Rapid Review: 13 Sins (2014)

13 sins cover

“I will dance with the golden toad.”
– Elliot Brindle

SYNOPSIS: A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last. – via IMDB

13 sins cuts

GRADE 7Another movie from the horror box set from mah bestie! This one was chosen randomly to watch by my fiancé, and let me tell you, we were quite impressed (even though it featured both Ron Perlman and Rutina Wesley). What you expect to be a by-the-numbers film actually brings more to the table than one would expect, even if there are times where you just cannot buy into the logic. The characters, too, are not exactly people you are going to warm towards to actually care about, but they do serve the purpose of moving the story along, and they do deliver suitably solid performances. There are a lot of questions that are raised and, unsatisfactorily, not all of them are answered (especially a big one that I really wanted to know about). There was definitely more potential than was tapped into here, but that does not, for one second, mean that this is a hollow film. In fact, it is quite the enjoyable flick with a few funny moments and an intriguing premise. There was definitely potential for more thrills and tension, and while that is not constantly evident, the movie keeps you entertained. I was intrigued by Elliot and his situation, as well as how he was actually going to handle playing this game with some unseen caller. I also liked seeing how he was changing as he was playing the game. There was some fantastic material to explore there, though the movie didn’t focus on that too much, just enough to let you know psychologically the game was affecting him. There were some twists and turns in the plot, too, some which were expected, and others that came as a surprise, so that was nice.  I wish that Pruitt Taylor Vince had been given more screen time, he is an actor I really do enjoy. I don’t think this film has the guts, content, and execution to linger too long after you have watched it, but that does not mean it isn’t worth a look see, especially for a movie night with friends.


Rapid Review: Heathers (1988)

heathers-poster

“Dear Diary, my teen-angst bullshit now has a body count.”
– Veronica Sawyer

SYNOPSIS: A regular girl, Veronica, tries to survive the social jungle of high school by sticking with the three most popular girls at school who are all called Heather. As she meets a sociopath named JD, her life spirals into a continuous cycle of hate, unintentional murder and indifference, as she exacts revenge on her enemies, also known as her best friends. – via IMDB

heathers relationship

GRADE 7.5So I actually finally got to seeing it! What a weird, quirky, entertaining flick it was, too! I don’t even know when last I watched a movie with Winona Ryder in it, so it was quite cool to see her in something again. I kept putting this movie off because I was convinced it was some silly chick flick, but then Natasha told me to chill my monkey and check it out, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. Right from the off, you cannot help but be drawn to JD (he just had that something to him). Initially you just think he is the bad boy, and when things take a change for the worse, you cannot help but be fascinated by his sociopathic side and his creepy reasoning. The movie is funny – darkly so (so you all knew I was going to enjoy that). It has some social commentary to pass, and it does so in a smart and witty way. I really, really liked the relationship between JD and Veronica, though it popped up out of nowhere. I was willing to let that slide because, well, teenagers, they can meet the love of their life in under a minute and be certain they cannot survive without this new person. I was glad to see that Veronica was not simply drawn in by JD and all his crazy. Their relationship has this Bonny and Clyde sort of  feel to it, minus the major commitment, and they certainly didn’t see eye to eye on most things. However, they were both smart and intelligent, and had all the potential to work. Hell, they really were crazy about each other in some sick and deluded sense, you just would like to see everything work out well for them. Heathers is so extremely eighties, but it works, and the score is suited so well for the movie and the style. The humour is sharp and vicious and the movie is hilarious to watch and much smarter than I thought it was going to be. It isn’t a long movie at all, though it is sad to say that there are a few places that feel like it is just dragging on a little bit. However, this is not extreme enough to detract from the experience, and I will certainly be watching this again. I can understand how Heathers is a cult classic, ir is truly entertaining and I would highly recommend it.


100 Happy Days: Day 61 – 70

On and on I go with this happiness challenge, and I am still enjoying it immensely, I must say! Here are some more photos for the last ten days.

Day 61:

day 61

New scarves for my collection :D I might or might not have a bit of a problem…

Day 62:

day 62

Hmmmmmm! Had some Scotch pancakes with Kit Kat ice cream for dessert the other night, and it was absolutely delightful!

Day 63:

day 63

Eeeeeeeeeep! Yes! Our Schengen visas were approved for our honeymoon, and the passport wallets arrived! Italy, here we come! I absolutely cannot wait, there are so many awesome places to go, things to see, and a great experience. Ah, an adventure!

Day 64:

day 64

My blanket is making some decent progress, whenever I do find the time to work on it!

Day 65:

day 65

I have been so sick the last few days, so when I went to grab some meds, I saw they were having a really great sale (I know!) and I got myself some new lip stuff to try and cheer myself up. They are really gorgeous, and it was an awesome score.

Day 66:

day 66

Still ill and I can’t win. Went for my trial hair and makeup for the wedding on Saturday, and I was happy. The hairdresser changed my hair when it was done so that my fiancé didn’t get to see me all done up. The makeup was something that I really liked when it was put on, but didn’t like for long because, well, it just didn’t work with me :( However, still got a new pic with my darling, so there is that.

Day 67:

day 67

My other half only got me the greatest gift for Christmas – the complete Desperate Housewives collection, and I freaking love it! Been watching it between the ten million other things I am watching and my studies and wedding planning and it thrills me every time I get to watch it.

Day 68:

day 68

I have been so ridiculously sick this past week (as I am sure you have noticed by now in this post haha), and I have to admit, few things made me as happy as coming home and seeing my loyal bed waiting for me.

Day 69:

day 69

Finally started to get cracking on my final, lone subject that UNISA forced me into doing to finish my degree. I was really miffed about it end of last year when I found out how badly I got boned by them, but I am okay now. Now just to put my head down and work through it all, then I will be free!

Day 70:

day 70

I love to curl my hair, I do, but my hair is very fine so it is difficult to curl – and it takes forever. But then I stumbled upon this awesome five minute curl technique, and I curl my hair so much more frequently! Look at them, just look! Quick, rush job and they are still wonderful. Beautiful, simple, love.


Rapid Review: Final Destination 2 (2003)

final destination 2 poster

“Some people say there’s a balance to everything. For every life, there’s a death, for every death, there is a life. But the introduction of life that was not meant to be, that can invalidate the list, force Death to start anew. You have to follow the signs… Kimberly.”
– William Bludworth

SYNOPSIS: When Kimberly has a violent premonition of a highway pileup she blocks the freeway, keeping a few others meant to die, safe…Or are they? The survivors mysteriously start dying and it’s up to Kimberly to stop it before she’s next. – via IMDB

final destination log

GRADE 6.5So, here we are. Final Destination could have been a standalone film, but studios decided it would be best to create this huge franchise from it, and here we have the next installment. Definitely still one of the better sequels to watch, and it was pretty cool to see AJ Cook outside of Criminal Minds, though I love her there. The story is a little shakier in getting started as opposed to its predecessor, but it gets into the swing of things quick enough with plenty gore and blood to fittingly accompany the film. The film was never really going to showcase any deep, in depth characters, but it tried some clumsy attempts to get there. Too many annoying people, and the same “this is BS” argument is getting really old. Bringing Clear back was also something that worked in favour of the film, as it gave us a link to the first one, a character we knew and could root for, who gave the movie the edge because she’d beat the game before, even though it had cost her dearly, and she lives in a padded cell. Incidentally, this gives rise to a whole slew of other questions I just don’t even know how to answer – firstly, electronics in a padded room = fire, secondly, why no food poisoning? Death on vacation? You get the gist of it. Anyway, there are some pretty inventive deaths scattered throughout here to feed our bloodlust, and the story takes a new spin on how to fool and escape Death, so at least they were still pushing for originality. The effects and CGI are, again, a little sketchy, but it’s alright, sort of a trademark for these movies. I think these movies are really fun for a movie night with friends – popcorn, gore, spans to laugh at.


Review: Angels Fall – Nora Roberts

angels fall cover

SYNOPSIS: Reece Gilmore has come a long way to see the stunning view below her. As the sole survivor of a brutal crime back East, she has been on the run, desperately fighting the nightmares and panic attacks that haunt her. Reece settles in Angel’s Fist, Wyoming-temporarily, at least-and takes a job at a local diner. And now she’s hiked this mountain all by herself. It was glorious, she thought, as she peered through her binoculars at the Snake River churning below.

Then Reece saw the man and woman on the opposite bank. Arguing. Fighting. And suddenly, the man was on top of the woman, his hands around her throat . . .

Enjoying a moment of solitude a bit farther down the trail is a gruff loner named Brody. But by the time Reece reaches him and brings him to the scene, the pair has vanished. When authorities comb the area where she saw the attack, they find nothing. No signs of struggle. No freshly turned earth. Not even a tire track.

And no one in Angel’s Fist seems to believe her. After all, she’s a newcomer in town, with a reputation for being jumpy and jittery-maybe even a little fragile. Maybe it’s time to run again, to move on . . .

Reece Gilmore knows there’s a killer in Angel’s Fist, even if Brody, despite his seeming impatience and desire to keep her at arm’s length, is the only one willing to believe her. When a series of menacing events makes it clear that someone wants her out of the way, Reece must put her trust in Brody-and herself-to find out if there is a killer in Angel’s Fist before it’s too late. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Alrighty, another Roberts recommendation from Natasha, and another one that I enjoyed. I don’t know, it was more of a meandering romance than a thriller, although Roberts worked in some of those aspects. I liked Angels Fall because it wasn’t overly soppy (I just don’t even) and there were quite a few characters to enjoy, not just the main. While Reece was alright, she certainly wasn’t my favourite. I was a fan of Joanie, the woman was pretty hardcore and strong, which I liked. She reminded me of Ellen in Supernatural, and that is a huge compliment. Anyway, the villain was fairly obvious quite early on, and Roberts spent a lot of time trying to make other people look guilty, but it never really fit like the actual bad guy. The book doesn’t rush anywhere or go anywhere, really, just tells the story of this girl who moves into a new town and starts putting her life back together while falling in love with an author. She has some serious psychological issues that she needs to deal with, and I would really have liked it more if Roberts had actually spent some time fleshing out Reece’s history and what exactly happened to her, it might have made me care more about her in the present happenings as well as give a deeper understanding of her mental state. Maybe that’s just because I studied psychology. But still. The small town atmosphere was both endearing and smothering, but I liked it. The book is very long, much longer than is actually required for the scant story, so like I said, it is like reading all about this woman’s journey to falling in love and settling down and fighting for herself back, but again, I wish we knew more of the fight. The romance at least never got out of hand, but I have to say the relationship is typically one of those ridiculous ones from a movie/paperback – couple doesn’t want to fall in love, they do, they fight, they bend each other and break the other’s will, realise they cannot live without each other, yap yap. But still, I can’t put my finger on exactly why I enjoyed this one as much as I did, but it was a decent read from her, not one of her super sketchy forest fuck fests again.


Narcos: Season 1 (2015)

narcos season 1 poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The cast. Seriously, they all brought something to the table.
  • How all the Colombians spoke Spanish, not English. Made it real authentic, and I loved that.
  • I really enjoyed the DEA cat story arc. Silly between all the serious, but it made me laugh.
  • Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar. Seriously, this guy owns the role. Wow.
  • The dark humour that showcases from time to time. It is beautiful.
  • The way the story is told from both sides – Escobar and his cartel and then, of course, government, Americans, DEA, all of it. Very good.
  • The way that each and every episode was shot and the colours – it looked arresting and beautiful and just a tad dreary.
  • The politics and the wheeling, dealing, and scheming. There is always something cooking, always someone trying to screw someone over, advance themselves, use people, and it never gets old.
  • The real photos and footage that were sprinkled throughout made sure to remind people that this is not simply some crazy Hollywood concoction.

narcos geniuses

What I didn’t like:

  • Sometimes there are so many characters introduced, made to seem like they should be more important and then they disappear, and sometimes (and I mean sometimes) they get dragged back up for something and it is really difficult to remember how/if/when/where the fit in, exactly.

narcos where is she

Rating:
GRADE 9
After Netflix finally launched in South Africa recently, I decided to give the one month trial a shot to see how it would hold up with our delightful internet, see if it was worth it. My fiancé and I decided to test the concept with Narcos, and all round, everything worked out perfectly! Netflix runs smoothly, and Narcos was the most awesome place to start up. The show is absolutely bloody brilliant. Yes, everything I enjoy in a show, it had it. The cast carried the story wonderfully, and Wagner Moura was particularly good as the infamous Pablo Escobar. The show is shot so well and the colour palette is amazing, all washed out and dreary. The performances were solid and elevated the show some more, and there is never a dull moment to be found. The sarcasm in Narcos is golden, I love it – it is sharp and it is dark, so that’s great. Also, while this is Escobar’s show, Steve Murphy is highly entertaining, and watching him and Javier Peña together is well worth it. They just work off of one another, and they do so well. I am always sold on a show that features politics, violence, and, of course, gangsters, so I had high expectations for this show going in and I cannot say that I have been disappointed. While the show starts Escobar off as a small smuggler that hit the jackpot because he is business savvy, the story progresses and shows you that, while you can feel for him at times, he is a monster, no two ways about it! The show is so engrossing from the off that it is really quick to lose yourself and hours of your life. The story is so unbelievable that you just have to see more of Escobar and his crazy antics, and well as the extreme hard on the DEA had for him, and all the things that they set out to do to take this drug lord down. I am particularly impressed with the fact that Escobar and anyone touching on the local Colombian story and the law enforcement spoke Spanish, and the Americans spoke English because it gave it a way more authentic feel. Subtitles don’t irritate me in the slightest, and I would not sacrifice them whatsoever to have this all in English. I think it would ruin Narcos for me in some way. The pacing for the show is also awesome, as you are focused on this intense, gripping story that never really lets up. It is fast, it is slow, but it is never, ever for one moment boring. The pacing keeps you on the edge of your seat and desperately wanting more. I cannot recommend this show enough, obviously. Definitely the best new series I have seen in quite some time. I am officially suffering from a Narcos hangover, and it is so long till we get more!

narcos threat


Rapid Review: Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds Poster

“You probably heard we ain’t in the prisoner-takin’ business; we in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin’.” – Lieutenant Aldo Raine

SYNOPSIS: In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same. – via IMDB

inglourious basterds i speak the best italian inglourious basterds bawnjorno

GRADE 10I re-reviewed this because I love it so much, and have learned that I am allowed to give certain things top marks. Inglourious Basterds is simply amazing. Tarantino consistently blows me away with his stories and the execution of them. The cast was excellent, and their roles were very well suited. Christoph Waltz does not cease to stun me, he is so brilliant. He was such a horrendously scary character in this movie, and he gave me the chills because he is pure evil, yet he has proven in Django Unchained that he will not be typecast. Brad Pitt was having an absolute blast from the get go, and it is so obvious. Mélanie Laurent is so badass, and her character of Shosanna Dreyfus? Man, Tarantino can create a strong woman, and we definitely need more of that in cinema. Okay, I am not going to wax lyrical about each and every actor/actress in the film, just know that they were all excellent. What makes Inglourious Basterds so fantastic for me is that they actually spoke French and German, and when they spoke English the relevant accent applied to it. Valkyie could have taken a leaf out of Quentin Tarantino’s book, hem hem. It is pretty damned important to me that if you are doing a movie on any culture/society, you have to at least get the accents right (or try, at the very least)! The story was highly entertaining, and the cinematography was gorgeous. The dialogue was quick, snappy and sharp, and just great to listen to overall (bawnjorno, bestie). Some of those conversations! Goodness, the tension that was built from that! Not to mention how wonderfully the movie was set out and paced, giving you a look at everything, but not rushing a thing. Inglourious Basterds is a long film, but it never actually feels that way, although I feel that is a typical Tarantino trait, to write something that is engaging from the off. I am a big fan of Hugo Stiglitz, he made me laugh endlessly – he was so badass and hardcore and just balls to the wall crazy. Definitely my favourite Basterd, alongside Aldo. The humour is so snappy in here, and very dark, so it just works all round. I wish I knew how to describe how much I enjoy this movie, but words fail me, so I will stop rambling now. This movie is so well executed, and something that I make a point of watching rather frequently, it really is an absolute favourite of mine from Tarantino, who again proves his ingenuity with a fantastical take on an old topic.


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