My Top Ten Chocolate Bars

With October and then Halloween just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to rank my favorite chocolate bars. Yeah! Why the hell not?

I have both UK & US chocolate on this list but my heart still mostly belongs to American junk food. It’s what I grew up with! But I know most people prefer British chocolate. I also have a few things on the list that aren’t exactly chocolate “bars”. Number three is iffy. Oh well – Close enough. Oh, and this will actually be a Top 20. Yeah! Why the hell not?

So here are My Top Ten (Twenty) Chocolate Bars, counting down to my favorite. (But in all honesty, I prefer chips. Or crisps as they’re known in the UK…)😉

Honorable Mentions:

20. Whatchamacallit
19. US Mars Bar (The UK Mars Bar is closer to a US Milky Way)
18. US Milky Way (The UK Milky Way is closer to a US 3 Musketeers but not as good)
17. TIE: Munchies & Rolo
16. Minstrels
15. Walnut Whip
14. Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups
13. Hershey Bar With Almonds
12. Cow Tales (do they still do these in the US? Not sure they qualify as chocolate, though)
11. Twix

Top Ten:

10. Maltesers (like US Whoppers)

9. Cadbury Dairy Milk (And I also like the current variant with the popping candy & jelly beans in it)

8. Cadbury Creme Egg (UK or US – the yummy gunk in the center tastes the same)

7. Nestlé Crunch

6. Snickers

5. Kit Kat (In the UK, I prefer the Dark Chocolate Kit Kat)

4. Tootsie Roll

3. Flipz Chocolate Covered Pretzels

2. M&M’s (Plain over Peanut)

1. 3 Musketeers

**I was going to make this into a poll but there are just too many types of chocolate bars. So tell me in the comments what your favorites are!🙂 And I’ll actually catch up on replying to your comments this weekend. Sorry to those who have been commenting – I’ve fallen weeks behind on my blog!

The Girl With All The Gifts (2016) Review

The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)

Directed by Colm McCarthy

Based on The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot depicts a dystopian future following a breakdown of society after most of humanity is wiped out by a fungal infection and focuses upon the struggle of a scientist, a teacher and two soldiers who embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’ll point out that we’re dealing with a lot of my favorite things when it comes to this movie: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, an infection that turns people zombie-like… So this movie is totally my type of thing but I have to say that I thought it was really good & quite an original take on a genre I never would have expected to become as mainstream as it has nowadays. I liked zombie movies before they were cool, dammit.😉 lol

This is from the book of the same name by M.R. Carey & it’s a rare occasion that I haven’t read a novel in this genre before seeing the movie. I really want to read it now (but I hate doing it that way around). Has anyone here read it? It’s had very good reviews. But I have to say that it was nice to watch a movie like this where for once I didn’t know much about it beforehand & had no idea what would happen. So that probably helped but I really did enjoy everything about this film. I liked the story, I really liked the ending (I often complain about horror movie endings), and I thought it had a great overall atmosphere & very interesting score.

The characters are also really good in this, which is always extremely important to me. I’d have liked a little more character development & to know more about their pasts (maybe there’s more in the book?) but the movie still did well with them for its running time & I cared about what would happen to everyone. That’s more than can be said for most modern horror films (like Don’t Breathe, which I’ll review next week – hateful characters in that!).

Glenn Close plays a scientist trying to create a cure for the infection & Paddy Considine plays a soldier. They’re both good & have big roles in this story but the main characters are Gemma Arterton as a teacher & fantastic newcomer Sennia Nanua as her favorite student, Melanie. These two have a great mother/daughter type of relationship that kind of made me think of Ellen Ripley & Newt in Aliens. Being the mother of a daughter, I always enjoy that maternal instinct thing in movies (especially cool movies with aliens & zombies since I’m not a girly girl). Arterton did a very good job but Sennia Nanua was amazing. I immediately looked her up & she’s been in nothing else other than a short film (a ska film set in 1980 – I want to see it!). She’s certainly an actress to watch. What’s with young people being so damn good in movies nowadays? Between her & Jacob Temblay in Room, this has been quite a year for amazing performances from young people (btw – Room was this year in the UK before anyone corrects me).

I don’t want to get too detailed on the plot as, from what I can tell, this movie doesn’t yet have an American release date? That’s a shame – I do recommend it if it makes its way overseas (it’s an English film). If you liked 28 Days Later, this is worth a watch as it has a similar mood & vibe plus, of course, a deserted London thanks to a contagious infection that turns people zombie-like.

I think this is a good one to watch without knowing too much but I promise that it’s not “just another unoriginal zombie movie”. As there are so many now, it’s hard to bring something new to the table but I think this movie does manage to give us something a bit unexpected. It’s a serious film – almost more thriller than horror & more about the relationships between the characters & moral implications involving Glenn Close’s work as a scientist. So, yeah, it has people who want to feed on brains but it’s not a braindead film. I like a movie that makes you think & it’s a good one for discussion afterwards. I’m really glad I saw The Girl With All The Gifts – I hope it gets a wider release & that more people give it a chance. And Sennia Nanua is definitely one to watch.

My Rating: 8/10

**Here’s the trailer if you do want to know a bit more than what I’ve told you. I did see this trailer beforehand & it didn’t ruin anything for me.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (Book Review)

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

What It’s About: (via the back cover)

Every Day The Same. Until Today.

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens.

She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking, and in one moment everything changes.

Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

My Thoughts:

I pretty much hated this book. I’ve never read a book full of so many annoying & hateful characters! The characters in this made me almost like the people in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I’d rather be friends with everyone in Gone Girl than with any of these self-absorbed assholes. Why was there so much hype over this book? Between the hype & knowing it was going to be made into a movie starring Emily Blunt (I love her), I was really excited to finally read this one. Ugh. I’m never listening to hype again.

Rachel is our main character, the girl on the train. This is who Emily Blunt will be playing and I hope they make this character a little less pathetic for the movie. It’ll break my heart to see Blunt go from playing someone so kick-ass in the excellent Edge Of Tomorrow to playing a woman who spends the entirety of this book drinking & moping around just because her husband left her. Okay, it’s sad to be dumped but I think this takes place a year or so later and you just want to scream at her “Get over it! Move on!“. You’d maybe feel sorry for Rachel if she didn’t end up being so hateful.

At least we get some other characters, right? Luckily, the book also spends quite a bit of time on the characters in the homes that Rachel can see from the train. Unfortunately, though, they’re just as hateful. One thing I really can’t stand are people who are completely self-absorbed & I think this is actually a huge disturbing trend in today’s society (thanks, Kardashithingies – I refuse to spell that name out as I don’t want it linked to my blog). Each character is so “me me me” and cares only if their actions have immediate consequences for themselves. The women are obsessed with themselves & with their men (or lack of men). The men, who are secondary characters, are so one-dimensional. I felt like both the men & the women were written as gender stereotypes and I’ve never been so completely unable to relate to anyone in a story.

So what about the story? It’s hard to get into the story at all since it revolves around a mystery and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone still wanting to read this or to watch the movie. I’ll say that the story is okay. I’ll even say that I was very into the mystery at first & read this book very quickly as I was so eager to find out what was going on. But it falls apart at the end & I wasn’t happy with the direction it took. Predictable & silly. One character also does something so horribly unforgivable & inexcusable, naïve or not, that I was actually quite angry at this being used as a plot device. If not for that one thing, I’d probably be a little more forgiving of the story.

I can’t help but compare this to Gone Girl as both were huge best sellers involving a mystery & similar sorts of characters. But Gone Girl, despite its faults, was actually very well-written and a far better book. You have to give a little bit of credit to The Girl On The Train for obviously being inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s brilliant Rear Window but, well, it’s certainly no Rear Window… Yikes. What an insult to Grace Kelly & Jimmy Stewart! Rachel is like the anti-Grace Kelly.

Hated Rachel. Hated Anna. Hated Megan. Hated the men whose names I can’t even remember as they were written as such shallow characters that I was insulted on behalf of men everywhere. But the story wasn’t the worst thing ever, I suppose. It moved along fairly quickly & would make for a good made-for-TV movie so the fact that it’s a big Hollywood movie with big stars must mean I’m missing something that everyone else isn’t. This book has very positive reviews all over the place online so, if it interests you, give it a go as my opinion seems to be an unpopular one. To be fair, this isn’t the type of book I normally go for so I may be slightly more negative because of that. I think I’ll just stick to horror, sci-fi & post-apocalyptic from now on.

My Rating: 2/5

*The film adaptation of The Girl On The Train comes out next week on the 5th of October if you’re interested… 

Awesome Movie Poster For 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters

Check out this awesome movie poster for a documentary about… movie posters! It’s called 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters and I badly want to see it as I have a love for cool movie posters (such as those by artist Drew Struzan, which I posted about HERE).

You can read a little about this documentary & see a teaser trailer at this link: Entertainment Weekly.

Music Video Friday: Ratt – Round And Round

Today’s video is Round And Round by Ratt.

I chose this video because I’m old and uncool. I was a teenager when pretty boy hair metal was popular & I loved it & I won’t apologize. Although, I wouldn’t really say that any member of Ratt was pretty. Not like Kip Winger! Or Mark Slaughter! Or even a little bit of Sebastian Bach! Hotties. I mean, I preferred heavier stuff like Metallica musically but I didn’t want to cuddle with them & exchange beauty tips.

Oh, but this video is a classic. WTF is the message, anyway? That Ratt are so cool they can turn women feral?? Haha! I love sexist Eighties hair band videos! I grew up with them & put up with them & actually thought nothing of them at the time. Hell, one of my absolute favorite videos was ZZ Top’s Legs (still is, actually). But I’ll probably never even let my own daughter watch that one. Different time, different values.

Anyway, this video is less sexist than most from that era so I feel comfortable posting it. It’s mostly just hilarious – how does the girl end up looking like an entirely different person just because she hears Ratt’s music playing? And how did she have time to get her hair cut & dyed on her way up the steps? It’s almost as confusing as the fact that Milton Berle is in this video. I always found that strange! But, hey – we didn’t have Wikipedia when this video came out (or, like, the Internet). Thanks to modern technology, I can now share 80’s music video trivia tidbits with the two people who read these posts! Yay!!! So tell us, Wikipedia, why the hell was Milton Berle in a Ratt video?!:

“The video briefly features comedian Milton Berle, whose nephew Marshall Berle was Ratt’s band manager at the time.”

Ah HA! So that’s why! Thank you, Wikipedia. And thank you as well for this interesting (and sad) tidbit too:

“The vixen in the video is model Lisa Dean who would play the lead character, Diana, in the 1988 Michael Jackson music video of Dirty Diana. Dean died in December 2009 at the age of 50 after a bout with colon cancer.”

Oh, and here’s a quick personal trivia tidbit that no one will find interesting but I’m going to share anyway: my cousin went to see Ratt & Poison together in concert in the Eighties & my grandma thought she was going to see a band called Rat Poison. Ha! I’m easily amused. And this video amuses me. And I kind of still love this song & will probably watch this video several times tonight after I get home from work. The song is already stuck in my head as I type this.

I love the metalhead butler… Punch that fist in the air!

My Top Ten Michael Douglas Movies

Happy (early) Birthday to Michael Douglas, who turns 72 on Sunday.

Recently, I watched & reviewed Paths Of Glory for my (pretty much dead) IMDB Top 250 Project. I’ve just been lazy on doing those – I’ll get back to it at some point. Anyway, I realized that it was the first and only film I’ve ever seen starring Michael’s father Kirk Douglas. How pathetic is that?! I’m a poor excuse for a movie blogger. But, hey – I realized that I’ve seen a lot of his son’s films! So, there you go – that’s why I decided to do this list. That’s a good enough reason, right???😉

I’ve also noticed that Kirk Douglas will turn 100 on December 9th. Wow! I’ll finally watch Spartacus in honor of that.🙂

So, in the meantime, here are My Top Ten Michael (not Kirk) Douglas Movies, counting down to my favorite movie (not role):

(I’ve seen 13)😉

13. Don’t Say A Word
12. Disclosure
11. A Perfect Murder

Top Ten

10. Basic Instinct

9. Coma

8. Wall Street

7. The War Of The Roses

6. Chorus Line

5. Romancing The Stone & The Jewel Of The Nile (I could really do with re-watching these, though)

4. Ant-Man

3. The Game

2. Falling Down

1. Fatal Attraction

The Graduate (1967) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Satu of Fairytale Pictures. Thanks for the review, Satu!🙂 Now let’s see what she thought of The Graduate, IMDB rank 186 out of 250 (as of 01/01/13)…

There are another 15 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. The deadline is November 1st. The available films are:

Cool Hand Luke 1967
The Wrestler 2008
The Lives of Others 2006
The Sting 1973
Die Hard 1988
Léon 1994
The Hobbit 2012
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
Rain Man 1988
Taxi Driver 1976
Gone with the Wind 1939
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Before Sunrise 1995
Before Sunset 2004
Life Is Beautiful 1997

See the full Top 250 list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

The Graduate (1967)
Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Calder Willingham, Buck Henry (& Charles Webb (novel))
Starring Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft

Synopsis: “A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.

It’s been a while since I saw The Graduate but I didn’t really like it. It bothers me that I don’t know what it is. A drama or a comedy? Is it supposed to be funny? Shocking? I don’t usually care that much but I just don’t get the hype of this film. It won an Oscar for the best directing. It was nominated in seven different categories and I have absolutely no idea why it won in that one? I know that Bonnie & Clyde that was multi-nominated that year too was much more interesting to watch.

The first thing that sticks out in The Graduate is lensing aka cinematography. It’s annoying as hell! Gosh. It drove me nuts. What are those freaking all-the-time weird shots? It feels so messy and to me it ruined most of the film. Then again, if the point was making life seem messy and pointless, it worked. And come to think of it now, it probably was the point if the viewer should feel like via main character? Huh. Kinda cool. But when watching, it didn’t work for me. The colour world was also ugly to my eye. Although, at the same time I can understand that it must have looked intriguing at the time. I especially hated that dolly shot in the end. Didn’t do good for our leading man. Ugh.

To my eyes, in this millennium, Dustin Hoffman looks way too old to be viewed as way too young compared to Anne Bancroft. And I don’t really like him anyway. I did like him in Rain Man and as Hook, I guess, but usually I find him like he would be good at playing vicious rodent and rodents are not cool. But I still guess he did nice job in this one. He felt bored and innocent at the same time. To me Anne Bancroft was even better at playing alcoholic house-wife. I don’t know, maybe it was somewhat easier to relate to her character, I would be bored out of my mind in a situation like that. In the end, it was very hard to like any of the characters in The Graduate. They’re not very likeable. That’s probably one of the main reasons why I didn’t enjoy the film that much. One needs to feel sympathetic.

My final grading is not that bad as I made it sound now but I’m still glad that The Graduate is not anymore in IMDb Top-250 like it was when this challenge was established. Maybe there are some people like me who think it is a bit over-appreciated.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Music Video Friday: N*E*R*D – Rock Star

Today’s video is N*E*R*D’s Rock Star.

Rock Star is from the 2001 album In Search of… A second version of the album was released in 2002. I’m assuming this second version of the album is what I had (on an actual CD!). I should dig the CD out again – I haven’t listened to it in ages. According to Wikipedia:

“For its 2002 worldwide release, N.E.R.D withdrew the original European version of In Search of… and in its place issued a re-recorded version of the album, also known as the “rock version”, with the electronic backings of the original version being replaced a more rock-oriented sound with the use of live drums and guitars played by American funk rock band Spymob.”

I don’t know how well the album is known, to be honest, but the singles certainly weren’t as big as member Pharrell Williams’ many later hits (pretty sure everyone knows Happy!). I think Williams is hugely talented. My personal favorites are Get Lucky with Daft Punk & the Despicable Me soundtracks. In all seriousness, those soundtracks are amazing & deserve more praise. Provider is also a great song from In Search Of… (I especially love the Zero 7 remix) but Rock Star was always my favorite.

Anyway, here’s the video if you never saw it. For some odd reason, it stars Randy Quaid. Huh. “Shitter was full!

Happy Friday, everyone.🙂

My Top Ten Patrick Swayze Movies 

It’s hard to believe that, as of yesterday, it has been seven years since Patrick Swayze passed away. I was never one of those girls to worship things like Dirty Dancing so didn’t quite appreciate Swayze in the same way that other girls my age seemed to at the time. But I was transformed into a bit of a Swayze fan after finally witnessing the genius that is ROAD HOUSE for the first time last December.😉

Here are My Top Ten Patrick Swayze Movies, counting down to my favorite (these are the only movies of his that I’ve seen):

10. Three Wishes

9. 11:14

8. Red Dawn

7. Youngblood

6. Dirty Dancing

5. The Outsiders

4. Donnie Darko

3. Ghost

2. Road House

1. Point Break

The Shallows (2016) Review

The Shallows (2016)

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Angelo José Lozano Corzo, José Manuel Trujillo Salas, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, Janelle Bailey

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A surfer gets stranded 200 yards from shore, and must use her wits and determination to survive a great white shark attack.

My Opinion:

What can I say about a shark movie? You either like them or you don’t. We’re obviously never going to get another classic like Jaws but The Shallows is a decent enough shark attack thriller for those who go for this very specific genre.

Blake Lively is fine. I’ll be honest – her character got on my nerves at first. She’s just so “pretty, bubbly, skinny blonde in a tiny bikini” and you can’t help but feel that she’s extremely irresponsible for going to a secret beach all alone. If this wasn’t a shark attack movie, you’d assume that the two guys she meets there in the middle of nowhere would kill her. A friend was going to go with her but cancels at the last minute, surprise surprise, but how was her friend going to find the “secret beach” anyway since Lively is already on her way there? Hmm??? So it’s your usual silly Hollywood movie setup, complete with sad backstory that’s meant to give our main character a reason to “fight to survive!”. There’s also some annoying texting back & forth at the beginning, which flashes up on the movie screen. I hate when they do that in movies. Amazing phone reception at this secret beach, though!

I’m sounding too picky now. I realize this kind of movie always gives a similar sort of story to the main character. If we don’t get a little bit of a backstory, why would we care if they survive? So after a bit of a silly start & some details thrown at us that we KNOW will come in handy later, we get to the action & the movie does get a lot better. Does Lively’s character do the smartest things at all times? Well, aside from stupidly going to this beach completely alone in the first place, I think she does her best with the situation. There wasn’t anything that annoyed me too much, at least, like when people in horror movies make one stupid decision after another. As my hubby kept pointing out to me “You’d be dead by now in this situation“, I can’t really complain about anything she does since I’d do everything wrong & die within five minutes. Thanks hubby – you know I’m of no use in extreme situations! I admit it.😉

I know I’ve sounded a little negative but I did enjoy The Shallows. I don’t think anyone really goes to a shark attack movie wanting to see something Oscar worthy, do they?? The action was decently paced, the special effects were good enough, and the story was all it really needed to be. I only sound “meh” because the movie ended up being exactly what I expected. I have to say I had a lot more fun watching this than I have watching quite a few other films so far this year. 2016 is turning out to be a shockingly bad year for movies! So I may be giving this a slightly higher rating than it deserves but, if you’re into this kind of movie, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll like this one just fine. And if you like butts, you’ll love it as you get to see A LOT of Lively’s butt while she’s paddling her surfboard. I think I saw more butt than shark. “Shark butt, ooh ha ha!” (Sorry – that was a poor Finding Nemo joke. The hubby & I kept making Nemo jokes while watching this…)

My Rating: 7/10

The Purge: Election Year (2016) Review

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

Directed & Written by James DeMonaco

Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel, Terry Serpico, Raymond J. Barry, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor, Liza Colón-Zayas, David Aaron Baker, Christopher James Baker, Britanny Mirabile, Juani Feliz, Roman Blat, Jamal Peters, J. Jewels

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Years after sparing the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.

My Opinion:

I’ve really liked all three of these movies & they’ve even gone up in my estimation over time. After this final film, I can say that I think this has been a very solid trilogy overall. I wasn’t disappointed with this (final?) film and can confirm that we do get a conclusion of sorts. As much as I’ve enjoyed these, I hope they leave this as a trilogy instead of milking it to death the way they do with so many other movies nowadays. Learn when to stop, Hollywood! I think this trilogy will end up more respected in the future if they end it here.

I did quite long reviews/discussions of the first film (HERE) and the second, The Purge: Anarchy, (HERE). Both times I said that I absolutely love the overall concept but wish they could do a bit more with it. I’ve lost track of how far into the future these are meant to be set but know it’s not too far (I think the first one was about nine years into the future?). The future setting is completely unnecessary anyway as they don’t look much different from modern day America and this is especially true of Election Year, which I felt finally managed to get its point across slightly more than the first two films.

The idea of an annual “Purge”, in which all crime including murder is legal for one night, seemed somewhat far-fetched when the first film came out in 2013 so it’s scary that it no longer feels quite so unlikely just three years later. The idea behind these films is brilliant in that I know they’re meant to be a social commentary on the state of America & to almost be a warning of the way things feel they’re headed. Election Year comes the closest yet to making some sort of important statement & has come out at the perfect time but it still doesn’t quite manage to drive home the fact that people need to wake up & do something if they don’t want the dystopian future predicted in so many great works of fiction over the years. It’s becoming reality now. We’re seriously f*^ked.

Election Year is the strangest of the three in that I think I actually enjoyed it the most but, at times, it’s also the most ridiculous of the three. It tries to be entertaining as well as smart & the two don’t always work together. I’m anti-violence so am a fan of these because they’re trying to show that violence is wrong (while at the same time showing us extreme violence). This isn’t the first time this has been done but it’s very hard to do right (I felt that Natural Born Killers got this right, which I watched for the first time this year & thought was really good). The Purge movies feel like they’re a little too scared to get too serious & still aim to mainly please the horror-loving mainstream audience who won’t care about the message.

I still maintain the unpopular opinion that the first film is the “best” as it was such an original idea and didn’t feel the need to go over the top while the next two were more “fun” as they changed things up to appeal to a more mainstream audience. I do like that each film goes wider to show us the effects the Purge has had, which is what I was hoping for after the first film. They even threw a tiny bit into this one regarding other countries (murder tourists coming to America to join in on the annual Purge). But the baddies were such over the top caricatures in this film that it was too silly at times, which was a shame as I really liked everything else about the film.

I have to say that the main characters in Election Year (the good guys) are the best of all three films, though, making this movie the most enjoyable. Frank Grillo was great in the second one so I’m glad they chose to continue with him, linking these two and making the first one feel more like a stand alone film now. I always liked Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost & loved her in this (the only way I’d maybe want a sequel would be to hopefully see her hook up with Grillo’s character!). Can I vote for her NOW? She’s what real-life America needs & I totally agree with her politics. Then there are the three in the below photo: deli owner Mykelti Williamson, his employee Joseph Julian Soria, and kick-ass customer & friend Betty Gabriel. These three are so damn likable and, as I said, Betty Gabriel is totally kick-ass. My only complaint is that they’re almost too likable & their fate(s) extremely predictable. But, hell – I honestly don’t mind characters who are a bit cliché since it beats having a movie filled with main characters you hate. I’d happily be stuck with this group of people on Purge night.

This has admittedly been a very weak year for movies but I can honestly say that this is currently my third favorite film of 2016. I know I like this series more than most people seem to but I’m hoping these will gain more of a following (probably several years from now when these are likely to be even closer to reality & people realize how accurate they were). The characters are a bit too cliché to take too seriously but they were a lot of fun to watch & the story was probably the strongest overall of the three. It’s still not perfect but I appreciate the effort they’ve made with this series & its overall idea.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The End Of The World Running Club By Adrian J. Walker (Book Review)

The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

What It’s About: (via the back cover)

The Ultimate Race Against Time Thriller

When the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts.

No one knows that more than Edgar Hill. 550 miles away from his family, he must push himself to the very limit to get back to them, or risk losing them forever…

His best option is to run. But what if your best isn’t good enough?

My Thoughts:

I’ve been obsessed with all things apocalyptic for years now. I don’t know why that is but I think it possibly started when I was a kid & loved old episodes of The Twilight Zone where “the end of the world” was a common theme for a lot of episodes. I’ll read any book in this genre and would love recommendations from anyone who knows some good apocalyptic books. Any apocalypse will do! War, asteroids, zombies, disease, etc. I’m interested more in the setting of a post-apocalyptic world & it’s okay if we don’t necessarily know the cause of Earth’s near-demise (like in Hugh Howey’s book Wool – which reminds me that I need to continue reading that trilogy).

What I like most about this genre is seeing how the characters deal with extreme situations & how they interact with one another. Is humanity good or bad? Will people work together and try to re-build civilization or will there be a bunch of murderous psychos running around while the few remaining good people just try to survive? I like the character studies & social commentary often involved in this genre (which goes back to those old Twilight Zone episodes such as the brilliant The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street & The Shelter).

I wouldn’t say that The End Of The World Running Club is the deepest or the best book in this genre but it’s an entertaining story with good pacing and some strong characters. It explores the dark side of humanity a little bit but its main focus is on a small group of characters thrown together by this situation and, particularly, one man’s journey to “find himself” just as much as to find his family. That man is Edgar Hill & his wife, young daughter, and baby son are 550 miles away from him in England while he’s stranded in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has a limited amount of time to get to them (I won’t get into why to avoid spoilers) and the only way to do that in this post-apocalyptic scenario is to physically run to them. Shit – now I have Bryan Adams stuck in my head. Cause when the feelin’s right, I’m gonna run all night. I’m gonna run to you!

I’ll say that you do get to see the cause of the apocalypse as the story starts out just before & as it happens. You also get to see Edgar Hill & his family together, which I think is important as we needed that character development in order to care about whether or not they’re reunited. I won’t say exactly what happens but it’ll be obvious from the start that the family are together at first & then somehow separated.

The one main flaw with this book, for me, was that I wasn’t sure if I liked Edgar Hill all that much. From the very start, we are shown a man who isn’t very involved with the lives of his wife & children. Like most of us (okay – me included), he just drifts through life trying to survive one day at a time without truly caring about much. Go to work, come home, eat, sleep, repeat. He’s overweight & depressed. He does love his wife & kids but admits (in retrospect) how hard he found it to adjust to family life. This is all fine as the entire point of the book is that he’s on this journey physically as well as spiritually and the age old “it takes a tragedy to make you realize how important people are to you” and blah blah blah. I like that he’s flawed throughout the entire book, making his character much more realistic as suddenly becoming the perfect husband & father would feel fake. The problem is that Adrian J. Walker has written a few fantastic characters who go on this running journey with Edgar and I ended up liking & caring more about them than I really did about him. His personality is weak in comparison but I suppose that’s kind of the point as Edgar is meant to be the common man in a situation that requires him to try hard to achieve something for the first time in his life.

But that negativity aside, this book was a decently paced page-turner & I found myself finishing it very quickly as I wanted to find out what would happen. As I said, some of the characters on the journey with Edgar were very strong and I liked them a lot. I can easily picture each & every character in a movie adaptation if one gets made so Walker clearly did a good job developing them. I think, if done right, a movie adaptation could be even better than the book if they chose the right actors. And the right director, of course. Oh man, Frank Darabont could make this into an absolutely brilliant movie! Maybe someone reading this can make this happen like when I said while reading Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children that Tim Burton should adapt it. I know what I’m talking about with this kind of stuff! I’d really like to see these characters brought to life on screen, especially Bryce, Grimes & Harvey. Someone make this movie happen! If you can get Darabont, I’ll help with casting.😉

My Rating: 3.5/5

Music Video Friday: Robyn – Dancing On My Own

Today’s video is Robyn’s Dancing On My Own.

I already featured a Robyn video recently (Konichiwa Bitches) so won’t add anything to what I’ve already said about her & what I think of her great, underrated pop songs (you can see my post HERE). I just felt like posting this as the dreary cover by Calum Scott was a far bigger hit in the UK than Robyn’s fantastic original & it annoys me every time I hear the passionless cover on the radio.

I’m not going to bitch about all the horrible singer/songwriter bullshit covers of good songs that keep ending up so popular for some reason. If you want to read a good rant by someone who can actually write, I recommend this article by Grace Medford that says exactly how I feel about this sort of thing: When Will Awful, Downbeat Covers of Songs Stop Outperforming the Originals?

I’ll leave you with Robyn’s fantastic original version of Dancing On My Own…🙂

My Top Ten Adam Sandler Movies

Happy Birthday to Adam Sandler, who turns 50 tomorrow!

Ohh – Controversial list? I know a lot of people hate Adam Sandler. He’s done some very bad movies, yes. I don’t love him & I don’t hate him but I like him okay. He’s from what I consider to be “my” era of Saturday Night Live when I was in my teens & watched it religiously.

As I kind of grew up with Sandler, I liked his movies from that era just fine. But I admit that I just cringe when I see stuff like Jack And Jill being released now…. (No, I’ve not seen that one). Someone stop him!!! Oh well. You know you’d all keep making stuff as long as it was making money. Admit it. He has more money than any of us do!😉

My number one may already be obvious as my username comes from it. That one stars my favorite actress so it’ll be more because of her than Sandler but that’s the one movie on this list that I do love. None of the rest are all-time favorites but I liked them & don’t think any of these ten are actually bad whereas I do think many of his other movies are. I’m happy to hear from those who want to tell me that they either love or hate Sandler! It’s fun to hear different opinions & I’ll be okay with you hating any of these. Except my number one, of course.🙂

So here are My Top Ten Adam Sandler Movies, counting down to my favorite:

10. Happy Gilmore

9. Punch-Drunk Love

8. Hotel Transylvania

7. Billy Madison

6. Click

5. Airheads

4. Anger Management

3. 50 First Dates

2. Big Daddy

1. The Wedding Singer

Not Seen:

I never saw Funny People, which looks like it could be okay. I’ve not seen quite a few others as well but they don’t strike me as ones that would make my top ten anyway! I’ll watch Blended at some point since Drew Barrymore is in it but it certainly looks like no The Wedding Singer.

I did watch Pixels! I reviewed that HERE. I had some hope for that one but my hopes were crushed. Damn. At least my kid liked it, though, and it got her liking classic video games a lot more. So thanks for that, Adam Sandler!

Sausage Party (2016) Review

Sausage Party (2016)

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Starring: Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film, a parody of Disney and Pixar animated films, follows a sausage who tries to discover the truth about his existence and goes on a journey with his friends to escape their fate.

My Opinion:

Yep – Seth Rogen & Co have been smoking way too much weed now. They should probably get help. However, they’re making lots of money so why would they stop? Needless to say, don’t watch this movie if you’re easily offended. I’m offended by people who watch movies they know are going to be offensive & then get all offended. Think of all the most un-PC humor you’ve ever seen in South Park & multiply it by 1,000. I just watched Ted 2 the other day & was shocked at the jokes they got away with but Sausage Party makes Ted 2 look like Snow White. Or… A Disney movie with a bear! The Jungle Book?

My point is: I’m not easily offended and like a lot of humor that’s not PC but Sausage Party probably crosses the line a bit too much at times & almost made me uncomfortable (for the record, I admit that I quite like the Ted movies & prefer them to this). There were jokes that worked & jokes that didn’t but, overall, the movie just didn’t work as a whole. The story was weak but I suppose you can’t expect much from a movie made purely to use as many food-related sex jokes as possible. However, I did like the message. Yes, there’s a message just like in any Disney film. This movie reminded me of Zootropolis– it felt like they came up with the film’s message first & then wrote a story around it that didn’t quite fit.

I did like our main characters of Rogen’s sausage & Wiig’s buns and their desire to come together. I enjoyed all the dirty stuff & really liked the film’s, um, climax. Not sure what that says about me. Michael Cera’s deformed little sausage was pretty funny. Edward Norton’s bagel & Salma Hayek’s taco were also highlights of the film. I realize how dirty this all sounds but that’s the point of the film. Wiig’s blatant vagina bun was hard to watch at times, especially when she talked. Watching a talking cartoon vagina for an hour & a half is bizarre. The douche was seriously irritating, though, and the many many (many) douche jokes were far from fresh. Between the talking vagina, the douche & the racial (food) stereotypes, I felt a little uncomfortable.

I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t get some laughs out of this movie – I just laughed far less than I was expecting. Plus half the time I was probably too scared to laugh at the more “iffy” humor. If anything, Sausage Party makes me appreciate old episodes of South Park a bit more as they feel more cleverly written than this film which relies too heavily on cheap jokes. Anthropomorphic food having sexual relations is pretty damn hilarious, though! Yep – that shit did crack me up. But I’ve always had a thing for anthropomorphic food & used to do a series on this blog called “Anthropomorphic Cuteness” (check out this post with a funny clip from The Amazing World Of Gumball – it’s better than all of Sausage Party). I’d only recommend this movie to lovers of things like South Park & Family Guy. There aren’t enough laughs to really make it worth a trip to the cinema, though – you can probably wait to watch it at home.

My Rating: 6/10

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974), San Andreas & Pixels Movie Reviews 

Three quickie reviews today & I mean it. I’m going to try to not ramble on in my reviews anymore. I mainly just like discussing movies with people in the comments so I’m only really here to say whether I liked a film or not & then to hear what others have to say about it.

It’s an odd assortment today but I can tell you that one was really good, one was really bad but fun, and one was just really bad with a great concept it somehow managed to shit all over. I’m sure you can guess which is which…

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Directed by Joseph Sargent

Based on The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey

Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it’s paid, how could they get away?

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this movie. I love movies from the 1970s and was happy when both this & Escape From Alcatraz became available on one of our movie services. Man it’s hard keeping track of which movies are available where, when & how – I know I’m old school but I still kind of prefer just being able to go to a video store. So, anyway – I made the hubby watch them both with me about the same time last year and they were great. Alcatraz was better and I highly recommend that one but Pelham was really good as well. No, I’ve not seen the remake with John Travolta and I don’t plan to.

If you’ve not seen this, imagine Speed set on a subway train in 1974 instead of a bus with attractive people in 1994. So, I guess Walter Matthau is kind of the Keanu Reeves in this. Gotta say I prefer Keanu (he was such a hottie in Speed). Actually, I found Matthau a bit distracting but he was probably the only thing I didn’t really like about this as he just seemed out of place. Robert Shaw was great as one of the hijackers, though! I think I’d only ever seen him in Jaws before this (which he’s AWESOME in). All the hijackers were great & I loved all the drama on the train. The only times the movie dragged a little were when we got away from that action and back to the cops & Matthau’s character dealing with the hostage takers’ ransom demands. Overall, though, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is a great 70’s action thriller I’d definitely recommend to anyone who is a fan of this sort of genre.

My Rating: 7.5/10

San Andreas (2015)

Directed by Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

My Opinion:

Ha! This movie was so bad. But it was “fun bad”. It was exactly what I think we’ve all come to expect from these cheesy disaster movies so, therefore, I kind of enjoyed it. It’s utterly ridiculous. Some random people get saved at the last minute, which is supposed to make the audience all cheer while thousands of others are sucked into the Earth to their deaths. Never mind those people as long as a girl with big boobs & a dog get saved! Actually, San Andreas didn’t pull the “save the dog” trick. Damn – I always laugh out loud when the dogs get saved…

Alexandra Daddario wears a shirt over a tight tank top which, conveniently, has to he taken off & used as a bandage or something. I don’t remember. But this is just in time for the coming flood which will see her submerged in water while wearing the tight tank top, of course. She’s ended up with a somewhat dorky boy her age who can’t believe his luck at being in an earthquake with such a babe and his little brother who I realized was Rickon Stark. Then they had to run from the earthquake while Kylie Minogue shot arrows at them. Okay, not really but that would’ve been funny. But Kylie Monogue was seriously in this. WTF? Not for long, though – she falls out of a building. Sorry! That’s not really a spoiler since she’s a bitch & this film follows the disaster movie rules of “If you’re an asshole, you die”. Then Dwayne Johnson dies. HA! Just kidding! Of course he doesn’t. He’s not an asshole – he’s the hero! Can you believe that this is the only Dwayne Johnson movie I’ve ever seen??? Oh yeah – and I totally forgot that Paul Giamatti was in this in a completely pointless role. I guess we all gotta pay the bills, huh? And, let’s see… Dwayne Johnson & Carla Gugino (Alexandra “tight tank top” Daddario’s parents) are divorced because they have a tragic past that tore them apart but now they have to work together to save their daughter and THE END IS A COMPLETE SHOCK THAT I DIDN’T SEE COMING!!!! Lol. Just kidding. Predictable disaster movie bullshit every step of the way. GOOD! That’s exactly what I wanted & this movie delivered. Fun bad! But still very bad…😉

My Rating: 5.5/10

Pixels (2015)

Directed by Chris Columbus

Based on Pixels by Patrick Jean

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

My Opinion:

When I found out they’d be making a full length movie of the fantastic Pixels short film, I was excited. It’s such an awesome concept & the short is great. What could possibly go wrong, right? Holy shit – how did they manage to mess this film up so completely?! You can watch the (far superior) short film HERE.

I actually don’t hate Adam Sandler like I know a lot of people do. He’s been in plenty of movies that are complete & utter shit but he’s also been in several that I liked okay. He’s from “my” era of SNL and, overall, I don’t really have anything against him. But I worried like hell when I heard that this would be an Adam Sandler film & thought “well, maybe it will have decent writers & he’ll just star in it”. Nope, this is an Adam Sandler movie. It’s not the worst of his worst: it’s one of the “mediocre” Adam Sandler movies. But that’s not what this should’ve been! There was so much potential here to make a decent movie out of that brilliant short and instead they decided to make The Waterboy version of Pixels. Pixels Gilmore! Pixels Madison! Pixels Nicky! You Don’t Mess With The Pixels! I Now Pronounce You Pixels & Larry! 8 (Bit) Crazy Pixels!

This movie was such a massive disappointment. Sandler is actually fine, I guess – he’s far less annoying than the other characters. Kevin James plays the most unbelievable President Of The United States in the history of film. Peter Dinklage is, sadly, just plain embarrassing. Not only did this movie piss all over the short film but it also managed to somewhat destroy one of the greatest Game Of Thrones characters for me! Rickon Stark was better in San Andreas. Oh, and that reminds me: Sean Bean has a small role in this too. How could I forget Ned Stark being in this as well?! Because the movie is forgettable, that’s why. Michelle Monaghan, unsurprisingly, plays Sandler’s usual paint-by-numbers love interest. Q*bert plays a character WHO TALKS. What the @!#?@! That really annoyed me. Wreck-It Ralph got Q*bert right! Wreck-It Ralph got a lot of things right. That movie has really gone up in my opinion over time & Pixels made me appreciate it even more. Watch the Pixels short & watch Wreck-It Ralph. Watch any of the movies in my list of My Top Ten Video Game Movies. Then watch The Wedding Singer if you want to watch an Adam Sandler movie because that one is good. Then, if you really MUST satisfy your curiosity, watch Pixels with extremely low expectations. After all my bitching, I should give this a lower score but I’ve seen movies that are worse and I have to admit that one cool thing came out of watching this: it got my daughter very interested in classic arcade games. That alone made the movie worthwhile but, dammit, I really wish it had been good.

My Rating: 5/10

**The soundtrack for Pixels predictably features songs that you just KNOW Sandler chose from his own collection of personal favorites. The main song featured was Cheap Trick’s Surrender:

My Blog’s August 2016 Recap

Happy September, everyone! I know I say this same sort of thing every month but I’m serious this time: When the hell did it suddenly become September?! Ahh… Back to school, after school clubs, no holidays & having no life. Not that I have a life any other month of the year anyway. Oh, and then it’ll be winter & I’ll moan even more. God I hate winter. Oh wow – I’m sounding so positive! Here’s a recap of what I posted in August…

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: Stranger Things Poster Art By Kyle Lambert. Holy shitballs – people love Stranger Things! I had a lot of comments on this post. I didn’t say much other than that I was watching it & that I liked the above artwork by artist Kyle Lambert. I did really enjoy the show & I want to see more. The hype was a bit much, though, and the “1980s” thing felt too forced sometimes. But, hell, I adore that decade so I’m not going to complain about that too much.

My Favorite Post: The Legend Of Billie Jean, Less Than Zero & Private School “80’s Quickie Movie Reviews” Post. Speaking of the 1980s, my favorite post was probably the one with my three short reviews of movies from my favorite decade. I’ll always love discussing & reminiscing about movies from this time period, even though I’m pretty much on my own when I do. This post got 5 comments & hardly any views. Ha! Don’t care – I’ll never stop posting about movies that no one under 35 has seen. (Btw – there were boobs in that post. Maybe it’ll get some views now…)😉

*Baby Dory is one of the most adorable things ever

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: Finding Dory

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
The Legend Of Billie Jean
Pete’s Dragon
Finding Dory
The Book Thief
Lights Out
Swallows And Amazons
Less Than Zero
Paper Towns
Private School

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
Pete’s Dragon
Lights Out
Swallows And Amazons

At Home (ranked best to worst):
Carol
The Good Dinosaur
Fright Night (2011)
The Invitation
Pan

TOP TEN LISTS

Top Ten Celebrities With Color Names
Top Ten Madonna Songs
Top Ten Christian Slater Movies
Top Ten Tim Burton Movies

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “Jennifer Connelly white top”. The pervy Googlers strike again! Okay, there’s the photo of said white top above. Various versions of this search term come up a lot – the photo is from the rather bad film Career Opportunities, which I reviewed HERE for my John Hughes Blogathon. The post also contains a pervy gif of Connelly suggestively riding a toy horse while wearing said white top. I apologize – I clearly encouraged the pervy Googlers with that post…

My Favorite Search Term: “film mit killer penis”. It’s my favorite this month because WTF is that? I can usually figure out why a search term brought someone to my blog but, nope, not this time. Were they trying to type “film WITH killer penis“? If so, I’m still pretty sure I haven’t written about a movie with a killer penis. Were they searching for the Tromeo & Juliet penis monster from my Class Of Nuke ‘Em High review? Eh. Maybe.

Here are my top search terms for the month:

BOOKS

I kept it in the King family with my selection of books in August!

Book I Reviewed: The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Book I Finished Reading: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Book I Started Reading: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

August was the first month where I didn’t manage to watch or review anything from my 2016 Blind Spot list. Too busy. Oh well – I promise I’ll still do 12 by the end of the year. I realized that I put three horror movies on my list so I plan to post reviews of all three in October (including Phenomena, starring Jennifer Connelly once again in a white top!). I’ll probably post the missing Blind Spot review in November. You all told me last month that it should be Zodiac so I’ll try to make that my November post & then Akira in December.

For September, I’m again going to take it easy on posts due to lack of time for blogging. I have more of my “lazy but fun” actor top tens already written & scheduled for the entire month (yay me!). Oh, and Music Video Friday is ready to go for the entire month as well. No one looks at those posts. Don’t care – I like ’em!😉 I’ll post reviews of movies I see in the cinema but I mainly want to spend September writing my horror movie reviews for my usual October Month Of Horror.

Upcoming Movies:

I missed out on lots of movies I wanted to go to in August (again, too busy). Not sure what I’ll manage of this month’s cinema releases but I’ll probably see Sausage Party this week. I think Kubo And The Two Strings looks good so we’re very likely to go to that one as a family. Not sure how I feel about Blair Witch – I’ll probably watch that at home if it gets halfway decent reviews since (shock horror!) I liked the original film. Does this ruin my movie blogger cred? I’d rather have a root canal than watch Bridget Jones’s Baby! The Girl With All The Gifts looks like my type of thing so I’ll attempt to make it to that one. Swiss Army Man sounds SO completely WTF that I HAVE to watch it eventually but I’m not sure if it’s worth a trip to the cinema.

Finally, I’m very much looking forward to Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I read the book (which I reviewed HERE) and said while reading it that Tim Burton should make the film if they decided to adapt it. Such a perfect choice – I can’t wait to see what he does with it even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book overall.

Okay – I always end these with a music clip related to something I posted or watched in the past month. So I’m just going to go ahead & once again post the theme song from The Legend Of Billie Jean: Pat Benatar’s Invincible. Because it’s awesome. Enjoy the glory of 1985!🙂

Music Video Friday: De La Soul – Me Myself And I

Today’s video is De La Soul’s Me Myself And I. Great song from a classic album. I miss music like this! Why does music suck so much nowadays? I suppose I’m just making myself sound old… Oh well. I am! But at least I got to grow up with awesome music.🙂

Me Myself And I is from De La Soul’s 1989 album 3 Feet High And Rising. Their use of samples throughout this album is absolutely brilliant. Not sure which song is my favorite… Probably Eye Know, which uses Steely Dan’s Peg & Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay. And you know I adore The Magic Number since I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock!🙂 Here’s a list of the samples used for Me Myself And I (thank you, Wikipedia):

“(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Funkadelic
“Funky Worm” by Ohio Players
“Rapper Dapper Snapper” by Edwin Birdsong
“Gonna Make You Mine” by Loose Ends

De La Soul actually just released and the Anonymous Nobody…, their 9th album, last Friday. It features some great guest artists such as David Byrne & Damon Albarn. You should check it out but, if you don’t know anything from 3 Feet High And Rising, start with that! I’ve gone with the video for Me Myself And I today simply because it was the biggest hit but the entire album is fantastic.

Have a great weekend, everyone!🙂

My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies

Happy Birthday to Keanu Reeves, who turns 52 tomorrow!🙂

Dammit! I’ve not yet managed to watch John Wick. I really wanted to watch that before making this list since, if it’s as good as everyone seems to think it is, maybe it’ll make my top ten. Well, I’ve not had time to watch it so I guess I’ll just have to update this list when I see it. IF it’s top ten worthy…😉 Oh, and I also desperately want to see The Neon Demon as that looks like the type of thing I could potentially love. Blame that one on cinemas not giving non-mainstream films a chance, though – I couldn’t find it playing anywhere near me. I’d have made time for that.

I’m a fan of Keanu Reeves. I think people either love him or they don’t (I don’t think anyone hates him, though, do they?). People make fun of him sometimes but I don’t understand that. He’s admittedly better in certain types of roles than others but, when it’s a role that suits him, he’s great. Yes, the dumb guy suits him & I’ll always love Ted “Theodore” Logan more than any other character he’s played. Who doesn’t love a sweet idiot?! But I had a massive crush on him in Speed & in Point Break when he was young, dumb & full of “whoaaaa”. He’s proven himself to be a fantastic popcorn action movie star & I’m always happy when he’s in a film that ends up being popular.

Sometimes when I make these actor top tens, I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for the lower half of the list. This time, I’d have to say I truly like at least eight of them (I could do with re-watching numbers 9 & 10). I love the top six and ADORE the top two (they’re all-time favorites). So, yeah, Keanu Reeves has had a very solid career despite some annoying critics.

So here are My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies, counting down to my favorite (movie, not character). Let’s start counting down from the bottom, though – I’ve seen 23….🙂

23 & 22. The Matrix Sequels (Whatever they were called – I’ve tried to forget them)
21. Johnny Mnemonic (Remember nothing about this now. How ironic!)
20. Chain Reaction
19. Something’s Gotta Give
18. The Gift
17. Much Ado About Nothing (Barely remember this either – am sure it deserves to be higher)
16. Parenthood
15. The Day The Earth Stood Still
14. Constantine
13. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
12. The Devil’s Advocate
11. My Own Private Idaho (Putting this at 11 is a total lie as I seriously need to re-watch it since I loved River Phoenix but, again, barely remember it…)😉

My Top Ten:

10. A Scanner Darkly

9. River’s Edge

8. The Lake House

7. Youngblood

6. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

5. Dangerous Liaisons

4. The Matrix (not the sequels!)

3. Speed

2. Point Break

1. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Lights Out (2016) Review

Lights Out (2016)

Directed by David F. Sandberg

Based on Lights Out by David F. Sandberg

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke, Maria Bello, Lotta Losten

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When her little brother, Martin, experiences the same events that once tested her sanity, Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother, Sophie.

My Opinion:

So, this was a great little short film on YouTube (link HERE). Watch it! It’s only a few minutes long. I was really surprised when I found out that this short film would be made into a long film (well, not really – it’s only 1 hour & 21 minutes!). I was expecting this to possibly be awful but then it got very positive reviews so I got excited since it’s difficult to find any decent horror movies these days. This film is okay. Not great, not awful, just average. I think people are just shocked when a horror film doesn’t 100% suck so they go a little overboard on praise. But it has some creepy moments & does show promise. Overall, it feels slightly more original than a lot of films in this genre nowadays.

I think the biggest problem with this longer film is that there’s now too much of an explanation of the “figure in the dark”. Why do so many horror films feel the need to spell everything out for us? I like a bit of a mystery! I’m more scared of the unknown & the unseen (or the barely glimpsed). Glimpsed is a very weird word, isn’t it? Say it ten times! Sounds bizarre. The mysterious “figure in the dark” in Lights Out is terrifying. THAT scares the shit out of me. Even now I’m not a fan of the dark & usually have a small light on somewhere when I go to bed. How many of us have been scared by strange human-shaped shadows in the dark?

So, for those of you who like a full backstory & explanation, I promise that you do get one. It’s not a bad story & I liked it fine but personally prefer the mystery of the short film. Everyone puts in a decent performance & I especially liked the characters of Teresa Palmer’s little brother & her hot metalhead boyfriend who is a total sweetheart. They all do some idiotic things, like the majority of horror movie characters, but I’ll forgive that this time since it’s a mega short film & goes straight into the action yet still manages an okay amount of character development considering its short running time. I found it kind of hilarious that Teresa Palmer was a metalhead chick because she had to grow up with a crazy mother who talked to strange figures in the dark. Because having a bad childhood naturally makes you listen to heavy metal! I must have had a bad childhood. Teresa Palmer looked really hot as a metalhead, though – I think the metal chick eyeliner suits her.

Oh, I hate being old. I didn’t read anything about this movie beforehand so, when it started, I thought Teresa Palmer & Maria Bello were going to be sisters instead of mother & daughter. Ugh. I suppose that makes sense since there’s a 19 year age difference (Yes, I looked up their ages). Both are older than I thought & I think Palmer is meant to be playing an early twentysomething when she’s actually 30 in real life. But, still – it’s depressing when you realize you’re at the age where you’re meant to be identifying with the parents or, even worse, the grandparents in movies. Not that I identify with the mother in THIS one – she’s completely bonkers! HA! Hahaha! HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I’m actually a hot twentysomething metal chick in my mind, at least.😉

Lights Out isn’t perfect but it has some effective scary moments with creative use of lighting & sound. There were a few times in the cinema where the noises made by the dark figure sounded like they were coming from directly next to me so that was a bit unsettling (I know nothing about this sort of thing – maybe I was just in a good position in the theater). I also went to this alone and no one sat near me, which helps add to a movie’s creepiness. We end up knowing & seeing a bit too much to remain fully unsettled but, overall, this is a fairly good supernatural horror (my favorite type) and better than a lot of the current crap in this genre. But with films such as It Follows & especially the brilliant The Babadook finally proving that supernatural horror movies can be really damn good, other films in this genre are going to have to raise their game more than this one manages in order to keep me from being a little disappointed.

My Rating: 6.5/10

**Just want to make a quick mention of Gene Wilder passing away yesterday. 2016 has been an awful year for celebrity deaths. The film & music industry have lost so many hugely talented people this year. R.I.P. Gene Wilder. Pure Imagination will always be my favorite moment of his…

Swallows And Amazons (2016) Review

Swallows And Amazons (2016)

Directed by Philippa Lowthorpe

Based on Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Starring: Rafe Spall, Andrew Scott, Kelly Macdonald, Jessica Hynes, Harry Enfield, Dane Hughes, Orla Hill, Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen, Bobby McCulloch, Seren Hawkes, Hannah Jayne Thorp

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film chronicles the story of the Walker children on their adventures in the Lake District with the goal of claiming a remote island for themselves. Heading over there on the boat “Swallow”, they soon discover they’re not alone. A gang of rebellious children, the Blacketts also known as the “Amazons”, have set up camp there and a battle for the island begins. But with Britain on the brink of war and a “secret agent” looking for the Blackett children’s uncle, real battles aren’t far away and their childhood paradise is turned upside-down.

My Opinion:

This movie is based on the classic book by Arthur Ransome. Okay, I admit it – I’ve never heard of this book. I’m sorry. Maybe it wasn’t famous outside the UK when I was growing up?? Well, we saw the trailer for this before Pete’s Dragon and my kid really liked the look of it. She actually didn’t like Pete’s Dragon at all (I did!) but she seemed genuinely excited about going to see this one after watching the trailer so we went the next week. Success! She really liked this one. Think the hubby quite liked it too. What a relief after they both pretty much hated Pete’s Dragon (I didn’t!). Swallows And Amazons is a great “family” movie & a nice break from the endless stream of animated kids’ films that come out every month.

My kid is seven & a good age for this one – I’d probably recommend it for ages seven & up. Ha! 7 Up… I only drink that if I have a stomach ache. Does anyone here drink it for pleasure? Seriously – I’m curious! And I’m trying to get out of doing a review. I’m finding movie reviews a chore at the moment.

There’s nothing inappropriate in this so you’re safe to watch it with the whole family. I just think that it may not hold the attention of those under seven & the really young wouldn’t follow the story (but it’s not aimed at that age group anyway). It’s set in the lovely Lake District area of the U.K. in 1935, which appealed to me as I think it’s good for kids to see how different life was in the old days. There’s no way that today’s kids could sail across a lake, set up camp, and fend for themselves alone on an island for a few days! Well, okay, I couldn’t do that either…

I read somewhere that, as this was a series of books like Harry Potter, they’re wanting to set up a series of films in the same way. Well, there’s no way they’d be as big as Harry Potter as the stories are obviously going to be far more simple but it’s a shame that I can’t see any more being made anyway. Maybe! I’d like to see more but it feels like this movie really wasn’t promoted at all & the showing we went to wasn’t very busy.

It feels like kids might not have the patience for a series of films set in the 1930s but that’s probably not fair to say as my own kid liked it far more than I was expecting. With the kids in this film being a range of ages with different personalities, I think those watching this will find at least one character they can relate to. The story of a group of kids trying to claim a deserted island as their own while also dealing with an angry & mysterious man who claims to be pirate should have fairly wide appeal, even to today’s youth. The movie isn’t perfect & I don’t think we get to know the kids as well as we could (especially the “Amazons”) but this would be remedied if they made more films. Which I doubt they will. But, hey – hopefully there’ll be a renewed interest in the series of books now.

My Rating: 6.5/10

*I did this movie as a double feature with Lights Out (which I went to alone afterwards without the kid, obviously!). How do you like that combo?? I’ll review that one next week. Have a nice weekend, everyone!🙂

My Top Ten Tim Burton Movies

Happy Birthday to Tim Burton, who turns 58 today.

I figured it was time to do a full updated list of My Top Ten Movies Directed By Tim Burton. So, The Nightmare Before Christmas unfortunately doesn’t count since Burton didn’t direct it (it would easily be in the Top Five). I also liked his Vincent & Frankenweenie short films but will only list full-length movies. And, wow – the only Burton movie I’ve reviewed is Big Eyes (which doesn’t make it into my top ten). Well, here’s my top ten! And, yes – I’ve seen his movies from recent years as well & they sadly come nowhere near these…

10. Mars Attacks!

9. Batman Returns

8. Corpse Bride

7. Big Fish

6. Beetlejuice

5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street

4. Batman

3. Ed Wood

2. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

1. Edward Scissorhands

And here’s the Ice Dance scene from Edward Scissorhands. This is one of my all-time favorite movie scenes and Danny Elfman’s beautiful music in this clip still gives me chills every time I watch it. I watch this clip every once in a while for a pick-me-up (along with the final scenes from Cinema Paradiso & City Lights). Gorgeous. Perfection. This is the type of scene that made me fall in love with movies.🙂

The Book Thief & Paper Towns Movie Reviews

Here are two quickie reviews of two movie adaptations of two books that I read recently. Since I read the books, I figured I better finally watch the films. I never really enjoy a movie much after reading the book and, in the case of one of these, I pretty much hated the book so I wasn’t hoping for much from the movie. Here we go!

Paper Towns (2015)

Directed by Jake Schreier

Based on Paper Towns by John Green

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Jaz Sinclair

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After an all night adventure, Quentin’s life-long crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime.

My Opinion:

I did a very short review of the Paper Towns book HERE (I rated it 2.5/5). Full of hateful characters, I didn’t enjoy the book very much. The main boy (played by Nat Wolff in the movie) was okay but a bit bland. The girl he loves (Margo, played by Cara Delevingne) & his best friend (who is a sexist little shit & calls all girls “honey bunnies”) are annoying as hell. Seriously, Margo isn’t interesting & mysterious – she’s a bitch. But I liked the story, which involves Margo’s friends trying to track her down through a series of bizarre clues she’s left behind.

Once I’ve read a book, I always try to watch the movie adaptation but it’s never that exciting to me since I already know the story & get a bit bored. This one is a pretty straightforward & faithful adaptation. If you like the book, you should like the movie. I think this is a rare occasion where the film is better & I’d say it’s mainly down to them making Margo seem a little more human & less hateful. I also thought Nat Wolff did a good job as Quentin & made the character less dull than in the book. If you’re interested in the story, I’d actually recommend watching the movie & skipping the book as the book doesn’t really flesh out the characters any more than the film does and the movie doesn’t leave out anything important (from what I can remember).

Even though I’m WAY past “Young Adult” age, I still really enjoy reading/watching YA stuff as I can still relate to most of it. Trust me – when you get old like me, it’s very likely that it’ll still feel like you only just finished high school yesterday. It’s a traumatic time in life & I remember more from that time than I do from when I was a twentysomething. However, Paper Towns was one I couldn’t relate to at all. Maybe I’m finally out of touch? Or maybe John Green just doesn’t quite capture what teens are really like? The characters didn’t feel real to me, unlike the ones in things like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (fantastic film & book!). But that one was set in my own era of high school with an awesome soundtrack while Paper Towns is set now & the characters refer to things from their own youth that mean nothing to me (like singing what I assume is the Pokémon TV show theme tune). No, I think the characters are weak and are the real reason I can’t connect with Paper Towns. At least the movie improves on the book slightly so I can’t give it a low rating as it’s a good adaptation and I think plenty of teens/twentysomethings probably really like it. But I’d recommend other YA stuff to people my own age before I’d recommend this one.

My Rating: 6/10

The Book Thief (2013)

Directed by Brian Percival

Based on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse, Nico Liersch, Ben Schnetzer, Heike Makatsch, Barbara Auer, Roger Allam

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is about a young girl living with her adoptive German family during the Nazi era. Taught to read by her kind-hearted foster father, the girl begins “borrowing” books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee being sheltered by her foster parents in their home.

My Opinion:

I reviewed The Book Thief novel HERE (along with all 14 books I read last year – I ranked this one my 8th favorite out of 14 & rated it 3.5/5). Unlike Paper Towns, this book had strong characters & I really cared what would happen to them. The book was actually let down slightly by its unnecessary gimmick (it’s narrated by Death aka The Grim Reaper) and did feel overlong. I really liked the book but didn’t love it like I was hoping, despite loving the characters. Still, I’m glad it got the characters right as that’s really important to me.


In this case, I’d definitely recommend reading the book before watching the film. It’s a good adaptation with fine performances but they’ve had to leave things out (as to be expected with a long book). The characters are just so richly developed in the book, which rarely gets captured as well in a film. They did come close, however – both Sophie Nélisse (Liesel – the main character) & Geoffrey Rush (Hans, her foster father) are fantastic & exactly as I pictured. Emily Watson (Rosa, her foster mother) & Nico Liersch (Rudy, her best friend) are also very good but have far less time spent on them than in the book. Rosa is a complex character so it will have been hard to capture this but I was most upset with how little we got to know Rudy in the film as I absolutely loved him & his beautiful friendship with Liesel in the book. Ben Schnetzer (as Max, the Jewish refugee they’re hiding) was also very good & as I had pictured but, again, he sadly doesn’t get enough time devoted to him in the film.

Luckily, the movie leaves out quite a lot of the Grim Reaper’s narrative. It’s done well & not distracting, whereas it kind of threw me out of the story every time they came back to it in the book. But don’t let that criticism talk you out of reading the book as I’d definitely recommend it if the story interests you. I’m not sure how to rate this movie… I thought it was quite good but, knowing the novel is better, I couldn’t help but be just a little let down despite great performances & some perfect casting. If you’re someone who really doesn’t like to read, then by all means watch the movie instead & probably add an extra point to my below rating. It’s a good film & they’ve done the best they possibly could with a somewhat difficult novel to adapt but, ultimately, the film doesn’t deliver the same emotional punch as you don’t get to know some of the characters as well as you do in the book.

My Rating: 6.5/10

**Okay, I admit to knowing the Pokémon song very well now since my kid has become addicted to the show….

And here are some of the best Pokémon we’ve caught (I love annoying people with this!)😉

Music Video Friday: Descendents – Weinerschnitzel

Today’s video is Weinerschnitzel by the Descendents. Which doesn’t actually have a video… That’s okay – I’m the only one who likes my Music Video Fridays anyway!😉

Yesterday was Christian Slater’s birthday (I posted My Top Ten Christian Slater Movies HERE) so I wanted to post a song from my favorite Slater movie today. My number one was so close between Heathers & Pump Up The Volume and, while I think Heathers is his best film, there’s just something special about Pump Up The Volume which speaks to me & makes me choose it as my favorite.

I won’t go into my love for Pump Up The Volume since I’ve already reviewed it but one of the many things that makes it so great is the awesome soundtrack. The soundtrack includes artists such as Concrete Blonde, Ivan Neville, Liquid Jesus, Pixies, Brad Brains With Henry Rollins, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth & Cowboy Junkies. However, like so many official soundtracks, it doesn’t include my very favorites from the film! These are the Leonard Cohen songs Everybody Knows & If It Be Your Will (the soundtrack only contains a cover of one of these) & Richard Hell And The Voidoids’ Love Comes In Spurts (a song title that I adore). Then there are the great clips played by Slater’s pirate DJ: Dad, I’m In Jail by Was (Not Was) & the 13 second Weinerschnitzel by the Descendents.

Ah, the Descendents! I’ve gone through a lot of phases in my life when it comes to music. I’ll have a favorite band for a while but then I’ll completely forget about them & never listen to them again. The Descendents are this way for me. But for a good couple of years in my early twenties, I played the above “compilation album” to DEATH. I don’t know why I’ve abandoned most of the bands that I listened to through the Nineties but I really have the urge to dig this CD out right now. Any other Descendents fans here? No? Probably not. And I doubt this clip will convince you to check them out…😉 Well, their most famous song was Suburban Home so HERE’S a link to that one. And here are the lyrics to Weinerschnitzel:

“Welcome to Der Weinerschnitzel, may I take your order please?
Yeah I want:
Two large cokes, Two large fries
Chili-cheese dog, large Doctor Pepper
Super deluxe, with cheese and tomato
You want bill sperm with that?
NO!”

WTF is bill sperm?? Well, here’s the clip if you have a spare 13 seconds!

My Top Ten Christian Slater Movies

Happy Birthday to Christian Slater, who turns 47 today!

I’ve loved Slater ever since the top three movies on my list (but especially number one). It’s unfortunate that he’s been in some huge stinkers since (like Alone In The Dark) but he was in some absolutely fantastic movies in the late 80s/early 90s. Oh well… I still love you, Christian Slater! I still wish I was Samantha Mathis in my number one movie on this list. And I’d never break your sweet, baboon heart.

So here are My Top Ten Christian Slater Movies, counting down to my favorite:

10. TIE: Kuffs & Broken Arrow

9. FernGully: The Last Rainforest

8. Bed Of Roses

7. Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves

6. Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

5. True Romance

4. The Legend Of Billie Jean

3. Untamed Heart

2. Heathers

1. Pump Up The Volume

A Few I’ve Not Seen But Want To:
Gleaming The Cube
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Nymphomaniac: Vol I & II