Monkey at the Movies: Another Roundup!

 

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Oh boy I have some controversial opinions to share today… so in honour of one of the movies on here I’ve split the reviews into likes and dislikes (or salty and sweet 😉 ) How about we jump into the movies I wasn’t so crazy about first, shall we?

guernsey literary

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– well the good thing about this movie is if you haven’t read the book, you can after watching this film, cos they’re two separate entities. My main contention is that the main character is not the same character as the book. I don’t know why so many strong female heroines from books are translated into “seen and not heard” types in movies (though I can guess a few reasons). It’s like they took all her personality traits and flattened them into her saying that Anne Bronte was “ahead of her time” (someone was looking for feminist brownie points). The way I’d describe Juliet from the book is vivacious, headstrong and decisive. Here she’s a shadow of that character- whose main role in the movie (spoilers) is to say yes to an engagement she never agrees to in the book, so that she can break her word later. Making the character more flaky *is not* an improvement. Other than my serious frustration in this department, I felt the movie lacked tension. There were a couple of components from the book which really could have been utilised to create that here. Also, I recognise that translating the letter element from the book to screen would have been tricky- yet (as you’ll see from other movies on this list) stylised elements can truly elevate a film and it was a missed opportunity to not do that here. What saved this movie for me was a couple of outstanding performances- especially from Tom Courtney and Penelope Wilton (every time the latter was on screen I ended up in tears). The child that played Kit was also truly sensational. In fairness, this isn’t the worst book to movie adaptation out there- but I adored the book and this could have been so, so much better.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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walle

WallE– wow what a pessimistic view of humanity. I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed with this movie too. I’d had it hyped for years in my head- which I didn’t worry too much about cos Pixar films usually live up to expectations. This was obviously a message movie- and that’s not such a terrible thing- but the delivery was a little off. Personally, I think things like humanity floating off into space and turning into War-of-the-Worlds-style-Martians seems a bit silly- especially when you consider that along with the rise of laziness, there’s also an increase in fitness fanaticism. And yes, I know it’s a kid’s movie (I’ll agree the robots are cute and it’s mostly enjoyable), but since it delves into the sci fi region, I couldn’t help but compare it to other things in the genre. For me, Pixar’s foray into this area left a lot to be desired. Let’s see how they did with the sequel to one of my favourite properties…

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

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incredibles 2

Incredibles 2– yeahhh I wasn’t happy with this either. Not only did it regurgitate the original- but it also took out the satire! Which makes it a bad remake. It’s quite disappointing after such a long wait. The plot felt unsatisfying from beginning to end- particularly as it reversed all the character growth from the first movie. It did make me laugh though and (with a few tweaks) could have been titled Jack Jack Attack 2 and then I’d have enjoyed it. Sadly, there were just too many unconnected strands and the story was lacklustre at best.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again– this is here just so you can all see the full range of my capacity to be a grumpus 😉 It’s hard to determine whether I shouldn’t have watched this or if this movie shouldn’t exist. Probably both. There’s no two ways about it: the story sucks. It’s a rehash of the first movie- only even more ridiculously contrived. The music is (mostly) still good- though for the most part you’d benefit a lot more from listening to the old tracks (*why on earth* they chose another person with a grating voice to play younger Pierce Brosnan is beyond me!)  I guess it’s good fun seeing Cher singing Fernando- though surely you can just watch a clip of that?

Rating: 1/5 bananas

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Gosh I’ve gotten salty here…

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Let’s move onto the movies I got more out of:
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Amelie– it took me *years* to watch this movie- while this is considered a classic, I’d also met enough people that didn’t like it. And to be honest, I get why. This is film of likes and dislikes. Naturally, I had my own likes and dislikes for it:

Likes:

The intricate little tales of every person Amelie meets.

How funny it could be at times.

A lot of the motifs.

The romance!

Dislikes:

There were some icky elements (like Amelie’s conception) I could have done without…

And that’s it! Initially I was on the fence about the stylised element to the movie- but by the end I thought it worked really well. Ultimement, je l’ai aimé (and that’s all the bad French you’re getting!).

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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the firm

The Firm– while not a perfect movie, it is a really entertaining thriller. It does stall at times, so the pacing isn’t always perfect, however by the end I was utterly gripped (so much so I missed some police drama going on outside my window… #LondonLife). The music in particular works to add tension and fits the dramatic tone. Definitely recommend if you’re into this genre!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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citizen kane

Citizen Kane– atmospheric and artistically shot, I don’t know what I could say about this *fabulous* film that hasn’t been said already. What a story! It’s so simply a mystery- and yet it is told in such a way that there are layers upon layers of complexity here. I loved how it told the story over and over again in different ways- returning to the beginning of the movie by the end. Every little detail adds to the movie- the echoes, the use of space, the endless corridors. It’s a visual masterpiece. It’s psychologically fascinating piece. The acting is sublime- you can see the actors thinking and emotionally manipulating the scene. I became obsessed with finding the answers and couldn’t have been more satisfied with the ending! Definitely watch this movie if you want to find out who is Rosebud? And more importantly- why does it matter?

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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And that’s a wrap! Have you seen any of these movies? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Was Wonder Woman Wonderful?

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Well, *unpopular opinion alert*, no it wasn’t. In fact, if this book had a special ability, I’d say it was in the power to send me to sleep. Before I get into all the reasons why I thought this was super dull, I do want to add that I don’t see this book as a reflection of the author and nor does it affect the respect I have for Bardugo in general.

That said, there was literally nothing I liked about this book. To me, it was a cheap cash grab attempt to jump on the superhero bandwagon. It was sadly a waste of Bardugo’s talent, with writing that was surprisingly lacklustre and missing the author’s usual flair. If it had been any other name slapped on the cover, I wouldn’t have known the difference.

The plot was tremendously predictable, cliché and uninteresting. I wouldn’t say this is thanks to it doing things wrong, it simply doesn’t do much right. There were, happily, some good throwaway lines about Spartan myths just being Athenian propaganda- yet there are better books on Greek myths that are far more engaging. Indeed, there are also far superior superhero stories. A lot of this felt like the 70s Superman movies with constant “what are you?”s- which isn’t a terrible thing in and of itself, it just added to that unoriginal vibe.

Unfortunately this wasn’t helped by the flat, cardboard cut-out characters, who were impossible to connect to. In another instance of trying to milk the reader for all they’re worth, the book feature the stereotypical STRONG women characters. Alas, I’m past the point of being easily sold on the kickass woman + female friendship = banking a pay check formula. It’s simply not enough for me anymore since everyone and their mother is doing it- which maybe we should see as progress, instead of getting mad at me in the comments for not being on board 😉 Frankly, Diana was a stereotypical Mary Sue: impossibly strong and with the only weakness of being too compassionate (which turns out to be her greatest strength *surprise surprise*). Alia was supposed to be smart, yet I never saw any evidence for that and quickly grew bored of her.

And the villain- man, that was in equal parts disappointingly obvious and lousy. Frankly, that was the LAST STRAW for me. Until that “reveal” I was gonna give it 2 bananas, but after that I could only spare…

1/5 bananas

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Evidently that left a lot to be desired- but I wasn’t done with Wonder Woman yet and decided to *finally* watch the movie everyone’s been raving about as the only decent DC film this decade. So how did that measure up?

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Eh- it was okay. Better than the book (though that’s not hard)- but still not anything compared to the Marvel movies (there I said it). To me, it was a poor (wo)man’s Captain America/Thor- though not as good in exploring the concepts of myths and war.

Now believe me, I get that the mythology has to be revamped for the comics, but C’MON the background of this story was Lucifer vs God- this is straight out of the Bible not Greek mythology. Which feels like a waste and meant it failed to bring anything spectacular or *new* to the story.

There were ups and downs to this. The plot was okay, with some emotional moments, but soooo predictable. Gal Godot put in an entertaining performance, the cinematography was especially strong, yet the soundtrack was not utilised properly (it kinda came and went at random intervals). Worst of all, there were I kept joking were “pause for ideological commentary” that ruined the pacing and took me out of the movie.

wonderwomanNone of this was helped by the fact that Wonder Woman Mary Sue had no character arc. Oh, sorry, I can’t see her as an actual character, because, AGAIN SHE IS PERFECT AND HAS NO FLAWS. She’s a little bit of a fish out of water, but in the end, that’s just a surface level issue that doesn’t get in the way. Having her be so overpowered for me removed any tension and meant she had no room for improvement. To be charitable to the story, the mc doesn’t have to have an arc and you could say she inspires the people around her. Except this wasn’t satisfying to me, given the fact some of her mistakes were detrimental and simply brushed under the rug. For instance, *spoilers ahead* when she stops to save a village, she doesn’t care that this interferes with their covert op AND blames everyone else when its blown up anyway, EVEN THOUGH she was the one to make the detour and slow down the mission (also she has no idea how to be a spy). The problem here isn’t that she makes mistakes- it’s that they’re played off as everyone else’s fault (again, Mary Sue can’t have flaws, that’d be sexist!). Plus, even if she’s wrong about who Ares is, it doesn’t matter because she’s basically right in the end. This not only stops her from learning and developing as a character, but also means she’s a terrible teacher figure, and any development of other characters feels unearned. Consequently, when Steve sacrifices himself, it doesn’t feel like it’s because Wonder Woman taught him something. And it also seems illogical that Diana uses that moment as inspiration, since she’s already internalised the idea that humanity is basically good.

Overall, I felt this had some funny aspects and kept me mildly entertained, but I still thought it was massively overrated.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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Alright- dare I ask- what do you think of Wonder Woman? Love, hate or meh? Let me know in the comments!

What I have been watching lately – #movie edition

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Hello all! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday! Since we’re coming up to the end of the year, I’m in a wrap-everything-up kind of mood and thought it would be fun to share some of the awesome (and less-than-awesome) movies I’ve seen over the past few months. This is by no means a comprehensive list- just the ones that stood out to me for some reason or other. And of course, this list will be accompanied by plenty of monkey drama 😉 Let’s jump to it!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– I enjoyed every second of this! I adored the series, so I was a tad nervous… but all those fears were allayed because this completely brought the book to life! I particularly liked how it took the characters and made them real, very much capturing their distinctive personalities. And Lara Jean was so Lara Jean- she was relatable and dorky and ahhh practically perfect in every way!!! So yup- one happy monkey here!!

5/5 bananas

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi– I finally watched the new Star Wars- and wish I could unwatch it. Look, I’m not trying to start arguments, and if you liked it, I’m glad you got more out of it than I did. Frankly though, if a movie bores me so much that I can leave to do chores in the middle (and yes, this is frequently my barometer for a bad movie) then I’m going to hate it. I get that the visuals are good- however that’s not why I watch movies. I’m here for the story and this did. not. deliver in that department. For all the obvious flaws- the campy scene where Leah flies through space, Rey the ULTIMATE Mary Sue, Holdo’s resting bitch face, the lame villains, the bad jokes etc- the most unforgivable thing was that it took a story about hope and made it nihilistic- that’s quite the feat! And I know this film has been analysed to death by now, so I’m sure I don’t need to get into everything, but “defying expectations” isn’t automatically a good thing. While I like unexpected twists and turns, they need to make sense in the grand scheme of things, deliver emotional punches and make me care about the characters- this did none of those things. It felt like *surprises* for surprises’ sake- which is not a good storytelling tactic. The only way this defied my expectations was that I thought it was going to be a good movie and it wasn’t. Also congrats for making the prequels look good I guess. This gets a banana peel from me:

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them– okay, so here’s another one I finally caved and watched… and that was surprisingly a good thing. While I’ve always been on the fence about Harry Potter spinoffs, this ended up delivering on a lot of fronts: the characters were stellar, there were cute animals (employed in a way that actually affected the plot- *evil eyes at Last Jedi*), the visuals were stunning and the differences between Britain and America were explored (like the term no maj- which on the surface is simpler- but also sounds less offensive). Plus there was some hidden depth in the symbolism of obscuras- drawing on how trauma can breed tragedy. I particularly liked the portrayal of Scamander by Redmayne (quickly making this a new fave HP character). And *spoilers* Grindlewald as a villain was subtly portrayed (I’m decidedly less keen on the actor that’s taken over). Overall, this worked for me!

4/5 bananas

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The Death of Stalin– this captured the sheer *craziness* of the situation. Plus, for a movie that’s historically accurate (if you want to see just how much you can watch this great video essay) and very dark, it was ridiculously funny. I was laughing throughout. Though the fact that this Kafkaesque/1984 setting was *real* always sat disturbingly in my mind. And while I reckon history buffs will get a kick out of it, I do recommend this film for everyone really.

4/5 bananas

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The Theory of Everything– the most obvious thing I can think to say about this was that Redmayne was *definitely* an Oscar-worthy performance. It was also a beautifully shot movie, though a little on the slow side. BUT it was very life affirming- really embodying Hawkins’ famous quote: “As long as there is life, there is hope”. It was amazing to see what he achieved in film form. I also felt like it could be seen as a counter to the Me Before You narrative argument (not to criticise the author, for whom it was an exercise in empathy). The only thing was I didn’t buy the romance as much as I wanted to. And, while I’m glad I watched it, it didn’t blow me away. Incidentally, I’ve been listening to brief history of time- which I won’t be reviewing  cos WHODOYOUTHINKIAMLOLIREADBOOKSIDON’TDOPHYSICS (seriously I can’t help you with black holes and the like)- but I will say it’s very interesting.

3½/5 bananas

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The Shooting Party– this was rather propagandistic. At the risk of alienating all zero of my posh fans, I don’t actually think I need any convincing not to go shootin’ animals. That said, I don’t think that if I was unclear on that this would change my mind- because it’s not a convincing argument to have people walking round moralising. There’s literally no real characters in this- merely lifeless husks that act as mouthpieces for an agenda. Regardless of whether I agree with said agenda, it simply doesn’t make for an entertaining film. There’s a lot of pointless, pretentious conversations and not nearly enough drama. All this ended up being was an opinion masquerading as art.

2/5 bananas

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The Birds– now this is more like it! It may start out witty and humorous but the tone steadily shifts. All this builds up the tense and magnetic atmosphere. By the end of the movie, all the little sounds in my flat were making me jump. I didn’t even realise how much it affected me until I saw a load of pigeons the next day and thought: “what are they up to?” Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever look at birds again in quite the same way. Super clever and wonderfully crafted- this is a classic for a reason! Even scaredy cats like me can appreciate it!

5/5 bananas

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Okay- so some potentially *explosive* opinions there and the question of the day is: do you agree or disagree with me on any of these? What do you think of these movies? And have you watched anything that stood out to you lately? Let me know in the comments!

Incoming: Simon Vs the Homosapien Agenda Rocked!

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Hello all,

As you might have guessed from the subject line, I really dug Simon Vs the Homosapien Agenda. Partly cos I’m a sucker for contemporary romance, partly cos I just love fun, quirky characters. Mostly though it’s cos OMG this story is remarkably cute and the mystery element worked so well!

For those of you that dot know, it’s the story of Simon Spier, who has a secret pen pal relationship with another boy in his school… and is be being blackmailed for it! And I have to say this grabbed me right from the opening line. I know I’ve been talking a lot about fave first lines recently and this just so happened to have all the perfect ingredients: it gives us the tone, the voice and the concept all in one. Plus it was pretty witty and that always helps 😉

The one downside I thought there was with the book was there were too many characters to keep track of. Plus, I wasn’t hugely keen on the sibling relationship, because they felt too different and disconnected.

That said, all the other characters really worked for me. Simon was *adorable*. And the friendships made a lot of sense. I even understood the blackmailer- he’s a dick, but his motivation made sense.

What else is there to say other than that the romance was swoonworthy? I defy anyone not to fall for this super sweet story. It’s a love story with oreos for goodness sakes! For that alone I would happily give it 4/5 bananas:

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I’m wondering who else has read it and if they’ve fallen in love with it as much as I have?

Love, Orangutan

PS I saw the movie and I liked it even more.

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Love simon email attachment

Hello all,

Me again. I know, I know, two emails in one day. It’s like I’m obsessed. But I couldn’t help it you guys! I just had to fill you in on the AWESOMENESS that is Love, Simon.

Everything Albertalli did translated so well to the big screen. It made me laugh more, cry more, and I was overwhelmed by the *cuteness overload*.

There were some changes to the book version- like cutting Simon’s sister Alice out- but I have to say they streamlined the plot and worked for me. Also, the movie allowed his friends to be more pissed at him for his actions, rather than just supportive, and oof that hit me in the feels even more.

Actually, the movie overall was more hardhitting. (Pretty obvious) spoilers here: him being outed is done in an even more emotional way in the movie. I was honestly a WRECK by the end of it. Especially with the beautiful individual moments with him mum and dad- cos ach my heart! I could barely take how much it moved me.

So yeah, watch the movie already if you haven’t. I know now for certain that I want every Albertalli book to be turned into a movie! Who thinks Hollywood will grant my request?

Love, Orangutan

PS: Just take my bananas already…

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Reply all in the comments…

What the Hell is going on with DC?

*Warning if you like the movies, now’s the chance to look away!*

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After my post yesterday, you would be forgiven for thinking that I was a massive fangirl for the DC Justice League movies. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As much as I love the characters and even think some of the performances are stellar (as Book Beach Bunny said yesterday, only Jason Mamoa could make Aquaman cool), there is way too much I hate about these movies. Not to say that they’re abominable or you shouldn’t like them… I just… GAH! These films piss me off.

Oddly enough, I never planned on doing a post like this. In fact, the first film came out before I even thought of having a blog. I did write a long ranty response to the second film in my notebook when I watched it, however that was before I ever thought of talking about anything other than books on here. Then the latest film came out and I. Just. Couldn’t. Take. It. Anymore.

I’m not referring to all DC films, especially because I haven’t seen them all (I couldn’t make it more than half an hour into Suicide Squad and I still haven’t got round to seeing Wonder Woman yet, though I want to and actually think that will be pretty good) so I’ll only be focusing on Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Justice League. Let’s get into this shall we.

Man of Steel was far too Flimsy a Film

man of steelSuperman is probably one of my favourite heroes and while, yes I’m one of those people who actually enjoys the old Christopher Reeve films (they’re fun!), I was not adverse to a darker remake. I mean, I am completely in love with the Dark Knight trilogy and wasn’t looking for a carbon copy of something that had been done before- that would be boring. And yet, somehow this managed to be boring. And frankly, that’s the worst cinema sin imaginable.

I won’t say it’s a terrible film, it just suffers from the same issues that plague the series- starting with the fact that it’s trying to be too clever for its own good. Frankly, no one was asking for a convoluted backstory for Superman- even the old movies summarised in a few minutes! Why, oh why, did this have to focus on such a bloated history? A history that incidentally becomes irrelevant to the rest of the movies (showing how sloppily this was all put together). No one thought- hey, if we’re inserting a done-to-death-chosen-one trope, through the whole pointless codex stuff, we might have to refer to that in later movies. Nope- it’s only there to serve to make this movie longer. G-r-e-a-t.

And although this is making my review all over the place, I have to add that this didn’t help the flow of the story. The constant flashbacks and non-linear nature made it feel jumpy and made it harder to invest in the story. A story which was already hard to get into thanks to an overly-broody hero, a meh villain I wasn’t scared of and a complete lack of tension.

The lack of tension was up there as one of the worst things about the movie. Even while all the grand-scale-action managed to wipe out most of Metropolis (which also obliterates Superman’s primary goals as a character, but whatever) this movie still failed to get my heartbeat to rise above its resting state. Cos, contrary to the Michael-Bay school of thought, *explosions* does not create tension. You need to actually care for *someone* in the story for that to work. And vague threats about wiping out all of humanity doesn’t matter either if you can’t capture that sense of time running out.

Still, even though I’m being super negative here, I didn’t completely despise the franchise at one point until I heard the title for the next one…

No One Wins in Batman V Superman

batman v superman dvDavid S. Goyer (a writer for the film) once said that “Batman Vs. Superman is where you go when you admit to yourself that you’ve exhausted all possibilities”. And isn’t that the truth. To be diplomatic, I’m not opposed to the idea (though it has the juvenile aspect of “who would win in a fight, a ninja or pirate? We all know the answer is a ninja pirate 😉 ) I simply think it’s a shit title.

Where Man of Steel spends tons of time on backstory, this gets you up to date in about three seconds. And I don’t just mean Bruce’s parents deaths, I mean why he hates Superman, the whole deal. There’s about three different openings at the start of this moviestellar film making there *heavy sarcasm*. Each scene is delivered to us like *here, have some exposition*. Not only does this feel ridiculously choppy and cobbled together, it doesn’t even provide the best motivation for Bruce to fight Superman.

But whatever, the title says they’ve got to fight, so they fight. And of course, Batman is totally beating Superman… Wait, what?! Oh yeah, that’s cos even though the writers tried to give Superman an actual motivation for stopping Batman (aka in this version Batman is a murderous psycho) they kinda give up on that and kidnap his mother. So yeah, Superman’s not into fighting at all- but don’t worry too much, they’ll be a nice coincidence to break it all up anyway.

On the subject of Batman, I will probably get into trouble for my seriously unpopular view here. I think Affleck’s Batman sucks. He’s just Affleck as Batman (aka I never lost the sense that it was Affleck- the best performances make you forget they’re an actor altogether). I’ve nothing against the actor, yet I cannot deny that I didn’t buy his performance *at all*. Nor did his swanky suit and CGI convince me either.

And here’s another unpopular opinion, I actually thought the ending was worse than the beginning. While it was flawed, certainly, I did actually like seeing Lois do some investigative journalism and Batman supposedly-being-smart by coming up with a plan to take down Superman. Even if the plot points weren’t ironed out and Eisenberg’s Luther was GOD-AWFUL, I at least cared about the outcome of the fight. However, the writers didn’t have the courage to follow through with that story and had to stick a massive alien villain into the ending. Lois goes from vaguely interesting to completely useless and Batman and Superman are friends again- sarcastic yay! Oh with Gal Gadot shoehorned in too (don’t get me wrong, I love her as Wonder Woman, but she barely belongs in this movie). I think the impact of the (MAJOR SPOILER WARNING) death could have been that much more powerful if Batman accidentally/not-so-accidentally killed him (providing they had better reasons to fight).

At this point, I’ll be frank, my frustration with how this could have turned out became a steady dislike. I don’t think I’d have hated it so much had it not been for whichever smart Alek thought “we’d better put a monster in the end of this movie!” If they’d focused on the ideas, the actual titular fight and given some good motivations, this could have been interesting. Buuut they’d already proven that stupid plotlines were the way to go with the first movie, why stop there?

There was no Justice in Justice League

justice league cover 2*Spoilers for Batman V Superman*

Where do I even start with this one? On the plus side they got over their need to make all the colours so dark you can’t see anything. The downside is the plot is terrible. Bruce Wayne *feels* an attack is coming, so he gets to work in forming the Justice League. I wish that last sentence was a joke, but it gets so much worse. As per the last two movies, there are no decent reasons or build up for the villain. We’re just supposed to accept that the villain is the villain and the heroes are the heroes cos *reasons* (and some awful speeches). The heroes get to resurrect whoever they like (though not Superman, we’re told a million times to remember he’s dead…). And if the baddie makes obvious mistakes, like not going after the easiest target (a magical box thingy, more lazy writing there), then we have to accept it like good little chumps who bought the extortionate cinema tickets.

Except I watched it pay-per-view, because I’m not that stupid with my money (and can’t afford to watch films I actually want to see on the big screen). Anyway, why’s that all relevant? Well, because I was so bored that I wandered off to do chores for a few hours halfway through this movie. Sorry, pow pow pow, *insert fight scene*, *insert dumb joke* wasn’t enough to keep me entertained for hours on end. Especially because I couldn’t care less about the characters.

And here’s the real issue. Half of this comes down to a heavy reliance on most people knowing the characters already; the other half is, in my view, that Zach “my batman could get raped in prison” Snyder doesn’t actually get why people are watching these movies or why people love these heroes. One thing I love about DC is the deep questions  and the human struggles at the heart of their narratives. Unfortunately, they forsook the fundamental rule about storytelling in creating these movies because there’s never any real stakes. Nothing about this feels personal and the story is consequently a random sequence of events– not the great epic they wanted it to be. Maybe they should watch a Marvel movie for ideas (I should clarify, I’m not a Marvel fangirl, I just like good movies, not shit ones).

It would have been great to focus on some of the characters backstories here. For instance, Cyborg could have been the central focus of this film, since he actually has some connection with the central problem in the movie and has story arc worth developing here. But no, an unfocused team-up is what they went for and this meant that a lot of them felt underdeveloped (though #notall- I got a clear sense of Diana without having even seen her movie yet). They throw in references to a ton of different movies they want to make and hope we’ll get the message there’s a *bigger picture*. Yet no matter how many end credit scenes you tag on, this will never feel like a great series (incidentally the ending scene made me think: ooh the shit Luther is out, I bet he’s coming to ruin another movie…)

One other hugely jarring factor that I can’t overlook is that it flip flops on tone every two seconds. Partly because they seem incapable of making up their minds about how the characters should act, so you never feel like you understand why they go from naught-to-moody-to-jokey in the course of a quick minute. And I get that a lot of this is down to having more than one director, but that’s really no excuse for the overall effect to be so jarring. It goes from taking itself realllly seriously to making bad jokes. Even though the whole series could have done with a more light-hearted touch, I can’t forgive how cheesy and dumb the so-called humour is. Every time they made a joke I was deadpan; every time they said something serious, I laughed. So yeah, crap jokes don’t let you off the hook here.

It’s the sloppiness of the script and story that I have a problem with– not the careless CGI beard stuff (though that was badly done). It’s the fact that this rush-to-the-justice-league ended up being a combination of cringey and dull. And that’s why I am not a fan of these cashcow movies.

My rating: a banana peel

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So dare I ask: how do you feel about these films? Love them or loathe them? Let me know in the comments!

Movies (and TV shows) That Were Better Than The Book

So I mentioned a few days ago that there are a fair number of movies I like better than their book counterpart and I thought I’d share them with you! I should probably say, first of all, that these are adaptations I personally prefer- not that they’re actually better- to each their own and all that jazz. Anyhoo, let’s get to this:

Princess Diaries– to be fair, I really really dislike these books. The main character is whiny, most of the other characters are pretty loathsome and basically this book got on my last nerves. The movie, on the other hand, is a lot of fun (I think the books did get more bearable, imo, although the second film was… ehh).

Stardust– I feel like this comes up in every “better than the book” list ever. And there’s a reason for that- and it’s not that the book is bad- it’s just that the movie is seriously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I get all light and happy when I think about it!!

Oliver!- well for one thing, Fagin comes across as slightly less of an anti-Semitic trope in the musical (I’m not even sorry for pointing that out, cos if you think a money grubbing, dirty Jew character that preys on children isn’t anti-Semitic, then maybe have a long hard look in a history book). I do like Dickens, but that last statement should probably explain why I’m not the biggest fan of this book. On the positive side for this musical, it’s practically perfect in every way, so there’s also that. And yes, the musical is more chocolate-boxy than the book, but I prefer it that way.

Game of Thrones– this is a curious one for me to include, because I’m increasingly realising how well these work in tandem. What worked best (imo) was the TV showrunners cutting the fat from the original books. And boy, is there a lot of fat. In fact, some of this is literal- why on earth there needs to be long, tedious descriptions of feasts and food, I have no idea. Add to that a bunch of characters in later books I had limited interest in and, yeah, I’ll happily admit to liking the TV show more (most of the time, when characters aren’t going north of the wall wearing impenetrable plot armour and fighting zombie bears… man that was dumb)

Lord of the Rings– ermm I think I’m about to have my Tolkien-fangirl card revoked for saying this… I just prefer the movies! I’m sorry! Don’t get me wrong, I really love the books- only the LOTR movies are probably my favourite movies ever. The way I see it, the LOTR movies streamline the story and deliver the emotional punch of a lot of the backstories and are simply full of epic awesomeness- okay? (I do however much prefer the Hobbit book, not just because it’s up there as one of my fave books, but also cos the Hobbit movies suck- and yes, I will fight you on that *catch me outside*)

The Last Kingdom– this is another one that might piss of fans of the books. Hear me out, I did actually really enjoy reading the first four books (and am waiting on number 5 at the library) I just think the TV show got my blood pumping with *even more* fervour than the books did. And I also frankly adored the portrayal and slight changes to Uhtred’s character, which made him even more likeable.

Bleak House– poor Dickens isn’t getting very nice treatment from me today, because the main reason why I prefer the tv version is that I saw it first, and that ruined a lot of the book’s impact for me. I do think this translated so well to the small screen and it’s one of my favourite adaptations, while, like many of the others on this list, it’s not one of my favourite books.

Okay, that’s my list! It’s not very long, because I usually like the book better. Anyway, what movies do you think are better than the book? Let me know in the comments!

And thank you so much for your brilliant responses to my last post- I’m still going through them and I’m thoroughly enjoying every single one! 😀

Iconic Movies I Probably Should Have Seen By Now…

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This is a bit of an impromptu post, inspired by the lovely Lucinda and awesome Chauncey, who were absolutely shocked the other day when I admitted I hadn’t seen… well…

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(although of course you could just scroll down and see the offending film on the list)

So I decided, what better to do than to make this whole thing worse by sharing a bunch of films I haven’t seen. Using tons of lists from IMDB I came up with some iconic films I probably should’ve seen by now- let’s get to the public shaming, shall we?

Jurassic Park– yup this is the one that sparked the controversy- I do plan to see it- I swear! (… at some point) I dunno why I haven’t- I originally surmised it was cos none of my family were into dinosaurs, however I asked them, and most of them said they’d seen it… so I’m feeling a bit betrayed now 😉

Edward Scissorhands– Johnny Depp walks on screen with those scissor hands… and I dunno I just freak and run out the room every. damn. time. I can’t take it. My sister is the same. I guess we’re just scissorhands-people-phobic. (And yes, I know the point of the film is to get over it, but I can’t even look at the thumbnail below)

Schindler’s List– I’ve actually tried to watch this a bunch of times, but just… can’t. I get five minutes into the opening and *nope*. I can’t take holocaust films. Can’t even watch the trailer. (The soundtrack’s amazing though)

E.T.- this is a weird one cos I’ve seen the ending a gazillion times- but never the beginning- I used to turn on the TV (usually round Christmas) and there’d be the closing scenes. I feel that kinda killed the urge to sit down and watch the whole thing. And now I really feel like I’ve missed the boat. Or the ship- cos doesn’t he go off in a spaceship? Told you I’d seen the ending 😉 (I’m going to joke hell for that one 😉 )

Citizen Kane– isn’t this one of those movies everyone’s supposed to see, but loads of people haven’t? *Cue loads of angry movie buffs*. Regardless, I do actually want to watch it.

Terminator 1 & 2– I shamelessly reference this all the time though.

Saving Private Ryan– started and not finished- several times. I’m not interested guys. (This list is starting to be all the Spielberg films I’ve not seen- yet the real question should be why has he made so many movies?! I can’t keep up!)

Blade Runner– I really, really want to see this… but after I read the book it was based on- sorry!

Silence of the Lambs– FUCK NO. I don’t do scary. Still this came up on so many lists that I had to include it.

Alien– NO! Can these lists stop trying to make me watch horror- please?!

Rocky– hmm kinda surprised my family didn’t make me watch this one- in fact I know my mum and brothers love this- again, I’m feeling kinda left out… :/ (also I love the music)

Top Gun– huh kinda surprised I haven’t seen this one- it looks like something I’d like. (Annnd now I’m doing air guitar to Highway to the Dangerzone- seriously, why have I not seen this?)

Well there you go, I guess it’s a good thing I’m a book blogger and not a film critic 😉 I can’t be the only one though- what films are you most ashamed of not having seen? Let me know in the comments!

Some Great Movies I Watched in 2017

What am I doing here? I’m a book blogger- this is totally not allowed!

Well, today I’m breaking the book blogger mould. Cos I actually have strong opinions on a lot of things and I figure it’s always nice to hear about brilliant films.

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I should probably add a quick *disclaimer* that most of these did not come out in 2018. I also didn’t watch that many movies last year and didn’t finish a lot of the ones I did try (while I’m loath to DNF a book, I have no problem quitting a movie if it’s failed to keep my attention after half and hour). So this list is super short- BUT that said I would give these ALL THE BANANAS- because they really are spectacular films. In no particular order:

Logan– this the only film on this list that actually came out in 2017. A lot of people have said this, but it’s genuinely the best superhero film in *years* (I’d say the cliché “since Dark Knight”, but I actually liked Dark Knight Rises, silly chronology and all). There’s not many movies I wake up the next day, weeks, months and am still thinking about- yet this really got to me. A lot of that is cos this is actually about something more than just saving the world from *insert increasingly ludicrous threat*- it’s about the human condition, fatherhood, ageing. It’s gritty and real and raw. And the performances from everyone are fantastic.

The Third Man– I watched this before going to Vienna and managed to sufficiently creep myself out on the trip because of it. It really put me on edge… and that’s a good thing 😉 Visually it’s just stunning and the characters are so darn awesome, with very subtle storytelling (no voice overs or friends coming in telling you someone’s whole backstory). It’s a classic for a reason.

The Graduate– this was… not what I was expecting. Honestly, I was sure I’d hate this movie, but at my mum’s insistence, I gave it a go and it was amazing. I was laughing gleefully by the end! It also doesn’t hurt that I love Simon and Garfunkel, so the soundtrack put me in a GREAT mood. Here’s to you Mrs Robinson. (Also I’ve included the trailer for consistency- but it gives a lot away, so probably don’t watch it)

Mississippi Burning– MAN. This. Film. It had me feeling every single human emotion (which is impressive cos I’m an ape). It’s about some really heavy stuff and I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. Just, watch it if you’ve not seen it. It’ll blow you away.

Up– I spent the first half an hour of this film and much of the rest of it sobbing, so that’s a win in my book. Again, a lot of people say this is possibly the best Pixar movie ever- and yeah, that’s likely true. It’s definitely the most UPlifting film I saw all year. (ba dum tss)

So have you seen any of these? What did you think of them? And what was the best movie(s) you watched in 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Blah Blah Land

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Well hello! Are you all sitting comfortably, because I’m gonna let you all in on a couple of secrets: 1) I may be a bookaholic, but I also love movies and 2) I like ranting and raving about things (it’s the reason I started this blog in the first place). So today I’m massively breaking with tradition to review a movie. And not just any movie: La La Land– a movie about movies, a movie slated to be this generation’s homage to Hollywood, a movie supposed to be so good it was bound to sweep the Oscars (teehee), a movie about following your dreams, a movie about L-O-V-E… annnd that’s probably enough bigging it up. Cos I’m gonna be brutally honest: I did not like this movie. At all. Not even a smidgen.

Yes, yes, I know- this opinion is so unpopular it’s likely to get me crucified. But just bear in mind before you go angrily banging “AHHH WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!” in the comment section- this is my opinionif you like the movie, I’m glad you got more out of it than I did, but you might want to look away now cos this movie made me want to go all Alan Rickman in Robin Hood and GOUGE MY EYES OUT WITH A SPOON.

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(okay- he technically said “cut your heart out with a spoon”- but I imagine both experiences would be immensely uncomfortable)

So I will admit that after seeing the trailer for this movie, I was excited. I mean, I love love love the Hollywood classics and this felt like we would finally be getting something upbeat and cheerful for a change instead of the intermittent *explosion* meets *dystopia* meets *superheroes* that 99% of Hollywood’s movies seem to consist of nowadays (and before someone gets their knickers in the twist, I do like some of these movies, just not all the time).

ALAS- five minutes in and I was having two thoughts: 1) Is this trying to give me an epileptic fit? And 2) Is this going to get better? Oh please let this get better!!

But nope- that’s not what was going to happen. TWO VERY LONG HOURS LATER and, still not having had the promised seizure from all the flashing lights (thankfully) I was really struggling to find any positives- my thought process was something like this…

I guess dancing on cars is different… Oh no wait I’ve seen Grease…

Okay what about those camera angles right?! They’re weirdly artistic… Yeah, if you like things to be shown in a way that distract from the actual “story”.

Ermmmm…. Okay forget it, the story sucked, the characters were awful and the writing was rubbish. Happy now?!!

Back to that opening then- my brain went from “am I seriously watching a traffic jam?” to “oh man, bring back the traffic jam, anything but this boring, boring exposition”. Strangely though, for all that padding at the start, I didn’t actually learn anything. You see, I don’t consider myself a totally unobservant film watcher, however, I will freely admit that by the end of this I didn’t even know the character’s names because I DIDN’T CARE.

emma stone.gifOkay, so first there was Emma Stone’s “character”. I’ll admit to flailing around for most of the movie thinking she was *supposed* to be a terrible actress… whoops. But to be fair to me, they had so many scenes spliced together of her being accidentally bad and supposedly good that I honestly couldn’t tell what I was meant to think and just went with “oh this is funny, she wants to be an actress but she’s not great haha… waiiiit a second- why’s she getting jobs if she’s supposed to be bad?!” And this is an actress that I normally like as well. Add that together with the fact I strenuously objected to the idea that literally anyone can write themselves a play– there was no way I was gonna find that remotely believable. (Sorry but writing’s a little trickier than just “let’s just give this a go for a hot minute”… I just… gah)

ryan gosling faceNow for a character assassination- *ahem*- I mean character evaluation of Ryan Gosling’s role. Let’s be honest here: his character is simultaneously an arsehole and up his own arse (quite a feat I know, almost impressive). The main problem with this was I couldn’t FOR THE LIFE OF ME understand why *any* woman would be interested in him. Not least, because he too sucked at what he was supposed to be good at. I mean really sucked. Like WHY COULDN’T THEY HIRE A PROPER JAZZ PIANIST kind of sucked (seriously- I don’t get that – aren’t there a gazillion out of work actors in Hollywood who can play piano properly?!)

To be honest, this was one of the most jarring parts of the film. Because I really shouldn’t have to suspend my disbelief that he was half decent at his job. I mean he was quite literally thumping on the keys and singing out of tune. As for the rest of the music in this… well considering this was supposed to be a musical I was *bitterly* disappointed– they had just one motif that they overplayed again and again and again until I just wanted to scream “enough already!” I mean, I’m no expert but I could tell this was all wrong. BTW watching this with a musician was hilarious though. She incidentally pointed out that a proper pianist can do a more complex chromatic scale in a second (not that you should be putting that into a performance anyway) and that she could also tell by the speed of his playing that he was working from memory instead of improvising (thereby missing the point of  jazz)- all credit to the monkey baby for this snippet.

On top of all that the leads had ZERO chemistry and watching them talk was about as interesting as eavesdropping on two randomers dating. So, no, I wasn’t even remotely sold on this script. I swear if I had to hear them say one more pretentious thing about jazz, I might have wanted to jam my fingers in my ears and go “lalalala!

mufasa cliffMaybe that was why it was called La La Land… Oh who am I kidding- I know why they called it that- and that was just another reason that made me want to take a Mufusa style running jump off a cliff. Cos obviously this movie was practically designed as a way for Hollywood to pat itself on the back and say “oh aren’t we just smashing?” (not with movies like this you aren’t). Of course they tried to pay homage to a gazillion different films in here that it became less a homage and more a shoddy rip off– cos don’t think I didn’t notice the nods to Casablanca, Singing In the Rain and even Funny Face (among others). Unfortunately in trying to mimic so many of those great flicks, they forgot to make a halfway decent film in its own right.

singing in the rainBecause man, what the frick was up with that plot?! I felt like the whole narrative was totally pointless and the message was something along the lines of: don’t compromise your dreams for love. And that ending was pretty much here’s what this would have looked like if it wasn’t a terrible movie. Which you can watch while considering the fact that this essentially amounts to Emma Stone’s character imagining her life if she hadn’t had a baby- how charming. It’s not exactly heart-warming romance material.

I can’t pretend like I get why they marketed the hell out of this (as in took out all of the hellish bits for the trailer and somehow made it look good). All I can say is that I hope to all that is holy and unholy in this world that Moonlight was better– but I can’t say I have much faith in Hollywood for even nominating this circle jerk junk. This movie’s making me play that oh-so-healthy pingpong game in my head of am I deluded or is the world just more bananas than me? Either way, all I can give this is a measly banana peel:

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I guess the sensible thing to do now would be to turn to you lovely people and ask: what did you think of La La Land? Did you like it? According to rotten tomatoes about 92% of your answers will be yes- so I guess now’s your chance to let me have it!

TV TUESDAY

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So I saw this wonderful new meme over on Codie’s blog Reader’s Anonymous and I thought I’d give it a go!

Choose between these three:

  • Book-to-Movie/TV show adaptation  (have you seen it? If no, do you plan to?)
  • Book you think should be a movie/TV show  (Why?)
  • Movie that prompted you to read a book?

*Optional – put up the trailer

MOVIE THAT PROMPTED YOU TO READ A BOOK?

So my choice this week is very similar to Codie’s- except I thought I’d go with a twist- because while the first Lord of the Rings movie did prompt me to read a book, it was actually the Hobbit that it made me pick up first.

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And I’m so glad that I did- because it’s one of my all-time favourite books. There’s nothing like it in terms of adventure and heart-wrenching excitement. And since we’re comparing it to the movie, I by far prefer the book- in fact I wrote a whole post about my issues with the films (starting with the fact that there never should have been more than one film…) Personally, I love the Hobbit as a book and prefer the Lord of the Rings as films.

But I digress- go watch Lord of the Rings, go read the Hobbit- or completely ignore my advice and watch the Hobbit and read Lord of the Rings…

Agree? Disagree? Let me know which you prefer in the comments! Until next time!