Stranger Things: Season 1 (2016)



What I liked:

  • The score. Like really. It was awesome, and very reminiscent of Drive. It resonated every step of the way, and was so important.
  • The opening credits. They are dead simple, no frills, bells, and whistles, and yet it is awesome. That music, the neon, the letters? I really liked this.

stranger things intro

  • The child actors. These kids were good. Usually kids in movies annoy me, their acting is stiff and unbelievable. But here? These kids were compelling. I am particularly a fan of Dustin.
  • Hopper. Initially you meet this dude that wakes up, brushes his teeth, chains a cigarette, washes down pills with a beer, all at the crack of dawn. However, as lost as this man appears in the beginning, it does not detract from the fact that he has a cop’s mind, and it is amazing to watch it kick into gear.

stranger things hopper wake up

  • The references and vibes! Carpenter, King, Hawkins, Stand By Me, everything!
  • The humour. It is just fantastic. Really had me laughing at times.

stranger things hopper mornings are for

  • The character development. People were not left to stagnate – while the kids were learning about themselves and El, so were Jonathan, Steve, and Nancy learning about themselves and changing. Joyce and Hopper discovered things and had to adapt the way they saw things, and embrace it. Brilliant. Everyone was involved here.
  • Mr Clarke. Seriously, this teacher was the best for so many reasons, and a character I absolutely adored! Here are some.

What I didn’t like: 

  • There are leaps and bounds in the logic that aren’t always explained, and don’t always make sense.
  • Nancy annoyed me endlessly. She was selfish and grating and silly. What an annoyance. However, her character changes and grows so much that she actually becomes someone decent later on.

stranger things nancy slap

  • I love less is more when it comes to the monster, and while this show managed that for the most part, I still feel that we saw too much of it, and it sort of killed the creep factor for me.

stranger things kids meet bad guys

I was so eager to check this out. I saw a trailer for it a few months back, and thought it looked like something that was totally up my alley. Then it released, and the reviews came back really positive, so I knew that I just had to get on it. Well, my husband and I watched it in three consecutive work nights, and then we were done. Done, and sad, because it is over now for a while. The minute this show started, I was pleased. It had a dark, creepy intro scene, some unseen monster, and then some ridiculously simple, cool opening credits. Everything was so eighties and old school and horror like, I was happy. The characters are introduced to us, and they are quite sweet, or interesting, or strange, depending who you meet. The boys and their Dungeons and Dragons tournament was endearing, and from there, the show kicks in.

stranger things dungeons and dragons

Stranger Things features a lot of heart, and that was cool. Yes, shows have relationships and you get invested, I am not disputing that, and great friendships. But Stranger Things shows you about the deep bonds that kids form as friends, their innocence at adding a latest, mysterious addition to their little ensemble, the love a struggling mother has for her child, and the ties between brothers. It was quite multilayered, and worked wonders.

stranger things johnathan nancy steve stranger things steve bat

Let’s talk about some characters I really liked. I was a big fan of Hopper – no matter the washout you think he is, the man has a cop’s brain, and is extremely good at what he does. He is also a tortured dude, but does his best to help people, even if he would prefer it happen after coffee and doughnuts. Then there is Mr Clarke, and he is just awesome, and brings a lot of humour to the screen, which I love. He is also a great teacher, and encourages passion for these kids, which is awesome. Winona Ryder is in fine form here as Joyce, and totally brings a lot to the table.

The kids need their own paragraph. Eleven is a great character, and Millie Bobby Brown played her so well. You pity her, but you also sort of fear her (because let’s face it, she is a bit of the unknown). She learns about all these totally foreign concepts (friendship, promises, etc.) and picks up on these things and embraces these concepts with open arms, without questioning, as only a child can, despite whatever has happened to her. Let’s not forget about Dustin, Michael, and Lucas here. These kids had their friendships with one another tried and tested, and are all at that age where things start to change in their lives. They learned more about trust, honesty, courage, and bravery in a short period of time than they would have even if years had passed. Of the original group of boys, Dustin was, without a doubt, my favourite. He is hilarious, has heart, tries to keep everyone happy and together, and has a real smart mouth. Definitely love!

stranger things better runstranger things she's crazy

Stranger Things is a tense watch, and draws you into this fictitious world effortlessly and completely, and while you know that so much that is going on is fantastical and bizarre, you totally just give in and take it on. You get invested. While they did not show too much of the monster, I still feel that they showed too much. I am all for the less is more when it comes to monsters. Give me flashes, give me more atmosphere, and while the show handled that successfully for the most part, I still feel that we saw too much of the monster, and it totally killed the freaky vibe with it. Anyway, all that said and done, Stranger Things is fantastic, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. All I  can say is watch it. Watch it now.

stranger things van flip

Review: Tracing the Bones – Elise A Miller

tracing the bones elise miller

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Cynical housewife Eve Myer has two kids, chronic back pain, and a decaying writing career—as well as a stagnant marriage haunted by her husband’s long ago affair.

When a new family moves in next door, Eve becomes consumed with curiosity about beautiful life coach Anna, and with powerful lust for Billy, a sexy alternative healer with a troubled, mysterious past. As Eve begins healing sessions with Billy, an unthinkable tragedy strikes Anna and her small son. Eve’s obsession invites even more suspicion and mistrust into her marriage and as her life unravels, her sessions with Billy intensify, culminating in an alternative, experimental trip deep into the woods―a freezing winter’s journey that threatens the remaining bonds of Eve’s marriage and finally uncovers the reason for Anna’s death. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Well, I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this, I quickly looked over the synopsis and thought that it might be entertaining enough, and I was right. It is, first and foremost, a really strange book. I mean it. The first part of the book, I had no idea what I was reading. We had a cynical, jealous, angry woman to read about, but nothing more. All the ramblings of her neighbour, her jealousy, her anger, and Eve’s strange life and connections. I was thinking the book was going to be an awfully long read, and then Anna turned out to be more than just a pretty face to be envious of, and when she released those visions to Eve, I knew that there was suddenly this crazy potential I had not even contemplated exploring yet, and the book picked up. Another thing to get out of the way right off the bat is that Tracing the Bones is an extremely sexual book – I mean it. Eve is constantly thinking about sex, or lusting after Billy, or sating herself, which can be really uncomfortable at the best of times. It doesn’t come up once or twice, know, the undertone and the meaning is constant and never masked, and I understand that sex was a driving force behind all that was happening, but there were times where it just felt like too much. However, there are other times where you realise how deliberate and bold it is, and how is somehow fits with this strange book. Me? I could definitely have done with less of it, but that’s just me. Tracing the Bones is a compelling read though, and it keeps you interested, whatever may be said about it. I have to say, the characters are not exactly what I would call likable, which is usually a killer in a book for me, but it somehow worked here, as this book has this feeling of detachment at times (and no, not from the author, just the general vibe you pick up from Eve). The book is dark, and has a paranormal/supernatural element to it, one that is never really glossed over, but also never the focal point of the book, which makes it all the more fascinating. The mystery surrounding Anna’s death, too, is constantly there, as well as Eve’s unhappy marriage and her indecent obsession with Billy. This is a quick read that flows quite well, is definitely weird, and is worth checking out.

Rapid Review: The Zero Theorem (2013)

the zero theorem poster

“Waiting for The Call. What other reason is there to pick up the phone?”
– Qohen Leth

SYNOPSIS: A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him. – via IMDB

zero theorem

GRADE 7I sat throughout this movie with a wtf-is-going-on attitude. Not because it was bad, but because it was a bizarre journey to take. Waltz delivered a great performance, and I absolutely love listening to this man. His voice, his cadence, its all very mesmerising. While he may have not been as eloquent as his role as King Schultz, or as thrilling as Hans Landa, Qohen was his own unique and bizarre character. I loved his usage of “we” and “us” instead of “I”, and his twitchy mannerisms were interesting to watch. He was absolutely crazy and strange, yet at the same time you want to know more about him, and you hope he realises all those things he is evidently hanging onto in life. Lucas Hedges as Bob entertained me endlessly, he was certainly one of my favourite characters. The way he and Qohen taught each other things and learned from one another was so cool, and Bob’s energy was palpable. There were things that I did not really get in this movie all the time, but that wasn’t too important. The constume design was fantastical and crazy, suiting the style of the movie down to a tee, and I loved the settings and scenery used in this film. Qohen’s home being in an abandoned church was interesting, and it had both a beautiful and depressing feel to it at the same time. The camera work was cool, and the plot layout had you wondering what the hell was going on the whole way through. I really wish Matt Damon had been given a bigger role, I do so love his work (even when he has crappy roles like Max in Elysium). I had a giggle at the Church of Batman the Redeemer, and the way the dystopian future was portrayed was incredibly weird, yet it worked. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I think that some people look at this as a missed opportunity comedy or something, and while there are scenes that are humorous and all, overall it is more depressing than anything else, but I liked that. This movie is certainly not going to be for everyone, of that I am certain, but as for me, I liked it.

Rapid Review: Honeymoon (2014)

honeymoon poster

“Where’s my wife?”
– Paul

SYNOPSIS: Young newlyweds Paul and Bea travel to remote lake country for their honeymoon. Shortly after arriving, Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night. As she becomes more distant and her behavior increasingly peculiar, Paul begins to suspect something more sinister than sleepwalking took place in the woods. – via IMDB

honeymoon new couple movie 2014

GRADE 7Well, this was a movie I was looking forward to. I loved the posters and the artwork and all of it. Naturally, I was thrilled when it finally arrived (though this has been lying in my drafts folder for an age). I grabbed my other half, convinced him this was no chick flick and geared up. It started with a bang. It was shot beautifully, the couple was adorable, the acting was just fine, I liked it. I liked the way that things started getting strange, and Will and Annie surely brought something darker in. The score was fantastic, always just beneath the surface, never stepping to the fore and taking over, just lingering in the background, complementing every scene. Now, Honeymoon, never really delves too deeply into the story, which is something that counts both in its favour and against it. I can’t say too much, either, because I really don’t want to be spoiling for anyone. I loved not knowing too much, always wondering, I had my suspicions and all that (although, granted, it was pretty obvious as to what was going on – not very subtle hints). What I did not like is the way this movie just ended. I can deal with a movie just ending (think Enemy) where there is still some mystery and you are left to think. What I hate is feeling like I have been slapped in the face and just left hanging. That is exactly the conclusion that Honeymoon provides, which is such a pity because it was on such a roll! It played with a concept that is so dangerous to mess around with, yet it did so wonderfully… until the end. It was creepy and strange and all those things, which was great, but then it dipped and didn’t tie things up properly at the end. You know how much I adore loose strings. I loved watching Paul and Bea together, they were so in love with each other, and could survive the world if it were just them, and they did their best. When things start to go funny, I feel so sorry for Paul. It seems that they are both desperately trying to cling on to one another when things start to go off the rails, and they give it a damn fine run for its money, but eventually their honeymoon is certainly not going the way they had hoped. Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway work very well together in here, truly bringing it all together nicely. This movie has no jump scares, it does not make you question life or reality or anything like that, it just ends and settles. I liked the lack of jump scares, it relied more on the script and dialogue, and both were relatively good, though still very flawed (the dialogue in places just went pretty dodgy and unrealistic – especially in the beginning). There were some pretty nasty scenes in the movie – not a lot, but a few really gross ones here and there, but this just served to highlight how insane things were getting. Anyway, this will certainly not be for everyone, and was something I was thoroughly enjoying up until the conclusion. Worth looking into, for sure!