Review: Role Models (2008)

“No, venti is twenty. Large is large. In fact, tall is large and grande is Spanish for large. Venti is the only one that doesn’t mean large. It’s also the only one that’s Italian. Congratulations, you’re stupid in three languages.”
– Danny

SYNOPSIS: Wild behavior forces a pair of energy drink reps to enroll in a Big Brother program. – via IMDB

You know, I watched this movie when it came out and I have gone back to it a few times over the years and I still thoroughly enjoy it. No, it isn’t a perfect movie or anything like that, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

First and foremost, Paul Rudd is absolutely fantastic in this. I adore the man, so will pretty much watch anything he’s in. I think he’s sweet and hilarious and so dry, which works for me. This is no exception, he is plenty entertaining, and works wonders with Stifler Seann William Scott. Scott provides just the type of role you would expect from him, but he does it well. McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse entertains endlessly as awkward Augie. Another hilariously awkward character is cocaine-crazy Sweeny, and Jane Lynch has a ball with the role. As you can tell, the movie hinged quite heavily on the actors having fun with the material, and it works. 

The humour made me laugh, too. It’s witty, dry, sarcastic and crude at times throughout, and it totally works. The movie also doesn’t drag out the run-time, so it plays it out and does its thing but doesn’t overstay its welcome, which is great. You just have fun, and then it is over, before it wastes away and tries too hard to be something it isn’t. The story, while not new, is handled deftly. There are a lot of crappy movies in this genre, but every now and then there is one that stands out, one that tries to and succeeds to be more. This is one of those. It has a lot of heart and a lot of humour, knows what it is and goes for it, without being apologetic.

I really enjoyed some of the situations the characters found themselves in and I liked how things were handled. There was even character growth to be found throughout here, which is more than I could have asked for. The soundtrack and score worked, not once taking over and becoming the focus, which is just fine.

So, all in all, if you haven’t checked out Role Models before and feel like a good, light comedy with plenty of heart, I can highly recommend this one, it is quite fun. I don’t really know what to say other than I like this one and I find myself returning to it time and time again and enjoying it without fail.


Review: 1922 (2017)

“I believe that there’s another man inside of every man. A stranger. A conniving man.”
– Wilfred James

SYNOPSIS: A simple yet proud farmer in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate. – via IMDB

So, in keeping up with 2017 being Stephen King’s year, I had to check out some more offerings. I quite enjoyed It, and heard good things about the Netflix offerings, so I figured I may as well check it out. 1922 is engaging, one can absolutely not deny that. It is a slow burn, which might irritate some, but I thought it was the right pacing to set the right tone for this film, because the story is not a fast, crazy horror. It is a psychological slow burn that creeps up on you and takes you down.

First off, while the world might not love Thomas Jane, I quite enjoy him, and I think he is pretty awesome for King adaptations, so I was pleased to see him return for yet another outing. He plays Wilfred James, a farmer who is quite taken with his lands, and to watch him move from simple farmer, father, husband to some greedy man is wonderful, as Jane handles the shift well.

1922 has some solid pacing working in its favour, too, as this is not a story that should be told in a rush. It is a deliberate setting with a deliberate outcome, and is not a mile a minute story. The slow burn totally worked for me, but I know not everyone is sold on it. The story is rather fascinating, too. Not revolutionary, that’s for sure, but engrossing nonetheless. There were some rather intense section to sit through, too.

I think that 1922 is a solid outing and worth the watch. You get a chilling look into James’s mind, his greed for the land and his manipulating and conniving was quite something to watch. His refusal to accept the repercussions was intense, and to see what his horrendous plans did to his son and to his family is something else. 1922 is a dark tale that slowly sets itself out before you, one that gets under your skin. Well worth the watch.

Review: Indelible – Karin Slaughter

indelible cover

Grant County #4

SYNOPSIS: An officer is shot point-blank in the Grant County police station and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver is wounded, setting off a terrifying hostage situation with medical examiner Sara Linton at the center. Working outside the station, Lena Adams, newly reinstated to the force, and Frank Wallace, Jeffrey’s second in command, must try to piece together who the shooter is and how to rescue their friends before Jeffrey dies. For the sins of the past have caught up with Sara and Jeffrey – with a vengeance … – via IMDB

GRADE 8Man, I feel that this book is super rewarding, especially for those of us who truly enjoy the relationship between Sara and Jeffrey. Every book gives us a piece here and there to keep us going, but not really an awful lot to chew on. Indelible kicks it up with telling a modern crime deeply embroiled in the past, and it all ties together really well.

I was glad to not have to read all about Lena and her crap in this one (trust me, it cropped up, but it didn’t dominate as much as usual). I was far more hooked on reading about the early stages between Sara and Jeffrey, to see how well things started, to know how they went sour, and to see how they are struggling to bring things together. That being said, the struggling is totally because Sara is being selfish. Just saying. It is so interesting to read more about where Jeffrey is from. We know a lot more about Sara, but not an awful lot about Jeffrey, and to see where he came from and what has done with himself is great.

Jumping between the past and the present didn’t frustrate me one little bit in this book, as it just works. Again, the consistency Slaughter writes with is amazing. The little characteristics, idiosyncrasies, phrases, etc. of the characters she sprinkles throughout the book that look like throwaway things that actually aren’t are so cool. I like it. The characters that Slaughter has built are like real people to me, which is a rarity for an author to legitimately achieve. They do not come across as forced, and I like it. You cheer for them, hurt for them, stress with them, commisserate with them, understand them as well as get angry with them.

Indelible is another solid offering from Karin Slaughter. The writing style breezes along and the story is engaging from the off, dragging you in completely and rewarding you with new characters, incidents, and a juicy chunk of the past shared by Sara and Jeffrey. Recommended.

January Blind Spot Review: Eastern Promises (2007)

“Anger is dangerous. It makes people do stupid things.”
– Nikolai Luzhin

SYNOPSIS: A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family. – via IMDB

I have been meaning to watch this for ages (imagine that?!) and decided it was time to get it off my Neflix list so I could at least move on with my life, and I have always heard how good Viggo Mortensen is in this one. Well, let me tell you, he is hands down the best thing about this movie, that’s for sure. I know Mark, another instance where you and I aren’t seeing eye to eye 😦

I found Eastern Promises to be tonally uneven, and the story skipped around too much for my liking. Not artistically, either, just messy and contrived. There were moments in this where you could totally see how great it could have been. It dealt with a heavy story and had so much more potential than it ultimately went with. Like, there were moments I sat there and I was like “wow, this could have been phenomenal“, but the execution, off-key acting and everything just bogged it down.

I like Vincent Cassel, but he just didn’t nail this down properly, and came across as more awkward than anything. Armin Mueller-Stahl is also good, and does the sinister Russian mob boss just fine, what with a more understated portrayal. Naomi Watts just didn’t really work for me – she didn’t come across as sincere at all. But then, I find that to be the case with her more often than not. That brings me to Viggo Mortensen, and holy crap, he was fantastic here. I mean, the guy is a solid actor, and this outing from him highlights that about him once again. He can rise to the occasion, and looks like he did a lot of research for this role, and he comes across as authentic. He was well worth the watch, and made the movie worth watching. 

The violence you see in this is not too frequent, and isn’t as crazy as some movies (I totally think that stupid fucking Saw franchise warped my concept of what is considered “violent” more than it was before that), and it pretty much all served a purpose, it wasn’t just random and there to be there.

Overall, I found Eastern Promises to be a movie that didn’t have the guts to go for glory, or just missed out on the vision. Not a terrible movie, but it is a rather flat affair all round, except for Mortensen, who really gets into his role of Nikolai.

Review: Dead Weight – T.R. Ragan

Lizzy Gardner #2

SYNOPSIS: Private investigator Lizzy Gardner knows a thing or two about living in the past. As a teenager, she was terrorized by a serial killer, an ordeal that haunted her for more than a decade before the maniac was finally stopped. So when terminally ill Ruth Fullerton begs Lizzy to reopen the cold case into her daughter’s disappearance, it’s hard to say no. More than twenty years have passed since Carol Fullerton vanished, abandoning her car by the side of a California freeway. The police wrote her off as a runaway, yet something tells Lizzy the truth isn’t so simple…

Carol’s cold case has barely begun to thaw when Andrea Kramer shows up at Lizzy’s door. Andrea’s sister, Diane, has been missing for months, and she’s convinced a charismatic weight-loss guru—part Tony Robbins and part Richard Simmons—is responsible. Diane was obese, but could her obsession with losing weight have led to her disappearance?

As if two active missing persons cases weren’t enough, Lizzy is also trying to manage her two teenage assistants, including one as wounded and haunted by her past as Lizzy. – via Goodreads

Decided to check out more of the books in this series (I bought almost all of them on a monthly special on Amazon). I was maybe not the biggest fan of the first, but Lizzy’s past was an interesting enough motivator for me to check out more. Well. Well. Well. Uhm, yeah. This wasn’t bad, but it was essentially more of the same.

The romance that was so hugely built between Lizzy and Jared in the first book is dragged up time and time again in this without actually going anywhere, and then we also  need to deal with Lizzy’s fear of so many things. Then there is Hayley, who is not adjusting to her new life and carries a lot of bitterness and resentment and is incredibly unlikable here, even though I liked her well enough in the first. I understand her anger, just got over reading about her silly inward fights. The competition and edginess between Jessica and Hayley was something I liked.

I didn’t like the pacing for this – it was messy. Lizzy is working two cases, and yet neither case feels like anything as the book is just all over the show. The one case definitely took precedence, but they both felt hollow. The saddest thing about that is that both cases are actually rather interesting, just not handled really well.

Well, considering I have all the others to check out, I will go ahead with that at some stage. I don’t think these are the worst books, and they are decent filler reads that zip along and don’t require too much investment, and that’s decent at least.

Review: A Faint Cold Fear – Karin Slaughter

a faint cold fear cover

Grant County #3

SYNOPSIS: Sara Linton, medical examiner in the small town of Heartsdale, Georgia, is called out to an apparent suicide on the local college campus. The mutilated body provides little in the way of clues — and the college authorities are eager to avoid a scandal — but for Sara and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, things don’t add up.

Two more suspicious suicides follow, and a young woman is brutally attacked. For Sara, the violence strikes far too close to home. And as Jeffrey pursues the sadistic killer, he discovers that ex-police detective Lena Adams, now a security guard on campus, may be in possession of crucial information. But, bruised and angered by her expulsion from the force, Lena seems to be barely capable of protecting herself, let alone saving the next victim… – via Goodreads

I promise, Karin Slaughter does an absolute bang up job of maintaining a fast paced, well written story, with a plot to boot. Following Lena’s story is both sad and frustrating, though you can understand how she ended up where she is. But I think it is bad that her situation is so messed up and she is not willing to change a thing about it, but completely prepared to worsen it. Let’s not even forget how she could get involved with white supremacist scum like Ethan. Ugh! Anyway, her self destructive behaviour is highlighted excellently here.

The grief was almost palpable at times in this one, and I think Tessa suffered a terrible injustice, and I found it very difficult to follow how mad the Lintons were with Sara and Jeffrey, though I understand fear makes you strike out and blame whoever is the nearest in the vicinity, whoever can bear the mantle to quell your emotions is the one that bears the brunt.

Sara and Jeffrey’s relationship is one of the more realistic ones I have read of in a novel, because it is not all lust and perfection, and being the perfect partner. Real emotions come in to play here, and the dynamic they share is more believable; they both have their selfish moments together, yet they both also have a selflessness that comes to the fore sometimes, because every now and then no matter what you feel about a situation or your needs, they have to take the backseat to your partners needs and requirements. I absolutely love reading about these two together, though I do feel Sara is a touch harsh to Jeffrey sometimes. A lot of times. She yanks him around too much and should just get her crap together. He deserves better.

Also, some fights between Sara and Jeffrey in this one were (again) about Lena, but the one time that Sara’s defending Lena and I am with Jeffrey on this. Lena has made her choices. There was a lot of fighting going on all over the show in this book, tensions running high and all of that. I am glad to see Nan and Lena getting along better though, seriously.

A Faint Cold Fear is well written and engaging, drawing you in and feeding you more of the story concerning some amazing characters. There is a lot of development going on, too, and I like that. Slaughter is amazing, and this series hooks me every time without fail. Worth the read.

Blind Spot Series 2018

Here we are, another year, and because I have enjoyed doing this so much, I am going to do another Blind Spot list for 2018 – you know, we all have those movies that we are forever intending to get to and just never do. Well, this challenge definitely helps narrow it down a bit 🙂 Over the years this series has encouraged me to check out some absolutely phenomenal movies (as well as some really bad ones), so I am excited to see what awaits me this year!

Rogue One (2016)

SYNOPSIS: The daughter of an Imperial scientist joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the Death Star plans.  – via IMDB

Vertigo (1958)

SYNOPSIS: A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. – via IMDB

Big (1988)

SYBOPSIS: After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult. – via IMDB

The Goonies (1985)

SYNOPSIS: In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure. – via IMDB

Before Sunrise (1995)

SYNOPSIS: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together. – via IMDB

Eastern Promises (2007)

SYNOPSIS: A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family. – via IMDB

Sixteen Candles  (1984)

SYNOPSIS: A girl’s “sweet” sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible. – via IMDB

Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

SYNOPSIS: An I.R.S. auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death. – via IMDB

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

SYNOPSIS: Spinal Tap, one of England’s loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour. – via IMDB

Miracle of 34th Street (1947)

SYNOPSIS: When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. – via IMDB

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

SYNOPSIS: Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that’s all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor. – via IMDB

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

SYNOPSIS: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood. – via IMDB