June 30, 2013

World War Z (2013)

After watching the trailer for this movie I was convinced it would be a huge snore. And I am forced to admit that I was wrong, sometimes you can't judge a movie by its trailer.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, an ex-UN veteran investigator who has left his job to raise his two girls with his wife, Karin. The beginning of the movie starts off with a series of predictable events, including taking special effort to mention that the eldest daughter has asthma and needs to pack her inhalers before they all hop in the car. The family relationships are all a bit cliche and wooden to start off with as they open with the kids waking the parents up, pancakes all round, lots of jabs at each other. Oh my aren't we a happy family. Meh.

But don't walk out before the first ten minutes is over, because it gets exponentially better after the opening scenes. The fear builds as the city is rapidly infected with zombieness around them from the slightest bite wound and the family is forced to flee.
Ultimately he is rescued via helicopter to a carrier ship where a bunch of (only useful) people are residing and ends up leading a mission to find the origin and cure for the disease.

Brad does a good job of playing the concerned father/family man and hardened UN vet/army man- a role his is probably well experienced with now. And we're all happy when he gets his family to safety so he can concentrate on killing more zombies.

Suspense, check. Shooting, stabbing and blowing shit up, check. Gory zombie goodness, check.
Aside from the beginning of the film, I really loved this movie. I thought the worldwide reaction and the individual reactions were realistic for an apocalyptic adventure. There are even a few events you won't see coming, and some that will be glaringly obvious.

4 Stars!

A few flaws (spoiler alert)
1. Zombies are suddenly faster than humans, despite being, uh, dead.
2. If the camouflage were to work in the way they say it does, that the body is no longer a health host, why wouldn't all the people injured (as he is later) be ignored by the zombies? And how do they know they are sick?
3. Zombies turn in 8 seconds, if I remember correctly, that is some seriously fast infection.
4. Zombies, dead, with skin dropping off, cataracts and looking like shit, are attracted to sound. You're telling me that their eardrums remained intact? vibration would have been less of a stretch. And how can they see through that milky lens?

Man of Steel 2013

Henry Cavill gets serious about Superman on the backdrop of an epic soundtrack.

Let me just start by saying, holy-cow Batman, where did they find this beautiful, manly, built, chiseled, broody, kind-faced, amazing, perfect, scrumptious man?
... Oh wait, he was in Immortals, but this hair-style really suits him, and unbelievably he's managed to bulk up more.

Ignore the critic reviews and go watch this on the big screen.
The story development behind his launch into space from Krypton includes an impressive (actually likeable) portrayal of Jor-El by Russell Crowe, and is just the right length to develop the context that shapes his powers, his fathers role in the rest of the movie, and to show some pretty cool alien technology.

 I've read a few articles saying that Cavill lacks emotion, and is too serious, but I think these critics lack the necessary sections of their brain to read between the lines and interpret his non-verbal actions in context. I think he has realistically portrayed an intelligent Superman who makes a selfless decision to reveal himself to the people of Earth, with all of his misgivings in tow, and manages to eloquently insert himself into a paranoid government-controlled situation with his dignity and privacy intact. This is a man who has tried for his entire life to hide his differences, been forced to distance himself from others and still can't help saving people even at risk to himself. The stoic facial expression described by several articles is spot on with the character he is playing. And he mixes it perfectly with his gentle I'm-not-going-to-harm-you smiles.
Now we come to the inevitable fight scenes where Superman and the bad-guy Kryptonians smash each other through buildings and blow things up. Lots of explosions and punching and shooting.

There are two things I didn't really like in this movie
1) The fighting did seem to involve repetitive flying into building scenes
2) Lois Lane and Superman kiss was no where near as hot as it could have been

But these weren't enough to over-shadow the best Superman movie ever made.
All hail the lack of red undies.
And someone get me this guys number.

5 stars.

January 3, 2013

Three bedrooms, one corpse Charlaine Harris

Written in 1994 and one of the 'Aurora Teagarden Mystery Series', I picked this up at the Subiaco Elizabeths Bookstore simply because any book written by this mistress of mystery needs to be on my shelf. This is the first I've read in this series, and it's not the first of the series, but it wasn't hard to follow at all.

Roe Teagarden has recently come into some money and quit her job as the local librarian, she doesn't have special powers like Charlaine's usual female characters, but she can solve a good mystery. Anywho, she decides to have a look into the real estate business her mother runs to see if she'd like to join in, next thing she knows she's showing a house and there's a dead naked real estate agent propped up in one of the rooms like a budget BDSM porno.

Add a dash of sexy romance with a new, older, man who has a smidgen of danger about him and the question of 'is he the murderer?'... but he's so hot! What about that creepy guy down the road? Probably a red herring. As per usual, the characters have depth and the killer might surprise you.

Four stars!

December 31, 2012

My 2012 reading list

For my new years resolution 2012 I aimed to read 100 books over the course of the year, as it turns out that is fucking impossible to do while completing your fifth year of med school and napping in all your breaks. So at the end of it all I got to a mere 35 books, which isn't that bad. hopefully 2013 will be closer to 50 books.

Here they are in order of reading, I'll elaborate on a few that were good or terrible.
1. Ashling by Isobelle Carmody
I love everything this Australian author writes, her books take you to post-apocalyptic world where a select few have x-men-like powers. Worth reading all in the series

2. Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
So excited when this came out, better than the last book.

3. The great gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Probably a more exciting film.

4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
So wrong.

5. The keeping place by Isobelle Carmody
As above

6. Taltos by Anne Rice
Dirty in a way only Anne Rice can get away with

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
What a bore, I was so disappointed.

8. The wolf gift by Anne Rice (2012)
A NEW non-jesus book from Anne, I clasped it with both hands in the bookstore and squealed (much to the terror of the man standing next to me). Who knew she was writing again?? Easy read, not as complicated as her previous books, not as long as her previous books. She's moved into werewolf territory, I suspect because of the Twilight takeover on the vampire front leading to millions of vampire books suddenly being published. Good, but doesn't hold a candle to her earlier work.

9. Hunger games by Suzanne Collins
Love it. Sort of reminds me of Enders game.

10. Storm front by Jim Butcher
11. Fool moon by Jim Butcher
These two books were lent to me and I still haven't returned them. Rivetting stuff, I need to get the rest of them. Magician, exiled, complex storyline, mystery, murder.

12. Catching fire by Suzanne Collins
13. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Read within 24hr of each other they're so good.

14. Vampire diaries Midnight
Oh god I know, it's terrible but I had to read it.

15. Fifty shades by E L James
SEXY. WRONG. Wrong in the way that the male lead is an overbearing power control freak who stops her living her own life.

16. True Hauntings by Hazel Denning
17. Will Storr vs the supernatural
Interesting observations of a journalist delving into the world of people who chase ghosts.

18. 50 shades darker by E L James
Can't stop at one.

19. Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris
Everything she writes is gold.

20. The lovely bones by Alice Sebold
I was so pissed off at the ending of this book, didn't watch the movie and don't want to spoil it for you. You should read this is you like drama.

21. Grave secrets by Charlaine Harris
22. Grave surprise by Charlaine Harris

23. Love by Leo Buscaglia
Optimists take on the world.

24. Grave sight by Charlaine Harris

25. Huntress by Malinda Lo
This and number 34 (Ash, prequel) are incredible books. Fantasy/adventure, lesbian written from a ladies perspective and not in a whorish porn/male perspective. 5 stars.

26. Playing dead by Julia Heaberlin

27. Panic by Jeff Abbott
Fucking loved the running around in this mystery/adventure/crime book, shooting and terror and AGHHH! great stuff.

28. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Angels eh? Yeah I didn't think I'd be into it but it's a good book. Alternative to those vampire books I'm so addicted to.

29. Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney

30. Angels blood by Nalini Singh
SEXY! Fantasy/erotic/adventure lots of death and killing and darkness. Archangels gone bad. I went ahead and bought the second book in this series, so you know I liked it.

31. 50 shades freed by E L James
They get married. Surprise!

32. Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood
33. Blood and circuses by Kerry Greenwood
I find Kerry a bit hit and miss, my mum loves these murder mystery books. These two were good. The circus one was sexier.

34. Ash by Malinda Lo

35. The white cat by Holly Black
Amused by the authors surname in contrast to the title, I bought this book in a spur of the moment Dymocks adventure and was not disappointed. Magicians are real, twists and turns, murder and fucking excitement. Didn't foresee the ending. 5 stars.

December 28, 2011

Review: Breaking Dawn Part I

Holy hell buckets, I just realised that I never wrote up my review of Breaking Dawn Part 1.

Chances are that if you're interested in Twilight, you have already seen this movie. And if you've read the book, you already know what happens. So, you know Edward and Bella get hitched- Kristen is supposed to look all happy to walk down the aisle towards him, lose all her nerves but instead looks like she's got the trots. Never mind. As usual, Charlie is the one that makes you feel anything- her poor dad, wondering why they hell she wants to marry this dude who ran off and left her without a word and made her go nuts. And, he has a point.

Anyhoot, we were all hoping for some graphic birthing scenes-she was delightfully gaunt, I must say. But it wasn't gruesome enough for me.

Eager for the next, and final, installment of this little addiction.

4/5 The best so far.

November 21, 2011

Immortals (2011)

If you like movies with graphic killing scenes and plenty of action, I would most definitely recommend this.

Theseus (Henry Cavill) plays the hero with the amazing upper body, you'll recognise Poseidon as "that guy from Twilight" (Kellan Lutz) and Lysander as "that bad guy from Vampire Diaries" (Joseph Morgan) who seems to have a penchant for playing the villain. Zeus is pretty hot (Luke Evans) and there are other hot people in it as well: Freida Pinto (the enchanting, virginal, oracle- Phaedra), Stephen Dorff (Dirty Stavros) and more. Mickey Rourke plays a convincing asshole as King Hyperion, sadistic and cruel in so many different ways. Australian actress Isabel Lucas (Athena) had just few enough lines to not look stupid, as she so often does, and I was pleasantly surprised with her in this film.

All you need to know is that Theseus is a mortal dude with a great body and no fear (of course!) who Zeus seems to like. King Hyperion is all about wiping out the weak and becoming "immortal"/famous and Theseus has to fight him. There's lots of killing and blood and sword fighting. There's the hot chick he is destined to get with and a bunch of gods upstairs fighting over what happens downstairs.

4/5 entertaining, loved the blood.

August 19, 2011

Movie: Jane Eyre (2011)

Starring the intriguing Mia Wasikowska (The most recent Alice) as the repressed governess Jane Eyre and Michael Fassbender (Seen earlier this year as Magneto in X-Men First Class) as the alluring older gentleman- Mr Rochester.

Mia Wasikowska may be a genius. Just saying. She was so convincing and so ethereal and so... Jane. It was very impressive. (Much better than her foray into Alice in Wonderland. I think this role suits her better)

As for Michael, I think I've developed a bit of a crush on him. I loved him in X Men but... damn, he made a hot Rochester.

Having read the book a mere twenty zillion times, my expectations were high, so high in fact that I was preparing myself to be disappointed. But how wrong I was. This movie did not dwell on sections of the book that were irrelevant, nor did it follow a linear timeline that would have bored those who had read the novel. It held the interest of the audience for the entire movie, the scenery was magical, the characters were amazing, the camera work, the music, the raw emotions. It had it all.

I love period drama, it's the costumes, the romance and the characters who are so uptight that the sexual tension could be cut with a plastic spoon. So mayhaps it's not for you, but if you don't want to spend your ten bucks, I suggest you read the book.

I declare, four stars!

August 8, 2011

Book in review: Beat the Reaper (Josh Bazell)

Written by Josh Bazell MD this witty fictional tale of an intern with a mobster history as a successful hitman is genius. From start to finish you'll be engrossed in his style of writing and in love with his brutally honest assessment of the world.

Dr Peter Brown isn't any old intern, he's an ex-killer with a gift for saving lives. His humour is dark and laugh-out-loud-even-though-you're-in-public-funny. He's got a chip on his shoulder, a brain sharper than a scalpel blade and a unique talent for dispatching with his enemies.

The book opens with Dr Brown boredly disabling his would-be mugger, and takes you on a roller coaster adventure that will suck you in and leave you wanting more.

Read it! Read it read it read it. FIVE STARS!

Movie in Review: Hanna 2011

Starring 17 year old Saoirse Ronan as Hanna, bleached hair and brows and blue contacts make her seem surreal and rather odd looking. She's a sheltered killer, brought up by her father to be the perfect assassin.

There isn't a lot to say about this movie, it is good- there's killing and blood and suspense and more blood. Which is all wonderful.

However, thinly veiled storyline, a lack of depth with the background information and Cate Blanchett's attempt to be evil does marr the tale.

I give it 3.5 Stars

June 25, 2011

X-Men: First Class (2011)

This prequel, starring James McAvoy as Prof Xavier, definitely filled in some of the gaps the last four movies have kept secret. And not only that, but it did something that few prequels can claim, it had a relevant, interesting, multidimensional storyline.

Character development seemed to be a key aim of the film, with a significant portion devoted to the young lives and origins of each X Man/Woman. Their lives are even more intertwined than one would suspect from the previous four movies, with the exception, perhaps, of Erik- whom we all know to be Charles' best friend and arch nemesis (One of the most interesting relationships in sci-fi history, in my opinion).

James McAvoy plays Xavier (Professor X) to a T, capturing his brilliant mind, wit and supernatural calm, as well as his ability to bring people together and help them develop their abilities.

Michael Fassbender plays a haunted (And sexy) Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), and you can't help but root for him as he goes about his killing sprees once you've seen his story.

Mystique/Raven is played by Jennifer Lawrence and her story is one that I haven't had the opportunity to explore via the comics. I don't want to give away the storyline so I'll leave it to you to enjoy.
Score: 4/5

Confounding factors: I'm enormously bias due to my immense love of X-Men and all affiliated products ;)

June 18, 2011

Movie in review: Sucker Punch

In short: the story of a teenage girl sent to an asylum for a murder she did not commit, by her evil stepfather, who then attempts to escape. The storyline is overlaid by an imagined storyline (in her head) which she involves other inmates in, thereby following through with an utterly impossible plan revolving around four objects which she requires for liberation.

The good points
  • Pretty girls in pretty costumes
  • Interesting graphics

The bad points
  • Repetitive x4
  • Stupid nicknames
  • It wasn't gruesome enough
  • Average storyline
  • Predictable ending

I think they could have done a lot more with a teenage girl and a samurai sword. I was very disappointed!

In picture form: (Bask in the glory of my paint skills)

January 29, 2011

Movie in review: Black Swan

I have two words to describe this movie: Effing Weird.
The acting is good, the sets are good, the special effects are good, the music is excellent, the dancing is beautiful and the lead actress is the stunning Natalie Portman... But that doesn't stop this movie from being so dark and confusing and disturbing and dirty, in equal measures, that the audience left in the most sombre mood I have ever experienced.

Natalie plays a very convincing, insane, ballerina who gets progressively crazier as the movie swoops on, and on and on. You'll cringe, you'll gasp, you might even get a little turned on- but it's still effing weird.

My interpretation of this movie is as follows:
I suspect that those who enjoy artsy-type movies will find this to be an intriguing piece of visual art... but I just think it was effing weird. And I can't even think of a rating. I wouldn't see it twice, even though I'm madly in love with Natalie Portman.

Rating: WTF
Perhaps you can tell me what you thought of it...

January 24, 2011

Movie in review: Morning Glory

I admit that I wasn't expecting much from this movie, despite the three seasoned actors involved, and I certainly wasn't expecting to get as many laughs from it as I did. Having no companion to accompany me to said movie, I seated myself in the middle of the theatre and was soon joined by several over the hill middle-aged couples who shared my love of Harrison Ford (Old-man-crush alert. Don't lie, he did it for you as Han Solo, or better yet, Indiana Jones).
Anyway, my initial thought was 'How can you seriously make an entire movie about a morning show?' and I think the answer to that question is to have an adorable Rachel McAdams playing the lead with huge backing from movie juggernauts like old Harrison and the (surprisingly attractive for an older lady) Diane Keaton. If the two news anchors had been replaced with B grade actors (or worse) this movie would have been complete crap. But, I have to admit that I enjoyed the movie and even teared up at the ending (But don't tell anyone).

Still- I'm going to be hard on it and say 3/5 (which is harsh for me), because it's no masterpiece, but it isn't totally lame like I thought it would be.

January 6, 2011

Movie in review: Tangled

Maybe I've been extremely lenient on my previous movie reviews, they all seem to score so highly- but I have to give this one a five out of five. Disney has my heart in a shiny filigree cage, filled with animated daisies, paper lanterns and 3D inquisitive fluffy bunnies.

Tangled is a warm and modern look at the age-old Rapunzel fairytale; with an evil old woman/witch (Mother Gothel- I think the name refers to her gothic style of dress), an adorable chameleon side kick (Pascal), a handsome young thief (Flynn), and Maximus the entertaining horse.

Disney is the master of concocting a movie with just the right amount of laughter with tear jerking moments and the magic of beautiful backdrops. There is nothing more perfect than the Disney view of the world in bright greens and electric blue butterflies, songs for every emotion, and castles with pleasant kings and queens and clean streets with loyal and happy subjects.

In short, I want to live in the kingdom of Disney, and this movie rocked.

Go see it! Spend your dimes.

December 30, 2010

Movie Review: Love and Other Drugs

The elegant Anne Hathaway plays Maggie, a free spirited artsy type, who is revealed to have a degenerative disease (early onset Parkinson's) which has caused her to switch from painting to photography due to her tremor. The rather attractive Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jamie, a sexed up salesman turned drug rep (not much of a change) who meets Maggie through one of his schemes to get a doctor to sell his drugs in place of Prozac.

One thing leads to another and they end up having crazy sex in her kitchen and then pretty much everywhere else (This movie is not for people with a sensitivity for nudity and sexytimes onscreen). Anyway, as you'd expect, they end up falling in love with each other.

Unlike the typical cookie-cutter romance movies this one lacks the sickly sweet single thread of storyline which would normally make me gag in horror. Rather, they've managed to bring together two similar characters of the opposite sex (bad girl meets bad boy) without the traditional roles of male and female that society impresses upon us. Add in an incurable degenerative disease and a person who is so in love that they'll give up everything for them (Think, A walk to remember without the Jesus bullshit) and you've got a movie.

4/5 Very watchable and sexy, a good date movie with lots of feelgood romance and bitter sweet angst in just the right doses.