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.

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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.

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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December 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Happy 2017 everyone! I pretty much disappeared from the blog in December. I needed a break. I often am way too harsh on myself about blogging – wanting desperately to post five times a week. It is important to remind myself though that blogging is supposed to be fun and for times where I actually have the time. So I gave it a bit of a break and I am back feeling all refreshed!

It was also quite a sad December globally with the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher. It seemed like 2016 kept knocking everyone down and I am really glad it ended. Let’s hope for a peaceful and fantastic 2017.

Series Watched:

vds5

Vampire Diaries Season 5: I am currently stalling with this season. It is a pretty rotten season and by far the worst of all the seasons so far. I need to finish it up but definitely not feeling all the bullshit of the season.

Alias season 1 and 2: EEK! I am having so much fun! It is so much fun! I can’t wait to review this.

Movies Watched:

star-wars

Rogue One: A Star Wars movie. It was good, great excitement and all. I did like The Force Awakens better though.

memento

Memento: This was my second last blindspot for 2016. It is mind tingling and interesting, well directed and acted. Definitely worthy of watching, despite me taking ages to get it done!

Annie: I put this on for my mother to watch. It was okay – very singy and full of children but not overly offensive. It’s definitely a film that parents can watch with their children without wanting to cry because it is so boring.

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Twilight: I had such a weak moment! Want to review them all at some stage again.

scream

Scream 1, 2 and 3: this was so much fun. I’m planning to do the fourth one soon. Great entertainment!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street: Same here. I am having way too much fun with these old school thrillers.

Pride_and_Prejudice_and_Zombies_poster

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:  second time watching this and I loved it way too much.

DUFF poster

The DUFF: I am racking up the watches on this film. I showed it to my mom and my bestie on separate occasions and they both really enjoyed it. Why so much hate against this film? I know it is completely different from the book, but the additions worked really well.

The Departed: The Departed is a film my bestie has told me to watch or be disowned. So I watched it with her just to make sure she had the evidence and everything 😀 did I like it? Yeah. Excellent performances and directing all around. I got a bit exhausted with the length of it, and that is about the only thing I didn’t like.

Me Before You (2016): after reading the thought provoking book I was quite amped for the film. I pushed it back when the reviews didn’t garner the most promising reviews I pushed it back. Bestie and I watched it on our visit, and it was okay. Not really bad, but Me Before You doesn’t carry as much emotional baggage as the book does.

cruel-intentions

Cruel Intentions: What a deranged film. I enjoyed it, but wow, deranged. Not something to watch with your parents, if you weren’t already aware.

oceans

Ocean’s Eleven:  I really liked this! Heist films done right is a treat for the soul man. Clooney and Pitt together? There can’t be a better idea out there.

seven

Seven:  I got to see a young Brad Pitt as the excitable and young cop and Morgan Freeman as the intelligent, calm cop. It’s quite dark and deals with a demented serial killer. It had a dark and depressing atmosphere.

Books Read:

Dawson’s Creek – this is a compilation of short stories based on the series. I’d love to watch the series at some stage, but the book isn’t worth reviewing.

The Collaborator – Margaret Leroy – I can’t wait to post this! I really loved the book, and was so unhappy when I finished it.

The Martian – Andy Weir. The Martian was my favorite film of 2015, and I really wanted to get my hands on the novel. However, I’m struggling at this stage to get through it as it contains some unnecessary jargon in my opinion.

What were you up to in December? Tell me!

August 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

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Watched:

At home:

Bring it on Again. I was in a mood where I felt I could handle cheerleaders, and decided to go down the dark dark road and watch some Bring it On. It really wasn’t bad at all, and I thought this second one was actually way better than the one with Kristen Dunst in.

Bring it on: All or Nothing

Hayden Panateirre and Solange Knowles do the whole face off then friends routine in this Bring it On sequel. This one is the best of the lot, and there is a lot of sneaky humor in if you know where to look.

zodiac

Zodiac

I am still so impressed with this movie. It is a great cast and an excellent story, and I wish I’d thought to put it on my Blindspot list this year! (if only because I already had it available!)

ES1

Blindspot: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This is my Blindspot for JULY, mind you. I have decided that I can’t commit to this exercise next year – it is truly a great concept but I am rather undisciplined and it takes some time and effort sourcing these movies. My plan is to Blindspot you all for a couple of weeks to catch up and end this project properly at the end for the year. Zoe gave me a great idea to do, which I will develop, and tell you all about it when the time comes J As for the movie, I really really loved this film.

In cinemas:

Poster

I haven’t been able to get to the movies as much as I’ve wanted to the past few months. I managed to watch Suicide Squad. I liked it, and it seems that a lot of people really hated it. There are some flaws, but it wasn’t as bad as everyone is making. I actually think I will get the DVD when this is released, just to give you an idea of how much I enjoyed it.

Series:

I finished the highly entertaining Vampire Diaries season 4. I’m not sure whether I can start with Season 5 before my exams, which is probably not the best idea for anyone’s marks at this point. You can read my reviews of Season 1 and Season 2 in the links. Season 4 felt a very slight dip in quality. I felt however that it actioned a lot of items on its’ plate, and that it followed a natural progression for all the characters. And OMFG the males in this show is so ridiculously attractive ❤

jessica-jones

Jessica Jones. WTF? This show went from okay at the beginning and just went downhill as the season went on. So many things went wrong, so many bad writing choices. I am really the Marvel fan, but this was a bad job and no one is convincing me otherwise.

Read:

I’m actually reading a lot of books again, and playing around with reviewing them again as I haven’t done them in ages and they were reviewed at the beginning of this blog. I reread Twilight (don’t ask) with the intention of reviewing all four books, but I am struggling with New Moon – it is definitely the most tiresome of the series. I ordered Marian Keys’ latest novel (The Woman Who Stole My Life). I am really excited about that. As usual I have about ten million reads to get through. I made a list here and haven’t really touched that list yet, so I should likely also focus on that. I think when I have my degree it won’t even be the success of completion that will satisfy me the most, it will be the freedom I have to do what the hell I want.

Favorite links:

Zoe sent me this Thor clip to watch. It is so funny! Mjolnir even has his own bed!

What’s been happening in your life?

July 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Gosh I’m glad it’s August! I am over the cold in Johannesburg. For reals man. July was a pretty decent month. I got to see my bestie, and even though the circumstances weren’t that great, I am grateful that I at least got to spend some quality time with her.

Personally I think my eyes finally cleared with a few people in my life – there is a certain level of selfishness I can’t tolerate, and this person finally reached it. I should have cut ties ages ago, but when I bond to someone, you really have to nuke me out of it. Well, I’ve been nuked.

Hmm, what else? I’ve had a couple of hectic weekends and it reflected on my scarcity on my blog, which always happens and always frustrates me. I’m going to do my very best to post more often, as it makes me super happy.

And here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching and reading. Enjoy, and tell me below what you’ve been up to 🙂

Watched:

At home:

Proposa

The Proposal

I saw this film before I opened this blog, and I have always thought that it was an okay film. I actually really enjoyed this so much when I watched it again. Queen Sandra Bullock and a very young and adorable Ryan Reynolds certainly make an interesting couple onscreen, and I thought the dialogue and hysteria was spot on and funny in the film.

Wedding planner

The Wedding Planner

Oh, Maththew McConaughey has a few gems under his belt before he started being all badass in things like True Detective and that other horsey movie that everyone liked. This is a boogy, definitely, and it was silly enough that I got quite annoyed. There were a few pros, which I will mention when I review the film soon, but let it be noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fantastic singer (for her genre) but acting should never be part of her repertoire.

 Valentines day

Valentine’s Day

VD worked well, and it is surprising because the film is packed with actors and actresses, and that rarely works. Mostly it is just a situational feel good film, but there is nothing wrong with that!

 Runaway_Bride

Runaway Bride

I’m on such a Gary Marshall/Julia Roberts run, it is not even funny. They do seem to be a dream team, because when they get together there always seems to be some romantic comedy as a result that is actually enjoyable to watch. Between this and Pretty Woman I enjoyed Pretty Woman much more, but I definitely liked this.

Skyfall

I already reviewed here, and if you haven’t read it yet, rest assured that I really liked this Bond film. It’s my second favorite after Casino Royale, and I must say, I am really surprised how much I’ve enjoyed all these films.

 Ugly truth

The Ugly Truth

It’s really ugly, and it’s really bad. The awful dialogue results in awful acting, I’m not really blaming our leads here at all, it’s just a shit film with crap writing and is as believable as anything Donald Trump says.

 27dresses

27 Dresses

JAMES MARSDEN. You have no idea the amount of hilarity this man causes in my family. I really like him, but his dress sense in this film was absolutely awful. Like, AWFUL. It is also a depressing movie – I will shoot myself before I’m a bridesmaid 27 times, it’s just not right or fair. I love our girl Katherine Heigl in here, and thought there were pretty good moments between the rapid romances and problems being solved easily.

In Cinema:

The Legend of Tarzan:

Tarzanposter

I reviewed this one here. It’s man candy season in this film. I’m not gonna lie. However, it isn’t nearly as bad as the trolls want you to believe, and I am still calling it the most pleasant surprise of 2016.

Series:

VDS4

Vampire Diaries Season 4

I finally switched it back on! It was a time issue, not because I’m struggling to watch it. It is still quite a solid show, but there are a few dips, something that probably can’t be helped when you travel this far into a show. I’ll post all the reviews once I’m done watching, then I can do them consecutively across a couple of weeks : )

Books read:

The Obsession – LOVED this!

Honest Illusions – It was okay – review here

Currently reading:

I’m actually in the middle of way too many books! I am reading Twilight again (the shame, I know) and I am definitely enjoying it more than Blood Bound (Rachel Vincent). I can promise you, when I get through this book, the review will be up here in no time and it will be a bad one – this book is so stupid. It is taking me ages to get through it, a damn shame because it is supposed to be a quick read.

So there it is – I am way behind on everything in life at the moment, but at least I got to do see and read some great material! What have you been up to?

5 Things Friday: 5 Best book series

Happy Friday!

Harry Potter: JK Rowling

harry potter

Reading Harry Potter is not merely a simple pleasure anymore; I need to do it at least twice a year to ensure my eternal happiness. I have to start from the beginning, at The Philosopher’s Stone, and work through to the Deathly Hallows, or it feels like a fake book run.

A study recently found that children who read Harry Potter grew up to be more open-minded and liberal. I can really agree and that might even explain why I am a person who thinks everyone should be left alone to do whatever the hell they want, unless it actively harms other people.

Harry Potter has it all – the books are excellently written, the story unique and touching, the characters ridiculously funny. Rowling created magic with these books, and I am eternally grateful for it.

Bloodlines: Richelle Mead

bloodlines

For a while there it did feel like VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES EVERYWHERE type of situation in the entertainment industry. The dawn of Twilight heralded the universe desperately seeking fanged romance, and eyes were rolled by people who are desperately against the mainstream.

Every aspiring writer tried to recreate a world similar to Twilight, with enough changes to prevent a law suit. Most books failed and spectacularly so, because you will generally fail if you copy other people’s work.

However, Richelle Mead firstly came along and wrote Vampire Academy. Although not the best series on the planet, it was fresh and interesting and original. Then she wrote Bloodlines and I became successfully addicted.

My attachment to this series stems from my admiration of its lead female lead. Sydney Sage is intelligent, a leader and a problem solver and she will take action if needs be. The love story is developed at a fantastic rate and worked out really well, and the unlikely couple’s journey to finding each other is really nice to read.

Walsh Family Series: Marian Keyes

The series has a book for each Welsh sister: Rachel stars in Rachel’s holiday, Clare’s story is told in Watermelon, Anna’s in Is Anybody Out There? Helen has the lead in The Mystery of Mercy Close and Margaret is the main protagonist in Angels.

The Walsh sisters are incredibly messed up. Their mother, although meaning well, had a recurring tendency to put her feet in her mouth as her daughters grew up, and managed to pass on her bad self-image to all her daughters. As they all stumble in their lives, catastrophes happen, and they all have an incredible journey to get through.

Marian Keyes is an excellent writer, producing hilarious books that are full of detail as well. My favourite of the series is most likely Rachel’s holiday, and as it was the first book of Keyes that I ever read, the one I have read the most.

The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins

hunger games trilogy bookset

After the Vampire craze passed, Suzanne Collins created The Hunger Games, and dystopian fiction became all the rage. The world quickly changed its focus, and soon there were movies on the cards. The movies, including the books, are exceptional. Collins had a chilling idea and wrote to produce a truly scary story, and the world was fascinated by a post-apocalyptic place where people killed each other off in a televised “Games” broadcasted for all to see. While this book series is a great read and very compelling, it is also one of the few trilogies I have stumbled across where the movies are nearly as good as the books.

The Lord of the Rings: JRR Tolkien

lotr

Say what you want about the length of the books or the tedious amount of details, the Lord of The Rings was the Harry Potter of its time. Tolkien is also the creator of magic and it cannot be forgotten that he is the reason those EPIC movies exist. I only read this when I have a month of vacation time or something, you cannot be tired at all and have a drifting mind when attempting this.

Honourable mentions:

Divergent: Veronica Roth

Twilight: Stephanie Meyer

Vampire Academy: Richelle Mead

Those I want to read but haven’t started yet

A Song of Fire and Ice: George R. Martin

Southern Vampires: Charlaine Harris (I am actually starting this soon!)

What is your favourite book series? Tell me!

Book Review: Breaking Dawn (Stephanie Meyer)

breakingdawn

Book: 91/100

Bella Swan is finally marrying Edward Cullen. They made a deal – she would marry him if he turned her into a vampire himself and that they would sleep together before he turned her so that she can experience it all before becoming undead. He reluctantly agrees, sure that she will die in the throes of passion.

On their wedding day, Jacob Black, her best friend, werewolf and third part of their love triangle, shows up to do his duties and be her best man. He is horrified when he realizes Edward and Bella’s plan to make love before she becomes immortal – even though he doesn’t want that to happen, he knows it is much safer with her being a vampire sleeping with a vampire instead of a frail human. They disagree and Jacob flees to the woods.

Edward and Bella goes to Isle Esme for their honeymoon, a place Bella’s new father in-law, Carlisle got for his wife Esme as a present. They sleep together, but Edward is horrified by the bruises he accidentally left on Bella. She is persistent in getting him to make love with her, and in the end she wins, and he does.

When Bella discovers that she, a human, is pregnant with Edward’s child, they both freak out. When she realizes that Edward plans to have Carlisle abort the baby, she calls Rosalie, and the Cullen that always liked her least stands by her.

When Jacob hears that Bella is back, he heads to the Cullen mansion to go check what is happening. He is sure that by now she is a vampire, which is a direct violation of the treaty the Cullens and the Quilettes made ages ago, but he is shocked when he finally realizes what is going on. The fetus is slowly killing Bella, but not only is she determined to carry it to term, she is determined to survive as well.

Jacob decides that he finally has had enough of Bella’s constant infliction of pain on his heart, and leaves. He turns to wolf form and Sam, his pack leader, hears what has happened. He decides that the baby is a danger to Forks and the entire Cullen clan must be killed. Jacob is horrified, splitting from the pack. He warns the Cullens and knows Sam won’t attack with the Cullens waiting for them. Soon after Seth and Leah joins his new pack and the three of them helps guard the Cullens.

Bella goes into labour, and it looks like she is dying. Rosalie takes the baby from them to keep it safe and Jacob follows, intending to kill it. He imprints on the baby, Renesmee, and is unable to do so. Meanwhile, Edward is refusing to let Bella die. He turns her into a vampire by injecting venom straight into her heart.

Three days later, Bella awakens to her new life. Everything is even better than promised, now that she has her beautiful daughter, a best friend who is no longer in love with her, and some super self-control other new borns don’t have that enables her to not kill humans.

Life continues until Irina, part of the Denali clan, shows up. She wishes to make amends for all the drama with Laurent, the vampire who nearly killed Bella and was ultimately taken down by the werewolves. She sees Renesmee and thinks that it is an immortal child, vampire children who had massacred entire villages years before. They are unable to show her the truth and Alice sees her delivering the news to the Volturi, the leaders of all vampires, who have been waiting for something to take out the successful Cullen pack.

With the Volturi heading for them, will Edward and Bella survive the attack? Will they be able to convince them that Renesmee is able to control herself?

Rating: 8/10

I have to say that I really thought that the last installment of the Twilight saga was really well done. It is incredibly well rounded, addressing all the issues from the previous books and not leaving anything unresolved.

Bella was a much more impressive vampire than she ever was a human, and I enjoyed how well she seemed to develop her spine during the book.

It is a hefty read – well over 800 pages, and I questioned my sanity whether it was advisable reading it so close to the end of the challenge. I am glad I did though. It is always entertaining and actually quite well written.

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part One (2011)

Breaking_Dawn_Part_1_Poster

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is finally ready to marry Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), her vampire boyfriend. Her marriage to him will mean the final severance of her friendship to werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who is in love with her and also a mortal enemy to vampires. Bella plans to become a vampire to be with Edward forever, but this means that a war could break out between the Cullens and the Quileute werewolf pack.

On the night of her marriage, Jacob unexpectedly shows up. She lets it slips that she plans to sleep with Edward while she is still human, and he is outraged. His pack restrains him before things get ugly, and he runs off into the woods.

Edward takes Bella to Isle Esme for their honeymoon. They have sex for the first time, and Edward is appalled how he hurt her. With some convincing she gets him to try again, and it goes much better the second time around. Their honeymoon is only marred by a native who suspects that Edward is something supernatural.

Bella wakes up one morning suddenly very sick, and realizes her period is late. She is stunned when she sees a slight bulge in her stomach. They realize that she is pregnant and Edward is furious with himself. They fly back immediately, and Edward promises to save her life – by aborting the unknown thing growing inside of her. She secretly calls Rosalie (Nikki Reed) for help – the vampire who had always secretly wanted a child more than anything. She and Bella are able to convince the rest of the clan to wait and see what happens.

When Jacob hears Bella is back, he races to see her. He is nauseated when he realises what happens, and turns into a werewolf and runs away. His pack makes sense of what is happening, and Sam Uley, the pack leader, decides they must annihilate the creature – and Bella too as it is growing in her. Jacob stands up against Sam, and claiming his heritage as the true leader of the tribe, breaks away. He alerts the Cullens of the wolves’ plan and with them on alert Sam doesn’t dare attack just yet. Jacob is soon joined by Leah (Julia Jones) and Seth Clearwater (Booboo Stewart), turning his pack into three members.

Bella becomes weaker and weaker because her body won’t sustain any food. Jacob is first to notice that the foetus is craving blood. After that, Bella’s health increases slightly. A few days later she goes into labour and gives birth to Renesmee. It seems that she is dead, but Edward refuses to give up. Jacob heads downstairs, fully intending to kill the new-born, but he imprints on her – a powerful love only a werewolf can feel to its true mate.

When the werewolves learn of Bella’s death, they head to the Cullen’s to kill the baby. They stop when they realise that Jacob imprinted – they would never kill his soul mate. While Bella lies on the table, “dead”, Carlisle (Peter Fascinelli) realises that her heart is beating rapidly. She starts to heal as the vampire venom spreads through her veins, and the Cullens clean her up. Bella’s heart finally seizes up, and she awakens as a vampire.

Rating: 7/10

The second last movie of the franchise Twilight was surprisingly good. I know Twilight has a lot of haters out there, but I suspect it has just as many secret fans too. This movie is decidedly gory at times. The birth of Renesmee is disgusting, and Bella’s deterioration during her pregnancy is excellently done. She looks BAD. Kristen Stewart’s acting has developed enough so that she can grimace in pain and look in love (which is not actually acting since she was dating Pattinson at the time. She still mostly looks vacant, but I have to say I spotted improvement.

The rest of the cast pretty much continues to act as the always have done. I don’t know why, but when Kellan Lutz smiles it looks like he is grimacing in pain. Maybe he just forgot his lines. Looks like the type. He should stick to Calvin Klein-ing around (as mentioned before). I think Elizabeth Reaser should have stayed golden haired for the entire series. Her dark hair isn’t true to the books and doesn’t suit. Can vampires even get dye to stick to their hair though?  I still like Nikki Reed as Rosalie. As the character, I am glad she found some happiness by being part at the end with the birth of Renesmee. Rose’s story is perhaps the saddest of all of them, because she just wanted a kid and a husband to grow old with.

The wedding was beautifully done. I loved the dress.  It was as extravagant as in the book, just like Alice planned.

The movie is definitely better than the first three, and it is a decent enough watch.

Movie Review: Eclipse (2010)

What happened previously?

 

After Bella and Edward’s separation, Bella rushed to Italy to save Edward from exposing himself to humanity and ultimately getting himself by the Volturi. In Italy, Bella came face to face with some of the oldest vampires alive – Marcus, Cauis and Aro – the Volturi, a sort of global government for vampires. They wanted to kill Bella because she knew too much of their world, but Alice’s promise to turn her soon made them rescind on their verdict, promising to keep a close watch on the situation. Edward, who is able to read minds, understood that Aro, a collector of sorts, wanted him and Alice with the Volturi. With Edward’s ability and Alice’s power to see the future, Aro fully grasped the power they could give to him and his brothers.

 

When they arrived back in Forks, Jacob Black, a werewolf who is in love with Bella, told Edward that if he turned Bella into a vampire, the truce between the Cullens and the Quileute werewolves would be over. It nearly turned into a fight, but Bella managed to stop them with one of her self-serving righteous phrases (“You can’t hurt each other without hurting me”)

 

Eclipse

Eclipse

Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) discuss his marriage proposal, and her wishes for him to turn her into a vampire. He persists that he will only turn her when she is married to him, but she argues that in the modern world it is only acceptable to be married at eighteen when you are pregnant.

Back at home, her father Charlie (Billy Burke) makes no secret that he mistrusts and despises Edward – with good reason. Bella doesn’t really mind too much, knowing she acted very irresponsibly by leaving the country without even mentioning where she was going beforehand. Charlie surprises her when he tells her that he will lessen her punishment if she uses her time by spending time with her friends as well – meaning Jacob. Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who has been ignoring Bella since her return, is apparently going through a rough time and needs his friend. Bella knows that he was there for her when she desperately needed her, but Edward is appalled by the idea that she even considers spending time with the volatile werewolf pack.

Bella and Edward find Jacob waiting for them at school, and she heads out with Jacob. They have a fight because of her decision to give away her humanity, choosing to become his natural enemy.

Edward and Bella go to Phoenix to visit her mother. Upon her return, she learns that the Cullens and the werewolves nearly got into a fight. She hears it was because both clans were hunting Victoria (Rachel Lefevre) , who is bell bent upon destroying Edward’s reason for living – her. The Cullens and Quileute’s are all dedicated to protecting Bella’s life, and take turns looking after her and Charlie.

Meanwhile, Charlie is very concerned about the murder rate in Seattle. It would seem like a serial killer is on the loose, but Edward tells Bella that it is a new-born vampire army. New-born vampires are difficult to control, which explains the random killings. The vampires are unsure why anyone would create an army in Seattle. They agree that they will soon intervene to prevent the Volturi from arriving and taking care of the situation, and then check up on Bella’s mortality status.

Alice (Ashley Greene) sees a vision of the army heading to Forks, and the Cullens align themselves with the wolves to keep the town safe. Bella realize that it is Victoria leading the hunt, and that Victoria knows enough of Alice’s ability to keep on making decisions randomly to keep them confused.

At the graduation party Alice hosts for Bella, the werewolves and the vampires makes a pact to save the town together. They train each night in the clearing under the guidance of Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), who lived in one of these armies before Alice found him and he changed his lifestyle.

Bella is frustrated by her inability to help. Edward’s family keeps telling her that she will be no help as a new-born, only distracting Edward and endangering both of them. One night she visits with Jacob, and his father Billy (Gil Birmingham) tells them a tale about the Third Wife. The Third Wife was a woman who sacrificed her own life to save the Quielettes from a blood thirsty vampire. Bella gets the idea that she can also do something like that, maybe just less dramatic, but Edward and Jacob both get very annoyed with the idea. They agree to take Bella to a safe location in the mountains while the fight is on, laying a false trail so no vampire can find her. Edward agrees to stay with Bella after she says she is either in the clearing with him, or he is at the campsite with her.

At the campsite, Jacob effectively tricks Bella into kissing him. He leaves afterwards, but Edward isn’t mad at Bella, and even reluctantly impressed with Jacob’s dirty techniques.

As Bella, Edward and Seth (Booboo Stewart), another vampire, stays at the campsite waiting out the storm, Victoria arrives with her sidekick Riley (Xavier Samuel). They are both killed by Edward and Seth. Jacob gets injured in the clearing when he has to protect Leah, a werewolf who was careless in her attack on a vampire. The wolves carry him home when they realise the Volturi are on their way, and knows it is best that no one knows of their truce with the Cullens back in Italy.

Jane (Dakota Fanning), Demitri (Charlie Bewley) and Alex arrive, and they kill Brie (Jadelle Ferland), another vampire who was part of Victoria’s army. The Cullens had offered her protection if she surrendered, but the Volturi point out that the protection was not theirs to offer. Before they kill her, Edward reads her mind and sees that the Volturi might have been indirectly involved with the army – they had hoped if some of the Cullens’ had died, Edward and Alice might have been more willing to join the Volturi. Brie is killed, and Jane reminds them that Aro still waits for Bella to turn immortal.

Bella goes to see Jacob afterwards, and he is in a lot of pain. He tells her that she needs to give him space to deal with her decision to become immortal, and she leaves him. Afterwards, she tells Edward that they need to tell Charlie that they are engaged.

Rating: 6.5/10

The movie and the book had a few differences. Once again, a few fights were included that existed nowhere in the novel. The fight between Jacob and Edward in the tent was selfish and narrow minded of them, as it endangered Bella who was right there in that cramped little space.

The scene where Bella runs away with Jacob on the school grounds were also created, but it worked fine with the movie. The cutting of some scenes was understandable – the movie would have become very lengthy.

I enjoyed that they included both Jasper and Rosalie’s tales. It makes clear why they are like they are. I loved how Rosalie got her revenge on men that had raped her before the end of her mortal life. Jackson Rathbone plays Jasper well. He particularly worked well in the Confederate Army part of his story, and how it showed how horrible the first part of his mortality would become.

The scene where Edward and Victoria finally face off was great. I have to mention that in these books I admire how equally strong the female vampires are compared to the male ones. It is a great source of feminism tucked into a series that has been blasted for being too weak in terms of female power. Victoria is in the end this huge threat, while James and Laurent were but temporary ones. Jane is also this incredibly dangerous little cow, and everyone fears her so much. I thought Dakota Fanning was superb here. It is a completely new direction she takes in her portrayal of Jane – she is usually the sweet, innocent little girl with a cute smile, and here she is a psychotic vampire who loves to torture people, with a cute smile. I loved it.

Movie Review: New Moon (2009)

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Background

This is the second installment in the movie franchise built on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight book series. In the first movie, Isabella Swan met the vampire Edward Cullen and they fell in love. Edward saved Bella from James, another vampire, inciting the revenge that would bring James’ mate Victoria to try and kill Bella.

New Moon

Bella (Kristen Stewart) dreams that she and her grandmother are in her and Edward’s special meadow. Grandma is acting very strangely, and Edward (Robert Pattinson) doesn’t seem to mind that her grandma will see his diamond encrusted skin. Edward walks to her, and she realises she is her grandmother – an old lady who is loved by the still young Edward.

Bella wakes up and realise it is her birthday. Her dad teases her about aging, quickly realizing that it is not a joke to her. She is depressed that she will officially be a year older than Edward no matter what, even though Edward is technically 109 years old.

No one at school knows about her birthday, except the Cullens. She is ordered to attend a small gathering in her honor at their mansion, and she reluctantly goes. She gives herself a paper cut, and all hell breaks loose. Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), the Cullen vampire who is newest to their vegetarian diet, is immediately ready to attack, and Edward pushes Bella into the piano to protect her, which means more blood all around. They muscle Jasper out, and Carlisle (Peter Fascinelli) fixes Bella up.

It doesn’t take Edward long to dump Bella. He secretly feels Bella is in danger around him, but he tells her he isn’t interested anymore. He and his entire family leave Forks, erasing their entire existence.

Bella’s reaction to her break-up startles everyone. No one truly understands what she went through with him, or that he is truly her soul mate. Her father Charlie (Billy Burke) babysits her for a few months, and tries to calm her down when she has nightmares. When he realizes that she isn’t getting better, he tells her it might be better to move back to her mother. Bella immediately refuses. She can’t leave the only place where she knew Edward. She goes on a girl-date with Jessica Stanley to prove to her dad she is getting better. Bella realizes that when she is in a dangerous situation it brings an illusion of Edward. She gets on a bike with a random guy, terrifying Jessica.

Bella hikes to her and Edward’s special place, the meadow, but finds more danger there. Laurent, one of the vampires that hunted with James, who was killed by Edward, finds her there, and tells her Victoria, James’ mate, is searching for Bella to get her revenge on Edward. He attempts to attack her, but is stopped by the strangest animals – huge wolves.

Bella starts getting close to Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is Quileute. He is obviously interested, but she tells him that she will never be able to love someone else. He persists, and despite his relationship wishes they manage to remain friends. One day he disappears, and Bella has a suspicion that Sam Uley, a sort of ringleader to a bunch of adrenaline junkies in the reservation, is behind it all. Jacob persists he cannot tell her what has happened, but that she already knows. Armed with this dubious information, Bella tries to remember, but she only finds out when she has a dream, and remembers what he said about his tribe turning into Werewolves when vampires are around.

Bella confronts Jacob and his pack, and after another werewolves’ angry outburst, the wolf is literally out of the bag. Jacob assures her that they only hunt vampires, and Bella tells him that the redhead they are trying to catch is Victoria, and why she wants to get into Forks so much – to kill her.

Jacob and his pack are on full alert now, and Bella barely sees him. Depressed again, she turns to extremes to see Edward’s vision. She goes cliff jumping, and Jacob saves her from death. They head to her home, and Alice is waiting. The return of her presence is marred when Rosalie (Nikki Reed) tells Edward they think Bella has died. The only way to kill a vampire is when the Volturi – the vampire “government” – is willing to kill you. The Volturi is situated in Italy, and Alice and Bella needs to go there before Edward exposes himself. Jacob begs Bella to stay, but she simply needs to save Edward one last time – she is tormented by the fact that he is willing to kill himself out of guilt.

Bella and Alice arrive in Italy just in time. Bella throws herself into Edward’s arms, saving him from stepping out into sunlight. Their reunion is very sweet, until the Volturi arrive. Alice appears, evening the odds. A very sadistic little Vampire shows up, Jane (Dakota Fanning), and everyone meekly follows her to where Aro, Marcus and Caius are waiting. Dimitri, a burly vampire, nearly kills Edward when he tries to protect Bella from dying because she knows too much of their secret world. Bella offers to die, but Aro senses that she will make a fantastic immortal because her mind somehow repels vampiric intrusion. He gives them a choice – turn Bella, and she lives forever, or she dies immediately. Alice promises to turn her herself should Edward refuse. They are allowed to leave intact.

New Moon Alice

Back in Forks, Edward swears to Bella that the only reason he left is because he wanted to keep her safe, and he still loves her. They reunite, but have to deal with both Charlie and Jacob. Charlie is angered because she left for Italy without one thought to what her father might think. Jacob has so much reason to hate – not only does he turn into a monstrous being because Edward is around, but also because Edward has Bella’s love. Jacob warns Edward that a full blown war will commence between the two species should Bella be turned, and the two nearly fight.

Back in their meadow, Edward proposes to Bella, telling her that he will turn her into a vampire if she marries him.

Rating: 6.5/10

New Moon is by far the saddest movie of the entire series. Watching Bella’s grief is like relieving a broken heart. Kristen Stewart is a much more developed actress in this movie than she was in the first. Her portrayal of a girl nearly mad with grief is shockingly real.

Robert Pattinson is once again a good Edward Cullen. Those golden vampire eyes are so beautiful, especially on him. The scene where he nearly steps into the courtyard in Italy made me so sad – that expression made him look like he had lost everything in the world.

Kudos to Taylor Lautner for the impressive physical transformation he made between Twilight and New Moon. In order to keep his role, he went through unbelievable physical changes to be able to look like an overgrown teenage boy. His acting is always a bit dodgy – he still has the same acting abilities he had in Shark Boy vs. Lava Girl.

The movie contained a few unnecessary changes to the storyline – Edward and Dimitri’s fight was so not needed. It probably does add more punch to things, but it seems that whenever Edward fights in the movies, he is always portrayed as the weakling. In Twilight, he had his ass handed back to him by James until his brothers showed up. Here in New Moon, Dimitri is kicking his ass very easily. I get that the Volturi keeps Dimitri around because his strength is his vampiric specialty, but during that fight his opponent a 109 year old immortal, and that has to count for something.

What I love the most about the entire series is that it is about exceptional love finding a way. I am not even ashamed that I love Twilight – so many girls try to hide it to get attention from guys. So sorry guys, I love it, and if you have any sense you will at least watch it, because it is good enough for simple entertainment.

xX N

PS: Read my review on Twilight here

 

Movie Review: Twilight (2008)

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Based on the worldwide success of the Twilight series, written by Stephanie Meyer, Twilight tells the tale of how a human girl fell for a vampire and their journey together.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves to the Forks, a place where it rains almost nonstop. Although not excited about leaving sunshine behind, she chooses to go live with her father to give her newly wed and scatter-brained mother space with her new husband.

Bella is instantaneously a hot property in Forks. The guys want to date her; the girls want to be her. Mike Newton (Michael Welsh) is leading the pack of eager boys, making no secret that he would like to date her. It threatens to become awkward when Bella realises her new friend Jessica Stanley (Anna Kendrick) is interested in Mike. Bella manages to dodge a bullet by telling Mike to take Jessica to the dance, because she doesn’t plan to go herself.

Bella notices Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) during lunch on her first day. Edward and his siblings possess an unworldly beauty, and she is struck with their magnificence. Jessica, who notices Bella staring, quickly points out that no one in Forks is good enough for the Cullens, leaving the thought that she would have loved the attention by them. Even though he is far away, Edward smiles as if he heard her.

Later on in Biology, Bella sits next to Edward, but his animosity shocks her. She feels the anger he feels for her, but has no idea what she could have done to evoke it. He rushes from the class immediately when the bell rings, and she finds him requesting to be transferred to another class. She is stung by his open hatred, and when he disappears for a few days she is certain that she is the reason.

Edward returns suddenly to school one day, and seems perfectly polite. They manage to have a few conversations, but he constantly leaves hints he may be dangerous. In the school parking lot Bella nearly dies when Tyler Crowley loses control over his car, but Edward moves at a superhuman speed to save her, and shields her body from the collision with his own, carrying no scars from it. At the hospital, they have a fight when he still refuses to tell her anything.

Bella invites Edward to join her friends on La Push, a beach on the Quileute reservation in Forks. He declines, stating he isn’t welcome there, and Bella thinks it may be because of Mike’s crush on her. While there, Bella talks to an old friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), who is part of the Quileute tribe. After a cryptic comment from another Quileute, Sam, Jacob tells Bella the legend about the Quileutes, who turned into wolves to protect their tribe from the cold ones, whom Edward and his family is a part of. Because the Cullens differed from the usual Cold Ones, a pact was made between the groups. Despite the truce, the Cullens are still regarded as a threat by the Quilettes, and they are not allowed on the reservation.

Bella looks up the new information from Jacob on the internet, and find references to the cold ones as well as vampires. She goes with Jessica and Angela (Christian Seratos) to another town under the guise of finding dresses for the two girls who are going to the prom, but so that she can visit a bookshop that has a book about vampires.

After buying the book, Edward saves Bella from being attacked by a group of young men. How he knows where to find her is still a secret, but she is nonetheless thankful. He takes her to dinner there and causes the speculation of Angela and Jessica who was desperately worried.

Back in Forks Bella researches further on vampires, and reach the conclusion that Edward and his family are indeed blood sucking monsters. She confronts him, and he confirms her suspicions. On her question about his diet, he tells her that they live off animal blood, backing Jacob’s statement that their family are different from other vampires. Edward tells Bella that his animosity towards her in the beginning was because her blood smells so potent to him, and he struggled not to attack her. He also confides that some vampires have special gifts, and that he has the ability to read people’s minds – except hers, and that she is the first person ever whose mind is shielded from his abilities.

School

He is especially dangerous to her, and yet they start a relationship. It has more problems that most – they are effectively different species, he is so much stronger than her than the norm, and he desperately yearns for her blood. Their relationship is tentative and sweet and controlled. She meets his family – his “father” Carlisle (Peter Facinelli), whose greatest gift is his compassion, his sweet natured “mother” Esme (Elizabeth Reaser), who is a mother figure to everyone, Alice (Ashley Greene), who sees the future, Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), who has the ability to control emotions, Emmet (Kellan Lutz), a big, brawny vampire who has a funny nature, and the beautiful Rosalie (Nikki Reed) who despises Bella because of the danger she poses to the Cullens.

Bella and Edward

Bella joins the Cullens on her first official outing with them. They use times when there is thunder to play baseball – the only time where it is okay for them to make so much noise. It goes well, until another bunch of vampires appear, who don’t share the vegetarian lifestyle of the Cullen’s. They catch Bella’s scent, and a vampire named James (Cam Gigandet), nearly attacks her.  The Cullens protect her, but Edward has read James’ mind, and knows that Bella will always be hunted while James lives.

They agree to take Bella somewhere safe, her hometown. Alice and Jasper takes her there, because they know James will expect her to stay with Edward, and splitting them up is a good idea. James lures Bella into a trap by making her believe that her mother is in danger. She escapes from her wardens, and heads to a ballet studio where she danced as a child. James bites her, infecting her with vampire blood, and after Edward and his family kills James, Edward saves Bella by sucking out the venom, keeping her human.

In the hospital afterwards, Edward tells Bella that she will be safer with her mother, away from him. She panics, and he promises that he will never leave her as long as it is within her best interests.

At prom, in which Bella was tricked into going by Edward, they reach an impasse. Edward is adamant that Bella should be human, and she wants to turn because that is the only way to be with him forever.

The movie ends showing Victoria, James’ mate, spying on the happy couple.

Rating: 6/10

What I thought about the movie:

Twilight, the first of five installments (the fourth book was split into two movies), doesn’t seem as well produced as all the rest. It is enjoyable, scary and entertaining, and if you have a romantic heart you will enjoy the tale.

Destination Forks

I loved the scenery. It is a beautiful part of Washington. The school and other areas were pretty well reproduced, and all the characters have some of that small town charm.

The Characters

Bella Swan lost her position as the least liked character in the Feminist League only when Anastasia Steele came along. I personally don’t find her all that offensive. She is simply an insecure teenage girl. Kristen Stewart was well made for her portrayal of Ms. Swan. Her acting isn’t bad – it is just in real life where she has zero facial expressions.

Edward Cullen is so much a McDreamy. Robert Pattinson did well there, and if his acting seems forced in Twilight, it improves slightly in the other movies. Funnily enough, it is his facial expressions in some scenes that trouble me – he looks a bit constipated at times. As a character, he seems moody and controlling, but also truly in love and protective.

Taylor Lautner is seriously adorable as Jacob Black. All that long hair gave me such envy. He has a sweet puppy dog disposition in the first movie and novel, which Taylor did really well in.

Kellan Lutz fulfills the bodily requirements of Emmet Cullen, and even some of his charm. But I just want to give the guy a few acting lessons as present for his birthday. He should stick to modelling Calvin Klein underwear – he excels in it.

All in all, the main characters were well cast. Esme’s hair changed a lot between movies (will dye stick to a vampire’s hair?) and that bugged me. She looked exceptionally well with the golden brown. Peter Facinelli was a good Dr. Cullen. He did the vampire doctor to a T. He really does manage to look like a very compassionate man. Ashley Greene as Alice was also, once again, well done. She is certainly petite enough to be Alice Cullen, and she gave the performance the appropriate weirdness that is part of Alice’s charm. Jackson Rathbone is good as Jasper – he looks in pain, as he should. He also has the looks of a glamorous movie star – like in the book.

I think a special mention needs to be given to Nikki Reed. She works hard every time in a movie, and does so well, and I see so little of her in other stuff. Am I being stupid and she is actually frequently cast? As Rosalie, she pulls the bitchface off so well. I love Rosalie’s animosity towards Bella – it would be so silly if all the people in Forks loved her immediately.

How much changed between book and movie?

There were a few changes, especially in the sequence of events, but since it suited the movie, I found I didn’t mind that much.

Conclusion

The movie is as enjoyable as the book. It is sometimes surprisingly eerie, successfully scary and it is really a love story about two people who managed to be together no matter what got in their way.