Rapid Review: Carnage Park (2016)

carnage park poster

SYNOPSIS: After botching an ill-conceived bank robbery in a desolate California town, two wannabe crooks flee the scene with a hostage and lead the local lawmen on a dangerous high-speed chase. – via IMDB

carnage park hello

GRADE 6Alrighty, so I have been interested in seeing this for a bit, but not desperate or anything. I recently read horrormeister Ryan’s review on it, and I watched this at the behest of Eric, the Chop. We chatted about it a bit over here this week. Well, I settled down to watch this, and then played Punch Buggy on my husband’s arm for quite a chunk of this film. Oh wait, wait, back to the movie! I thought it was okay. Like, it starts really well. I love the washed out, sad, dusty colour palette, and then there was the hysterical, mad Scorpion Joe with his ‘stache and hair comb, and his dead partner Lenny. Naturally there was the terribly unfortunate Vivian, who was taken hostage. Seriously, the first bit of the movie is engrossing, it really is. You just want to know what happens. Heck, even up to the point when we get to the real crux of the film, I was all over it. However, then it just gets to this place where, instead of keeping this crazy train on the go, it becomes a rather generic, run of the mill survival horror thing. I loved the way this movie looked, and I loved the heavy 70s desert feel and look, and I really liked the totally bizarre and creepy flashes that took over in sections of the movie, and the eclectic music fit this film like a glove, to be sure. I did not like how dark the end of the movie was – and I mean this literally, when they were down in the mines. You couldn’t see anything, and that frustrated me endlessly. I also really liked Ashley Bell’s portrayal of Vivian, and thought that Pat Healy, while initially disturbing, lost his menacing factor when he was never fleshed out. He was just cuckoo, hunting people. That really took out all that was scary, in my opinion. The Moss brothers were both a little unhinged, and that worked, too. However, as a whole, the movie had two totally different tones (the first and second half are vastly different) and it is uneven and a bit messy, and definitely brings nothing new to the table.


Review: Coraline – Neil Gaiman

coraline book cover

SYNOPSIS: Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I watched this movie many years ago when it came out (though it must be said I watched it in passing, and didn’t catch all of it), and I quite liked it. Coraline is quite a sweet yet bizarre journey, one that zips by quickly, and keeps you entertained throughout. I know the story is about Coraline wanting to find her parents in this strange alternate reality, but I have to say, I didn’t really care for her real parents – I found them to be rather neglectful. Anyway, that is just my opinion. I quite liked the character of the cat, and I really like Gaiman’s style. Also, our main little girl Coraline is quite cool – she is sweet, caring, brave, quirky, and so curious. I really like that about her! Coraline is a super quick read, but I loved the dark tone it took, and the way it wove the story. It flowed well, and even in such a short space, Gaiman managed to create characters that you liked and that were just meh, and others that were rather sinister, too. The concept was strange and different, but I liked it. Coraline is such a short book that I cannot really say too much about it, other than the fact that I liked it, and would highly recommend it if you are looking for a filler read, or even just to say that you have read a Gaiman novel, or that you have read the story of a young girl and an alternate universe.


Books Smell Like Dessert

NOS4A2

A while long time ago I shared this extract from Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 over on Natasha’s site, for her awesome Iconic Book Scene segment that she was running, and thought it was time to put it out here again.


Rapid Review: The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

the purge anarchy poster

“The unwritten Purge rule: don’t save lives. Tonight we take lives. We make things manageable.”
– Big Daddy

SYNOPSIS: Three groups of people are trying to survive Purge Night, when their stories intertwine and are left stranded in The Purge trying to survive the chaos and violence that occurs. – via IMDB

the purge anarchy

GRADE 8So, I reviewed The Purge some time ago, and it was a movie I did not like. I even lamented the fact that it had a sequel coming, but oh boy, how wrong was I? I popped this in recently to watch with my husband, though we had no real faith, even though most reviewers said it was an improvement on the first. What ensued was 103 minutes of a total blast. We had a great time with this movie. This is what I had been hoping for in the first one, not some run of the mill home invasion with some crazy plotsie going on outside. No, sir, I wanted to see what was going on outside, what would happen if you weren’t supposed to be outside, and what happened if you weren’t one of the very rich who could afford a state of the art security system. The Purge: Anarchy delivered on all those fronts and more. Sure, if you are going to sit and spend hours thinking too long, hard, and seriously about this, you will probably find nothing but fault with the concept and the implementation, etc. However, if you sit down, suspend reality to accept that the United States has a Purge Day on the 22nd of March each year for twelve hours, you are in for a good time. Sure, the movie was predictable in places, but this actually didn’t hurt the film at all, because you are so drawn in, enthralled by this crazy concept. This movie was absolutely Frank Grillo’s movie – he was freaking fantastic! While the other characters are there and a part of this group, the one that really interests you is Grillo’s Sergeant. He dominates when he is on screen, and is a majorly compelling character. Grillo is definitely an underappreciated actor. I think that the score was also perfectly suited to the movie, and I liked it a lot. I think that the Purge series is quite ambitious, but if they keep it up as they have, and don’t get stuck in the unimaginative rut of the first film, these could be movies well worth watching. Anyway, I thought that this was an exceptional improvement over the first dull entry to the franchise, and it definitely tapped into the potential that was there to work with, and I think the implementation was excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do think, however, that one might like this if it is the only entry you have seen in the franchise, but one would definitely appreciate it more if one sees where is originally came from.


Review: Tracing the Bones – Elise A Miller

tracing the bones elise miller

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Cynical housewife Eve Myer has two kids, chronic back pain, and a decaying writing career—as well as a stagnant marriage haunted by her husband’s long ago affair.

When a new family moves in next door, Eve becomes consumed with curiosity about beautiful life coach Anna, and with powerful lust for Billy, a sexy alternative healer with a troubled, mysterious past. As Eve begins healing sessions with Billy, an unthinkable tragedy strikes Anna and her small son. Eve’s obsession invites even more suspicion and mistrust into her marriage and as her life unravels, her sessions with Billy intensify, culminating in an alternative, experimental trip deep into the woods―a freezing winter’s journey that threatens the remaining bonds of Eve’s marriage and finally uncovers the reason for Anna’s death. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Well, I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this, I quickly looked over the synopsis and thought that it might be entertaining enough, and I was right. It is, first and foremost, a really strange book. I mean it. The first part of the book, I had no idea what I was reading. We had a cynical, jealous, angry woman to read about, but nothing more. All the ramblings of her neighbour, her jealousy, her anger, and Eve’s strange life and connections. I was thinking the book was going to be an awfully long read, and then Anna turned out to be more than just a pretty face to be envious of, and when she released those visions to Eve, I knew that there was suddenly this crazy potential I had not even contemplated exploring yet, and the book picked up. Another thing to get out of the way right off the bat is that Tracing the Bones is an extremely sexual book – I mean it. Eve is constantly thinking about sex, or lusting after Billy, or sating herself, which can be really uncomfortable at the best of times. It doesn’t come up once or twice, know, the undertone and the meaning is constant and never masked, and I understand that sex was a driving force behind all that was happening, but there were times where it just felt like too much. However, there are other times where you realise how deliberate and bold it is, and how is somehow fits with this strange book. Me? I could definitely have done with less of it, but that’s just me. Tracing the Bones is a compelling read though, and it keeps you interested, whatever may be said about it. I have to say, the characters are not exactly what I would call likable, which is usually a killer in a book for me, but it somehow worked here, as this book has this feeling of detachment at times (and no, not from the author, just the general vibe you pick up from Eve). The book is dark, and has a paranormal/supernatural element to it, one that is never really glossed over, but also never the focal point of the book, which makes it all the more fascinating. The mystery surrounding Anna’s death, too, is constantly there, as well as Eve’s unhappy marriage and her indecent obsession with Billy. This is a quick read that flows quite well, is definitely weird, and is worth checking out.


The Vampire Diaries: Season 3 (2011 – 2012)

vampire diaries season 3

*CONTAINS SPOILERS* 

What I liked: 

  • How close Damon and Elena have gotten, though it is just unfair on everyone. I mean really. All this means is someone gets hurt.
  • Stefan going off the deep end and being all cuckoo crazy. Love. Really, so entertaining, considering how uptight he always is.
  • The amount of Klaus in this season. The man is amazing. I mean, crazy and all hell, but gorgeous and solid in his convictions and always goes beyond what is required about everything. He is so unpredictable! Yes, that entertains the hell out of me. And Elijah, if only he got more screen time.
  • Some Mikaelson history in this season, and that is always appreciated.

originals season 3 mikaelson brothers

  • Damon Salvatore. Oh. My. Gosh. That guy gets more and more amazing every time I see him, and his character development is insanely interesting, too.
  • Klaus and Caroline. Oh. My. Gosh. He seems genuinely taken with her, and she is sassy enough to deal with his crap, which is fascinating to watch. And I just want to see this work hahahaha.
  • The plotting, the scheming, all things fantastic!
  • Damon and Alaric – that bromance is just so much fun!

damon and alaric vampire diaries season 3 quiet

  • How tight the Salvatore brothers are – again, they might love/hate each other, but they are the only ones to have that right.
  • Klaus’s hybrid army obsession, and then, of course, the meeting with Papa Mikaelson. Like whoa!

vampire diaries season 3 dinner

What I didn’t like:

  • The sheer amount of insane plots that were squeezed into one season. It was heavy.
  • Alaric going all cuckoo and being written off. Really, who do these people think they are? NOT ON.
  • How convoluted some of the Originals plotlines are. I mean really, I was waiting on so much more potential here. I know I praised it above – it was a bit of a mixed bag. Also, I want so much more Elijah man.
  • The love triangle. I knew that this was coming, but freaking hell, I hate these things. I think they are the ugliest and most unfair things in the world.
  • Bonnie and Jeremy drifting apart – I know they didn’t really get a crap load of screen time, but they work absolute wonders together. Ugh. They just had to bring Anna back to throw a pin in that one.
  • Rebekah was quite the annoyance, I have to admit.
  • Caroline’s dad. Sure, steadfast in his beliefs and all, but come on dude!

vampire diaries season 3 salvatore brothers triangle

Rating:
GRADE 7.5
Back to another super busy season, that, while good, was not as good as the last season. I found it interesting to watch the lengths that Stefan would go to to protect his brother, and his unfeeling, nasty side was such a different, crazy character. This season spent a lot of time trying to get things cozier with Damon and Elena, and I don’t always think that worked too well, but the point was made – she was falling just a bit for him, but like I said, it didn’t always feel real. Elena was clinging to the old Stefan, which was actually painful to watch at times because it got really grating. Then there was the whole Klaus thing. I like Klaus. He is crazy and insane, but he is incredibly entertaining to watch, and I think he is very interesting. I love the dynamics between him and Elijah, another thing that is great. I also truly did enjoy the concept of Klaus having a soft spot for Caroline – it is a creepily satisfying option I would like to see explored. It was with Caroline that we got the first real chink in Klaus’s whole facade, when he went to save her from Tyler’s bite, and had a real romantic outlook on the rest of her life. It was so beautiful it stunned me and I just didn’t trust it, but the more I watched, the more it seemed evident that it was a genuine thing for him, so wow. Just… Klaus and Caroline together is one of the things that makes me beyond happy. She is snippy and snappy with him, but he is endlessly fascinated by her, and that comes through in every scene. Let’s not even forget to mention the chemistry those two share – wow! Now, the whole love triangle (Damon/Elena/Stefan) thing got annoying. We all knew it was coming, but I found it so unfair that when she was free to be with Damon, she didn’t do it, and when Stefan came back, she was all uhm and ah about them, even though Stefan didn’t want her. I think her and Damon could be great together. Stefan is the safer option, sure, but Damon is the one where you see passion igniting, and some danger, which was cool. Then, naturally, there is all the crazy plotsies around the Originals – fascinating at times, frustrating at others. I think this is because there is just so much more to their family dynamic than can be squeezed into one show where they are not the leads (lucky for us, there is a spin-off, and it’s great). I totally could have done with  more Elijah Mikaelson, the man is fascinating, but I was super stoked to have so much more Klaus in this season. The man is bona fide crazy, but so ridiculously compelling. Anyway, the season finale really was depressingly sad. Damon had his heart wrenched out and stomped on, which was bad enough. But then he was was fighting the super creepy, dark, scary vampire hunter Dark Side Alaric, and when Dark Alaric was dying, there was a moment when Damon realised Alaric was really dying, and that meant that Elena was dying, too, and it just got so much worse. Like really. His face, his panic, his heartbreak? It was horrible. Like, I wasn’t even concerned about Stefan at that point. Overall, another really good, solid season, and worth a watch!

vampire diaries season 3 klaus and damon


Rapid Review: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

perfume story of a murderer poster

“Each perfume contains three chords: the head, the heart and the base, necessitating 12 notes in all. The head chord contains the first impression, lasting a few minutes before giving way to the heart chord, the theme of the perfume, lasting several hours. Finally, the base chord, the trail of the perfume lasting several days.”
– Giuseppe Baldini

SYNOPSIS: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille came into the world unwanted, expected to die, yet born with an unnerving sense of smell that created alienation as well as talent. Of all the smells around him, Grenouille is beckoned to the scent of a woman’s soul, and spends the rest of his life attempting to smell her essence again by becoming a perfumer, and creating the essence of an innocence lost. – via IMDB

perfume creepy

GRADE 8.5So, it was movie day recently, and my friend is a huge fan of this movie. I have said for years I will get to it, and then never did (we all have that list), but now it has changed, and wow, I am glad I finally checked this movie out. I was entranced from the off, with the narrator telling us this weird and bizarre story (and John Hurt was a fantastic pick for this), from the way it was shot, everything. I have got to commend the way the film was directed, as well as the way it looked. So washed out and dreary, and yet things with beautiful smells had vivid colours, which in turn made me think of the scents tied to it. The movie has this air of doom and creepiness hanging over it, this cannot be denied, the atmosphere is dark and broody, and Ben Whishaw is a fantastic Grenouille – he really just seems too damn off. You want to pity him, you do, and on the other hand, he is so outlandishly different you cannot help but recoil. The score suited this movie wonderfully, blending in, never taking over, always complementing. The performances, too, were impressive, and I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing of the movie. The storytelling and writing was brilliant because, while we know what Grenouille is doing is beyond heinous and wrong, we also want to see what will happen if he achieves his goal. Yes, it is that sick. It’s not about his success at killing these girls, it is just to see what he is willing to do about his obsession, how far he is willing to take it. I have always known this movie to get a lot of hate, but I don’t understand that. It isn’t a bad movie at all. But then, maybe it is just too different, too weird, that it sets people on edge? It is dark, for sure, and it tells of Grenouille’s love story with smell, and later his obsession to forever capture it, and the story has many dark avenues it explores. Maybe because people took it too seriously, expected a realistic story, when it was so obviously not that from the off. I think the best way to describe this film would be disturbing. I honestly do, after the movie is over, you feel unsettled, yet the movie is put together well, incredibly well acted, very strange and out there, and it gets under your skin. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is dark, broody, creepy, unusual, fascinating and extremely lonely, and worth a watch at least once. I will definitely be seeking the book out now!


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