Question of the Month: Best Character of 2014

Zoë:

Luke’s Question of the Month definitely had us all thinking quite a bit again, but there were some great answers all round from everyone. Check it out!

Originally posted on Oracle of Film:

Who is the best character of 2014? It is a question that has been bandied around for decades (well, since 2014… halfway through 201… at the start of the month), and finally, maybe, we might just have some answers for you. Like all of the major challenges in my life, I ran running and screaming for the WordPress family to do my homework for me and got them to write you some answers. Hell, one of them might even be coherent. So, without further ado, let’s investigate the answers.

Wait, I forgot some ado. There will be no Question of the Month next month, because it is Christmas and I assume you have more important things to do than have me pester you with annoying questions. So, I guess I will email you all in 2015 for the next jam-packed Question of the Month (Best character of 2015?). Oh, and…

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Marvelous Mondays: Days of Future Past by The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger

Zoë:

Continuing with Natasha’s Marvellous Mondays, I reviewed X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) for my best Chemistry Kidney. Head on over to check it out!

Originally posted on Life of this city girl:

Today’s Marvel installment if from my bestie Bkushi over at The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger. If you haven’t, go to her site and quickly click on her follow button. I guarantee you it is worth it! Thanks for taking part mah friend!

x-men days of future pst poster

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.”
- Charles Xavier

SYNOPSIS: The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future. – via IMDB

So after all this time, I saw that Days of Future Past was still chilling on Chemistry Kidney’s list, and I thought this was unacceptable in the most extreme kind of…

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Review: Blue Ruin (2013)

blue ruin poster 1

“I’d forgive you if you were crazy, but you’re not. You’re weak.”
-Sam

SYNOPSIS: A mysterious outsider’s quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8I read a lot of good things about Blue Ruin, and decided to finally watch it for Tyson’s “Recommended By” blogathon, and let me just tell you, it was amazing! Blue Ruin is not encumbered with a large budget, which sometimes means that filmmakers and directors take away from the story, acting, and plot to inundate it with useless action and effects. This movie suffers from none of that, and Macon Blair was absolutely brilliant as Dwight – that was damn near perfect casting, in my opinion. Blue Ruin is a slow burn, and I love a slow burn, especially when it is well laid out. It starts slow and deliberately builds to a phenomenal crescendo, and the journey there is enjoyable and intense all the way. In a very  understated fashion, the film builds an underlying tension you forget about, yet constantly find your body knotted up, reminding yourself to just relax and continue watching, and before you know it, you are at the edge of your seat again, and completely unaware of how you got there. I liked the story, too. Nothing we haven’t seen before or anything like that, but it was presented wonderfully and came together well, too. The entire cast worked very well with their material, and Devin Ratray was especially entertaining for me. Another budget film here, and I have to say that recently some of the independent film being churned out top a lot of their big budget counterparts, and I think that is exciting as hell. Dwight was also more convincing for the things his character was doing. He wasn’t your average everyday man who suddenly had to exact revenge and become a menace and unstoppable. I liked that he wasn’t suddenly so much more than he was. I felt so sorry for Dwight when he was introduced, he strikes such a pitiful character. Blue Ruin was shot stunningly, with some solid directing and great camera work. It’s not a really long movie, but it commands your attention from the off, and never gets boring. I liked that the score didn’t take over or detract from the viewing experience once, but complemented every step of the way. All I can say is that this movie really deserves to be checked out, and is worth the acclaim it has received. I am a fan of it, and I can see myself watching it again.


Review: Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

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In Atlanta, Georgia, Kate Murphy joins the Atlanta Police Department. She is intent on making changes in her life since she lost her husband, Patrick, at war when he was drafted. Kate is not your typical rookie cop, but she is also not a part of the same world of her colleagues. Kate comes from an exceptionally wealthy family, Holocaust survivors and soldiers, and is of a different stock. The day she starts work is not the best day she could have: the night before, Jimmy Lawsome carried his dying partner, Don Wesley, to the Grady Hosiptal after a shooting. What sets the case apart? The force believes it is the work of a serial killer they have dubbed the Atlanta Shooter, who is targeting police officers. Kate is partnered with Jimmy on her first day, who is all too content to parcel her off onto his sister, Maggie, who is also an officer on the force.

Kate soon learns that women don’t really have a place on the force in the eyes of their male contemporaries. The women are also equally as hostile to one another, which is not necessarily conducive to work. Maggie has different ideas about what happened in the shooting of Don, and does not believe a word that Jimmy has to say about it. Her uncle Terry has no time for her and is too respected by the force for her to go up against him, but she is convinced that something isn’t right. The cops, however, are on a serious mission to punish someone for the slaughter of the cops, and it seems that whoever they cross first will pay. Maggie is very reluctant to work with Kate, and it seems that nobody has faith that Kate will last the week. While they are out with Gail, a female plainclothes officer and mentor of Maggie, Kate sees a different side of the police force completely, and while she is trying to deal with that they learn that Jimmy was shot after dumping Kate off on Maggie.

Kate unwittingly learns something about the shooting Jimmy was involved in when Don was killed when she is at the hospital, running into an old school friend, Philip Van Zandt, who is now a doctor. It seems Jimmy is not being entirely honest about what happened in that alley. All evidence indicates that Don and Jimmy were romantically close, not just police partners. She refuses to share the news with Maggie, but starts to explore what that could mean. Though her time with the force is awful, Kate really wants to make a change and take control of her life, and continues returning. In the meanwhile, Philip is interested in starting an affair with Kate, who is trying to adjust to life again. Juggling it all, Kate battles with the irrational feeling that she is being watched. Working with Gail and Maggie, the women track down an elusive pimp to request his permission to speak to the girls he runs, knowing that one of them had most likely see what had happened in the alley that night. Kate still has her piece of information from Philip, and it looks like she might have to share it with Maggie and ask some more questions about the other cases to see what ties the murders together. Maggie is also tightly wound, burying her demons and trying to cope, making the women a dangerous and volatile duo. The killer seems to be gearing up to strike again, and no one is safe.

Will Kate ever find a way to work in the police force, to fit in? Will the women ever be treated with more respect, be seen as equals? Will Maggie ever deal with her mysterious and terrible past? Will Kate ever be needed by someone? Will she let go of Patrick? Who is the Atlanta Shooter? Were Jimmy and Don a couple? Are homosexual cops being targeted? Is anything from Jimmy’s story real? Is Kate alright with being Philip’s other woman, while his wife is expected to bear him children and raise them in the Jewish faith?

GRADE 8I absolutely couldn’t wait for this when I saw Karin Slaughter was bringing her latest offering to the table. I am sure by now you all know that I am a massive fan of hers, I absolutely love her work. I think she is extremely talented, and I really wish that more people would read her work. This was one of her free standing novels, not part of any series. On one hand, breaking away from all the characters we get so involved with shows that she can write about more than one group of people, Slaughter certainly has diversity, and this tells another story. I love the books she writes where she writes about Atlanta in the seventies, heavy to think that it was not long ago that women were still clawing their way into certain careers. A whole new and fresh set of characters came forth, and I really liked both Maggie and Kate, though they are truly polar opposites of one another. I respected Kate a lot. Initially she was someone without a spine, someone who pitied herself, but later she grew, she changed, looked at life without her cosy shelter she had always had. Her character development was really great to follow. Maggie, on the other hand, was shrouded in a lot of secrecy, which very slowly but surely fell away, also revealing a more complex person. It grated on me to read about how men perceived women on the police force, etc. I don’t know, I believe we should be left to do whatever we so choose. This book was a wonderful introduction of the characters, and it was rich and descriptive. It was another brilliant offering from Slaughter, and is a great book to look into if you are interested in reading one of her novels that do not tie into another series of books.


JB & The Chop Do: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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And it’s over! Can you believe it? I sure can’t! I had an absolute blast with this, thanks to everyone who stuck with us and read all we had to say about these movies and shared their two cents, you guys rock. However, biggest thank you to Eric for watching these with me and approaching this project with such gusto and fervour, it was awesome! But I gotta admit I’m real sad this is over ESC :(

CRY CRY CRY!!

Anyhow, enough with the pleasantries, let’s move on to Into Darkness, which is my favourite of the whole lot. This movie was just awesome, and I have much love for Mr Cumberbatch (of course), and I think JJ Abrams was the perfect choice to handle the Star Trek reboot. So cool!

star trek into darkness poster

SYNOPSIS: When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew. - via IMDB

For one, I know that Khan was always like the Big Bad and all that with the original crew and all, I just felt that the 1982 film missed it a little. All the potential for how hardcore Khan was supposed to be seemed a little… lost and underplayed. But never mind that. Benedict Cumberbatch. That is all I have to say. I mean can you even compare these two?!

khan vs khan

Alright then, moving on…

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ST09g

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AE1

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star trek scotty one day I have been off this ship

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star trek spock because you are my friend

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Thanks to everyone who read our reviews, stuck with us and had a good time, read and commented, this was a fantastic project to undertake :) Until next time then!

benedict cumberbatch goodbye

And just because he is ridiculously epic (and yummy, even though you think he looks like an alien, PSC) – aaaaaaaaaaand I just realised that I spend too much time at The IPC

benedict cumberbatch star trek

AE2

benedict cumberbatch yummy

?????????????????

benedict cumberbatch smile

JB,

I just want to say that today’s post is bittersweet. I think we’ve accomplished something great here and this has been a LOT of fun – so much fun that I am sad that it’s over. But I know we can move on to other things and still work together  but I just wanted to let you know how much fun I had watching these and talking to you about them all summer. It was GREAT!!! I put this little rendering together for you that if you ever wanted to think about us actually working together – in person – this is probably what it would look like. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!

Love,

The Chop

JB&TC2


Review: All Together Dead – Charlaine Harris

all together dead

Bon Temps barmaid and telepath Sookie Stackhouse attends the vampire summit with Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Queen of Louisiana. The summit has been shifted due to the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina, and Eric Northman, vampire sheriff of Area 5, is unhappy that Sookie is going as a part of the queen’s party. Pam, Eric’s “child”, shares with Sookie that she has messed with his head in some way, and that he does not think properly anymore. At the summit, vampire trials will be held, and Sophie-Anne stands accused of killing her husband, Peter Threadgill, king of Arkansas. Sookie is now not only part of the entourage, but also as a witness, and will have to testify at the trial. Sookie has multiple jobs to do, and at the same time she is desperately attempting to purge her life of Bill Compton, her vampire ex that broke her heart. Sophie-Anne, however, is looking to use Sookie’s telepathic abilities to make sure that the people that are investing in her campaign after her displacement from New Orleans are genuine, and does not really want her distracted.

Arriving at the convention, Sookie meets with Barry “Bellboy” Horowitz, the only other telepath she has ever met in her life, who used to be bellhop at the Silent Shore Hotel in Dallas. It appears that Barry is now a part of Stan’s entourage. Stan is the king of Texas. Sookie is relieved that she has a sort of friend with her. Sookie’s weretiger boyfriend, Quinn, runs the events company that is hosting the convention, and Sookie sees him on and off while he is there. It seems that Quinn is as popular as ever in the vampire community, and she would love to know why. Sadly for her, she soon learns his deep and dark secret, and it changes things a little for them. Sophie-Anne wishes to broker a deal with Jennifer Cater, who has made the allegations against the queen. When going to meet with her, Sophie-Anne’s party discovers that the Arkansas party has been butchered. Upon leaving the scene, Sookie suggests that Sophie-Anne appoint her progeny Andre to step up as a the new king of Arkansas, a suggestion they all take seriously.

Things are not going well when more corpses turn up, and Sookie discovers a bomb near the queen’s room. Just when it looks like Sophie-Anne’s trial is off, an Arkansas survivor steps forward and keeps the trial going, which Sookie promptly has thrown out, and a would-be assassin is staked at the trial. She is very unhappy, too, when Andre approaches her to make her drink his blood, to bind them, and she is terrified and refuses. When things start looking really bad for her there, Eric steps in to save the day, much to Sookie’s chagrin, and she is forced to drink his blood instead. Quinn discovers this, and is furious with her and the vampires. No matter that, Sookie is now irrevocably tied to Eric, and will never be free of him. The king of Kentucky seems overly paranoid of something and has two Britlingers protecting him. The Fellowship of the Sun members are vehemently protesting outside the hotel that vampires are evil. Sookie and Barry band together to look into the deceased assassin to find some answers during the day, as answers need to be provided about whose life is in danger, who knows what, and what is coming.

Does someone want Sophie-Anne dead in particular? Does someone just want to kill all vampires? What is the conspiracy? Who murdered the Arkansas party? Who planted the bomb near the queen’s room? Will Sookie ever accept how closely linked she and Eric are? When will Sookie successfully move on from the hurt that Bill caused her? Will Sookie and Quinn work through their issues? Can they make their relationship work? What is it about Quinn’s past that Sookie does not know, but that has the powers to change everything? Will Eric ever work out his feelings for Sookie?

GRADE 7I had a great time with this one again. Things were definitely picking up. Still little Bill, which is fine by me, he is a bit bland and boring. Quinn made his appearance in here, but it was not overbearing, and the whole thing between Eric and Sookie was discussed a little bit more, something I did appreciate. No matter what happens there, they are tied together, and though Sookie “loathes” him, she also adores him, and he is awfully frustrated the he cannot remember the time he spent with her and what he owes her. The pace was nice, and there were so many plots going on at the same time here but it worked, it never got too much or overbearing. Andre, a character that I liked, has become rather not cool, sadly. Pam, naturally, is still endlessly entertaining. Also, the return of Barry Bellboy was fun, I like him and Sookie, and how they work together. It was interesting for me to read more about the vampire politics as well as how they do things, truly fascinating. The conversations between Barry and Sookie were cool, too, all in italics. This books kept me reading, kept me interested, all the way through. There was more stuff going on, but nothing overwhelming. Also, Harris worked in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and this is the first piece of literature that I have read that has talked about Katrina so much. The vampires are irrevocably tied to the South, so it was nice that it was included, though Katrina was one terrible natural disaster. Finally some of Quinn’s past is revealed, and I must say that it was not even remotely what I expected at all, it was pretty sad.


Rapid Review: Housebound (2014)

HB POSTER FINAL_BLEED_3

“I only take the little things.”
- Eugene

SYNOPSIS: Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small-town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s not particularly thrilled about her return. – via IMDB

housebound eugene

On a different note, Ryan Lampp, who played the most awesome Eugene, got Eric and myself all excited on Twitter!
#Eugene

housebound retweetchop eugene

GRADE 8

I have to say, Eric has been jumping up and down about this for a while, and I knew that it had to be good if it came in that highly recommended from him – It won’t let It watch crap. Anyhow, lined this up to check out with absolutely no idea what I was going to watch,  but saw about five minutes before starting that it was a horror comedy. Now look, I like horror comedy, though more often than not it fails on a few vital fronts. This can definitely not be said for Housebound. I had an absolute blast with this. It alternated between the horror and comedy aspects perfectly, and it had some good and proper laughs stashed away in it. I was initially worried about the fact that it is 106 minutes long, which might be pushing it for this genre, but that never once occurs to you when watching. Housebound was a quirky, funny watch that draws you in, that needs to be watched. What I liked about the movie is it knew what it wanted to be from the off, so there was none of this pussyfooting around while trying to find itself, which was refreshing. The cast is something I had fun with, too, and the conversations/arguments between Kylie and Amos. Seriously, who knew your parole officer would double as your paranormal investigator? Kylie, too, was a character that I wanted to slap and praise in equal measure. She was a rude, nasty bitch, but on the other hand didn’t scare easily, which was cool. It was sort of like the haunting had to beg her before getting under her skin. Also, this gave me one of my favourite characters I have seen in a long time: Eugene. I won’t say too much more, but if you have seen this, I am sure you have to give credit where credit is due! While there is nothing necessarily new about Housebound, the execution is just awesome and well worth checking out. Anyway, Housebound is a confident film that has been directed wonderfully, and was something new for me. I enjoyed it, and would highly recommend checking it out if you have not done so already. Seems the little independent films are coming out tops lately!


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