100 Happy Days 2: Day 31 – 40

So apparently the last ten days were all about food, movies/series, and beauty.

Day 31:

Oh man, lazy on so many fronts means I was going to have a simple, lazy dinner, which also made for a simple, lazy lunch. Sometimes that’s all you want. It was really good. Hmmmm.

Day 32:

Ha! The dawn of yet another project, so stoked! We have moved into autumn and the mornings and evenings are definitely more chilly, so yay, it means I get to work on bigger projects again. This one will just be a simple slouchy hat though, but I do so love these colours!

Day 33:

Oooooh, my husband got me Californication for our anniversary and we have started going through it again. This show is awesome, and I really never thought it would appeal to me at all, but it just works on so many levels. Very adult humour, and David Duchonvy is absolutely excellent.

Day 34:

Goodness gracious, but this was delicious! I made a spicy chicken, mushroom, green pepper and baby marrow penne pasta for dinner the other night, and it was glorious. Light, filling, tasty… and a great leftover lunch ūüôā

Day 35:

I added yet¬†more movies to my collection, and I am happy with these buys. Can’t wait to watch them all again! I will be sure to eat like a king before rewatching¬†Chef though – I will not be repeating past mistakes.

Day 36:

I am addicted to lip balm. There, I said it. Not that that means I am on the path to recovery, or anything. Natasha has known me the longest, and I always have one or two (or three) lip balms on me at any given time. These Labello Lip Butters are my favourite; they last forever and they smell absolutely divine.

Day 37:

Ahhhhh, after much back and forth, I treated myself to some Essie nail polishes. The polish I have used from Essie until thus far has been wonderful and there are great colours. Excited to see how these ones work out.

Day 38:

Made some delicious crispy chicken cheese burgers with chilli garlic fried onions and salt and pepper chips for dinner. So good!

Day 39:

Okay, so it might officially be autumn, but it is not really cooling down yet here by us. This has not stopped me from eagerly dragging out my huge blanket project that I started last year Рa king size blanket is no joke. I am so excited to be working on it again!

Day 40:

A chill day to be had with some hazelnut cappuccino (again РI have a problem) and some awesome Lindt Strawberry Intense dark chocolate and Criminal Minds to keep me company.

Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

“You stabbed the devil in the back. To him this isn’t vengeance, this is justice.”
– Winston

SYNOPSIS: After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life. Рvia IMDB

I’m pretty sure you all know¬†that I am a pretty huge fan of¬†John Wick, and I have been eagerly anticipating this sequel for quite some time. I trekked off to the cinema opening weekend for this, and I was not disappointed. It is a strong sequel to be sure. This is what most sequels wish they could bring to the table, but fail at more often that not.

Chapter 2 is everything John Wick was, but amplified. Bigger guns, more bullets, more hand to hand combat than you can shake a stick at, just more extravagant everything. It has plenty of throwbacks to John Wick, which is amusing. There is much of the same, but more, if that makes sense. The movie is exciting and the action is engaging, and again it embraces the fact that the story is relatively skinny and rolls with it, and so the viewer is, irresistibly, drawn in all over again. The movie keeps it simple with the story, and indulges with the visuals and the score. I also really enjoyed the humour that was present in Chapter 2 Рstill my kind of humour. Keanu Reeves dominates as John Wick, and I simply love watching him in character. Ian McShane is, as always, a joy, and Broyles Lance Reddick also brought the goods.

All that being said though, I also had some issues. I felt the movie was a touch long, and while finally getting to see more of this super mysterious, elaborate assassin/criminal underworld, there were some niggles to be had. I am looking here specifically at the end, making it look like every single person in the whole city has ties to this underground organisation. Really? Sometimes the humour also didn’t land quite as quick, fast, and slick and the predecessor.

While¬†Chapter 2 is an entertaining watch that hooks you from the off, I just don’t see how and why it is considered to be the superior of the two films. Totally worth the watch though, and definitely a movie I will be revisiting. It is smooth, well choreographed, exciting, stunning to look at, and is just plain fun. Absolutely recommended.

March Blind Spot Review: The Road (2009)

“I told the boy when you dream about bad things happening, it means you’re still fighting and you’re still alive. It’s when you start to dream about good things that you should start to worry.”
– The Man

SYNOPSIS: In a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, an ailing father defends his son as they slowly travel to the sea. Рvia IMDB

I have heard so much about this movie, and have always vowed to get to it, and then just dumped it on my immense To Watch pile. It just never moved from there. I heard it was sad, I heard it was brilliant, I heard it is well worth the watch, and that’s why it eventually made it onto a Blind Spot list of mine, to make sure that I would watch it.

Right off the bat, Viggo Mortensen is excellent here, he really is. When the movie opened, I expected some hardcore, hardened asshole with a kid in tow, no amiss if you are making comparisons to The Last of Us. What I soon learned is that he is nowhere near as bitter as Joel, and The Road provides flashbacks into the past of this man and boy, and paints a severely depressing image. Mortensen plays off Kodi Smit-McPhee so well Рthey really do sell the father/son duo stuck in some godawful apocalypse. There is an extreme love between the two, and it is ever present throughout the film, whether in the harsh or tender moments, it is always love that is the binding.

The visuals for The Road are excellent, as well as the score. The sound is melancholy and depressing, and the image is grey and colourless, running home this point of hopelessness, the fear and sadness, the uncertainty. There are stolen moments of smiles laced throughout the movie, some of them deliberate and obvious in their design to elicit a certain response from the viewer, but welcome in the bleak landscape nonetheless.

Despite all the horrors and despair of the world, the boy manages to maintain some for of childish innocence about him, which his father both appreciates and fears, because someday his son will need to fend on his own, and so the innocence will sadly have to be eradicated. The Road tells a story of parenthood, too. Not all promises can be kept, and you can only do your best for your children, despite the circumstances. This is just scraping the surface of that whole message.

I appreciated the fact that not too much was shared about how this dystopian future came to be, as that little bit of mystery is always good. Less is more, remember that. Without the terrible backstory, we are afforded the time to concentrate on the father and his son, and get little snippets of the past to bring it all together, to resonate more. I also felt that the movie was long, very long, and because of the gloomy nature of it, it was sometimes difficult to overlook.

The Road is a long, brutal affair, but it is a good one.¬†It is well worth the watch, though it did not crush me as I had expected it to. Let’s not blame the movie for that – my husband says I can be very cut off at times.

Review: The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

“I don’t wanna take up a ton of your time, but I’m gonna kill myself. I just thought an adult should know.”
РNadine 

SYNOPSIS: High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother. Рvia IMDB

Alright, so I know this rated really highly with people, so I was interested to see how this coming of age film sets itself apart from others in the genre, and there are a few ways, some good, and some bad. It was definitely different in the sense that you don’t actually really like our protagonist, though she does grow as the movie progresses (as to be expected), and ultimately you can see¬†the changes.

Nadine is a more unlikable character than you are used to for this type of movie. Sure, they are supposed to have unlikable aspects, things that change as the movie progresses, but Nadine has virtually no redeeming points, and is selfish on a totally believable teenage level, this is to say that the whole world had to revolve around her. She also encounters situations where being abrasive doesn’t always helps, and other times it did. All that being said, I did like the way the movie did a really good job capturing the insecurities of a teenage girl, as well as the constant stress and complete teenage selfishness.

Even with that being done exceptionally well, I didn’t love this.¬†It isn’t a bad movie, it just didn’t make me feel much of anything. I enjoyed watching Woody Harrelson, because he’s awesome and so was his character, but aside from that? Oh yes, there is Erwin, and I thought he was adorable. Besides them? There were no characters I really enjoyed, or situations, or interactions (except between Nadine and poor Mr Bruner). The movie just came across as really flat and shallow, which is unfortunate. It also wasn’t funny, which at times it felt like it was desperately trying to be. I didn’t find this as deep and poignant as others did. It isn’t a bad watch, it just didn’t do for me what I was hoping it would.

The Edge of Seventeen does a great job of capturing the totally self-centred nature of being a teen, as well as all the awkwardness of it. The movie features sold performances and is shot well, but it doesn’t have the heart or humour it thinks it has.

 

Review: Logan (2017)

“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.”
– Logan

SYNOPSIS:¬†In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces. – via IMDB

Finally! Got out to see Logan, something I have been looking forward to, but also slightly wary of after The Wolverine, which I absolutely detested. I was hoping that this would be the movie we have all been waiting for for the Wolverine, and let me tell you, it totally is! Hugh Jackman returns as our favourite animalistic antihero, and man, he was just perfect again. As always.

Logan¬†definitely touts a darker, more grown up story, and is so much more human than I expected. This movie isn’t about let’s save the day and take down the bad guys. No, this one looks more at Logan, his relationship with Professor X, and how he is getting on in life, yet is still angry and bitter about many things. Ever the antihero, I suppose.¬†Logan has feeling, and this is evident every step of the way. There is some humour tossed in, nice and dark, but for the most part this is quite an intense drama, and the Wolverine movie we have been waiting for for years.

The effects were really good, and the movie was shot well. You were engaged from the off by both the story as well as the way it all came together, and the movie touts some excellent choreography, which we always wish to see when the Wolverine is out there. The cast is good, too, and I was particularly impressed with Boyd Holbrook, an actor I am familiar with from Narcos. While he was good in that show, he absolutely shone here, and I found myself  incredibly surprised. Also, big fan of his fancy arm.

Logan is heavy, dark, emotional, and just what the doctor ordered. It is a solid outing that will linger for some time after, and definitely cuts to the bone. Longtime fans will be particularly thrilled with how it all comes together.

100 Happy Days 2: Day 21 – 30

Today is part three of my second round of the 100 Happy Days challenge. I am not going to waffle on or anything, so let’s get right down to it.

Day 21:

Yummy! Initially my parade was pissed on when heading out to see Logan and my husband got called in for work. So I sulked and snack shopping for Africa ensued, then I curled up on the couch with The Vampire Diaries and had a total blast anyway.

Day 22:

Been looking forward to rewatching Sherlock for a while now, I do so love the show. I was beyond happy when my husband decided to watch it with me this time (his first viewing). We had a total blast.

Day 23:

Another beautiful gift my husband brought back for me from the States – a sugar skull! I was so pleased, and I think it is stunning. And look, purple! xD

Day 24:

Oh yeah, adding to my collection again! I updated my Lethal Weapon collection to Blu-Ray, and replaced my Crazy, Stupid, Love that shattered in the last case because it had a shitty design. Chuck because, well, Chuck is awesome. Plus I wanted all my seasons to be shiny and new.

Day 25:

Went for a quick coffee on the way home from work at The Beantree Café. Man, they have delicious coffee. Today was a hazelnut latte day, next time will surely be a caffè mocha kinda day. They also have the most amazing cinnamon biscuit things. Hmmmm.

Day 26:

Okay, okay, I didn’t intend for this to be yet another coffee post¬†but I just got my new (read first) blender, and wanted to make iced coffee. It came out perfectly – and it was ridiculously quick and easy! Since then I have gone on to make an array of smoothies and milkshakes, and I love that little contraption. Totally worth the money. Soon I want to make some soup with it. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Day 27:

Got out and watched John Wick Chapter 2, which I am sure most of you know I have been super amped for because I freaking adore John Wick. Keanu Reeves man, Keanu Reeves.

Day 28:

It was our first wedding anniversary, and I am eternally grateful to be fortunate to share my life with my husband. He is absolutely amazing.

Day 29:

Oh yeah! Got spoiled with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange the other day. Bliss I tell you, bliss. Wish we had the dark chocolate ones here. Nothing like orange in chocolate I tell you. Yummy.

Day 30:

YES! My topcoat of choice, Essie’s Good To Go, was not being brought into South Africa anymore recently (I even tried that other super crap No Chips Ahead of theirs but it sucks). My heart was broken and I had to start hunting down a new top coat. Unfortunately I am super finicky about what I want, and nothing was ticking the boxes quite like this one, but then I found it and I bought it. My manicures are back to looking amazing again. So stoked.

Review: Arrival (2016)

“There are days that define your story beyond your life. Like the day they arrived.”
– Dr Louise Banks

SYNOPSIS: When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. Рvia IMDB

I saw a trailer for this a while ago and thought it looked interesting. I was infinitely more curious when I saw Denis Villeneuve’s name attached to the project as I rather like his work.¬†Arrival did not disappoint at all, and was definitely one of the better alien movies I have seen in a while, and I am a sucker for them. It definitely got right what most alien movies don’t – the movie maintained an air of mystery, it was smart, while the aliens were super important, we didn’t get to see too much of them (I mean this visually, not that they were not present), but what we did see of them was icky man.

Despite having Amy Adams helm the film (which for me could potentially have held it back, she is one of those actresses that irrationally annoys the shit out of me), it worked out just fine. In fact, I think Adams did a good job with the material she was given. I also enjoyed Jeremy Renner in this, and liked the interactions between Ian and Louise. I was glad that Villeneuve did not force a love story into the middle of this, as a romance was totally secondary to all that was going on.

I really liked how the film took time to set itself up. It was never rushed, or too slow and dull. The story was also very engaging. It took its time to set up a solid movie, which was also directed perfectly and¬†visually appealing, well acted, and had a brilliant score to accompany it. There was just so much to enjoy here. As I mentioned before, I was pleased that we didn’t see too much of the aliens, as it maintained mystery and kept them super creepy. I appreciate how smart¬†Arrival is, too, because I love a movie that makes me think.

Arrival is an impressive alien/sci-fi film, and definitely impressed me. I can highly recommend it. Sharp, shot beautifully and carried by strong performances, this movie will make you think on things for quite some time, and I like that.

You can totally skip the trailer and just go straight on to the movie.