Month: April 2018

Truth or Dare – 15

About 
Release date  13.4.18
Summary A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone — or something — begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.
Time 1hr 40


Trailer


truthordare

The Good
If you like your horrors with a body count and a supernatural tone, this is the one for you. It’s reminiscent of the early Final Destination films; the deaths are scary because some of them can be easily passed off as an accident. It’ll chill you to the core.
The Bad
The premise is a little far fetched. I can’t get past the initial decision of Markie (The Flash’s Violett Beane) to withdraw Olivia (Lucy Hale) from her planned work experience holiday, never mind the fact that the whole group join Olivia and Carter on the big trek up the mountain. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I’m tired and done on a night out, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me going home.

The Ugly
While it’s not exactly torture porn territory, but it’s almost there and is almost tasteless because of it. The dares are quite horrific and morally corrupt. I found the ‘lust’ triangle nauseating and the treatment of the gay character bordering on offensive.
The plot is so familiar and predictable that you can’t help but feel a little cheated.


Cinema offences
A new segment for my reviews. I’m going to list the problems with the cinema going experience as it is something I think we all face issues with.
Viewing date/time: 13.4.2018/ 4pm showing (Odeon Uxbridge)
Fullness: About 20 people.
Late comers (5 minutes or more into a movie): 8 people in 2 separate groups
Phones (Texting/games/checking the time. Essentially anytime I see/am distracted by the glow of a phone): One of the girls that arrived late Boomeranged the screen for Instagram and then spent the next 5 minutes uploading it, with emoticons and everything! 
Talking: Same late girl was talking 3 -4 times throughout.

Social Creature by @NotoriousTIB

Release date: 14.6.18
About: A friendship to die for.
A Ripley story for the Instagram age set in contemporary New York; a world at once sophisticated and sordid, irresistible and irresponsible, unforgettable yet unattainable
Louise is struggling to survive in New York; juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, renting a shabby flat, being cat-called by her creepy neighbour, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia who has everything – looks, money, clothes, friends, an amazing apartment.
Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the best parties, bars, the opera, shares her clothes, her coke, her Uber account. Louise knows that this can’t last for ever, but just how far is she prepared to go to have this life? Or rather, to have Lavinia’s life?
Pre order at Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Social-Creature-Tara-Isabella-Burton/dp/1408896117/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523567025&sr=1-1&keywords=social+creature


Characters

Louise at first is a likeable character who is in over her head. Who wouldn’t embrace the new life she is offered? However, as the narrative unfolds I find myself fearing her and scared of the lengths she will go to keep her place in the social circle that she has become so comfortable.
Lavinia is the embodiment of people I really do not like; privileged, spoiled and, worst of all, lacking any sort of independence. I found her incredibly realistic to the point of hatred for her.
Rex, Hall and Mimi are bystanders of the whole unravelling and its interesting to see how they fit and how Louise’s thoughts about them change over time.

Plot

It’s hard to say anything about the plot without giving away some of the books best parts. What I will say is that when you think you have it all set in your head how it will end, you will have the rug pulled violently from under you. You will, from that point, settle again. You’ll be on edge, heart in mouth and unable to do anything but consume the story.

Writing

The writing was something I’ve never come across before. It threw me off at first, the almost conversational tone that was present in the moment, but also had an insight into what was to come. Won’t lie, it also brought a sinister tone to the book; I was scared for quite a lot of it.

The Quiet Place – 15 (With spoilers)

Details
released 5th April
time 1h 30

About
A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

Trailer

a-quiet-place

The Good

Holy crap, this is one scary movie. There’s an intensity and a stillness that not only gets under you skin, but right into your bones as well. From the opening scene, to the credits your heart is in your mouth.

It also sucked me into the world (certainly, me at least) and while I’d normally gasp and in some cases, scream. I ensured I was absolutely silent too. The kids are amazing and both John and Emily bring their A-game and potential Oscar acting chops to the table.

The Bad

Lee and Evelyn are the most idiotic adults ever seen in a horror movie. Their decision to have another child once they find themselves in a post apocalyptic wasteland is hugely irresponsible and completely dangerous. Regardless of how the plot develops, the parents lose me as a viewer 15 minutes in due to their selfishness.

I mean, come on you’re in a world where if you make a sound, you’re shish kebab. Evelyn has had three other kids so she knows her childbirth alone will bring all the creepy things to their yard. Then there’s the baby to deal with… and I’m sure they haven’t forgotten that they cry. A lot.

I’ll agree, without this plot point, there isn’t much of a film. However, just a slight change in the dating and it makes the parents a little more sympathetic. Or have one of their children older and pregnant.

The Ugly

While this is an amazing film, worthy of award season hype when it comes around, it does highlight an epidemic within our cinemas. So often I have to ignore people on their phones, whispering, asking questions or even having a casual coffee shop chat. Most films have enough dialogue to drown out the annoyances, but in a film where there is very little dialogue it can’t be ignored.
People arrived late, a group of twenty-somethings whispered through the first act to the point where I considered going and complaining. But what was the point? It would have caused more disruption by getting someone in and they probably wouldn’t have stopped talking.

Rampage – 12A

thVLVTRTW9

About 

Release date  11.4.18
Summary
Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
Time 1hr 47


Trailer


The Good
This is a Dwayn ‘the Rock’ Johnson movie and I’ll hold my hands up here and now; there’s no wrong this man can do (sidebar: My dad calls him The Fairy because of The Toothfairy. When an actor or film gets a Dad Hunter pseudonym, that means they’re on the win list). With Johnson, so come some film expectations. There’s going to be fast paced action, quips and smouldering. There’s also an understanding that the plot will stretch reality to provide a fun plot and indeed it does provide. Bucket loads of it to the point that I’m not so sure we can really call it Science Fiction.
Johnson’s character works well with George, the CGI Gorilla saved from poachers during infancy and taught to sign (Yup, We verge into Congo territory. I’ll reassure you though; I think this one will be considered a little better). Some of the best scenes involved the two of them interacting. There’s heart and humour in their banter and it allows you to feel for them and root for their survival when the shit hits the atmosphere about 2 minutes later.
In addition we have Naomie Harris and Jeffery Dean Morgan helping Johnson ‘save’ his friend and Malin Akerman and Joe Manganeillo playing for the company that caused the mutations in the animals.

The Bad
It really is a shame that most of the film sees George and Johnson’s Davis separated. Not only that, but essentially on opposite sides. They truly do have amazing chemistry that no one else can come close to and it removes some of the natural humour. If the film could keep them together by tweaking the plot it would keep the comedic tone and not seem to be bookended by a separate movie.
The two outside sections have a lighter a tone and sees everyone in on the joke and having fun, however the bulk of the film takes itself a little too seriously.

The Ugly
The CGI is rather ropy and it’s worrying that I picked up on it the first viewing. Normally because it’s all new, I miss the little flaws and only catch them during a repeat viewing, usually at home. It means I wasn’t as engaged in the story as I normally would have been and that could be because of many factors; one being the lack of feeling for the characters.


Cinema offences

A new segment for my reviews. I’m going to list the problems with the cinema going experience as it is something I think we all face issues with.

Viewing date/time: 12.4.2018/ 11.40 showing (Odeon Uxbridge)
Fullness: Quite a busy showing for early in the morning. That said, there couldn’t have been more than 40 people.

Late comers (5 minutes or more into a movie): 4 people in 2 separate groups
Phones (Texting/games/checking the time. Essentially anytime I see/am distracted by the glow of a phone): 0
Talking: 3 separate groups, all persistent.
Oh this was a big one today. Fresh off the back of my annoyance from The Quiet Place I think my patience had already warn thin. However, it was people in the row right behind me and it was persistent; like a running commentary on a DVD. Imagine my horror, when I turn around to bollocks the tween triplets I’d mentally given three chance to are not in fact three kids, but a mum and her two sons. Instead of telling her kids to stop, she was engaging them in conversation. I was rather reserved, for me; I politely asked them to stop talking. Well, my dear readers, I might as well have taken a dump right there on her lap based on the look she gave me. All I heard was ‘don’t listen to her’ from the mother and I’d had enough. Premiere seats be damned, I got up and moved to one of the nice seats; I figured Odeon owed me this for allowing this sort of behaviour to become the norm (Disclaimer: It’s not an Odeon problem, the is a all-franchise epidemic. Seriously, this woman will have spent at least £25 on tickets. Alone. I’m sure she’d jacked her kids up on sugar too and when a ‘kids pack’ starts at £4.50, surly just setting fire to your money would be better?! Or at least buy a dvd, rent one from Sky and then let them chatter away to their hearts content at home.

lonely child

Starfish by @akemidawn

So, this book is not going to take my normal approach to reviewing because my thoughts are all jumbled in a this-is-so-amazing brain dump. I still can’t, 12 hours or so from finishing the story, process how much EVERYONE needs to read this book.

There are so many threads within the book that at least one will have you gasping ‘that’s so me’. It deals with so many crucial issues that make or break someone; divorce, cultural belonging, parental approval, plans for the future, truthfulness, failure and so many more. Not only does Bowman address them, she provides solutions to some if you’re open to seeing them and not all of them are to do with acceptance.

I cried, more than once, reading the novel in my almost-one-sitting. I had a twenty minute break while I had something to eat; unfortunately with now having two beautiful kittens, eating at home is like waging war; one false step and I’ve lost my food. I digress. There are points in the book, whether you’ve been through it or not, your empathy will flood you with emotions. Bowman has created such a strong character that perceives herself as unworthy and weak. It’s hard not to want Kiko in your life as a friend.

While I have my own feelings about the Uncle Max thread and how that is dealt with has brought me some comfort that I never thought I’d find from a book, it is the issue of anxiety that I most identified with. The way Bowman represents Kiko’s thought process hopefully reveals to those who don’t suffer from anxiety, how exhausting it can be. It also helped me feel a little more ‘normal’.

The Curious Heart of Alisa Rae by @ubder_blue_sky

Characters

Alisa is the focus of the book and she is a wonderful protagonist to take you through her turbulent life. She’s kind, considerate and rather patient when it comes to her over bearing mother. She’s a realistic, emotional adult who has not experienced life and it’s hard not to love her.

While there are plenty of other, well rounded, characters in Alisa’s life it is Lennox who is the most interesting of all. You do wonder how trustworthy Alisa’s views are of him owing to the fact that everything is from the perspective post his death. He’s a character I would have loved to have gotten to know more, but it adds depth to the narrative, so its certain not something I dwell on for long.

Plot

The plot is a tangle of pre and post new heart for Alisa. It almost feels a little like a rubiks cube; the faces are ever changing as you try to put what you know into place. It’s wonderful and keeps you focused.

Alisa’s blog wins a reward that sees her in the presence of someone known to society, but not to her; a handsome actor whose life hasn’t gone exactly how her thought it would. He draws Alisa into his world and shows her that there is a life outside letting other people make her choices for her. It’s this romance that is at the heart of the story; it is its own thread, but it has impact upon Alisa’s other relationships both past and present. That said, it’s a beautifully sweet part of the story and will have you rooting for them, long after the book has finished.

Writing

The writing is a mix of emails, blog posts and narrative chapters. It’s a wonderful way of showing the emotional aspect of the story and gives it a beautiful non-linear approach that’s quite real of our own thoughts and feelings.

It’s rather refreshing and uplifting for a book that deals with organ donation, death and family tension. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down and even when it was finished, I wasn’t ready to let go of the characters.

Love, Simon- 12A

About
Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

Trailer

Love-Simon-banner

The Good
Where to start?! It’s a wonderful cast, a charming love story with an Indie tone and a message for everyone. The humour is on point and comes at the right time to alleviate the heaviness that some of the plotlines could bring to the movie.

Both Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel are perfection as Simon’s parents. The weight of Jack’s (Duhamel) comments during Simon’s upbringing leave a broken man for part of the movie. It’s a refreshing change when he finally opens up and talks to his son.

Gah! We got Kid Flash. Who wouldn’t love seeing Keiynan Lonsdale outside of the Speedster CW show? It was wonderful seeing someone who is openly gay in real life play a supporting role within this movie.

The Bad
How is it, in this day and age, that this movie is considered ground breaking. That’s no reflection of the movie, but of society. This movie should not be ‘brave’ or ‘monumental’; this should be judged on its ability to stand up to  other teen movies such as Perks of Being a Wallflower or even Mean Girls (It does, by the way). It’s just a shame that the movie is being lost because of the challenges it brings to social thinking.

I also struggled with Katherine Langford as best friend Leah. It’s not her fault, but I still see her as Hannah from 13 Reasons Why and I hate Hannah. I’m waiting for a role that will break the spell of her being a little typecast. Unfortunately, this wasn’t it.

The Ugly
Tears. Oh wow! I cried like a bitch. There are your typical teen moments that have an emotional tug, but there is just one scene involving Simon and his Mom that will melt even the coldest of hearts. The group behind me, who had very annoyingly talked all the way through the movie, had a bit of a discussion about wanting a mother like that.

I think there’s some truth to that. No matter who you are; if you’re a member of the LGBTQ community or just a supporter, you will certainly be able to empathise and agree that her stance is not liberal or LGBTQ specific. It’s something all parents should aspire to and something most (if not all) people want; acceptance and respect.

Into the Night – 15 #Jeffwatch

into-the-night01

Thanks to a wonderful Jeff Goldblum meme conversation, my love for Jeff has reignited. This was a man that was ever-present in my childhood. I’d mistakenly begged to watch the Fly and to this day I’ve not seen it all the way through.

So Friday night viewing had to be the recently Netflix added Into the Night; a 1985 thriller staring a young Jeff alongside the wonderful Michelle Pfeiffer and notable cameos from Jim Henson and David Bowie.

It’s not a great watch for those who like their thrillers fast paced. It’s almost halfway through before there is any sembilence of momentum. However, it is a brilliant nostalgia trip and an intriguing look at what life is like when you can’t be contacted through a phone.

If you asked me to describe Jeff in three words, they would be eccentric, charming and electric. The Jeff in this film is devoid of all of these (which is a testament to his ability as an actor) and is beige. His character is beige, the film is beige hell, even Bowie’s cameo is beige. Which is all good, except it means there is no character development; he’s a caterpillar and I’m disappointed that I don’t get the butterfly I know Jeff can provide.

Alas, this won’t be joining Jurassic Park as one of the #Jeffwatch repeated viewings.

Ready Player One Tag

As with Grey’s Anatomy tag, I did a bit of a search to find one ready made. Alas, there wasn’t one to be found so I made one myself. It’s on the short side, but I find less is indeed more and people put more effort in to individual questions this way.

Describe your avatar from the Oasis
After many hours of going through handles that have already been taken I would probably go for something like H@nSolo My avatar would essentially have Faith from Buffy’s body, an elfin face and Ariel’s hair. She’d be dressed in clothes similar to Han Solo with Lando’s cape because you always need a cape.
Would you be a Gunter or would you be tempted to join the Sixers? Would you clan up?
I think I’d be a half arsed gunter. I’m really rubbish at puzzles and problems. I noticed as part of the promotion for the film there was an easter egg inside the trailer. I sent it to a friend after about 5 minutes because I just couldn’t do it.
I’m also not very good at computer games. I got a GameBoy when I was 12. I was told I had to complete the two games it came with before I got any more. I never got more games for it.
In my defence, one of those games was Super Mario Land and if you turned the thing off, you had to start all over again; there was no way to save. I got pretty far one Sunday afternoon while having the device plugged in; but 8 hours later I had a nasty headache and a nagging mum telling me to be more productive.
The other game was its sequel and while it did have a save option, it took me up until 2012 to get to the final of the game. That death match has still yet to be completed by me.
Last year, while dating a tech-imp he got me into Tomb Raider and I really got into that. Unfortunately, along with everything else, me playing the game lost its appeal to him and I didn’t get past the 25% mark after playing for about 14 hours off and on over 3 months. Plus, him shouting at me for being shit kind of spoilt the fun I was having.

Based upon all of the above, I doubt I’d ever be on IOI’s radar to be wooed into Sixer living. However, I wouldn’t do it even if they asked. I’d belong to a clan of people who knew me and liked be around for the company.
What sort of world would you most like to visit?
I feel like saying Pop Culture is too obvious as the book itself is a love letter to everything Pop Culture. However, a 90s pop culture ‘scape would be perfect. Get a coffee and hang out at Central Perk, Club Nights at the Bronze and have a book recommended to you by Rupert Giles.
There’d be an almost ‘Theme Hospital’ immersive game to play where you work alongside doctors from ER and Casualty.
If you want a change of pace, you can enrol in Starfleet before joining one of the three Captains that dominated the 90s: Picard, Sisco and Jayneway.
In the book, you have to become a character in a film. You have to be as word perfect as possible and gain bonus points for inflection. What film and character would you be most successful as?
I’m fairly certain I could be successful with any character in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, but for the inflections it would have to be Alan Rickman’s Metatron. That said, Alan Rickman in any of his roles would be quite fun to do. “because it would hurt more.”
The other film would be Jurassic Park and I’d happily take dealer’s choice as I’ve watched it so many times I subconsciously recite the lines now. “shoooowt her, shoooowt her.”
What five songs would you have ready to play while in the Oasis?
Aerosmith- Jaded
David Bowie- The Man Who Sold the World
Pink- Just Like Fire
Panic at the Disco- Victorious
Elle King- Good Girls

Ready Player One- 12A

I have now seen this film twice and I’m still struggling to write a review for it. Mainly because it’s so frigging awesome! Not very often (ever, if memory served) do I enjoy a book to film adaption this much. The key to this is possibly Spielberg’s diversions that allow readers of the book to experience the mystery and wonder from that first reading.
I went in very nervous. I even had a sneaky peak at a few reviews; that’s how nervous I was. My 8 year old self who found her love of films through Spielberg and Jurassic Park thought he was the perfect choice to make the film. However, present me who has witnessed a distinct change in his filmic style post Minority Report (This is where I first noticed the change) felt it needed someone like JJ Abrams or Jon Faveau to embrace the geeky fandom elements. I let my 8 year old win over in the end.
I’m glad I did and the second I saw that initial black screen, I knew the film was in safe hands.
As always, the casting is spot on. Spielberg has always had the ability to spot rising talent and featuring them with veteran actors from previous works. Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Lena Waithe are amazing in their roles within the High Five. However, for me it is Ben Mendelsohn and Speilberg’s current keystone Mark Rylance who steal the show playing Sorrento and Halliday respectively. Mendelsohn is a true delight as the head of the IOI.
It is the music that will win people over. Of course it doesn’t reach the highs of Guardians of the Galaxy in epic-ness for playlists, but it certainly does pack a punch. As music is a major player in Ernest Cline’s work (both RP1 and Armada), it’s good to see that it transfers over to the screen.
Spielberg has always been known for his trailblazing ways with graphics, and this lives up to that. The world of Oasis is stunning, breath taking and immersive. There are so many references within each scene that it just begs for repeated viewing.
As I mentioned before, the film diverts from the book quite a lot. It brings the real life counterparts together a lot earlier and this then enables both the Oasis and the real world to progress and give the film some momentum. It also changes the challenges. While some die hard fans may see this as sacrilege, I think it’s a stroke of genius. It removes any ‘they didn’t do this’, because recreations would never please everyone. Instead, what you get is the heart in mouth feeling of awe you got from reading the book the first time. I don’t want to spoil any of the tasks for anyone, but bloody hell that jade key task?! Gah! I loved every moment of it and Aech! Gah! Perfection.
The ending is very Goonies, right down to a in-car squabble between the defeated villians. It’s here more than anywhere I feel a little uneasy about the casting of Simon Pegg as Ogden. The scene loses a little of its power by having such obvious aging used on Pegg. It’s a shame as other sections were okay.
The only other missing piece from this almost perfect adaptation is the absence of Wil Wheaton as a nod to the fans of both the audio book and book proper.

Sinner by Christopher Graves

Sinner by Christopher Graves
It does take a while for the book to settle and reveal its protagonists. That’s no bad thing, as it gives you a solid foundation in which you meet your two main players; Zeke and Dani.
Dani is a brilliant character to be ‘trapped’ with; she’s the strong willed trainee you would normally expect to find in these novels. You see enough of her relationships outside of the main section of the narrative to empathise with her and will her success.
Zeke is scary. Petrifyingly so. Even though you perhaps get more of his inner thinking than you would perhaps in another novel, it doesn’t detract from the chilling fear you feel. In fact, it increases it and he’ll haunt you long after the book has finished.
Plot
The plot is a refreshing change to what could have easily been a detective crime thriller. Instead we’re taken behind enemy lines and look at the lives of the predator and prey; a man from what can only be described as a tormented cult-like upbringing, turned into a serial killer and justifying his actions through scripture.
Then we have a woman who has uprooted her life after a relationship breakdown, trapped inside a house with little or no chance of escape. Your heart will be in your mouth during those chapters. I will never read detective novels in the same way again.
Writing
The writing is good, clear and able to present two distinct voices. There’s sections that are little rough; there’s a flashback sequence that to some might feel a little choppy and too simplistic. However, the rough and rawness of the sequence is actually what makes it so realistic.
The writing brings the tone of fear down heavy on you; I felt it creep up on me slowly, then all at once you know you can’t put the book down. I raced to the finish, my breath catching as I knew the battery was going to die and I didn’t want to leave Dani alone.