I’ve Been Nominated For The Liebster Award

liebster

For the third time now I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award. So thanks to Sister Geeks for the nomination.

So the rules are as followed:

1. Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site.

2. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

3. Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.

4. Nominate other blogs to receive the award.

5. Write 11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer.

11 questions from Sister Geeks to answer

1. List one accomplishment–besides having an awesome blog–that you’re really proud of.

I’ve done the Race For Life for cancer research twice. I didn’t run though-jogging and walking only for me.

2. What made you decide to start blogging?

I like watching and talking about movies, so this seemed like a natural progression to inflict the world with my views.

3. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?

Jurassic Park – it was awesome!

4. On an unlimited budget, where would you travel?

New York, Vegas, Australia, China… too many places to think of.

5. What’s your favorite book from childhood that you still read, even if only in secret?

Matilda by Roald Dahl. I still read it but not in secret.

6. What (or who) motivates you?

I’m so lacking in motivation, but I guess fear of failure motivates me at times.

7. What would be your weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse?

A gun with a silencer

8. Who is on your Hall Pass list? Or if you’re single, what celebs are your top 5 one night stands?

A one night stand! How dare you! :) My top five celeb crushes-at the moment are:

Ryan Reynolds

Channing Tatum

Dan Stevens

Jamie Dornan

Ryan Gosling

9. Mermaids or Unicorns?

Tough one. Unicorn.

10. If you had to eat the same meal for the rest of your life, what would be on your plate?

Difficult. At the moment I’m craving fish and chips so I will go with that.

11. What do you want your legacy to be?

A famous writer/screenwriter whose written some amazing work and was also a pretty nice person as well.

Nominated Blogs for the Liebster Award

emmakwall (explains it all)

filmnerdblog

Film Grimoire

My 11 Questions to answer

  1. What film are you most looking forward to this winter?
  2. What book are you currently reading?
  3. What superpower would you like to have?
  4. Do you believe in ghosts?
  5. Who would you most like to meet, living or dead?
  6. Favourite song?
  7. Current celeb crush?
  8. What is your earliest childhood memory?
  9. Is there life on other planets?
  10. Whats your biggest fear?
  11. What invention from movie/films/tv do you wish was real?

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Coherence (2013)

Coherence

Low budget indie movies normally means you’re either going to watch something imaginative and different or it’s an excuse for some shaky camera nonsense. Luckily no shaky camera work in sci-fi thriller Coherence but will low-budget mean low quality?

Eight friends attend a dinner party as a comet is due to pass over through the night.Soon their phones stop working and then the house loses power. As it turns out the whole neighbourhood has lost power except for one house. When they decide to ask for help the night begins to get even stranger.

This is one of those movies where the less you know about the plot before hand the better. Although perhaps some knowledge of philosophy and thought experiments may help you understand some of the characters’ theories about what going on (it took me a bit of pausing and discussing with my sister to make sure I understood the plot). That doesn’t mean the movie is a bore or anything in fact writer/director James Ward Byrkit makes an interesting film where I generally I had no idea where the story would go, which is nice in this day and age.

The set up may seem slow to start with as we get to know the characters but they information we find out about the characters become important later. We understand more of their motivations and sets up for revelations further along the line. The eight actors and actresses are well playing, and along with the natural sounding dialogue, they are believable as a group of friends thrown into chaos during the night.

Its limited setting is both a help and a hinderance. Being set mostly inside one house means that there is claustrophobic tone which the movie capitalise on as the characters are unsure whether to stay put or risk going outside. Every noise or knock at the door makes you jump. But it also means the film can be stilted at times, and you want to know what is going on outside. The ending was also a bit too abrupt for me.

But it is worth watching at least for anyone wondering what Xander from Buffy is doing now, with Nicholas Brendon having fun playing a character who used to be in a tv show.

Rating 3.5/5

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The DUFF

The DUFF

Whoever said that your school days are the best days of your life must have been high on drugs the whole time. Teen movies have been showing us the horrors of high school in a light, comedic way for years. Now newcomer The DUFF aims to join the ranks of great High School movies. But will it be the DUFF of teen comedies?

High school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman) is enjoying her final year at school with her two best friends. That is until jock Wesley (Robbie Amell) tells her that she’s the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – of her social group. Wanting to rid herself of her DUFF status Bianca sets out to reinvent her image, even if that means getting help from Wes. But despite their differences and their fighting could there be something between Bianca and Wes?

The DUFF could easily have been a msifire, however it manages to be a funny and likeable teen movie. It aspires to be a spiritual successor to 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls, and while it doesn’t manage to be quite on that level it’s also a hell of a lot better than the average high school comedy.

A lot of praise goes to a funny script, assured direction and the two charming leads in Whitman and Amell. Whitman makes for a sympathetic, snarky lead who is in no way fat or ugly (although the film goes to great lengths to say a DUFF doesn’t have to be fat or ugly, just more approachable than their more popular friends). Amell looks too old to be a high school senior but he does manage to make the arrogant and insensitive Wes have more depth and become more likable than he initially appears. The chemistry between the two leads also makes you believe that the two characters would actually like each other deep down.

The film is adapted from the novel of the same name by Kody Keplinger and has made a lot of changes to the source material. So if fans were hoping to see how the film handles Bianca’s relationship with her alcoholic dad, or her and Wes’s enemies with benefits relationship they will be surprised to see these key plot points erased from the film. While the changes gives a more cinematic narrative, it’s a shame some of the novel’s darker aspects weren’t explored better. Also added to the film is mean girl wannabe Madison (Bella Thorne) to give Bianca a proper enemy for the movie. Thorne is passable in the role, but it’s no different from the thousand Regina George copycats we’ve seen since Mean Girls came out in 2004 (has it really been that long?). And of course it all has to climax at the school dance, another high school cliché.

Despite it ticking off the majority of teen comedy troupes, complete with a Be Yourself message, The DUFF manages to overcome any shortcomings with its likeable leads, especially from rising star Whitman.

Rating 3.5/5 – full of charm, laughs and romance, being The DUFF doesn’t seem so bad

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Obvious Child

220px-Obvious_Child_posterComedy movies have mined a lot of materials out of one night stands and pregnancy (Knocked Up, Juno). Obvious Child approaches the same subject matter but looks at what happens when the girl decides she’s not ready to be a mother.

Dumped by her boyfriend, stand up comedienne Donna (Jenny Slate) has a one night stand with a guy named Max (Jake Lacy). A few weeks later she finds out she’s pregnant. Unready to be a mother she decides to have an abortion, all the while trying to work out her feelings for Max who suddenly reappears into her life.

Whether you’re willing to watch this film will probably depend on your view of the subject matter of abortion, and even if you’re pro-choice you may still find the idea of a comedy about abortion a bit distasteful. Which is fair enough. For me I admire writer/director Gillian Robespierre willing to be different and taking on a difficult subject. I also felt she wasn’t trying to judge her main character or try to say this is what everyone in this situation should do, she just goes through Donna’s journey and whats right for her.

Jenny Slate manages to be funny and likeable as Donna. She is a flawed character and doesn’t have everything, or anything, sorted in her life. It’s good to see a film which allows the female character to be complicated. Max is also rather sweet if not as well-developed as Donna is.

As you can imagine there is plenty of dark humour involved, such as Donna’s realisation that her abortion is scheduled for Valentine’s Day. Still like I said this is not going to be for everyone, so if you’re sensitive about the subject it’s probably not for you.

Rating 3.5/5 – good for those looking for a different kind of rom-com

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Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Your mission if you choose to accept it, is to watch the fifth in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But will it leaves me wishing the IMF was killed off?

The Impossible Missions Force is disbanded by the CIA just as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) becomes convinced of the existence of the Syndicate an anti IMF intent on causing death and terror. With the help of Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) Ethan tries to bring the Syndicate down. But with duplicitous Syndicate member Ilsa Faust  (Rebecca Furguson) around will Ethan be able to save the day?

I’ve enjoyed the Mission Impossible series. It’s often ridiculous but fun and say what you like about Tom Cruise but he has pulled out some great stunts in the franchise. Rogue Nation is no different. Whether it’s hanging off the side of an aircraft or having to hold his breath for 3 minutes underwater Tom is up for it. This time around we also get a female love interest/femme fatale who can match Cruise’s in the athletic states with Furguson also doing a lot of her own impressive stunts. It’s also good that Ilsa is one of the better female characters of the series.

Yes the film is over the top, and overly complicated, and I’m not all the plot makes sense but the film knows what it’s audience wants. High octane thrills and plenty of action. It’s nice to see familiar faces Renner and Rhames back and I’m glad that Pegg’s Benji is back with an even bigger part this time. He provides a lot of the comic relief but everyone has their moments. Ethan’s fight at a Vienna opera house is both exciting and funny.

I found the Syndicate leader Sean Harris is bit underwhelming and seems to rely a lot on luck to get his plans to work. But minor quibbles aside Rogue Nation shows that there’s still life in the Mission: Impossible franchise yet. And judging by the early box office it seems we’ll be set for a sixth film soon.

Rating 4/5 – thrilling action and spectacles proves the mission is not over yet for this franchise

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Inside Out

Ever wonder how your mind really works or what is going on in other peoples’ heads? Well Pixar’s latest movie delves deep into the head of a child and the main characters are the emotions! But will this film make me feel joyful or sad?

Set inside the mind of 11 year old Riley where her emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) live in headquarters influencing Riley’s actions and memories. Up until now Joy has been mainly in charge of Riley but a move to a new town leads to a lot of changes. When a struggle between Joy and Sadness leads to them being sucked out of Headquarters and stuck in Riley’s long-term memories they have to find a way back before the other emotions cause too much havoc.

As with most Pixar movies their stories are so inventive and creative you wonder where they come up with these ideas. From the control room, to the personality lands and everything else it’s such a clever little film. I loved all the little touches such as train of through being a literal train or Pixar’s explanation as to why you can’t get that annoying song out of your head. It is in turn funny and touching. I liked how the movie shows why being sad can be good sometimes and a natural part of growing up.

My favourite characters were Sadness and Disgust. Monotone and downbeat, Sadness is excellently voiced by Smith who also shows the character to be gentle and more empathetic than the rest of the emotions. I also loved Disgust voiced by Mindy Kaling, who reacts scathingly to anything she dislikes. Joy was a bit annoying in her relentlessly perky ways, but she is meant to be like that she is wasn’t too bad. Fear and Anger also have many funny quips. It was also great when we got the little insights into supporting characters minds as well and saw their versions of Joy, Sadness etc.

I’m not sure if some of the plots or jokes would have gone over the heads of small children and maybe they would have been a bit bored in some parts? While Inside Out it’s not quite on the same level as Toy Story movies or UP! but Pixar still knows how to make heartfelt, funny movies that both adults and kids enjoy.

Rating 4/5 – inventive, thoughtful and lots of fun

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Dreams of a Life

If tomorrow you disappeared you would think someone-your friends, family, your work colleagues-would notice that they hadn’t seen you and report it. However as Dreams of a Life shows us people can still slip through the cracks.

In December 2003 Joyce Carol Vincent died alone in her home in North London, however her body wasn’t discovered until January 2006 when bailiffs were sent round to her bed sit for unpaid bills. This drama-documentary tries to uncover who was Joyce and how no one noticed she was gone.

The film leaves you wondering how can someone in this day and age can die unnoticed like this. Joyce was a beautiful, outgoing woman in her thirties and yet she died alone in her flat and no one realised for three years. It seems unimaginable and scary that this actually happened to someone.

Director Carol Morley tries to discover the truth about what happens to Joyce, and as she speaks to her friends and co-workers, a picture of Joyce is drawn for us. She had friends, boyfriends and people seemed to like her. Yet some of the pieces of the puzzle are still missing. Through Morely’s meticulous research we know Joyce had four sisters who were still alive but we don’t know why they never reported her missing. As they declined to be interviewed it seems there’s a lot we’ll never know about Joyce.

Zawe Ashton plays Joyce is the film’s reconstruction scenes and Ashton is spellbinding in the role. I’m mostly familiar with her through her comedy work such as St Trinians 2 and TVs Fresh Meat but she handles a dramatic role brilliantly. Ashton displays Joyce as a friendly, outgoing woman yet with a subtle sadness sunder her smile.

It’s not a comfortable film to watch but it is a powerful look at how someone can just disappear from life so easily. It makes you think about how well you really know people. Those you think of as friendly and happy may have something else going on underneath that they hide from the world.

Rating 4/5 – powerful, emotional but worth seeing and remembering someone who was forgotten for so long

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