Review: The Girl On The Train (2016)

“My husband used to tell me I have an overactive imagination. I can’t help it. I mean, haven’t you ever been on a train and wondered about the lives of the people who live near the tracks? The lives you’ve never lived.”
– Rachel Watson

SYNOPSIS: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life. – via IMDB

As some of you may recall, I recently read the book and I was totally not a fan. At all. I decided to watch the movie just because I wanted to see if it could convey better to screen, because surely there would be a better way to tell the story than the way it was presented in that absolutely godawful book. Well… right and wrong.

The way the movie was presented and the story told was better than the book. It wasn’t the same frustrating back and forth jumping in time, leaving you lost and confused. You get the story told from the perspective and times of three different women, but it is so much easier to follow. So much of the excess crap and internal monologues of the book are cut away here, so things definitely flow better. That being said, that is probably the only good stuff to note from this disappointing outing.

I couldn’t stand any of the characters. Again. No shocker, I expected this, but still. I really didn’t want to compare this to Gone Girl, especially with all the comparisons that exist, but now I can see it. While reading the book, I didn’t necessarily see the parallels too much (make no mistake, they are there at times), but this movie just felt like a cheap, sad knockoff. Tate Taylor definitely tried to pull a David Fincher with a washed out palette, a dark story, and a solid cast. Instead of any of that working, it falls apart here, and the cast just fails to make the boring material any more acceptable. Their performances just feel hollow. The story is not smart and unpredictable and twisty – its just bland and average.

I also found that the movie pushed to put a lot of sex in this, but it comes across as really unsexy, not the dark, forbidden, screwed up sex it tries to be. It fails miserably there. Also, how do you manage that with Luke Evans on screen? Unacceptable. I was not engaged once throughout the course of this movie, and I was frustrated watching it because I was bored beyond belief. I thought we were nearing the end (and how sad is that, considering I have actually read the book) and say that we were only a hour and five minutes in. What the heck?

The Girl On The Train features deplorable characters, a dull story, absolutely zero tension and atmosphere, and will leave you feeling disappointed and robbed of your precious time. It’s an absolute snooze fest, one I would highly recommend you skip and stay away from.

100 Happy Days 2: Day 11 – 20

Today we take another look at the 100 Happy Days challenge that I am doing again with Natasha. This is actually a really enjoyable challenge!

Day 11:

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I freaking love my Harry Potter keychain. Seriously. I have had it for years, and it is still awesome.

Day 12:

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Relaxing Friday afternoon for me – crocheted a bit more on a new project, had some Pepsi and watched some Criminal Minds. So good.

Day 13:

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Everything has been stacked against me recently in my quest for iced coffee (I am an iced coffee fiend), but on Saturday I finally won out and got some, and my husband got a frozen strawberry goodie.

Day 14:

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We had the most beautiful stormy weather over the weekend. I love this kind of weather – it’s totally movies/books/bed type of weather.

Day 15:

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Got some new goodies from Avon, so pretty happy about that.

Day 16:

Made some scumptious spaghetti bolognaise for dinner the other night. Hmmmm. Simple, fast, delicious. Ticked all my boxes.

Day 17:

In December I was bold and lopped off a massive amount of hair. I loved it, and all too soon my hair grew out and it was too long. I went over the weekend to have it cut into shape again. Ahhhh, so satisfied!

Day 18:

Oooooh yes, hazelnut cappuccino and speculaas? SOLD! Also – shameless excuse to show off my mug. I love it.

Day 19:

The flowers are in full bloom outside and it is gorgeous! This is a picture of the one tree growing in the back yard. It’s so pretty to see.

Day 20:

Oh yeah! Recently I finished my favourite nail colour to wear (the Gel Envy one in Up The Ante – the shade on the right), and I had to replace it. I went in to buy totally unrelated things (except the primer, I did need that), and ended up with a whole bunch of other things, including a replacement of my favourite colour, as well as the Hold ‘Em that I have been eyeing for a while.

Review: Psycho Analysis – V.R. Stone

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: A serial killer who wants to quit. A detective struggling to keep his personal life out of a murder hunt. And a celebrity psychiatrist facing an incredible challenge. Three damaged individuals, linked by their traumatic histories. They’ve chosen very different paths. Now those paths are about to cross.

Sarah Silver is a hedge fund manager – from Monday to Friday she makes a killing in the markets. At weekends, though, she hunts men, not profits. Martin White used to be a brilliant detective. But his family, judgement and self-control are deserting him. And Karl Gross has sold millions of books on serial killers. However he’s a controversial figure in the medical community.

Can Martin keep it together and catch a killer who commits almost perfect crimes? Is Karl capable of unravelling Sarah’s psyche and putting an end to the killing? Or will she disappear when she realises that the hunter has become the hunted? – via Goodreads

Hmmmm. I really thought that this would be better, appeal to me more than it ultimately did. I liked the cover, I studied psychology, this books speaks of a female serial killer… all things that are fascinating, and should have held more sway. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Psycho Analysis has all the makings to be good, but is instead a silly, bland affair. Not impressed.

The story, which I assumed was going to be engaging, was something that left me bored and unsatisfied. I was never reeled in. I also couldn’t stand any of the characters. The writing of them also implied that we knew more about them, which at a stage had me wondering if this book was part of a series, to find that it is not, but is in actual fact a debut novel. For a debut novel that means it is written well enough if I thought it was part of a series, but the story never actually did anything for me. Considering the author had studied psychology, I was really expecting more punch. It just never came.

I found the dialogue in Psycho Analysis stinted, and was also not a fan of the lead, DI Martin White. He was just… no. Plus when the whole reveal about his life came? So poorly executed. The book just came across as messy. The doctor who was discussing Sarah’s issues with her had his own, but they, too, were glossed over. I really thought there would be more of a twisted relationship between Sarah and Karl, as it was an interesting component. Then, of course, there was the silly relationship between Martin and Sarah – it never took off, and I didn’t care whether he was killed or she was caught. I also struggled to suspend reality for a lot of this book, and it should not have been that difficult to do.

Psycho Analysis is an uninspiring debut novel, and not something I would recommend.

Review: The Italian Job (2003)

“You know, the only thing worse than a thief is a coward.”
– Stella Bridger

SYNOPSIS: After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally. – via IMDB

I haven’t actually seen this since it came out, and recently figured I would give it a shot again. Which I did. Let me preface all that is to follow by saying that this movie holds up poorly upon rewatch. Very poorly. Essentially a 110 minute Mini Cooper advert, there is little to gel it all together. I am someone that enjoys a heist movie, really. They are fun, entertaining, and sharp. The Italian Job is not as smart or sassy as it pretends to be, and is nowhere near as witty as it think it is, either.

The movie has a recognizable cast, which is a big draw here. That being said, they all play rather flat characters that don’t actually develop at all, people we don’t really care about. The story is simple and straightforward, and not once does anything happen that surprises you. This is both a good and a bad thing in the fact that you can just get right down to things, but on the other hand offers up nothing to remember after the fact. The actors all seem to be having fun, which is a good thing.

The performances were decent and fit t he type of movie this was. The Italian Job was shot really well, and had decent pacing. By no means a thorough story or something you get too invested in, just enough to give you what you need to move on to the movie and the heist. Music fit the movie, but didn’t necessarily stand out in any which way. I don’t actually have much to say about this one.

At the end of the day, there are far better heist movies to occupy yourself with – ones with better stories, infinitely superior humour, and so much smarter. Ocean’s Eleven is a prime example of how a heist film can be done, and it had a much bigger set of characters to work with, and it was fleshed out far better than this. The Italian Job is not the worst movie you can waste your time on, but it pretty bland at the end of the day.

Review: Doctor Strange (2016)

“Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered and your time is short.”
– The Ancient One

SYNOPSIS: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts. – via IMDB

Goodness, it only took me forever to get to this! Finally I did so, and I must say, it is a Marvel film. It’s just what you expect. Good actors, decent story, decent effects, a silly love interest thrown into the mix, and some humour… you know, the regular recipe. This felt like your average Marvel film, which is both a good and a bad thing. It means you get a consistent viewing experience on the one hand, and on the other, it’s pretty generic and won’t stay with you forever. Yes. I said it.

I didn’t buy into the hype when this came and people lauded it. That is done for all Marvel releases, and only some of them are actually worthy of it. That being said, I was still interested to see what the studio would do with this, especially when I heard it get compared to things like Inception and The Matrix. I needed to see. I agree I can see where some of these comparisons come in, but unlike the other movies, there is not real stroke of brilliance here. For all the magic and sorcery that was spoken about, it just didn’t have the same vibe and feel here. It felt like things were rushed a bit, yet the movie felt overly long – yes, the pacing was a bit of an issue.

Doctor Strange did look good though. Really good. There were actually way too many effects going on for me, but I also think it was handled really well and looked awesome. The movie was also carried by an exceptionally good cast, and they all performed as best they could with the material they were given.  I think Cumberbatch was a fantastic choice to play Doctor Strange. There was the super awesome cape (I totally need one of those), and I enjoyed some of the humour. Wong was the best, and there was all sorts of mystical knowledge to be explored. It even had Mads Mikkelsen in it, peeps. But all of that could not save the movie. Ultimately it is rather forgettable. There is a very unfortunate love story squashed in, the pacing is all over the show, the story is actually pretty damn weak, and it never really goes for gold. Well, it feels like it doesn’t.

At the end of the day I was not bowled over as most people were. It is not a bad movie, not by a long shot. It is entertaining, looks good, and has an awesome cast attached to the project, these things cannot be denied. But the experience is pretty flat, there is nothing really new brought to the table, and it will not stay with you after all is said and done. For popcorn entertainment, it wasn’t bad, but it isn’t something I will be rushing to rewatch.

Review: Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

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“I don’t know how I’m going to live with myself if I don’t stay true to what I believe.”
– Desmond Doss

SYNOPSIS: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8Man oh man, I have been looking forward to this one for a variety of reasons, the two biggest being Andrew Garfield and Mel Gibson. Yeah sure, Gibson has done some cuckoo things, but he makes really good movies, and I enjoyed him a hell of a lot as an actor. As for Garfield? I just adore the guy. He is a talented actor and cute as a button. So how did the pairing come

Hacksaw Ridge impressed me. It really did. It isn’t so much a war movie as a drama – but do not take that to mean that you will not get a super vivid, clear depiction of the war, because you will. More than an hour is spent setting up Doss’s character and experiences, and driving home what his morals are, and how he sticks by them. The second half shows what happened on Hacksaw Ridge, but never really more of the war. It is the story of one man, and it is an amazing story. I was truly awestruck by how insane the story was, but also how inspiring. I liked, too, that the movie was very detailed about Desmond Doss’s faith. It handled this in depth, but it never felt preachy. It never felt like the viewer was being lectured on faith. It simply told his story, and I really appreciated that. Nobody wants some holier than thou message being shoved down their throats.

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I thought that Garfield was absolutely fantastic here. Really. He owned that role and I totally believed in his plight, and I was beyond impressed here. Garfield and Palmer also shared some great chemistry, and I must admit that I really liked watching them together. The score worked wonders, never overpowering, never being absent. The cast did a pretty good job, and visually the film was really nice to look at, and the camera was never overly shaky cam or too steady, making it impossible to watch, or too structured, and I think that worked in favour here.

Hacksaw Ridge managed to balance the nastiness and brutality of war, while still give us an inspiring story of a man, his faith, and what he wanted to do. Gibson did another good job here, proving to us once again that he is not afraid of getting to the nitty gritty of a film. I would say this movie is well worth a watch.

My recommendation? Skip the trailer and go straight into the movie.

100 Happy Days 2: Day 1 – 10

Hi guys! Alright, I did this 100 Happy Days challenge over a year ago, and I quite enjoyed it, and thought it was quite a positive experience. Things have been a little bit hectic lately, and I thought it would be a good time to do this again, as it worked really well last time, and I do need to look on the bright side again. So without further ado, welcome to Round Two of the 100 Happy Days challenge!

Day 1:

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My husband bought me a box set of The Mentalist for Christmas, and I got all over it the moment I got the opportunity to. The show is a load of fun, and really great.

Day 2:

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I recently scored some great books. I have read Manson’s The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell before, but now I own it, and I was beyond stoked – it’s a really good read. I wasted no time getting to it, and again, it did not disappoint.

Day 3:

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I topped up my snack drawer at work again, and even though I don’t consume as much junk anymore as I used to, it is nice to know that there is something yummy in my drawer whenever I want it!

Day 4:

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Ah, time to relax. Coffee, apple crumble, starting a new knitting project while finishing up Alias? I don’t think that’s too bad.

Day 5:

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Ah man! A student brought us the best peppermint crisp tart ever when he wrote his final exams to thank us. I think it’s a damn fine thank you!

Day 6:

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There are truly few things I love as much in my life as reading the Harry Potter books. I am all over this series again, and it remains as phenomenal as always.

Day 7:

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My husband recently went on holiday to the United States of America, and brought me an adorable little turtle home. I call it the Love Turtle. It’s so beautiful and super cute.

Day 8:

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So my favourite sea salt spray was discontinued ages ago, and I have been struggling to find a replacement. The Lee Stafford one that I tried last time was terrible – my hair went crunchy and sticky, so not what I was looking for. Bought the Fudge Urban one recently and so far, so good, perfect beach hair with no effort. Loving it!

Day 9:

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So The Mentalist is over, and I am dead sad about that. I have moved on to a rerun of The Vampire Diaries – don’t even judge me monkeys. Picked the box set up recently for a damn good price, so I am pretty stoked about that!

Day 10:

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Yes, I love purple. A lot. It’s a standing joke when I order something that people are “sure it is purple”. Well, lots of times they are right. My new little purple lighter makes me happier than I can say.