Review: Suicide Squad (2016)


“But we almost pulled it off despite what everybody thought. Worst part of it is they’re going to blame us for the whole thing. They can’t have people knowing the truth. We’re the patsies; the cover up. Don’t forget, we’re the bad guys.:
– Deadshot

SYNOPSIS: A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. – via IMDB


GRADE 6This movie is one of the films this year that got showered in hate. And a lot of it. I have finally seen it to form my very own opinion and, while I thought it was messy and a missed opportunity, it really was not the heinous film that it has been painted. There was quite a bit to like, but there was more to dislike, and that is quite the issue.

We know David Ayer has the goods – just look at Fury, if you want a quick, amazing example. He knows how to shoot a film, and weave a super engaging story. Suicide Squad did not do that, and it sucks, because there were moments in the film where you could almost see something brilliant hiding, something that could have broken free. I thought the film boasted some super sketchy effects, and it really just threw you out of the watching experience.

Let’s also look at the whole concept of the Enchantress. Why? I mean Amanda Waller creates the Suicide Squad, but in so doing creates the threat, and then her newly formed squad must end the threat? Come on. Let’s also not forget a group of psychopaths becoming besties in a matter of hours. As a psychology graduate, I had such issues with this. The music, too, was something that irritated me. Initially it was something I loved, great music choices, but ultimately it was something that grated on me because it felt like as many cool songs as possible were being squeezed in, and when the soundtrack becomes more important than the film, and overshadows what you are watching and pulls you out of the movie, you have done something wrong.

I gotta say though that the performances were pretty good. I thought Robbie and Smith worked wonders together, and were hands down the standouts of the film. One of my biggest issues with this? Jared Leto as the Joker. In the trailer I could already tell he wasn’t going to work for me, but I had no idea how terrible he was actually going to be. Every time he came on the screen, I felt that he was just killing the movie for me. Ugh.

Overall, the movie wanted to be something more than it was, and it was sad because you could see something awesome trying to escape the mess it eventually was. It didn’t break barriers tot he genre, and was quite predictable throughout. Not the worst watch in the world, and certainly not deserving of the hate, but it’s a decent, mindlessly entertaining watch.


Review: Marked For Life – Emelie Schepp

marked for life emelie schepp cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jana Berzelius #1

SYNOPSIS: When a high-ranking head of the migration board is found shot to death in his living room, there is no shortage of suspects, including his wife. But no one expects to find the mysterious child-sized handprint in the childless home.

Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius steps in to lead the investigation. Young and brilliant but emotionally cold, Berzelius, like her famous prosecutor father, won’t be swayed by the hysterical widow or intimidated by the threatening letters the victim had tried to hide. Jana is steely, aloof, impenetrable. That is, until the next body is found…

A few days later on a nearby deserted shoreline, the body of a preteen boy is discovered, and with him, the murder weapon that killed him and the original victim. Berzelius is drawn more deeply into the case for as she attends his autopsy, she recognizes something strangely familiar in his small, scarred, heroin-riddled body. Cut deep into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking and trigger in her a flash of memory of her own dark, fear-ridden past. Her connection to this boy has been carved with deliberation and malice that penetrate to her very core.

Now, to protect her own hidden past, she must find the suspect behind these murders, before the police do. – via Goodreads

GRADE 5Well, this certainly didn’t go as I had hoped. It isn’t a bad read, but it is a long one. There were so many unnecessary scenes and interactions that could have been cut out to make it a tighter read, or at least replaced with things that we needed, such as character developments and history. Reading Marked For Life, it felt as though this novel was part of a series, and not a standalone book. There were too many relationships if felt like we were expected to understand, and afflictions and issues each character dealt with that seemed like we were already supposed to know all about them. I see now that this is the first book in what will become a series, but I intensely doubt that I will be revisiting other books in this series. There were also major issues with the characters – they were all unlikable. I couldn’t root for Jana, our main peanut, and even the side characters sucked (here’s looking at you specifically, Mia, ugh). I also found that the translation for this novel was not exactly grand, and there were sections that were not easy to read. The translation also made the dialogue cringe worthy and unbelievable and stilted. As for the story? I honestly thought it had a lot of potential, and I was very disappointed with the direction that the novel took eventually. Not the worst book to spend time on, but not something I will be revisiting, and not a series that I will be continuing.

Review: Hannibal – Thomas Harris

thomas harris hannibal cover

Hannibal Lecter #3

SYNOPSIS: Years after his escape, posing as scholarly Dr. Fell, curator of a grand family’s palazzo, Hannibal lives the good life in Florence, playing lovely tunes by serial killer/composer Henry VIII and killing hardly anyone himself. Clarice is unluckier: in the novel’s action-film-like opening scene, she survives an FBI shootout gone wrong, and her nemesis, Paul Krendler, makes her the fall guy. Clarice is suspended, so, unfortunately, the first cop who stumbles on Hannibal is an Italian named Pazzi, who takes after his ancestors, greedy betrayers depicted in Dante’s Inferno. Pazzi is on the take from a character as scary as Hannibal: Mason Verger. When Verger was a young man busted for raping children, his vast wealth saved him from jail. All he needed was psychotherapy–with Dr. Lecter. Thanks to the treatment, Verger is now on a respirator, paralyzed except for one crablike hand, watching his enormous, brutal moray eel swim figure eights and devour fish. His obsession is to feed Lecter to some other brutal pets. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6You all know I absolutely loved the first two Hannibal novels. The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon were both absolutely brilliant, beautiful, well-structured and very well written. Hannibal Lecter was creepy, freaky, the stories were intense, Will Graham and Clarice Starling were in fine form, the books were, simply, smart and chilling. I have been waiting years to get to this novel (I know, I really need to work on how I prioritise what I read) and I finally got to it. I have praised how loyal the previous movies were to their books, which is amazing. I know that Scott’s Hannibal does not get so much love, and I wondered if that was due to a bad book adaptation or what. Harris is a great writer, and I honestly thought this book would be so much more than it was, but let me tell you, it’s quite the disappointment. It starts strongly, it really does. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the initial setup, there was so much potential. But then the story took on this weird, not-suited life of its own and it went downhill from there. Steeply. It was unbelievable, and not in the grand, oh wow kind of way, either. The writing that had started so crisp and rich dwindled, the story setup and the characters that were so fascinating were quickly thrown aside, Hannibal was brought front and centre and then there was this horrible sense of disappointment because the Hannibal of this novel is so intensely different from the Hannibal that has been set up before. Lecter and Clarice no longer chill and thrill, and that conclusion? People complain about the movie conclusion and then there is this one… the whole thing simply becomes a caricature of what it was, which is a real pity. I feel bad about scoring it what I did, but I cannot possibly score it any higher. It starts with a bang and just loses steam and becomes jilted and silly. I mean Hannibal takes on this whole supernatural power, and then there is the drugging and hypnosis and he cannot be caught (I could deal with it – but it got messy). A large chunk of this novel was simply not credible. I couldn’t buy into it like I could the other two, not to mention that the book itself just wasn’t as engrossing or thrilling as it could have been. What a waste.

Review: Body Double – Tess Gerritsen

body double cover2q

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city, she has seen more than her share of corpses every day–many of them victims of violent murder. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression “dead ringer” rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner’s table been her own.

Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her shocked eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura’s home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances. Even more chilling is the discovery that they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura’s mysterious doppelgänger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.

Searching for answers, Maura is drawn to a seaside town in Maine where other horrifying surprises await. But perhaps more frightening, an unknown murderer is at large on a cross-country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the mother that she never knew . . . an icy and cunning woman who could be responsible for giving Maura life–and who just may have a plan to take it away. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4This series was going so well, until we got to this book, that is. Ugh, it was so annoying and extremely melodramatic, typically something I was going to love, right? It drove me absolutely crazy the way Maura suddenly lost her identity upon discovering that she had a twin sister and questioned everything. I understand it is a shock to the system and all, but I was so over reading the back and forth between who she thought she was and how her sister was. It got old, fast. Meh. Naturally it would affect you, but hell man, it was so dramatic and ridiculous and I could feel my nerve jumping around my eye just reading the parts. It made her an incredibly weak, insecure character. She actually grated on me, something she has the potential to do from time to time, but never to this level. I also found it to be overly drawn out and exaggerated: the hunt for her sister’s whereabouts etc, knowing who she is through who her sister was… no thank you. Far too melodramatic and long winded, and took it right out of me to read. Okay, I will stop complaining about that now, because I can go on for ages. The sad thing is that there actually was a relatively decent story in here, though it only kicks in just over halfway through the book, and we finally move away from Maura’s constant agonizing and get more involved in the actual case, which has some decent points to it. Ballard’s character would have been fine, though he did feel forced, and there were quite a few loose ends when all was said and done in the book. Some things were just way too far-fetched and there were some wild coincidences all over the show here, I just couldn’t buy in to much of it, which counted against the novel for me. I missed Gabriel in this book, as I had been hoping for more interactions between him and Jane since they got married, and I also expected to have some more of Jane’s family feature seeing as she is pregnant, but no cigar my friend. I would have hoped that this would give some more character development to Jane and Maura, but it wasn’t really the case, either, and it was so much longer than it needed to be. It was a real empty and pointless experience to me, which is a pity because this is actually a decent series and I like Gerritsen’s work. But this was really not a good read, and not something I want to be repeating again anytime soon.