Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2019

Happy Almost-End-Of September! Where did August go?! I spent half of it in America & half of it mega busy with work but still managed to watch some movies (Six on airplanes – What the hell else can you do on a plane?!). Here’s what I watched & read in August…

MOVIES IN AUGUST

I saw Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood while in America & Crawl in the UK (links to my reviews are below). I also saw four 2019 UK movie releases on the plane trips so reviewed those in a separate post (also linked below). I’ve done mini-reviews of the rest…

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – 7.5/10


Green Book – 7.5/10


Sorry To Bother You – This movie was a little mental but, overall, fairly entertaining. It’s very hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t seen it and also one that’s absolutely impossible to recommend to anyone unless you know their tastes really well. Now, I absolutely love “weird” movies. The problem here is that it’s not weird enough. It’s quite straightforward through most of it – it only suddenly gets weird at the end (think From Dusk Till Dawn). I’d have liked more weirdness. Strangely, it gave me Joe Versus The Volcano vibes, though I have NO idea why (but only during scenes set in the dreary workplace office). It just reminded me that I badly need to rewatch that underrated film… But where was I? I’m getting off track! I have no idea how to review this film. I enjoyed it but it’s one where I can’t imagine ever watching it again for any reason. The strongest thing about it are the characters and I especially liked Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Steven Yeun (probably because his character Glenn was one of very few characters that I actually liked in The Walking Dead). Oh, and I loved Tessa Thompson’s funky earrings and cool sort of 80’s style. How did I not even realize that the smarmy guy was Armie Hammer? He just has such a nondescript smarmy face. Well, I liked this movie as a one-time watch and won’t forget it. It wasn’t perfect and didn’t fully work for me but it’s the kind of indie movie I’d like to see more of: Creative & highly original instead of just boring navel-gazing and hateful characters (I’m looking at you, Eighth Grade movie!). – 7/10


The Hate U Give – This was a fairly decent look at a very serious issue, albeit from a very YA perspective. I’d been thinking about reading the Young Adult novel first but never got around to it, so I can only judge this based on the movie itself. It’s certainly no Boyz N The Hood but I see no problem with raising awareness by aiming a story at a slightly younger audience. Amandla Stenberg is good – I enjoyed her in The Hunger Games & Everything, Everything (she’s certainly in some of the biggest YA stuff!). Other than her character, though, I’d say a lot of the others were a bit one-dimensional (especially her annoying school friend). I don’t mean to sound too down on this one as it’s a pretty good film but it does suffer a little bit from the YA feel and a slightly too perfect “things might be okay” sort of ending. But not everything has to be gritty – it’s good if this movie has given a more mainstream audience an insight into this issue. – 7/10


Bad Times At The El Royale – Well, this was an odd one and not quite what I was expecting. I’d been super annoyed at missing this after loving the look of a skinny, shirtless, Jesus-looking Chris Hemsworth in the trailers. Just FYI if you’re wanting shirtless Hemsworth – he doesn’t show up until an hour into the movie and his character is extremely hateful. Damn – how can you make someone as loveable as Chris play someone hateful?! I did like the strange atmosphere to this film and the 60’s setting and the mysterious & creepy hotel but the strangers’ stories were a mess and didn’t seem to have any sort of point. You also certainly aren’t made to care about any of them, other than maybe the two characters played by Jeff Bridges & Cynthia Erivo, who are the true standouts of this film and by far the best things about it. Dakota Johnson is as underwhelming as always and, as I said, can we not make Hemsworth a bad guy ever again? I love him but, honestly – it didn’t work. Sorry, Chris! It was completely unbelievable. Overall, I did like that this movie felt a little bit unique and thought Bridges and Erivo were great together and fun to watch but, man – the movie is just kind of a mess. – 6.5/10


Crawl – 6.5/10


Instant Family – 6.5/10


Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 6.5/10


Mortal Engines – Look! Yet another adaptation of a dystopian YA novel! Hey, I’m not exactly complaining since dystopian YA is a huge guilty pleasure genre of mine but I think the general public has had enough of it. I did read this book (mini-review here) and really enjoyed it but it was mainly because I loved the bizarre concept. Basically, the cities in this dystopian future are on wheels and go around devouring smaller cities (I suppose there’s some sort of political message there). The characters could’ve been stronger but the story was enough fun that I didn’t care too much. Well, shit – this movie was pretty terrible but I can’t explain why as, from what I remember, it’s a fairly faithful adaptation. I was just bored. It should’ve been Mad Max: Fury Road levels of craziness but it was bland and the characters were so underdeveloped and uninteresting, although that was a fault with the book as well. They also shifted the focus onto the girl in the film, which is fine, but it meant they spent far too little time on the boy who’s the main character in the book. By the way, the girl is also WAY more disfigured in the book so they really did try to make her “Hollywood pretty” in the film. It’s just a surprisingly forgettable movie for one with such a nutso concept and I can’t see this having done well enough to warrant any of the remaining books being adapted. What a shame. If you like the sound of this concept, just watch Howl’s Moving Castle instead. – 5/10


Eighth Grade – 5/10

Re-Watched:

Adventures In Babysitting Yes, I still love this movie. It’s a personal favorite. – 8.5/10

Big Daddy – I don’t care what anyone says about Adam Sandler. Yes, he has some really bad movies but he also has several that I really like. The Wedding Singer is his best by far and I love it but I think Big Daddy is good too and doesn’t get enough credit – It’s definitely one of his better films. I mean, come on – it’s quotable and the kid is cute. “I wipe my own ass! I wipe my own ass!!“. Ha. I love that bit. And we once again get a small Steve Buscemi cameo! It’s not as hilarious as his Wedding Singer cameo but it’s still fun. And it’s even a little bit sweet and heartfelt without being over-the-top saccharine and annoying. Plus, quite frankly, Sandler’s character is likeable in this one. I like this movie. I like Scuba Steve. Screw snobby film critics. – 7/10

The Dark Crystal (1982) – I watched this since the new series was coming up and I’d not seen this in years and honestly couldn’t remember a thing about it. I adored the look of it. Of course! It’s Jim Henson! I’m an 80’s kid so I’m a sucker for his work. This is no Labyrinth, though – I’ll be honest and say that I still far prefer Labyrinth. I might have even snoozed through The Dark Crystal a little bit. Blasphemy, I know! I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll watch it again sometime. I did watch the first episode of the new Netflix series so I’ll try to get back to that when life is a little less hectic. – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Shattered by Dean Koontz – Well, as I said I went to America in August so I needed a light & easy read to bring with me. I love Dean Koontz but I have to admit that his novels are usually light & easy reads so he was of course my first choice of author to bring along. Shattered is one of his older books (first published in 1973 under the pseudonym K.R. Dwyer) so it was perfect as it was short since he didn’t get so overly wordy in his older books. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “Artist Alex Doyle and his new family, bride Courtney and her 11-year-old brother Colin, are moving from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Courtney’s flying out ahead to get the house set up. Alex and Colin are driving there in Alex’s new Ford Thunderbird. The cross-country trip starts out as a bonding experience, but their car is being tailed by a van; a van driven by a psychopath intent on terrorizing them.” This book was perfectly fine. For its short length, the characters were developed well enough (other than the wife, but there’s not much focus on her as she’s not the one being stalked on the journey). She’s a little too perfect & beautiful, though, like most female Koontz characters. My only issue with this book is that it ended way too abruptly. Loads of build-up and then, BOOM, it was over. Huh. Kind of like sex. – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Stranger ThingsUm. I can’t, uh, even make it through Season 3 of Stranger Things. I think I have only two or three episodes to go but can’t even be bothered to get back to them. Everyone seemed to love it, though. Are the hubby & I the only ones not feeling Stranger Things anymore?? So disappointing after Season 1 was so enjoyable.

BLOG PLANS FOR SEPTEMBER

Ha! Well, the month is pretty much over. Crap… It’s almost October! I usually do October Horror Month but don’t think I’ll have time. Maybe I’ll try to re-post mini reviews of the many horror movies I’ve watched this year.

September Movies I Want To See:

It Chapter Two – Seen it! Thoroughly enjoyed it. My review is HERE.

Hustlers – Well, I had no interest in this as the thought of watching Cardi B makes me cringe but it’s had such surprisingly good reviews that I just might check it out…

Ad Astra – Sci-fi is my favorite genre and I badly want to see this.

Rambo: Last Blood – Nah! I’m not bothered but thought I should mention that it’s out.

The Farewell – Looks good! Going to try to go this week.

Ready Or Not – Looking forward to this after it got great reviews. Looks a bit fucked-up! I love fucked-up…

The Goldfinch – Shit! Not happy this has had such terrible reviews as I’ve been working my way through the extremely long novel for MONTHS and I’m finally almost finished with the damn thing.

Poms – Looks a bit stupid but the cast is great so I’ll catch this one on Netflix when having a girly night alone.

There was no great music in what I watched in August other than Adventures In Babysitting (which has an awesome soundtrack). Here’s the Iggy Pop song Real Wild Child (Wild One) that’s in the film. Love it.

My Top Ten Books Read In 2018

I’ll be posting all my 2018 Year End Top Ten Lists the rest of this week. I’m starting off with My Top Ten Books (And Short Stories) Read In 2018. I even managed to review them all, making this a very quick & easy post! Links to the reviews are below.

And as always, my “Top Tens” are often full lists of all I’ve seen, read, etc. I read 19 stories so I’ve ranked all 19. Here we go!

Nineteen – Eleven

19. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn – 2.5/5
18. You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames – 3/5
17. Every Day by David Levithan – 3/5
16. Odd Hours by Dean Koontz – 3/5
15. Laurie by Stephen King – 3/5
14. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – 3/5
13. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby – 3/5
12. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – 3/5
11. The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James – 3/5

Top Ten

10. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – 3/5
9. The Outsider by Stephen King – 3/5
8. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz – 3.5/10
7. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – 4/5
6. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – 4/5
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 4/5
4. Bird Box by Josh Malerman – 4/5
3. Strange Weather by Joe Hill: Stories 1 & 2, Stories 3 & 4 – 4/5
2. Ghastle And Yule by Josh Malerman – 4.5/5
1. The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe – 4.5/5

See you tomorrow with My Ranked Blind Spot Movies Of 2018. 🙂

Watched, Read, Reviewed: June 2018

Happy July, everyone! I’m WAY behind on my June Roundup. How is it July 2018? Where’s the time going?! Where’s my life going?!? Well, here’s the stuff I watched & read in June 2018. Once again, I was disappointed with most things. I seriously need to see a really great movie soon…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Enter The Dragon8.5/10
Deadpool 27/10
Ocean’s Eight7/10
Hereditary6.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Deadpool 27/10

Thief – Been wanting to watch this for a while as it’s Michael Mann’s first major film and I think Heat and Collateral are great. I got even more excited when the movie started and I saw that Tangerine Dream did the score. Yes!!! I love Tangerine Dream! This film is good & worth a watch if you’re a fan of either Mann or Tangerine Dream or late 70s/early 80s crime dramas. It feels like this probably inspired movies such as Drive looks-wise. It did drag a little, though. The characters were also a bit weak – I didn’t care too much about anyone although James Caan did do a decent job as a professional thief. Not as good as Heat but has the same great sort of look to it. It looks & feels like the best of Mann’s other work. – 7/10

The Florida Project – This was an odd one and I wasn’t sure while watching it if I liked it all that much. But I think I did. It grew on me and, weirdly, it was more entertaining than a lot of similar films that explore characters in situations where “nothing really happens”. I did really like Willem Dafoe in this although I don’t know if the role was “Oscar nominee” material. The main mother in this was annoying as hell and impossible to like but she felt like a real person, which not all movies are able to achieve. I ended up really liking her daughter & the other kids, although they seem bratty at first. They aren’t really, though – they’re just a product of their environment (a rundown motel just outside of Disney World). Actually, I thought the main girl (Brooklyn Prince) was a fantastic actress for her young age. Again, she felt like a real person. The setting was great (I love the look of that purple motel) and it was an interesting look at how there are people struggling to get by all over the world, including just outside of the happiest place on earth. I think I like this even more after writing this review… – 7/10

20th Century Women – This was actually pretty good! I really knew nothing about this going into it but I enjoyed each of the characters & their different personalities. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “The story of a teenage boy, his mother, and two other women who help raise him among the love and freedom of Southern California of 1979.” I couldn’t fully relate to any of the women but I did really like Greta Gerwig’s music-loving photographer and I especially loved all the Talking Heads music that they listened to. Good drama with strong performances from everyone (Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann & Billy Crudup) but has maybe too much of an indie-feel for a mainstream audience. Glad I checked it out. – 7/10

Ocean’s Eight7/10

Hereditary6.5/10

Christine (2016) – This is based on the true story of Christine Chubbuck, a TV news reporter who killed herself live on air in 1974. I’m surprised I knew nothing of this story and had never even heard of this woman. The story is, obviously, tragic and horrifying but I think the film handled the subject matter as well as it could. Rebecca Hall did a good job as Christine (though I can’t say how accurate the performance was). Not an easy watch and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone going through a hard time emotionally. It’s a solid drama & well acted but with a very slow pace and a TV movie feel to it. – 6.5/10

A Bucket Of Blood – Amazon Prime seems to have a lot of cult classic horrors at the moment so, like Carnival Of Souls last month, I was happy to finally check out this Roger Corman horror comedy starring Dick Miller. I can’t say it’s a “good” film but it’s memorable and I loved the 50’s beatnik setting. Not enough movies focus on that sort of culture – it made it feel more unique. Here’s another IMDb synopsis if you’ve not heard of it: “A dim-witted busboy finds acclaim as an artist for a plaster-covered dead cat that is mistaken as a skillful statuette. The desire for more praise soon leads to an increasingly deadly series of works.” I enjoyed it plus it’s only just over an hour long so I appreciated that (I rarely have enough time to watch an entire movie in one sitting). 6.5/10

Cargo – Loved this movie’s concept and thought the short film it’s based on was pretty great. Like Lights Out, however, I thought the longer format didn’t really work. Sometimes less is more! The movie is okay and it’s still a very good concept but I found it a little boring (and I fell asleep for a while in the middle of it – don’t tell hubby because I can’t be bothered to watch what I missed). It’s nice, though, that they’re still somehow finding ways to make zombie movies that feel original! Watch it if you want a decent zombie film that’s more about drama & family and less about blood & guts but PLEASE watch the short film first. – 6.5/10

In Time – This was fine. A bit forgettable. Again, I liked the synopsis so finally decided to check this out. From IMDb: “In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage – a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.” The story was okay & I liked the way that people could “buy time” but a better movie could have been made from this story. Fun but probably a bit too glossy and full of pretty young people to take it very seriously. – 6/10

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane – I watched this odd 1976 Jodie Foster film partly because I was sick of seeing it in my Netflix Watchlist (it’s been on there for years). I think I was under the impression that it was a straightforward horror but it’s more of a drama that almost feels like a play. Actually, the story would work quite well as a play (maybe it was a play – I’m too lazy to look into it). It drags & I found it a bit underwhelming but the young Foster did a good job as the mysterious 13-year-old who seems to live in a house all on her own. – 5.5/10

Swiss Army Man – Okaaaaaaay. This pretty much sucked. I was never really a fan of Weekend At Bernie’s because I thought the “drag a dead guy around and pretend he’s alive” gag was stupid. This is the same gag multiplied by one million. With farts. LOTS of farts. But… I guess it’s superior to Weekend At Bernie’s since it’s current & everything more than ten years old is shit in the eyes of the current generation? Anyway, I’d give it a lower rating but I have to admit that riding a dead guy like a waterski as his farts propel you is, um, original? And I always moan that there’s no originality these days. So I’ll be nice and give an extra point for some unique stupid gags that even Weekend At Bernie’s couldn’t have dreamed up. – 5/10

Dig Two Graves – Why do I occasionally watch random movies on Netflix that I’ve never heard of?? Well, I luck out sometimes – I thought Circle was fantastic. But the random ones in the horror genre are always shit. I’ll say that the acting in this was decent, though. Far better than the story itself, which didn’t hold my interest. Overall, it was yet another modern horror that was a waste of my time but it’s probably not as “bad” as my rating suggests. It showed some promise. It wasn’t as dumb as most the horrors that get a full cinema release. It was just dull. – 4.5/10

The Dark Tower – What in the actual fuck WAS this?! I love King but never got around to reading The Dark Tower series. I did read The Gunslinger (review HERE), though. The first book. This movie is NOT The Gunslinger. I know people have said it takes elements from the other books. Ugh. Whatever. I’ll keep reading the books as people do rave about them and they all trash this terrible adaptation. Just read The Gunslinger. Avoid this movie – it doesn’t resemble the story I read in any way whatsoever. – 3/10

Re-Watch: Mrs. Doubtfire – Never did love this movie but finally watched it with the kid. She liked it okay but didn’t love it. I do love Robin Williams, though. Miss him! – 6/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz – I love Dean Koontz. I recently did a post of My Top Ten Dean Koontz books HERE. The Odd Thomas series is great, mainly because the main character is so good. The first book is the best by FAR of what I’ve read so far, though, although I did enjoy book 3 (Brother Odd). I found this one (book 4) disappointing. Maybe it’s like the Star Trek movies but the opposite – only the odd numbers are good?? Ha! ODD numbers. Anyway – I’ll keep reading as I love the character. – 3/5

Currently Reading: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera & Strange Weather by Joe Hill

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Girls – I needed a short show to have on while exercising & saw this one was available & realized I’d watched all but the final two seasons. So I watched the final two seasons. The characters were as fucking hateful as always. Seriously – are these the most hateful people in a tv series ever or WHAT?! Yes. Yes they are. If these people were a part of my real life, I’d do everything in my power to avoid them. They never felt at all realistic. Are there really people like these?!? I used to think there weren’t but, thanks to Twitter, I’m thinking there really are people as nauseating as these four girls. But, fuck it – anyone who says this show wasn’t well written and wasn’t funny at times is a liar. Because it’s hard to admit. These people are so hateful that we don’t want to give the show any credit. However, that final episode may be the worst finale for a show that I’ve ever seen. What on Earth were they thinking?! What a let down.

13 Reasons Why – I’ve now seen two episodes. It’s fine. I read the book (my review is HERE) and the adaptation is decent so far. But I do have issues with the story being told at all. It’s a very sensitive topic and I don’t think the book necessarily handled it well so don’t know if the show will either. Seeing what season 2 is about, though, makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t believe they went there… I’ll only be watching season 1, which is the story in the book.

The IT Crowd – Again, I finally started this as I need a short show on while exercising. I watched the first episode. I wasn’t really feeling it… Maybe I’ll give it another go at some point.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

(Well, the month is half over so I’ve seen some of these now)

The First Purge – Saw it. Liked it but it’s the weakest of the four. My review is HERE.

Mary Shelley – I’ll probably wait for Netflix.

Skyscraper – Looks dumb but fun. Anyone know if it’s appropriate for a 9-year-old? She weirdly seems to like The Rock. She did love Rampage, which was pretty intense…

Incredibles 2 – Saw it! Loved it. Will try to review it this week.

The Secret Of Marrowbone – Looks okay but I know that 90% of modern horrors disappoint me so who knows? May wait for Netflix.

Hotel Artemis – Hmm. Looked fun but hasn’t had great reviews. Feels like a John Wick ripoff anyway.

My Top Ten Dean Koontz Books

Happy 73rd Birthday To Dean Koontz.

I love Dean Koontz. Yeah, I’m a huge Stephen King fan but I’ve spent almost as many years obsessively reading Koontz books as well. I started reading King in my teens but was introduced to Koontz in my early 20s when a relative recommended him and let me borrow some of her books. I was immediately hooked.

I’ll always remember the very first Koontz books I read (The Funhouse was my first and then Whispers, The Servants Of Twilight & Dragon Tears). So each of these make it into my top ten but this may be partly because of the fond memories I have of reading my first Dean Koontz books. The Funhouse was admittedly cheesy & pulpy but it’ll always be special to me since it was my first. And I do love that sort of setting for stories (as you’ll see by my number one choice).

In looking up his books on Wikipedia for this list, I’ve now seen JUST how many books Koontz had written. Wow! His first novel was published in 1968 when he was 23. No wonder I can’t keep them all straight in my head. As so many involve similar supernatural stories & characters, there are some books where I honestly can’t remember if I’ve read them or not and some I know I read but can’t remember a thing about. I’ve listed everything after my top ten. As with Stephen King books, I do find it interesting that I remember some of the books I read 20 years ago more than some that I read more recently. Why is that?

Anyway! Dean Koontz books are a hell of a lot of fun and I recommend his stuff if you love supernatural stories (and horror and a bit of sci-fi). He also always writes very likable characters, which is important to me. And dogs! The guy loves dogs and you’ll find plenty in his books.

So here are My Top Ten Dean Koontz Books (at the moment). Counting down to my favorite…

10. TIE: Dragon Tears & The Servants Of Twilight
9. Whispers
8. The Funhouse
7. Strangers
6. Fear Nothing & Seize The Night (Moonlight Bay Series) (I could do with re-reading – think a 3rd in this series is coming out?)
5. Cold Fire
4. Lightning
3. Odd Thomas Series (I’ve read books 1 through 4 so far – the first is the best by FAR but the character is fantastic and I’ll definitely read them all)
2. Watchers
1. Twilight Eyes

Honorable Mentions:
Life Expectancy, Darkfall, Phantoms, Sole Survivor, Hideaway, Ticktock

More Honorable Mentions:
The Moonlit Mind, The Face, The Good Guy, The Darkest Evening Of The Year, One Door Away From Heaven, Dark Rivers Of The Heart, The Door To December, Mr. Murder

I Read But Didn’t Love:
From The Corner Of His Eye (was this the puking & pooping one??), False Memory, The Key To Midnight, Shadow Fires, Winter Moon, The Mask

Think I Read But Can’t Remember:
The Voice Of The Night, The House Of Thunder, Midnight, Strange Highways, Velocity, The Husband

Honestly Don’t Know If I Read:
Night Chills, The Face Of Fear, The Bad Place, Intensity

Some I think I Definitely Haven’t Read: (Christmas present ideas!) 😉
Frankenstein Series (I have the first book – should I make a start?), Makina Series, Jane Hawk Series, Demon Seed (but I’ve seen the movie), Shattered (I have this so I’ll read it soon), The Vision, The Eyes Of Darkness, Icebound, By The Light Of The Moon, The Taking, Your Heart Belongs To Me, Relentless, Breathless, What The Night Knows & Darkness Under The Sun, 77 Shadow Street, Wilderness, Innocence, The Neighbor, The City, Ashley Bell, Ricochet Joe (I have this – it’s an interactive Kindle book with moving images. Sounds interesting!)

By the way – Koontz has also used ten pen names & I’m now determined to find a copy of all his oldest & most obscure books. I’ve not even listed his most obscure. This dude has seriously pumped out loads of books! And I hope that continues for many more years. Happy Birthday, Dean Koontz!

Watched, Read, Reviewed: April 2018

I’ve been disappointed with a lot of the movies I’ve watched this year but I finally saw some decent ones in April. I even saw a good modern horror! Those are few & far between. Here’s my month of April…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

A Quiet Place – 8/10
Avengers: Infinity War – 8/10
Citizen Kane – 7.5/10
Love, Simon – 7.5/10
Blockers – 6/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Enter The Dragon – I loved this! Probably my favorite movie I’ve seen this year so far. It’s a Blind Spot choice of mine so I’ll review it in full soon. – 8.5/10

A Quiet Place – 8/10

Avengers: Infinity War – 8/10

Love, Simon – 7.5/10

Berlin Syndrome – I actually thought this was a decent psychological thriller. Starring Teresa Palmer & Max Riemelt, this is the IMDb synopsis: A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive relationship, when an Australian photojournalist wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave. I’m always interested to see how a character will behave in this sort of situation (Teresa Palmer is the one being kept locked up in the apartment belonging to a stranger she’s slept with while on holiday). It’s strange to see him go about his daily life as normal each day while keeping her imprisoned and to see the “relationship” develop between them (he sees her as his girlfriend, of sorts, in his messed up mind). And she of course depends on him for food, etc, to survive. It’s based on a book so I’d be interested to know more about the characters’ feelings & motivations as I think the movie doesn’t explore this well enough. Maybe I’ll read the novel sometime. – 6.5/10

Blockers – 6/10

Midnight Run – Yes, the 1988 Robert De Niro/Charles Grodin film. This is one of those “re-watches” that I don’t count as a re-watch since I didn’t remember it whatsoever. What can I say? Yes, it’s a bit dated & of its time but I grew up in the Eighties & love films from that time. This was enjoyable but, yes, somehat forgettable (which is why I’d forgotten it!). They make a good movie duo, though. Certainly worth a watch if you like De Niro and/or Eighties films. – 6.5/10

The Beguiled (2017) – I was quite disappointed with this film, although I don’t think it’s “bad”. I like a lot of Sofia Coppola’s movies & was really looking forward to seeing this remake done from a female perspective. I saw the original Clint Eastwood movie last year & thought it was really good (it made it into My Top Ten Clint Eastwood Movies list – I don’t know why I’ve watched so many of his movies since starting this blog but he really has been in some great films!). This remake ended up feeling completely pointless. Okay, I know that 99.9% of remakes ARE pointless. But Coppola brings nothing new to the table. The movie is pretty much a straight copy but with far more shallow characters, which I certainly wasn’t expecting. I figured they’d have much more depth but the characters actually felt far more complex in the original. There are so many shades of gray going on in the original – you don’t know who to trust or who you should be rooting for (well, probably Eastwood – those ladies go pretty crazy). Oh hell, it’s probably Colin Farrell’s fault that I didn’t like the remake. Is it just me or is he a borderline horrible actor? The women all did fine (although their characters were very watered down versions of those in the original film). But, with Farrell, there was this… Nothingness. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t get into this one. I don’t even particularly like Eastwood but he was soooo much better in this role. Okay, maybe it’s not your fault, Sofia! This film did look lovely and it was worth a watch to compare the two. But the male lead character is SUCH an important role in this film and they chose someone very wrong for the part. They needed someone with depth whose motivations seem unclear. Oh… Imagine Daniel Day-Lewis or similar in this movie. It could’ve been great if that had happened. – 6.5/10

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Again, this was a bit disappointing but my expectations weren’t exactly high. I just wanted a fun popcorn movie and who doesn’t like Samuel L. Jackson & Ryan Reynolds?! It was fun seeing them together but Reynolds doesn’t get to be as lovably goofy as I think we all expect now. Overall, the movie was a bit boring & forgettable. Salma Hayek’s character (the kick-ass, tough talking wife of Jackson) actually steals the show. – 6.5/10

Honey – Yeah, the old Jessica Alba dance movie. I admit to liking a girly dance movie sometimes (like Save The Last Dance, which I’d now like to re-watch). Although the Breakin’ movies kick the shit out of these two! Anyway, Honey is cheesy & predictable but I liked it just fine. It’s exactly what I expected. And my kid loved it (she’s a fraction young – we skipped some of the sexy sexy stuff). I’d have liked to see much more Missy Elliott in this – she was fun. – 6/10

The Circle – Ugh. This was a very bad adaptation of a flawed book (I reviewed the book HERE). And I’m starting to think that Emma Watson truly annoys the hell out of me. To be fair, her character was thoroughly hateful in the book so she was probably right for the movie adaptation. Tom Hanks was very wrong for his role. This movie just does a horrible job getting its point across. Well, I’m not sure it even had a point. The book starts out really well addressing the evils of shit like Facebook and a world with a complete lack of privacy (See? NOW you’re all starting to see the truth!). But the book falls apart at the end, which sucked as it was making a very scary & valid point to begin with. But the movie just says “fuck it!” and doesn’t even attempt to make any sort of social commentary whatsoever. Just watch The Social Network instead of this. – 5/10

• Re-Watch: Iron Man – I won’t rank this re-watch as I know this film very well. I’m going to work my way through re-watching the Marvel movies with my kid as she loved Avengers: Infinity War and now wants to see them all from the start. I’m not a massive superhero fan but I do like the Marvel characters a lot and this film is easily one of the best (I’ve ranked all the MCU films HEREIron Man is my second favorite). – 8/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ (ranked best to worst)

The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe – Well, I’ll be damned! Edgar Allan Poe was one hell of a writer. I guess that’s why he’s considered one of the best in this genre, eh? I loved this short story. So descriptive and atmospheric. Macabre and creepy. I’m definitely going to finally read some more Poe now. I should’ve read this years ago. The spooky shit is right up my alley. – 4.5/5

Brother Odd by Dean Koontz – I love Dean Koontz – he’s kind of a guilty pleasure that I don’t actually feel guilty about. He’s no Stephen King and, I’m not gonna lie, all his books follow the exact same sort of formula. But it’s an enjoyable formula that always contains likable characters and very weird supernatural stories that are a lot of fun. This is the third book in the Odd Thomas series (I reviewed the movie HERE). The first Odd Thomas is easily one of Koontz’s best books and Odd is a great character who is clearly popular with fans. I can’t say I remember Book 2 very well but Brother Odd is possibly one of the slightly more strange Koontz stories (they’re all highly strange, though!). Strange is good.  I’m eager to continue the series now after finding Book 2 forgettable and not reading the next one until many years later. – 3.5/5

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn – Hmm. This short story started out strong then just kind of… Ended. It was one of those stories where you finish it & go “Huh? That’s it?” I really enjoyed Flynn’s Gone Girl & especially Sharp Objects and am currently in the middle of Dark Places. Good so far. Guess her full length novels are much better than her short stories. – 2.5/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED (ranked best to worst)

Greys Anatomy – Why do I watch this? I think I just like to see who they might kill off next. How do so many doctors die violently in medical dramas?! ER was the best for that. Remember when what’s his face grumpy bald doctor dude got squished by the helicopter after previously having his arm chopped off by one? Being a TV doctor is dangerous.

The Walking Dead – Fuck this show. That finale was the worst one yet. I’m finally giving up on continuing with this.

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Upcoming Movies I Want To See:

Wow – May is a shitty month for movies! I only want to see three. Maybe I’ll be more productive this month since I won’t be wasting time at the cinema. Hmm…

Tully – I really liked Juno and thought Young Adult was okay so am looking forward to another Diablo Cody/Jason Reitman collaboration.

Deadpool 2 – The first one was hilarious and Ryan Reynolds is adorable. I’ll definitely be catching this one.

Solo: A Star Wars Story – Tickets already booked! I actually wasn’t sure how I felt about this one but I have to say that the trailers finally got me excited. This may turn out to be quite good. We’ll see! Fingers crossed…

Maybe watch on Netflix if I can be bothered:
Life Of The Party (unless reviews are dreadful), Breaking In, How To Talk To Girls At Parties,The Cured, On Chesil Beach, The Breadwinner

No Fucking Way:
I Feel Pretty

Odd Thomas (2013) Review

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Odd Thomas (2013)

Directed by Stephen Sommers

Based on Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Starring:
Anton Yelchin
Willem Dafoe
Addison Timlin
Nico Tortorella

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.

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My Opinion:

Well, I have to use the word: This movie is certainly “odd”. It’s also not exactly “good”. However, I kind of liked it and am going to have some affection for it since I read A LOT of Dean Koontz books. Odd Thomas is one of his better books and certainly one of the best characters he’s created. Which is why I suppose there’s a load of Odd Thomas books now… When did that happen?! I only knew of three. I read the first two and bought the third (which I then lost and still can’t find anywhere – I need to find it so I can continue!). Anyway, the first book IS really good and this movie doesn’t capture how great the characters are but I appreciate that they made the effort. At least it sucks less than most the other truly awful Koontz adaptations.

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I’ll be honest – if you’ve not read Odd Thomas, I don’t recommend this movie. If you’ve read it, I think you’ll at least enjoy seeing Odd Thomas (the character – it’s his actual name) onscreen and I did really like Anton Yelchin as Odd even though he’s not exactly what I’d pictured. I’ve liked Yelchin since the underrated Charlie Bartlett & think he has the right sort of quirkiness to play Odd. Addison Timlin was also good as his girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn and they had a very nice chemistry together, although they came nowhere near capturing the relationship as well as in the book (through no fault of their own – you’re just never going to get as much character development in a movie). The humor in the movie feels a little out of place and just doesn’t work the way it worked so well in the book. And then there’s the strange “supernatural” stuff… Well, it comes across as quite cheesy in the movie and, if you’ve not read the book, I think you might laugh at those bits. To be fair, I think it’s probably very hard to get a Dean Koontz movie “right” onscreen. Well, they’ve managed to make some Stephen King stories into excellent films but I suppose he’s more well known and those movies probably have a bigger budget. Odd Thomas feels like a made-for-TV Stephen King movie, basically. I watch EVERYTHING Stephen King-related and know there’s been some truly dodgy adaptations of his work but I still enjoy watching them. I felt exactly the same way watching Koontz’s Odd Thomas. By the way – I think the girl playing Odd’s girlfriend was truly adorable:

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But I’m not sure how necessary THIS shot was:

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Summary:

First of all, I highly recommend reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz if you at all like supernatural fiction with a bit of horror. He’s Stephen-King-lite. I have a strange relationship with Dean Koontz – his books are an “easy read” and I devour them then totally forget about them but, occasionally, I love one. My favorites are Twilight Eyes & Watchers but Odd Thomas would be close to the top of the list as well, especially as I think it’s one of Koontz’s finest endings for a story as well as one of the best characters he’s created. The movie handles the ending fairly well, which I was worried about them getting right. I think there are some changes from what I remember of the book but nothing that bothered me too much as it was more important to get the characters right and I think the movie did a decent enough job of achieving this. You’ll like it okay if you’ve read the book but you probably won’t if you haven’t (unless you’re not bothered by a low-budget sort of feel). Read the book. THEN watch the movie. Then read a few more Dean Koontz books. Then watch Charlie Bartlett.

My Rating: 6/10

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I did it! I’ve managed to review movies based on books all week! I’ll attempt to do another tomorrow but at this point don’t have anything written yet. I may do Paperhouse – that was an “odd” film as well! Either that or The Spectacular Now… So far I’ve reviewed The Maze Runner & The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I & of course Odd Thomas. 🙂