one could even get a moment of sleep due to the inordinate amounts of stress this franchise was causing in their adult lives. LUCKILY, Disney actually ended up doing a great job, and introduced a bunch of new characters that were able to flow nicely with how things had been done in the past. One of the best new additions was Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, a survivor and a strong female character who can do things for herself. I really enjoyed this character – she is a fantastic blend of purity and strength and was wonderful and empowering to watch.

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Six: Rita Vrataski, The Edge of Tomorrow

A nice little situation of role reversal, Emily Blunt was a hardened war veteran who saved Tom Cruise’s ass REPEATEDLY from aliens. I loved the character – she was sassy, strong, smart and the heroine of the day.

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Five: Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale

Did you also just rub your heart because of the pain that shot through it when Vesper was mentioned? It HURTS. Vesper is hands down the best Bond girl that has ever been onscreen. Her sharp brain kept her well equipped to banter with Bond, and her eventual control over Bond ripped out my heart. The fact that Casino Royale is the best Bond film out there certainly helps, but this character in herself is powerful and strong and determined, attributes that were completely left out during the writing process for the other female characters over this incredibly long franchise.

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Four: Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

I mentioned in my review of Jurassic World that it felt awful to realize that Dr. Ellie Sattler, who was in the very original Jurassic Park in NINETEEN NINETY THREE was a better, well written and strong female character than the running-in-heels-Bryce-Dallas-Howard. Dr. Ellie Sattler, played by Laura Dern, is super smart, professional, excels in her field and gets to see Dinosaurs in JP. I have loved and admired this character from my childhood till now, and I am eternally grateful to the writers that they allowed this strong character to see the light.

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Three: M, The Bond Franchise

Dame Judi Dench is literal life goals. She is classy, successful and revered, and a girl can just dream to be her when she grows up. M is Bond’s boss, the only person who can try to control him, and their relationship is amazing and complex. I love the power of M, and Judi Dench is incredible to behold as this woman who puts her country above everything in her life.

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Two: Furiousa, Mad Max

Homegirl Charlize Theron teamed up with Tom Hardy in the return of Mad Max, and what a job she did. Furiousa is powerful and intense, and her survival skills in the mad world she finds herself in is incredible. The film should have been titled Furiousa, as it is about her and how she helped the wives escape from that dreadful man. The entire film is one big celebration of sisterhood and sticking together, and I could only cheer on the women as they battled for their freedom.

Shoshanna

One: Shoshanna Dreyfus, Inglorious Basterds

The final accolade was difficult to award, because all of the ladies on here are amazing. However, I do think that Shoshanna is worthy, and that her role in Inglorious Basterds is incredibly important. I loved her – her courage and determination, her absolute hatred of anything Nazi, and her eventual success at revenge.

Well, there you have it. There are hopefully a million other female characters that can be mentioned by you below, and I look forward to seeing your opinions!

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

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IMDb Plot: A military officer is brought into an alien war against an extraterrestrial enemy who can reset the day and know the future. When this officer is enabled with the same power, he teams up with a Special Forces warrior to try and end the war.

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Rita: “Yes? What do you want?”

Rating: 8/10

I had a lot of fun with this. Zoë also mentioned it was great for such an ass kicking film, and I knew I had to try it out. It was pretty good and I thought Tom Cruise, a.k.a. The Man Who Doesn’t Age, was amazing in here.He’s always been a good actor, intense and solid, and action really suits him well. He takes getting his ass kicked really well, and I enjoyed how he started out as this very, very superficial guy with no guts or glory and turned into someone strong who knew he had to get his job done.

This is the type of movie other action movies can only hope to be. It has a good storyline, solid characters, scary moments, humour, intelligent and evolved monsters and decent pacing to deliver a solid, a bit of romance and some major ass going down. There are a lot of things that are repeated in the movie, but it seems they knew just where to stop doing it so as to not annoy their audience.  I have to say I found it hilarious in an odd, demented way that Rita would just pop Cage so emotionlessly every time, sure that he would return.

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I loved the war suits of the army. They looked fierce and the like the only hope humans had against these monsters. (I would like one to deal with the taxis in Johannesburg for my birthday).

I liked the enemy. Even though Pacific Rim had the same concept of an alien race inhabiting earth, it didn’t have 1) Tom Cruise 2) the development of characters or 3) a concept revolving around these monsters that made sense.

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I’ve left Rita for last because she deserves so much attention. The more I watched her, the more I thought: HALLELUJA! A SOLID FEMALE CHARACTER! She didn’t need saving, she knew how to save herself and she was such a commanding presence. She wasn’t objectified once, she was respected and everyone was awed by her superior skills as a soldier. I sincerely hope there will be more like her in the future – we need girls to see that this is what you can be, darling.

Recommendation: This movie is well worth the watch.

Movie Review: Rock of Ages (2012)

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Oklahoma native Sherrie Christian leaves her hometown for Los Angeles to become a famous singer. It is 1987. Drew Boley, a barback at the Bourbon Room, meets Sherrie as her luggage gets stolen. He tries to help her, but fails, and luckily manages to get her a job at the Bourbon Room as a waitress. The two fall headily in love.

Dennis Dupree, the club’s owner, is trying to find the money to pay the club’s outstanding taxes. He and his assistant, Lonny Barnett, decide to book Stacee Jaxx, a famous rock star, to get their club out of trouble.

On opening night, Dennis learns that the opening act has cancelled its appearance, and Sherrie convinces him to use Drew’s band, Wolfgang van Colt.

Constance Sack, a reporter for the Rolling Stone Magazine, is scheduled to interview Stacee before the show, and they nearly have sex. She leaves, and Drew sees Sherrie helping Stacee tie his pants, believing the worst. He breaks her heart, and after his successful opening gig signs up with Paul Gill, Stacee’s slimy manager. Both Drew and Stacee resign from their jobs at the Bourbon Room, and Dennis is back in financial trouble after Paul takes their earnings for the night.

The Rolling Stone’s article on Stacee reveals that Paul took the Bourbon Room’s earning for the night, and Stacee fires him. Meanwhile Drew is forced to leave his rocker image behind, adopting a humiliating boy-band look to suit the market.

Meanwhile, Paul has lied to Dennis and tells him that Stacee will perform at his club if Z Guyeezz, Drew’s new band, gets to be the opening act. Stacee learns that he is supposed to perform at the club when he calls the Rolling Stone magazine to profess his love for Constance. Sherrie tells Drew that she never slept with Stacee, and is planning to return to her hometown.

At the Bourbon Room, Drew’s band gets booed by the rocker crowd, and he leaves the stage to reconcile with Sherrie when she shows up. Stacee and Constance end up together, and the two managers of the club, Dennis and Lonny, accept their love for each other.

Rating: 5/10

As I blog more, I find that I am much more critical than I used to be. Last year this time I would have loved this frilly movie, scoring it at around 8. However, things (and I) change. The movie was fun, but terribly predicting. The actors didn’t reach their full potential. The superstar cast includes Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary J. Blige, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and relative new comers Julianne Hough (Footloose 2) and Diego Boneta (Pretty Little Liars). With so many credentials under this cast’s cloak, it fell sadly flat. The only truly spectacular performance was by Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx.

Questions while watching Tom Cruise:

How can he be 51 years old?

Who did he sell his soul too to remain this good looking and YOUNG?

How come he hasn’t starred in a musical before – because he performed amazingly.

The movie also hosted comedian Russell Brand as Lonny, and as usual his performance was desperate. Man, I just want to dump that man in a bath tub. He needs a scrub more urgently than Robert Pattison. People think he is genuinely funny, but all that makes him funnier is his accent and dirty hair. Eugh.

Diego Boneta performed well, although not as good as he was in PLL. I enjoy watching his face (yeah) so I am looking forward to seeing him in other things. Julianne Hough (most notably dating Ryan Seacrest) performed really well. It is good to see her growing into an accomplished actress.

I would recommend this movie to anyone searching for funny, light hearted musical.