Movie Review: Lion King (2019)

Lion King (2019)

Length: 1Hr 58

Rating: PG

Release: 19.7.2019

About:Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother — and former heir to the throne — has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is soon ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. Now, with help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba must figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

The Good

  • The photo-realistic animals are breathtaking, detailed and quite simply a work of art. From the movement of the animal to tiny details all add to the magic of the story. It’s seen most powerfully when the film shows a lion’s ability to use smell. It forms a direction for the plot and gives us a look at how detailed computer technology is. There’s been criticism that the film lacks emotional impact because the animals ‘don’t emote’. This is simply not the case. They emote, but as an animal would.
  • Scar was less panto villain, more psychotic sibling with a lust for power. Even his relationship with the hyenas has changed ever so slightly, giving a darker and more desperate tone to his actions. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s voice will chill your bones in a way Jeremey Irons couldn’t.
  • Removal of anthropological behaviours of the animals brings an extra level of realism to the story. There’s no animal pyramid, no exaggerated facial expressions and Timon doesn’t walk upright. These are just a few things I can think of from the original that have been removed. I hadn’t realised, but one of my fears of a shot-for-shot remake was these conceits would remain and clash even more so with the realism.
  • The scenes that are meticulously recreated are not there out of laziness but an acknowledgement of the legacy it was taking on. The opening is one example, but the one I want to draw on is the stampede. On first glance it might seem derivative. However, what we have to remember is that the part in which the animals go over the lip and into the ravine was the Studios shining moment; it used the top technology to produce and it’s where we can see so very clearly how far they’ve come.
  • The songs have lost their show tune grandure and become much more integrated into the the characters and the storytelling. My favourite is still Be Prepared and I’m glad they kept it despite their misgivings.
  • Timon and Pumba shine as the comedy double act. They’ve again shed their Broadway perfect personas. Instead we have a conversational and down to Earth odd couple.

The Bad

  • While it isn’t something that bothered me overly, some may find there are perhaps one too many identical/ shot-for-Shot scenes or that the changes are too minimal. I personally didn’t like the stylised cloning of the iconic ‘fall’ scene, but it’s only a niggle.
  • I actually don’t like the story. I never have. It’s Hamlet with a somewhat happier ending and I really don’t like Hamlet.

The Ugly

  • Everyone’s a critic. The irony is not lost on me, I promise. I’m just as guilty as others. Currently, LiongKing (sic) is trending on social media and people are upset certain scenes aren’t there. At least this is something that was said after viewing the thing. However it’s not been the case for some other opinions.
  • So many people have already decided what they thing of the project without giving it a chance. From casting choices, to ‘Pumba looks scary and ugly’. As I said, I was also guilty of this. I was rather miffed when I discovered the mighty Mufasa would still be voiced by Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones. I couldn’t help but think ‘why, what’s the point.’
  • I was incredibly wrong. His voice has changed, it reflects age and wisdom while tying together the animated and ‘live’ action. It was a stroke of genius.

Final Thoughts

It’s a beautiful film that needs to be seen on the big screen. It’s not the sing along classic, but something more enchanting.

Love Han x

Why So Triggered? (aka why Karen Gregory’s I Hold Your Heart and Holly Bourne’s The Places I’ve Cried in Public are important novels)

This post has remained unpublished for a year. Last year it was about writing down my fears and thoughts that lead to panic attacks and never ending tears.

Now, I’m stronger. Now, thanks to Karen Gregory and Holly Bourne, I am able to quieten that voice that told me it was all my fault….

22nd July 2018

I’ve just finished work for 6 weeks, I should be so unbelievably happy right? Instead of feeling the chill, I’m more anxious than ever.

Upon returning home from an amazing hen do, I found myself amid one of my worst panic attacks in a long while. My route home was closed and it was suggested that I simply get the Piccadilly line.

Simply!

Only, there’s nothing simple when it comes to taking the Piccadilly line from central London. You see, Dick lives on the Piccadilly line. Not only that, but Dick’s ex lives on the Piccadilly line. Pray, how’d you know that?! Well Dick pointed out the very flat they shared on one of his ‘you’ll never be as good as her’ power trips. ‘I pay for it’ he informed me, like I’d care… right before I was made to pay for dinner ‘because you don’t deserve my money as much as her’.

The very thought of bumping into either of them not only has my breathing out of whack, it pulls out my soul and pushes me to the brink of what I’d imagine death would feel like. I’ve been painted the monster in her story and I’m not inclined to put her right. She wants someone to hate so she gets to keep Dick in her life. More fool her; he’s a narcissist who I met on a dating site. I didn’t steal him; according to his profile he was single and had been for a long time. This was a man who told me he wanted to pick a place close to me so moving in together would be easy; long before he told me that they’d still been together when we first met and there was overlap. Not only of me, but of a woman he cancelled our first date for (telling me he had to go see his dad) because he was garenteed sex with her and not with me. (That, was not the issue. The issue was him telling me he was out of town at his family home instead of being honest)

I have PTSD and the distance doesn’t help. It’s easier than ever to convince myself I was the one in the wrong. That I’d been ‘obsessed’ as he’d put it the last time I saw him; erasing the fact that he said he loved me first, that he’d never felt this way about anyone and that he’d covered up the fact that he was screwing 3 other women and had been since way before me and only told me because it was the only way to explain the fact that he couldn’t be my boyfriend. (Despite him asking, not me, and changing his mind without telling me three days later)

It’s a horrible thing to say, but I wish his abuse had been physical… this psychological torture he put me through, cutting me off from everyone I knew and manipulating me to the point of explosion, to then scream and shout at me for ‘over reacting’… I don’t know if those scars will ever heal.

I can’t face YALC on the off chance she’ll be there. I don’t go to signings any more because I feel she ‘deserves’ them more than me and i can’t go to Hammersmith without preparing myself for days in bed afterwards because I’m prettified I’ll bump into him.

It hurts but I feel like she has to come first. Clearly she got Richard, while I got Dick. I reached out thinking she’d understand. Oh how I needed someone to understand and tell me there was life beyond Dick. She’d met someone else and moved on; I experienced ‘depression Dick’ for a month to prove it. I just … well, I wanted to know her for her (having to hear about her everyday, you kind of get to know a person and, in all honesty?! She sounded fucking awesome and someone I’d get along with. Dick actually hated that. He hated that I respected her and actually took her side when he went on a rant about her having a boyfriend) but I think she thought it was to keep my ‘claws’ in Dick.

Sorry kiddos, but when a bloke has you in your FAVOURITE restaurant and tells you he’s considering making the girl you were told ‘wasn’t an issue’ his girlfriend, that in comparison you’re ordinary and recounts her sexual preferences (certain things he’d denied you when you asked) that he is happy to do this act because ‘he’s in love’ in a bid to make you react … you don’t want to keep in touch. You want your memory bleached of him. The ONLY thing you wanted was; the feeling of safety and belonging within a community and I was hoping I could avoid a Dick smear campaign (Dick had banned me from attending the 2017 YALC because she would be there so I feared …)

That’s where it ends. I considered finishing that sentence, but whatever I put now won’t be right.

I’m also aware, having had the woman my first boyfriend left me for 10 years ago lurk on my Insta Stories for almost two weeks, perhaps trying to befriend the exes ex was the brightest of moves. It was weird, stupid and not something I would normally do.

  • I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory is out now
  • The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne is out 3rd October 2019 but samplers and the chance to win a proof will be up for grabs at this year’s YALC.

YALC 2019

I will not be attending YALC this year. However, this is more about the fact that I’ve returned to Liverpool to care for my father than PTSD triggered anxiety. Plus, for all the books, photo ops and autographs I’d be wanting… I’d need a lotto win to accommodate. Nah… I’m going to spend next weekend curled up on the couch in the room next door to dad and reading my eyes out.

I will be missing some amazing people. Some wonderful women within the world of YA. I have found my people and I love them dearly.

Love Han x

Movie Review (with spoilers) Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Length 2Hr 9

Rating 12a

Release 5.7.2019

About Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.

The Good

  • Tom Holland for me, is the perfect Spider-Man (discounting the Spiderverse’s Noir Spider-Man for the moment). He gives us everything we need for Peter Parker and the Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man. I am hoping he sticks around long enough to get Parker out of High School.
  • Holland is well supported in this outing and the acting is solid. There’s a welcome return of Sam L Jackson and Cobie Smulders, providing some excellent humour.
  • The plot was well handled, easy to follow for all (having heard a few mini humans tell me they didn’t get Captain Marvel, it’s something I’m mindful of going forward). I liked how the plot has Parker going around the world while reluctantly participating in being an Avenger.
  • The villain(s) provide another clever layering to the franchise. I’m curious as to when they’ll crop back up, but I’m certain this wasn’t the end.
  • Happy!!!! I love Happy. I love the comedy, I love the awkwardness, but most of all, I love the parental nature that is being developed within Spider-Man between Happy and Peter. You see a hint of it in Endgame, but here you see how much of an impact the events of Endgame truly had on Tony’s best friend.

The Bad

  • I struggled with the first half an hour. It felt very clunky. I know there were a few bits from Endgame that needed smoothing over in order to progress, but it should also feel like a stand alone in its own right. It lost some of that and, as a result, stalled a few times out the gate.
  • Oh and while we’re on the subject. The blip? What the fuck?! Who got paid to name it that?! I mean, ‘the snap’ was bad enough but the blip?! So, that’s what earth are calling the missing 5 years for some people; a ‘whoops’?
  • Also, get your editing right. Don’t say they were brought back 5 years later, but have the image look like they were gone for seconds at most. This is seen most clearly when showing a basketball game in action.
  • The villain was a bit pants. While there’s that clever strand of bringing people back from obscure scenes from the last ten years, it all feels a little overused. It’s a blend of Iron Man 3 and Captain Marvel. While Jake J is brilliant, his guise is just a bit shit. Mainly because anyone who is remotely comic literate knows the background and history of Mysterio so it comes as no surprise when we have the mid film switcharoo. Trying the rug-pull bad guy posing as a good guy trick twice in one year MCU? Come on, give us something new.

The Ugly

The mid and post credits. I have big issues with these two plot points being where they are. What they reveal, in theory, is important to the franchise going forward and shouldn’t be missed. This sort of reveal should be available for all to watch; not just geeks like me who know to stay until the end. Just feels a little… mean spirited.

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens Book Tag

As soon as I saw this tag was being made, I knew I was going to have to get involved. You can find the original post here:
https://fantasticbooksawtft.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/the-nice-and-accurate-good-omens-book-tag/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-3

“Would be funny if we both got it wrong, eh? If I did the good thing and you did the bad one?” – A book you expected to like but didn’t and/or a book you didn’t expect to like but did or more than you had thought you would.

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge. I’ll be honest, as well intended as I was when I purchased the memoir regarding Sledge’s experiences in the Pacific war, I didn’t expect I’d get past the first few chapters.
However, I was transfixed. It’s not an enjoyable read, but it’s an important one. It not only gave me an insight into Joe Mazzello’s performance but it taught me a hell of a lot about warfare.

“Get behind thee, foul fiend…After you.” – Favourite flirty line

“Lovely chatting with you, darling, but I’ve got to run. Face it, you’re always more content when you’re chasing me than when you have me locked up. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.” Gretchen in Chelsea Cain’s Heartsick series has a rather strange relationship with the protagonist. Their type of flirting is VERY different.

“Somebody killed my best friend” – Bookish death that affected you the most

Jake and Cloquet in the Bloodlines Series by Glen Duncan. Jake, I struggled with but I understood why it happened however when Cloquet died mid By Blood We Live, I put the book down, cried my eyes out and never returned to the story. I just couldn’t do it. Nope, no way.

“You go too fast for me Crowley” – Favourite slow burn

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer is my favourite slow burn. Mainly because of how the relationship develops and the alternating characters so we get to know both Juliet and Declan.

Or it would have to be Birthday by Meredith Russo! It’s the slowest of burns and quite possibly the best romance book I’ve ever read.

“Thank you for my pornography” – A romance scene you loved or that made you cringe (stating which is optional if you’d like to keep people guessing)

In the last of the Heartsick series there’s two scenes that really made me uncomfortable. Both happen to Archie Sheridan and one is most defiantly sexual assault and the second becomes assault by the end.

“There never was an apple, in Adam’s opinion, that wasn’t worth the trouble you got into for eating it” – Have you ever been caught reading a book when you shouldn’t have been? Either for content or the situation. 

So, I used to work in a cinema and I’d be put on many different jobs. If I was on Box Office or Ben and Jerry’s I’d have a book with me to keep me out of trouble. It’s how I read the Twilight Saga. I even read the entire of Howl’s Moving Castle one Tuesday when I worked a 2-10 on Ben and Jerry’s (It was February and I served maybe 3 people)
This is all well and good and the managers turned a blind eye to it. Except for one; my at-the-time boyfriend who, I might add, didn’t even work in the same branch.

“Well, obviously. You’re a demon. That’s what you do.” – Favourite unapologetic villain. 

It has to be Artemis Fowl. The child genius who very rarely shows remorse for his actions. He’s loyal to his own and someone you enjoy following, but the fact that he’s not an angel makes it all the better.

“He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, ie., everybody, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.” – Favourite Twisty book

Slayer by Kiersten White has to have one of the best twists going. I didn’t see it coming and I’m itching for the sequel.

“Most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, but by people being fundamentally people.” – Favourite complex or morally grey character 

There’s only one character that I can put here. It can only be Professor Serverus Snape. While there’s an argument that he is actually morally pure based upon his actions, however he is presented to the read as a conundrum. It’s not until the end that the reader finds themselves surprised or have their theory of his faux villiany validated.
He’s the truist hero in every sense of the word; he allows himself to be accused, villified and hated all for the sake of the cause.
Long live the half-blood prince!

That’s all for now.
Han x

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens Book tag

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them

After watching the whole of Good Omens for the third time and then falling into a hole of video edits on youtube while looking up where to buy the script book, I thought to myself “…I really should be blogging.” Instead, I pressed play on episode three (my favourite for that 6000 years of slow-burn pre-intro alone). It was then I instead thought to myself, perhaps I can do both? I’m due a book tag post this week so what if? No. Surely it seems too easy of a solution. Or is it? I could make a Good Omens book tag I figured before obsessing over it for over a week before actually writing the damned thing. So now here we are, I hope you enjoy it and that it “feels love” to you.

Good omens booktag (1)“Would be funny if we both got it wrong, eh? If I did the good thing…

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I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Published: 11th July 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Press
Pages: 320
About:
The tense, tender must-read book of the summer – perfect for fans of Louise O’Neill and Sara Barnard
‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’
When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.
But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?
Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

First Thoughts

Karen Gregory’s third book has cemented her as the most current and much needed author out there. Her work isn’t about escapism, but about emphathy, relatability and recognision. Countless was such a popular book within my personal lending library in school that I had to purchase three additional copies to keep up with demand. It was also the book that developed a number of students into ‘reader’; begging for other books ‘like this’

Characters

Gemma and Aaron are such important characters that represent so many different people in the real world.
Gemma’s voice is strong and emotive. I see not only much of myself in her, but I know many other peopoole who would relate to her and her friendship group. She’s someone you’ll take to your heart as things go wrong; long before Gemma realises it herself.
Aaron is someone who breaks my heart. He’s the guy I fell for only two years ago. I fell for all the lines, all the promises and accepted all the abuse. While he wasn’t a carbon copy, there was enough there for me to regonside. It’s quite clever how Aaron’s been created as he is able to present as a number of types of ‘toxic’ partners while being a well rounded character in himself. For me he represents a narcasist who went from ‘as you wish’ and ‘I’m looking for a flat to rent near you.’ to ‘your crush on me is sad. I stopped loving you, you should do the same about your crush’ and ‘I never said that’ within a blink of an eye. However, to others Aaron will be the constrictive and obsessive boyfriend who cuts a girl off from everyone else in her life.

Plot

The scariest part about the plot, is the short space of time it takes up. It’s the key of a toxic relationship and it’s surprising how easy it is to get caught up in one. By presenting it as part of a fictional story, it allows the reader to consider their views from a safe environment. I hope that it allows readers to recognise warning behaviours and, hopefully, it will ensure they don’t allow themselves to be suckered in.
The sub-plot is wonderful and allows the reader to root for Gemma. By giving her the Country singing and songwriting competion, you can truly see how much she is being controlled.

Writing

As always, Gregory has a wonderful way with words that gives her characters authentic and truly relatable voices. Having this story told from the perspective of both Gemma and Aaron makes for a rather interesting read. I was overwhelmed at my own wish to be educated on the inner voice of a person who is able to do what Aaron does to someone else.
However, what I did find comforting was the message found within the pages; that I didn’t actually need to look for those answers. That actually, the most important thing was that I didn’t need the answer to tell myself that it wasn’t something I’d done to change my Aaron. It was always going to end that way and what I needed to have done was recognise the behaviours before I compromised my dream like Gemma did.

Final Thoughts

I’m so incredibly gratful for this read. It was painful, at times, but so bloody inforrmative. There’s a moment that chilled me to the bone, there were moments I wanted to pull Gemma out of the story and away from Aaron but the cathartic relief I gained from knowing I’m not the only one to go through something similar, is so valuable.

Love Han x

Wooly Boys (2001)

Length: 1Hr 39

Rating: PG

Release: 7.10.2001 (no UK release)

About: Two ranchers (Peter Fonda, Kris Kristofferson) from North Dakota find adventure in Minneapolis after one goes to visit his only daughter.

The Good

  • Kris Kristoffersen and Peter Fonda are names that I’ve always known, however I’m not certain I’ve seen either in anything. They are a brilliant double act from the get go. These are veteran actors doing what they do best and I’m certainly going to be checking out their back catalogues over the coming months. I’m guessing from Kristofferson’s staring role in A Star is Born, he was the Bradley Cooper of the day.
  • It’s hard to make a film in the West and not be a cowboy movie. I’m quite happy that it was able to move beyond the tropes and give a fresh look at modern ranch life.
  • The humour, music and plotting are all sound and give the audience a family film with heart, charm and hope.

The Bad

  • Joe Mazzello’s rare appearance as a teen only appears in the bad because his awesome performance only makes me wish that he’d taken on a few more roles at the time. He’s acting against Fonda and Kristofferson for Christ sake. Lesser actors would have been swallowed whole. Not Mazzello, he not only brings an excellent performance, but is able to create believable and heartfelt relationships with the two men.
  • I’m a bit gutted about the fact that these two Wooly Boys weren’t the original Brokeback. There was a love between them, there’s no denying that, but I’d have love it to have been developed and more overtly romantic rather than platonic. Perhaps even have this as the cause of the rift between father and daughter. Although I can see that perhaps adding a little bitterness to the proceedings. Something it didn’t really need.

The Ugly

  • This film hit me a little too hard in the feels. I know all too well about the man of little words and the rift it can cause. While it’s a sweet film, it weighed a little too heavy for me to be enjoyable.
  • Animal death. It’s the one thing I can’t really deal with in my films and if I was in a position the cry, there’s a scene that would have had me bawling.

Final Thoughts

It’s a well made, expertly acted family drama that feels a little more like a TV movie by today’s standards.