Watched, Read, Loved: January 2017

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I’m not going to bless you with that whole “how quick did this month go” crap, because let’s face it; January 2017 took its sweet time being done. At this stage I’m so deliberately avoiding bitching about politics on here, but please note that I do a whole lot of bitching in private about that man who is committing genocide.

I had my birthday on the 25th. I am now officially on the wrong side of 25. I’m 27, so I’ve already been on the wrong side for a whole year, but I was ignoring that at 26. Apart from suddenly stressing about retirement plans and the meaning of my entire existence, I’m not too stressed. I have decided that 27 good things WILL happen to me this year, so I will keep you in the loop.

Here is what I got up to this month, which is an impressive amount! #GoMe

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Movies watched:

10 Things I hate about you:

Confession time: if I had to go live on an island indefinitely with only ten movies to watch, I’d very likely pack 10 Things I Hate About You in.  I love everything about this film – how 90’s everything is: Julia Stiles’ hair, the clothes everyone wore, the music and the cars. I die every time Heath Ledger gifts us with that smile; it is equal parts pain and pleasure. The quick bantering and the ridiculous teenage humor make me laugh every single time. I actually wrote a post about how much I love this film, so I won’t turn it into a whole review here, but I’m sure you are getting the point here that I love this film.

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How to lose a guy in ten days: Kate Hudson used to be my ultimate girl crush as a teenager – she’s so pretty and preppy and blonde. I’m now at a point where I want actresses to be more than pretty, preppy and blonde, but I still find her a good romantic comedy lead. She wouldn’t hold up in more serious roles, but these? I’ll cast her any day. It also contains the delicious Matthew M.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): I finally managed to finish up my Blindspots for 2016. To round the year of with To Kill A Mockingbird was a great idea – what an incredible film.

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Passengers (2017): These films with the strange release dates make it impossible to put them in the correct year. I watched in this year, hence this year will be referenced. I actually really liked it and think that the Oscar nod for set design is well deserved. I know it didn’t go down well with everybody, but I actually quite enjoyed it despite the numerous flaws.

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Fool’s Gold (2008): This falls in the time frame where Matthew McConaughey became the romantic comedy guy, something which still grates on a lot of people today. I do think that Fool’s Gold lacks certain important things like a proper plot, but I didn’t hate it at all.

Scream 4: I finished up my run on the Scream franchise this month. I am so sad! Because while I can definitely watch it again, I won’t ever be able to watch it for the first time again. I’m only posting this for Halloween, because I’d love to actually do a Halloween month this year, but please know that I did love this so much!

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Sicario (2015): Don’t you just love when a film is good enough to inspire you to read up on what you are watching? Shortly after the film ended I read up all about Juarez, Mexico, and the increasingly dodgy sounding CIA. Sicario is a great film that stays with you after you watched it and I will definitely be revisiting Denis Vileneuve’s film in the near future.

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The Princess Diaries:A Royal Engagement (2004): I remember this as a decent movie, which it was NOT. I adore the first Princess Diaries, but the sequel suffers from the sequelitis and it is rampant with bad acting, bad pacing and general badness. The years have been kind to Chris Pine – he is so much more attractive right now than he was in 2004.

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Love, Rosie (2014): I’m still trying to formulate some thoughts on Love, Rosie. Did I like it? Moderately so. I know for a fact that it contains some of the most awkward of scenes ever invented, and I was horrified and cringed so much. It gets a little drawn out and the story is never really strong. I do think that Sam Claflin is simply beautiful and that if just smiled all the time the world would be a better place.

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Vrou Soek Boer (2014): I got my fix of Afrikaans films with Vrou Soek Boer in January. It translates to “A woman is looking for a farmer” but it was a much cuter film than that translation suggested. I enjoyed it very much!

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Sisters (2016): This is surely the biggest waste of cash of 2016 for me. I bought this on DVD, sure I would at least like it okay. Nope. I hated it. What a stupid, unfunny film.

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The Accountant (2016): To embrace my mood of needing to watch people beat up things I picked up the Accountant. Ben Affleck’s hit of 2016, where he is an autistic superhero, fulfilled that need on some level but I was also left feeling vaguely unsatisfied with the ending.

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Series:

The X-Files Season 1: I am having so much fun with the X-files. There is nothing better when you discover a series and along with the discovery is the fact that there are so many seasons with a lot of episodes per season. SCORE! It took me a few episodes to get used to the layout of the show as well as the whole 1992 vibe the first season has going for it. It is pretty good and smart, as well as some funny conspiracy moments going on.

Alias Season 3: Alias has been great to me. I still need to finish Seasons four and five. I had some issues with the third season such as Sydney being a complete psycho, but overall still really great.

True Blood Season 1: I’ve been in the mood torewatch this for a while now. After watching a few episodes that need was cured because True Blood has some grating characters in that I somehow softened in my memory. I might still finish it, but right now there are other better shows that deserve attention.

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Books:

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The Collaborator (Margaret Leroy): Few books have stayed with me like this book has. I’ve had the worst book hangover since then and such troubles finding another book to seek my teeth into.

The Road to the Sea (Ciara Hegarthy): I’m going to go rampant on this book when I finally review it. Overly descriptive and insanely boring, this is one of the least favorite novels I’ve picked up in a while.

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The Power of Six (Pittacus Lore): I’m almost done with Book Two in the Lorien Legacies. Although I am still enjoying, the first read and progressed a whole lot better.

What have you been up to?

Series Review: True Blood Season 3

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Rating: 6.5/10

Hmmm, I was on quite a roll after finishing Season two and had the need to check if it True Blood could at least remain its’ fun factor. It does, although there are some major irritants that start popping up during three.

Season Three was the last season where there were more good than bad moments. I still laughed out loud in a few places, and there is a semblance of continuity and structure here and there. The plot holes aren’t huge yet, something that becomes a big problem later on. I have such beef with how these vampires’ death becomes change all the time, because it changes every season.

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This show is addictive and yet I can never really pinpoint what in this show makes it so impossible to walk away from. Bill is still a huge martyr in here which makes him nearly as impossible as Tara Thornton to cope with, but his spine keeps growing and eventually he becomes something that even while you don’t like him, you grudgingly respect him. I have hated the whole run with Bill’s maker since it started out, and while it was better explored than in the books, Lorena was around way too long for me to enjoy the plot line. The actress irritates me so much and I would probably have been less irritated with the character if the actress was different.

 TB Sookie and Eric kiss

Season three has some real development for Sookie and Eric and I enjoyed that. I’ve always thought that if she ends up with a vampire it should be Eric, because Bill is just such a pain in the ass all the time. The first official kiss of Eric and Sookie was quite nicely done – in season three there was still some originality and not just ridiculous interactions between characters.

What I liked:

Lafayette Reynolds: Lafayette dies quickly in the books but I am so happy that they kept him in the show. It’s quite hilarious because he has one of the best subplots and it doesn’t even come from the books. I think he is a great representation of the gay community – he is obviously interested in men but it is quite clear that you should not mess with him, not one bit. I thought the introduction of Jesus was beautiful because he was a guy that was GOOD – he didn’t have some ulterior plot to hurt Lafayette in the long run.

The deviation from the books:I am usually the first to complain when a show/movie ignores what the book did and go into a new direction. It can work however, exactly like they did here. The books are fairly preposterous at a few places and as ridiculous as this show is, it would have been impossible to send Sookie to a conference for vampires (please don’t let that happen later on or I will look stupid).

More Eric: This show runs like this: BAD, BAD, BAD, TARA CRIES, SOOKIE MAKES EVERYTHING ABOUT HER, BAD, BAD, Tara cries, BAD, BAD, OOOH ERIC, SHOW IS SAVED. He’s gorgeous and sarcastic and funny enough to carry the show through extremely silly places.

Jason Stackhouse: Oh my life, what an adorable moron. I honestly don’t know who my favorite character is – Jason or Eric. Jason is so hilarious and the things he says can make me laugh for days. He goes through an awful lot of character development which is one of the show’s redeeming qualities.

Hotshot: It is so hillbilly and incestuous and perfectly brought to life.

Alcide

#ForScience

Alcide: He’s pretty much exactly as I wanted him to be and Joe Manganiello certainly looks the part.

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Jessica Hamby: I was prepared to hate her at the end of season one but Jessica grew on me. She is the perfect teen in the story – she messes up a whole lot but she has a good heart and is genuinely trying to figure out who she is.

What I didn’t like:

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Tara Thornton: I think the only character more annoying than Tara Thornton ever is Carrie Mathinson, but that is only a maybe. Tara has a default facial expression, and her constant sobbing and moaning about her horrible life is too much for me. Lafayette and Sookie both have as much problems as she does, Jason probably more, but THEY aren’t constantly sobbing and hating the world.

Russell Edington: I thought that the actor was a bad choice and I found the vampire ridiculous rather than scary.

Lorena and Bill: How can two such annoying people be allowed on screen at the same time?

Sam’s birth family: The entire story arc irritated me endlessly and it was once again something to fill the series out that dragged too much in the end.

The very different ways vampires die when exposed to the sun:

Godric and Russell were about the same age, and this is what happened to Godric when he went out in the sun:

This is what happened to Russell when he went out into the sun:

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(Sorry for the crappy pic – This was the only one I could find on the internet and I searched for ETERNITY) 

Consistency?

TB3 was watchable, funny and enjoyable. I think if you want to stop at the end of the good stuff, this is probably the last season to watch because it goes downhill very fast from here.

Series Review: True Blood Season 2

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The quickest plot synopsis of series history:

Bill still loves Sookie and Sookie still loves Bill, but her eyes are opening to the fact that 1) he’s not human and 2) vampires do stuff that are disagreeable with morally sound humans. Eric wants Sookie to look for his maker Godric who has gone missing (all very fishy because Godric is ancient and well capable of protecting himself). Jason is dealing with the death of Amy and finds a new hobby in becoming part of the Fellowship of the Sun and their elitist vampire hunting clan. Tara is still being a selfish twat thinking just about poor her and continues befriending the decidedly odd Maryanne Forrester and “Eggs” Tally. Will everything work out yet again for the residents of Bon Temps and their long toothed friends?

Impressed or depressed?

Impressed. I really thought they improved on the overall quality of the show.

What I enjoyed:

Eric’s short hair. It looks GOOD.

Eric and Pam getting more show time. Something that was essential in my eyes. They are the most entertaining and I love how they are so not human.

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Jason Stackhouse getting more show time. I get real frustrated with silly filler subplots but this is one I actually enjoy. Jason is sweet and he has some hilarious one liners. He has real potential to be something and in season two he starts realizing that becoming what you are meant to be means working hard to find out exactly what that is.

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Steve and Sarah Newlin. Does anyone else think Michael McMillian and Anna Camp were perfect to be the extremist leaders of the Fellowship of the Sun? I was roaring with laughter how ridiculous they both came across and what a façade they both put up constantly. Sarah especially was a classic with her interesting views on passages in the Bible. I have to say I was snorting quite a few times at how she interprets things.

Godric (Allan Hyde) was a good addition to the show. Although he didn’t get much show time, Eric’s bond to him was beautiful and he was so wise and ancient. Miles better than book Godric!

I liked that Lafayette didn’t die like he did in the books, but why on earth did they work it that he was tortured by Eric?

I love Hoyt Fortenberry (Jim Parrack) so much. His character is just the sweetest, and he rolls mostly with everyone’s moods and tantrums. I loved how he finally started standing up against his mother and how he just adapted to whatever problem his relationship with Jessica brought up.

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Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Wolf) had the potential to be an annoying disaster, but I really grew fond of her during season two. Her introduction at the end of season one seemed ominous and like a really annoying subplot, but the writers managed to redeem her by making her a symbol for sympathy rather than irritation.

The only thing I did like about the Maryanne subplot was “Eggs” Talley, but come on, can anyone seriously consider a relationship with someone whose nickname is Eggs?

What I didn’t enjoy:

Can Tara’s character be killed off? Seriously, how boring is her entire story? It is one of the most frustrating things in the show and how she always seems to get herself into shit.

Maryanne Forrester (Michelle Forbes). I didn’t like her, not one bit. Her character was overused and should have stayed a tiny subplot like the book.

I was cheering when Daphne Landry (Ashley Jones) pitched up in Sam Merlotte’s life. I was a bit dismayed because everything about the character was “bit-part” and I was proven correct in time. I do wish that Sam could get a decent woman, because let’s be honest here, he ain’t never getting Sookie.

The way Bill says Sookie gives me such a pain in my butt. HONESTLY, he sounds like he is auditioning for a steamy movie. Fuuuu

Conclusion:Not the best show ever to be on air, but fun all the same. With a few improvements it can actually be really cool.

Book Review: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

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Book #5 in the Sookie Stackhouse series

Jason Stackhouse is now a werepanther, courtesy of being bitten by Felton Norris. Calvin Norris, leader of the inbred community in Hotshot, helps Jason with his transformation. Calvin keeps making it clear that he would love to get to know Sookie a whole lot better, but she is confused as to whether she wants him or his medical benefits his job gives him.

A series of shooting attacks on shapeshifters takes the South by storm. Sam is shot in the leg and needs to ask Eric for a temporary bartender to help out. Charles Twinning is sent from Fangtasia, and the eccentric pirate becomes a favourite amongst the drinkers of Bon Temps.

Colonel Flood, leader of the Long Tooth werewolf pack of Shreveport is killed by the mysterious assassin, and that means it is time for the unorthodox elections werewolves hold in such an event. Alcide invites Sookie to Flood’s funeral, but he has ulterior motives: his father is taking part in the elections and they need to know what the man is planning against him. Sookie is furious, but somehow Alcide has discovered she killed his ex-girlfriend, Debbie Pelt. She tells Alcide that his father’s opponent plans to bring his father’s gambling debts into the picture, and that is enough for them to start shielding against.

Bill brings Selah Pumphrey to Merlotte’s, and Sookie is jealous but knows she needs to accept that Bill is going to date other women as they are not a couple anymore. One night, Sookie’s house is set alight and she is saved in time by Charles and the fairy Claudine. She moves into one of Sam’s rentals until her house is restored, but the drama just won’t end – after visiting Calvin Norris, who was also shot in the sniper attacks, in the hospital, she is gunned down and lives just because she heard the other person’s excitement seconds before the shot. Sookie’s house is also burnt down, and she knows that someone wants her out of the picture. Who is behind the shifter attacks? Who placed a hit on Sookie even though she is not a supernatural creature? Can Eric accept that he might never fully remember what happened when he had temporary amnesia?

Rating: 6/10

Before completely finishing this book I really felt the need to take a break from the Stackhouse series. I returned after watching the first two seasons of True Blood, and had to get my fix until I could start on Season three.

This is the first book in the series that begins to show gaps. The torching of Sookie’s house was so ill explained. Yeah, Charles did it, but I thought so many strings were left untied with the loose explanation that was given.

Tara Thornton: Literature vs. True Blood

Right now I’m not sure which character leads as my least favourite version of her. The sub plot involving her is not required at all and not even juicy enough to make it worth the pages it is written on. Tara book version is still less annoying than Tara True Blood version, but not by far.

The book is still “Everyone loves Sookie so much” but that’s okay – Twilight was built on the same premise. I just wish there was one desirable character that didn’t want Sookie, you know. That girl lived her entire life chaste and now everyone wants a piece? Doesn’t add up.

A subplot still terribly underused is Jason becoming a werepanther. I didn’t find it significant enough to be interesting, but it could have had more show time.

Everything seems to happen at once: shootings, arson, werewolf elections, Bill’s petty relationship with someone else, etc. etc. The inclusion of Quinn could be interesting, but I am not getting my hopes up. It will probably just be another way of Sookie playing with someone’s feelings because she just isn’t sure about what to do.

Not the best of the series, but still fun enough to quickly read when your brain is exhausted from daily life!