Daredevil: Season 2 (2016)

daredevil_season_2_trio_poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher was beyond freaking epic. He was amazing, but also the portrayal of his backstory was so good. I am a fan, obviously.

daredevil-season-2-the-punisher

  • The dark, gritty, brooding, dripping intro and that damn theme that builds with it. I watch it every single episode (provided I can keep the remote safely away from my husband).
  • The brutality of this season. It really just went all out and upped the game. No punches were pulled, and it makes for some heavy, yet very rewarding, watching.
  • The friendship between Matt and Foggy, even though it definitely did see some harsh and difficult times this season.

daredevil-season-2-foggy-healthy-life-choices

  • The cinematography is, as always, wonderful. It sticks to the brooding, gloomy, washed-out settings the show became famous for, and it just serves to make this show super gritty.
  • How much Foggy grows in this season, really gets ballsy and takes a stand.
  • How Frank and Karen sort of come together as a team.
  • The score for the show is so good.

What I didn’t like:

  • Elektra. The one word that sums up all that is wrong with this season, and that crushes me. She grated on my absolute last nerve – every time she came on screen, she just pulled the whole season back.
  • Sometimes it felt that too much was happening at once, but in the end it comes together nicely.
  • Matt and Karen come together and then splinter apart. It just sort of felt like an unnecessary development, it happened and ended so fast – but it was nice to watch while it lasted!

daredevil-season-2-matt-and-karen

Rating:

GRADE 8.5Ah guys, here we are, yet another season, and man oh man, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Who knew that Daredevil was going to become the series to keep your eyes peeled for? This season starts with a bang and pretty much doesn’t let up. It comes back with all that was amazing in season one, and just adds to it. I think my favourite addition to the whole show was The Punisher, hands down. Speaking of, let’s get into that.

Right from the off, we have a new big bad in town, mysterious and all, and he is soon revealed to be The Punisher. I have mad love for this character, so naturally I was beside myself with anticipation. The big thing was just to see how the character was going to be handled. For the record, Jon Berthal absolutely nails this character. I mean wow. He is, without a doubt, my favourite rendition of The Punisher ever. He was so bloody brilliant he actually overshadowed Matt/Daredevil, and all his shenanigans for me! He was brutal, unforgiving, driven, broken. I can go on for ages about this, so I should probably stop. I am beyond excited about the standalone series. I NEED MORE!
#obsession

A major theme throughout this season was the vigilantes, and how they go about getting things done, as well as what their values and mores are. Technically they aren’t being policed, and they can do things however they want. This was constantly evident when Frank and Daredevil were with one another, and their drawn out ideological conversations. Frank is so blunt about things, the realist, that Matt’s arguments of “hope” seem to just fall right out the window. These conversations were such a highlight of the season for me, and I was totally enthralled. There was also Elektra (more on this in a few), who was also trying to (again) convince Matt that her way, to kill, was the right way, and he was (again) warring that nobody needs to die, the justice system will handle it.

punisher-season-2-one-bad-day-away

Okay, so to elaborate on Elektra, she was the biggest drawback of the season for me. Every time I saw her on screen, I was like this:

hate-someone

Okay, so the mere fact that this woman breathed pissed me off. I thought the actress was annoying, I thought her character was annoying, she did not grow (personally), and I did not warm to her one little bit, though I really tried. Every time I thought this season was set to surpass its predecessor, this bitch came on screen, and it detracted from being better, for me. I swear, she peeved me on a Carrie Mathison level, and that is saying something.

The choreography was really good, once again, though there were a few times were things looked a little off and a little dodgy, but nothing overkill. The show sticks to the darkness, gloominess, and washed-out settings from the first season, and it works. It definitely ups the ante this time around when it comes to the bloody brutality of it all, but this was a definite winner in my books.

daredevil-stairwell-fight

I particularly enjoyed how the interpersonal relationships shifted and changed in this one, for better or worse. Karen grows even more as a character, and then there is Foggy, who is totally changing, and I still adore him. Karen shifts away from the legal offices and more into journalism, and Foggy learns to stand his ground. Matt gets seriously annoying at times in this, because he can be really preachy. The addition of Frank Castle is beyond awesome, because his character alone starts to make the other characters question themselves, and that is always interesting.

It was also cool to see that old characters were brought forward again, as though just to remind us they are there, and some new ones were introduced, although sometimes this made things feel a little messy and cluttered. Not a big deal though, because aside from that and Elektra, there was very little to complain about in this season.

What this all boils down to is that this is another fantastic season, a worthy follow up to season one, even though it was held back by Elektra. That being said, it is propelled with a ferocity by Frank Castle. This show is dark, gritty, and brutal, and absolutely worth the watch, I highly recommend it.

daredevil-outfit-fight

Review: After You – Jojo Moyes

after-you-cover

Me Before You #2

SYNOPSIS: “You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.  – via Goodreads

GRADE 5Alrighty, so after months of procrastinating after reading Me Before You (and even watching that substandard movie), I finally got to this. Primarily because Natasha read it and loved it. Either way, it finally happened. I know Natasha was seriously taken with this, and while I enjoyed it, I definitely didn’t like it as much as the first. Not because all sequels suck, blah, blah, blah, because that is not the general consensus for book series, but because this one just didn’t speak to me, and Me Before You didn’t really need a sequel. Let me explain all of that.

Louisa really annoyed me in this one. Really. I get that death and loss can really ruin people, so on that front I was fine. But I was annoyed by how useless she was. She was just existing, which is pretty much what she was doing before Will came along too, so there is no way you can tell me she is like this just because of Will. She is also intent on sabotaging herself, and I really get annoyed with people who are content to play the victim, and not to strive for more in life. That’s a personal feeling of mine, but yeah. It coloured her in the book. Then there were the characters again – I liked some, I resented others, that’s just how it was.

The frenemies relationship between Lou and Treena was highlighted here again, and it is something that you can like and dislike in equal measure. I found the tone of this book to be totally different from the last, the writing style, the characters, they just seemed so loosely related to Me Before You, and I didn’t much like that. Way too different. I enjoyed reading about Josie’s feminist awakenings, but felt that they were handled terribly and the idea never really found its feet, thus making it very awkward at the best of times. It didn’t flow right. There was so much more potential to that than was realised. That being said, there were still times where this provided a smile.

The humour was greatly lacking in this book, if we are being honest. There were one or two moments where I had a good laugh (the waxing, good gracious!), but for the most part, I just read this. There was also Lily, a character that I frequently disliked. She came across as a brat. I know she was going through rough stuff and all that, but jeesh. I don’t know, I think I just wanted something of substance from this book, as the last really gave you something to chew on. This one reads like a breeze, but it also feels like it never really takes off and gets going. I liked it, but I certainly didn’t love it.

I enjoyed Sam and Donna quite a bit as characters, and found them to be interesting and entertaining. I thought a lot of the antics in this book were crazy. I was pleased to see Nathan return, as he was a character that I enjoyed. I must say that while the book brought back a lot of characters and all that, it felt like quite the generic romance novel, so I was quite let down about that. It also got really crass at times (looking specifically at Lily and how she talks to people, but also all the ways that sex was addressed in this book).

I thought After You to be unnecessary, if we are being honest. So much more could have been done, though a sequel was totally unnecessary in the first place. Instead of making this an inspiring story, adding humour, making it amazing, it is ultimately quite a bland and flat affair. I was really hoping for more, but this was really not that.

February Blind Spot Review: Atonement (2007)

atonement-poster

“I don’t know how I could’ve been so ignorant about myself… so… so stupid. And you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You knew before I did.”
– Cecilia Tallis

SYNOPSIS: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. – via IMDB

atonement-the-library

GRADE 8.5I have been meaning to watch Atonement for years, and for all sorts of reasons, I never got to it, hence I thought it would be a great addition to my 2017 Blind Spot list. Man, oh man, this movie. My heart! Goodness, there is so much to talk about it, so I suppose I best order my thoughts and try to convey what I felt about this in some form of coherent review. That, and a gif overload. I can’t help it, the movie was beautiful to look at.

James McAvoy is an actor I would watch in anything, and not just for science. The man is ridiculously talented, and this was just another example of how phenomenal he is when he sets his mind to something. I was so taken with his character Robbie. I adored him. I mean wow. Then, opposite him, is Keira Knightley. She is one of those actresses that irrationally annoy the crap out of me (again, thanks for that one Abbi). I don’t know – she’s not a bad actress, but she grates on my last nerve every single time, without fail. Not in Atonement. In fact, I thought she was very well suited to the role.  Knightley and McAvoy have great chemistry and fit together really well, and you are drawn in from the off to see if class was going to be set aside for them to be together. Just watching them was an experience on its own!

atonement-hands

The rest of the cast was incredibly good, too. Saoirse Ronan was excellent as the young Briony Tallis, and demonstrated that even as a young actress, she is a gifted, capable performer. I thought her subsequent counterparts to depict her while ageing were great, as both Ramola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave convincingly looked like her. Benedict Cumberbatch, another actor I adore, made my stomach turn completely here. I mean ick, ick, ick. I knew he was up to no good, but holy crapsticks, you nasty, despicable man! I found it pretty creepy that Juno Temple again played a character that got some nasties done to her by an older man (hem hem Killer Joe).

Anyway, Atonement was truly a heartbreaking story. I felt like the entire world was dark and doomed by the end of it, but I liked it. It was a bit predictable – I wasn’t ever actually shocked, but I was so invested in the outcome, even when I knew how it was supposed to go. The pacing is great because it gets you, and it gets you quickly. Then this story unfolds, flicking between the observations of a child who does not understand what she is seeing, to the actual events taking place. The difference between the two is amazing, and was used perfectly to point out that you don’t always know what you are looking at, and shouldn’t  jump to conclusions.

atonement-typewriter

I thought that visually, the movie was simply stunning. My word, it was shot well, and was a feast for the eyes, pretty much from the opening scene. So many things came together, and besides the performances and score, you could not overlook the specific shots that came together throughout the movie. There were so many scenes that captured such beauty, but I will just show a few here.

Let’s start with Robbie in the flower fields, it was so peaceful and serene.

atonement-robbie-flowers

There was the scene with the water bursting into the tunnels, with everything breaking and the newspaper flying out.

atonement-water

I was particularly fond of the ferris wheel. Everything about this scene just worked, especially with the sun shining through, the bandstand with the soldiers singing, and the smoke rising in the background. So much just came together to give us this.

atonement-ferris-wheel-smaller

Another aspect that just worked was the score. The music set the tone, it did, and I particularly enjoyed the sound of the typewriter keys thwacking away being used to create a score, too. It was original, and so suited for the movie. It was great.

Anyway, as I am sure you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Atonement, and did not feel that the predictability of it hurt it at all. A visual feast to behold, with a love story that will make your heart ache and amazing chemistry between Robbie and Cecilia, I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie. Just know that it is a heavy watch, but worth every moment of your time, even if it feels like the world is never really going to be okay again.

Review: Lights Out (2016)

lights_out_poster

“We’re living with a dead woman!”
– Rebecca

SYNOPSIS: When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie. – via IMDB

lights-out-movie

GRADE 2I didn’t expect much, but I didn’t expect it to suck quite this much. RIDICULOUS. I watched the short when that came out, and it was pretty good. Then someone had the real bright spark idea of stretching that short into a feature length film. A sloppy feature length film. Eighty minutes of film time, to be precise, which felt like the longest movie I had ever had the misfortune of watching. It felt like we were nearing the end, and I saw we were twenty minutes in. From that moment, I knew I was doomed to suffer through to the end. Every minute the movie progressed, it got cornier, cheesier, and more terrible. I cringed a few times. That someone actually put this in a movie… that someone actually wrote this script. Like when we got the explanation for Sophie? You can’t be serious! That’s what it was about? That?! Horrible, horrible, and so silly.

The story was beyond weak and flimsy, and the longer the movie went on, the more obvious this became. I didn’t like any of the characters, either, except maybe the boyfriend, Bret. The logic was totally broken, too, and not in the acceptable way of most horrors. This movie relied heavily on jump scares, too, which were just cheap. There was like no finesse to this whatsoever. There was nothing to redeem this. There was also so much stupid stuff going on the whole time. For instance, let’s also not forget the part where they armed themselves with a black light and a flash as a weapon. I actually scoffed. Very reminiscent of the trident flashlight in Under The Bed.

I can keep talking about this, but it won’t be pretty, and I just don’t have the energy to expend on such a useless experience. Meh. There is pretty much nothing going for this movie – it is messy, boring, way too long, sloppily written and badly executed, and I would highly recommend staying away from this one.

Review: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

i-still-know-what-you-did-last-summer

“Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been a year since my last confession. I’ve never told anyone about this. Not my mom, not the police, or not even my friends, except for the ones who were there, well, they’re not around anymore. You see I, I killed a man, but it was an accident.”
– Julie James

SYNOPSIS: Ever since killing the Fisherman one year ago, Julie James is still haunted by images of him after her, causes her relationship with Ray Bronson to suffer further. When her best friend Karla Wilson wins free tickets to the Bahamas, Julie finds this a perfect opportunity to finally relax. But someone is waiting for her. Someone who she thought was dead. Someone who is out again for revenge. – via IMDB

i-still-know-what-you-did-last-summer-death

GRADE 1Goodness. If you thought the last one was bad, then there is this one. Makes the last one look absolutely freaking phenomenal. This one is so cheesy, too much for me to even handle. The dialogue is so bad is made me cringe over and over. The whole concept was a mess, too. This girl winning a random Fourth of July trip to the Bahamas? Uhm, sure then. It was implemented terribly.

Let’s not forget the awful relationship between Ray and Julie. After the super soppy conclusion of the last one, you would think they are in heaven? Hells no! That would be too easy. Let them fight and argue all the time, make Ray out to be the tool (pffffffff – typical), and throw in Julie’s best friend, constantly telling Julie she should drop Ray (!!!!!) for Will. What a stand up friend! The characters overall were just awful. I think the most offensive one was Tyrell – what a sex crazed douche man.

Okay, back to the atrocious movie. So these friends go to the Bahamas, which is naturally deserted. You need an empty island, man! Also, there was that stupid, perfunctory fight between Julie and Ray, so she is out with her three friends (one being the icky Will), and Ray has been attacked while on the way to make up for the stupid fight with Julie. Ugh, the dramatics and nasty plot devices man. How weak. Jack Black, too, was here, and you all know what a HUGE fan I am (please do not miss my sarcasm). That only caused for more irritation for me.

The logic is so broken, and the story is beyond ridiculous, and the movie is crammed with these lame ass attempted jump scares. The acting is awkward, too. I will always love the way that the bodies and blood in these movies magically disappear within moments, so that someone just looks mad? Ugh, as if this movie wasn’t offensive enough, it actually tried to bring in voodoo and an elaborate backstory, which was just outright embarrassing. The plot twist was also predictable to boot, and the movie was unnecessarily long. No, this isn’t even like a fun slasher or anything. It is bad. Skip the damn thing! If you must, watch the first, but not this.

Review: The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchison

the-butterfly-garden-cover

The Collector Trilogy #1

SYNOPSIS: Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…  – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I picked this up on special on Amazon recently, and the synopsis looked interesting enough and it had a pretty good rating, so I figured why not? I must say, I think this was definitely money well spent, grabbing something out of the blue. There are issues with the book, for sure, but the minute you figure out how to deal with them, it changes the reading experience altogether. I suppose I should explain that.

The Butterfly Garden asks you to suspend reality. I mean suspend a hell of a lot of it. Sometimes you can imagine some of the things happening and seeing how that would interact in a real-world situation, but there are too many things going down that are just a little too fantastical (including a plotsie near the end). However, if you stop trying to compare this to the real world setting, you will be fine. Just read it as fiction. In fact, rather look at it like… an alternate world/reality. Don’t think about how this would be in real life. Also, realise that the characters are ridiculously unaware (the Garden being built, no questions asked about how his time is spent and why there is a giant greenhouse withing a greenhouse, etc.). Like totally blind – super implausible. Again.  As soon as I had made that mind-shift, I was drawn into this.

The story is rather icky. Seriously, kidnapped girls held as a captive harem to a really sick, twisted man – interesting stuff by far. The book also deal with a lot of characters, all really interesting. I was quite the fan of Bliss – snappy, blunt, honest, I understood her. She had a point when she said the Gardener never asked them to love him. Maya was a character I went back and forth between liking and disliking, and that is not a bad thing. She was quite well written. Then there was Avery, a sick tyrant, and Desmond, a spineless fool. The book sort of tried to manipulate you into liking Desmond, and to pity him, but I couldn’t. Twisted individual that he is, weak and useless. At least the book also highlights that and runs that point home, and isn’t too sympathetic of Desmond, although it still wants you to sort of feel for him. Nope. I know that sounds confusing, but that is how he was put forth. Like him, but don’t like him.

The atrocities the girls suffer at the hands of the Gardener and his sons is awful. Truly, there are such sick things going on all the time. Eventually (and I hate to say this), you become desensitised to it, though it is still quite nasty to even consider the events unfolding for these young girls. I appreciated the bond that formed between them, and how real names were given as sad parting gifts.

I enjoyed the pacing. There were times that I thought it meandered (especially around the middle – lots of drag), and could have been tightened up, but for the most part the story just zipped along. The writing draws you in from the off, and even the style in which the story is told is something I highly appreciated. It wasn’t overly complex or anything like that, so don’t expect a super detailed, in depth book here. The jumping back and forth between the present and what happened in the Garden was seamless, effortless, and it didn’t get on my last nerve, as this style can usually grate on me. The Butterfly Garden also flies along, and is really quick to get through, though it is dark and very messed up. The ending, too, wraps things up (there is a sequel, though I see it is not necessarily delving too much into this story). I felt it was a little rushed, so I hope the sequel spends some time just tying up those last ends neatly.

This was quite an interesting read for me, one that had me hooked, one that I stumbled on totally by accident.If you are willing to forget about reality, and are okay with suspending it to the extent of an alternate reality, then I would recommend this one. Even if you can’t, and you don’t mind things not being too realistic, you might like this. I have pre-ordered the sequel, I would like to see how that goes.

Review: Swiss Army Man (2016)

swiss-army-man-poster1

“If my best friend hides his farts from me then what else is he hiding from me, and why does that make me feel so alone?”
– Manny

SYNOPSIS: A hopeless man stranded on a deserted island befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home. – via IMDB

swiss-army-man-party

GRADE 8I heard so much about this movie when it came out. Heck, everyone did. It was all over the internet. There was a lot of talk. I was interested in checking this out because, well, I quite enjoy Radcliffe. He’s really good. The trailers did not look like my cup of tea (fart jokes, etc. are just not me), so I sort of discarded it. The reviews came back with  mad love for it, which I did not expect. It seemed like the type of movie you either loved or hated. Now I just had to watch it, to see where I would fall on the spectrum. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it, totally unexpectedly.

It opened with a fart joke. Seriously. It did. I rolled my eyes. Goodness, how on Earth was I going to make it through this whole thing? My husband looked at me curiously – me, watching something like this? What’s happening? But then the movie starts building, and against my better judgment, I was roped in. There was so much going on. I thought Hank had lost his marbles. What was with Radcliffe? Good Lord, the corpse is mumbling!

Before I knew it, I was actually having quite a few good laughs, and I was genuinely being engaged by the story. Surprisingly, Swiss Army Man actually has heart at the core of the story, and it works. The movie is quirky and is accompanied by a great score and absolutely awesome performances from both Radcliffe and Dano (the movie was essentially carried by just the two of them). The two worked together and came across as the greatest friends. I was impressed. Who knew? I certainly didn’t expect it from this movie. It contains a lot of themes, and they are executed rather beautifully. The movie is also shot really well, and looks really good. The scenes flow together seamlessly, and the pacing works, too. Never bland, never boring.

There was plenty awkward humour, humour that I normally absolutely cannot stand, but for some absurd reason, it suited the film. Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely more fart/penis jokes than absolutely necessary, but there is actually more to this than that, and something you need to overlook to get to the rest of it. Swiss Army Man is, without a doubt, a bizarre watching experience, but one I certainly enjoyed more than I expected. It had heart, it had humour, it had depth, it made you laugh and it made you sad. I think it balanced a lot of themes incredibly well. I don’t know, this one just worked, in all its weirdness, and I thought it well worth my time.