Review: The Dirt (2019)

6

“So here’s my theory, okay? If we want to knock people on their asses, then we’ve gotta give them a show. The punks, they’re doing the minimalist thing, so let’s take it in the exact opposite direction. I’m talking, I’m talking a stadium show in the clubs, man.”
– Nikki Sixx

SYNOPSIS: The story of how Mötley Crüe came to be one of the most notorious rock ‘n roll groups in history. – via IMDB

So, I know I might not be a Mötley Crüe fan or anything like that, but I still wanted to see how this would go. I believe options to do this film have been turned down for years, and that some big names have been pushed aside. So to know that it had finally happened, I was interested to see what the final product would be. And, how is that? Flat. Really, truly, honestly, flat.

The movie spends two hours essentially revelling in the debauchery that was Mötley Crüe’s heyday. And I mean that. Instead of taking any time to make these characters into real people, to look at all the nasty that was done in the past, to use it as an inspiration or anything like that, it is instead just an ode to how crazy these guys were (and not a particularly grand one, either). It also doesn’t help that the cast isn’t very engaging. Douglas Booth doesn’t possess the oomph to play the lead for this, or to be a horrific heroin junkie. I think the two that annoyed me the least were Colson Baker, and Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars. Okay let’s not even play – the performances all round were just a little sketchy.

The movie does nothing to sell me on Crüe, still, so nothing has changed. I also thought it cold and callous how some major issues were glossed over (that awful car accident, Skylar’s death, etc). There was pretty much no remorse from these guys, and that would be fine. except that this movie glorifies the band and their antics, but no lessons are learned. I believe this is based on the book (and not The Heroin Diaries, which I have been meaning to get to for years), and I might have to rather check that out if I am hoping for anything remotely resembling substance.

So, when all is said and done, The Dirt doesn’t deliver the goods in any way. There is nothing worth seeing here – essentially it is like watching Tremaine give us a better produced Jackass – all the outrage, wrapped up into the semblance of a movie. There was potential here, and it didn’t deliver. The Dirt is shallow and completely and utterly forgettable.

Review: The Rosary Girls – Richard Montanari

4

Byrne & Balzano #1

SYNOPSIS: Sprawling beneath the statue of William Penn, Philadelphia is a city of downtrodden crack houses and upscale brownstones. Somewhere in this concrete crazy quilt, one teenage Catholic girl is writing in her diary, another is pouring her heart out to a friend, and yet another is praying. And somewhere in this city is a man who wants these young women to make his macabre fantasy become reality. In a passion play of his own, he will take the girls–and a whole city–over the edge.

Kevin Byrne is a veteran cop who already knows that edge: He’s been living on it far too long. His marriage failing, his former partner wasting away in a hospital, and his heart lost to mad fury, Byrne loves to take risks and is breaking every rule in the book. And now he has been given a rookie partner. Jessica Balzano, the daughter of a famous Philly cop, doesn’t want Byrne’s help. But they will need each other desperately, since they’ve just caught the case of a lifetime: Someone is killing devout young women, bolting their hands together in prayer, and committing an abomination upon their otherwise perfect bodies.

Byrne and Balzano spearhead the hunt for the serial killer, who leads them on a methodically planned journey. Suspects appear before them like bad dreams–and vanish just as quickly. And while Byrne’s sins begin to catch up with him, and Balzano tries to solve the blood-splattered puzzle, the body count rises. Meanwhile, the calendar is approaching Easter and the day of the resurrection. When the last rosary is counted, a madman’s methods will be revealed, and the final crime will be the one that hurts the most. – via Goodreads

So I randomly stumbled across this on Amazon one day and bought it and then (imagine) me forgetting all about it. I was searching for something to read the other day and saw this in my library and figured why not? Couldn’t remotely recall what it was about or why I bought it, and I headed in blind and man, let me say I was impressed. This book has everything in it that I usually want from a book, and has it in spades.

This is a really satisfying read in the sense that it flows well, introduces you to a lot of characters, but never gets too much. It isn’t excessively complicated, and a solid introductory book to a fresh series (something I have been hankering for). I liked Jessica, though the book really seems to gloss over how she has become a homicide detective and is never around for her daughter anymore and her babysitting neighbour seems totally fine with constantly having a kid dumped on her by a neighbour.

There were a lot of characters introduced and written off with no fanfare whatsoever, so you never really get attached to anybody, and constantly have it in the back of your mind that any/all character are disposable. I quite enjoyed Montanari’s writing style. It is descriptive, immersive, and it flows well, which is something that doesn’t always happen. Maybe because I am so used to the brutality in Karin Slaughter’s books, I thought that Montanari might be a bit more… vicious like that, but I found it not to be the case. The ick was there, but hurried over in a sense, which might make this book appeal more to people who usually enjoy a thrill but not the gore.

The case for this novel is interesting and barrels along. I liked our main peanut characters, and have already purchased the next five books in this series and a standalone. I am hoping there will be more growth for the characters now that we have been introduced to them all, so we will see how it goes. Well worth the read, especially if you are into something a little more dark.

Review: Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

12

SYNOPSIS: The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter. – via IMDB

WTF?? No, really, wtf????? I cannot write a legitimate review. I just have questions. Questions like who the fuck:

  • Lets some manky dude sleep in the bed with their daughter for months?
  • Gave the kids back to these obviously negligent parents?
  • Starts banging the man that abducted their 12 year old (whom the abductor then marries and refuses to return her back home)?
  • Lets a man get away with this to harm their own daughter more and other girls because of wanking someone off?
  • Returns an abducted child to the man who abducted her in the first place?
  • Takes forever and six days to report their daughter missing?

So after all of this, all I can say that while this is not a great documentary, it is one of the most insane you will ever see. I have so many issues with what I have watched, and have no way to review this other than WHAT THE FUCK?! So much crap going on everywhere. This is no Bundy tapes, or Paradise Lost or anything like that. But it is a crazy viewing experience. My husband thought I was watching one thing, and then when it got to the bit on Berchtold manipulating Jan with aliens, he thought it was another show completely and that I was indulging my inner Fox Mulder. Har har.

And I know it’s bad, but there is also the legitimacy issue. As in, the only people in this whole documentary are the family, and one stray FBI agent. No reporters. No cops. No psychologists, teachers, friends, agents, anything. So no, that doesn’t lend much to truth in my mind. I’m not saying it didn’t happen (obviously shit went down), I’m just saying it’s a bit sketchy. Maybe I am just fussy? Need more critical examination? Don’t know. It was just… too bizarre.

Anyway. WHAT THE FUCK?!

Review: Come Sundown – Nora Roberts

4

SYNOPSIS: Bodine Longbow loves to rise with the dawn. As the manager of her family’s resort in Western Montana, there just aren’t enough hours in the day – for life, for work, for loved ones. She certainly doesn’t have time for love, not even in the gorgeous shape of her childhood crush Callen Skinner, all grown up and returned to the ranch. Then again, maybe Callen can change her mind, given time…

But when a young woman’s body is discovered on resort land, everything changes. Callen falls under the suspicion of a deputy sheriff with a grudge. And for Bodine’s family, the murder is a shocking reminder of an old loss. Twenty-five years ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice vanished, never to be heard of again. Could this new tragedy be connected to Alice’s mysterious disappearance?

As events take a dramatic and deadly turn, Bodine and Callen must race to uncover the truth – before the sun sets on their future together. – via Goodreads

Ah yes, another Roberts for me. This one was one of her better ones, as I really liked this one. It had an incredibly dark side to it that, for once, Roberts didn’t really shy away from, which worked for me. Maybe because I like dark and gritty, and her novels usually provide easy reading and very little investment.

Come Sundown is like a big family saga. Yes, sure, we know that Roberts really nails that down, and I have found that all her books that feature that more prominently are the ones I like more than average. This one worked really well. I liked the characters, I liked the family, I was interested in the resort and business they had set up and how it came together. I feel that the triple romances were bland, but no shocker there, and that some of the characters were more hollow than others. Okay, most, but yeah. Then, of course, there is the Alice aspect to it, and that is intense.

Granted, not as intense as reading, say, Karin Slaughter, but by Roberts standards it was intense and rather graphic. To read about Alice’s disappearance and the animal that had kidnapped her and broken her was rough. Just thinking about it and all that she suffered through it heartbreaking. I think that Roberts tied story in quite solidly with the story of the ranch and all really well. There wasn’t really a hitch in the story and it worked.

Okay, so then there is the romance. It is nothing special, nothing new, and Roberts, of course, played out her recipe as always. Man falls is love with strong woman, bends her to his will, decides they will be in love and get married, the woman will come around eventually. After all, strong as she is, she is still a damsel that needs saving. Yep. That’s it. Luckily this book brings more to the table than just a predictable romance. Also, my eyes were rolling at the whole bar fight and all that. I, personally, do not think it is sexy when a man wants to mission out and give another man a beatdown, and makes it this big affair. Not manly, just so stupid. Once you’ve exceeded your teens, get over that crap. So stupid.

Anyway, Come Sundown is a good read. It flows well, features a fun family and great interactions between the characters, and is interesting. It also has a dark side to it that weaves itself into the story quite well. Granted, the more modern dark side in this is a bit messy, and not unpredictable at all, but the original starting point? Really good.

Review: The Equalizer 2 (2018)

2

“There are two kinds of pain in this world. The pain that hurts, the pain that alters.”
– Robert McCall

SYNOPSIS: Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves? – via IMDB

So I finally got to watching The Equalizer 2. I missed it in cinema when it came (and that sucked, because it is something I would have liked to have seen in cinema), but never mind that. I prepped myself by rewatching The Equalizer and then we moved on to this one and let me say, I was not disappointed. Definitely different from the first, but not in a bad way. Certainly not as memorable as its predecessor, but an engaging watch nonetheless.

Denzel Washington is, of course, an excellent pick for Robert McCall. He slips into the role and is simply fantastic in it. The storyline is a little more predictable than I would have liked, but it in no way detracted from the enjoyment to be found here. The action is solid and keeps you hooked, and Washington struts around demanding to be seen. I appreciate how the movie has grown from what was originally created, and it changes enough to not be too drastic, but enough to not be stale. That being said, it is not a perfect movie.

McCall is still trying to work with people, make them grow and realise their potential, and is now rather enterprising in his venture to help people out. There are loads of situations where I was pleased to see how he handled them, defending people who needed it. Of course we are supposed to like this aspect, but still. I quite enjoyed the humour, too, with a few good laughs in between. McCall is an interesting character to watch and follow, and so these movies are well worth it. The Equalizer 2 had tons of action, enough heart, pretty solid acting (with Washington dominating as a whole) and is pretty good, though nowhere near as good as the first.

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

6

“Now we’re four misfits who don’t belong together, we’re playing for the other misfits. They’re the outcasts, right at the back of the room. We’re pretty sure they don’t belong either. We belong to them.”
– Freddie Mercury

SYNOPSIS: The story of the legendary rock band Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury, leading up to their famous performance at Live Aid (1985). – via IMDB

So I went to see this when it came out in cinema, and I was sadly out of the blogosphere when it hit, so I didn’t write about it. I recently purchased it in Blu Ray and I was interested to see whether it would hold up for a second viewing, and if the experience would be diminished any by not seeing it in theatre, on a big screen.

Well, let me tell you, no disappointment to be had over here! I thought that Bohemian Rhapsody was just as good at home as it was in the cinema, I don’t feel like any magic was lost. So, let me see what I can say about this movie… obviously it had one of the best soundtracks of all time xD Seriously, I absolutely loved listening to the music, seeing it come to life on the screen, it was great and there were so many moments where I had goosebumps because wow.

So on to the performances. I am not usually a fan of Rami Malek. I don’t know, I’ve never actually liked him outside of his video game portrayal of Josh in Until Dawn. So when I heard he had been cast to play the iconic Freddie Mercury, I was dubious to say the least. I mean, he isn’t a terrible actor or anything, he has just (until now) not really done anything that has really blown me away. Then I saw pictures of him as Freddie and I was quite surprised. By the time we had hit the trailers, I was really excited, and Malek nailed it. Not only is Malek fantastic, but the rest of the cast playing the members of Queen are brilliant and cannot be overlooked. Gwilym Lee’s Brian May, Ben Hardys’s Roger Taylor, and Joseph Mazzello’s John Deacon are excellent. The actors had wonderful chemistry and it was great to watch them. Such solid performances all round from them, and man, they nailed the look of each of the band members. Excellent casting – not only did everyone look right, they appeared right, too, without stuffy performances.

I really liked that the movie stayed more with the band and the music as opposed to a tell all scandalous interpretation of everything. I get that there was drama and all that, but that is so not why I went to see this. So yes, the narrative is a little skinny and all that, but that takes nothing away from it. What you need is there – some drama, some backstory, some struggle and all that, but the movie focuses on the band and the music, and I appreciated that. Also, there was some highly entertaining humour sprinkled through it.

Naturally, this review would not be complete if I didn’t mention that phenomenal Live Aid performance, so here it is. Wow. I was so impressed with the level of detail that went into this (especially if you take the time to watch the two side by side). I love that such care and attention went into it.

So, overall, I obviously highly recommend checking out Bohemian Rhapsody. It is not a biographical, gossipy tell all or anything like that, but if you like Queen (hell, even if you don’t), and you like the music, then this is well worth the look see. It is just as charming the second time around, and even my husband willingly rewatched it (seriously, no coaxing or begging or anything, he asked!). I had a great time with this, and I can see how I will go back to it a few times. Okay, I am going to stop here. Just go watch it.

Review: Oldboy (2013)

6

oldboy 2013 movie poster

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last twenty years.”
– Joe Doucett

SYNOPSIS: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason. – via IMDB

Okay, so, unpopular opinion time! I liked this rendition of Oldboy. I have seen the original, but I was not enamoured. True story. I thought this one was pretty entertaining, so I thought that one had to be better (it’s all you ever hear when this comes up), and I did not think this was the case.

Oldboy was relatively well constructed. I thought that Josh Brolin did a good job playing Joe. His transformation was touching. He was such a damned twat in the beginning, I could not stand him. He had nothing good or positive going for him, and I had no pity for him. I just thought him a world class loser. His imprisonment was also quite intense. Initially I was just like oh whatever, but later it became terribly sad.

Joe’s spiral into some insanity was heartbreaking, how the loneliness got to him, brought him to his knees, and how he had to cope. The rat scene (and if you have seen this you will know what I am talking about) was just rough. Sure, there were holes in this film, too (a big one for me – planning his escape for the very day he was going to be let out, anyhow), but if you don’t focus on the issues too much and just watch the movie, the story it tells is quite good.

Anyway, Oldboy definitely has some issues, but it is not the worst thing you will ever watch. I thought it came together well as was a decent watch. Far better than the original, if you ask me :/

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas

7

A Court of Thorns and Roses #3

SYNOPSIS: Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.  – via Goodreads

Okay. Alright. Here we are. So I read the first and it wasn’t awful, and then I read the second and I outright hated that (I am so sorry bestie, I tried so hard to like these, but that last one was just… rough), and dreaded the concept of moving on to the third, but decided I best give it a shot. So. Here we go.

I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it, but it didn’t cause me as much upset as the last one, though it is still not great. I think the biggest issue with this series is that the books are excessively long for what they deal with. Like, I think the story would be tighter if we just had less pages to deal with. So in this one we get more of all the couples (cause Maas seems to buy into the concept of nobody being capable of being alone). We get more of Nesta and Cassian, some answers about Mor, Azriel, and Cassian, and Lucien is holding out for Elain and all that, and she is stumbling around like a mute. Rhys and Feyre don’t spend much time together in this, and when they do it is not nearly as bad as before.

Tamlin remains uber-dweeb of the century, and it really annoys me that Maas wrote one whole set of characters and introduces them to us, and in the second book changed everyone. Annoying but alright. I am still a fan of Lucien. He was the one of the things I liked the most about book one, and probably the only semi-redeeming thing in the second book, and he gets some time here, and I like that. A Court of Wings and Ruin also decides to deliver us some battle, some war, and I liked that. It might not be a ton of it, but it was enough to keep me breathing a bit more, not dealing with all sorts of wonky sex and reading about “my mate, my life, my love” the whole time.

I did enjoy reading about Amren, especially what with her covert little thing she has going on with Varian. Rhys is also a character I feel that Maas wants to make too perfect. I know, unpopular opinion, but it is just how I feel about it.

Anyway, I won’t be rushing to read the little filler books between this and (much to my horror to learn) the upcoming book. Natasha said I could skip it and be fine, anyway. There is also the question of whether or not I will return to the next one. A Court of Wings and Ruin is not nearly as offensive as A Court of Mist and Fury, but it is still far longer than strictly necessary.

Review: The Equalizer (2014)

23

 

the equalizer poster

“Got to be who you are in this world, no matter what.”
– Robert McCall

SYNOPSIS: A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by – he has to help her. – via IMDB

the equalizer gif

I missed this in cinemas when it came out (blame the exams, always the exams)and could not wait to see it. I loved it when I finally did watch it, and decided recently it needed a rewatch before I could go on to the new onw. Gathering my other half the other night, we sat down and got ready to watch the excellent Denzel tear up the town again. Let me just tell you, we were not disappointed, not even for one moment.

The Equalizer is paced fantastically – I liked that it concentrated on some story, and didn’t just get lost in action, but didn’t focus so much on the story that it was purely a drama. Also, let’s not forget Washington’s portrayal as Robert McCall. I was so impressed with him (I usually am) and I thought that he was super badass. He was very cool, well-respected, I liked the way he was so important to so many people and yet when he went home it was solitary, lonely and depressing.

That changes when McCall becomes a scary machine and starts fixing Boston, intense I tell you! There were some kill styles introduced that I have to admit were fresh and original (I know how that sounds), and an antagonist opposite McCall that was worthy of his time, escalating the events (though there could have been a more hardcore showdown). There was nothing left untouched by McCall to craft his weapons with, and that alone was entertaining enough to carry so much. The soundtrack fit with the movie perfectly, and The Equalizer was shot very nicely, too.

There was not one moment of boredom for me, and I was taken in with the entire presentation of the film. Great job all round, and I can definitely highly recommend this one. It has more substance than your average movie of this type, and though it follows a recipe, it doesn’t get boring.

Review: Odd Thomas – Dean Koontz

2

Odd Thomas #1

SYNOPSIS: “The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere. – via Goodreads

So for years I have been meaning to get to these books after I watched Odd Thomas and learned that the movie was based on book. I, contrary to what most people felt, really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was fun. I didn’t see the twist coming. I adore Yelchin, so it all worked. So then I finally got myself together and actually got to reading this the other day and, well… yeah. I liked it. I just didn’t love it. I wanted more from it.

Odd Thomas breezes by. Seriously, it is an easy book to read, and the characters are fun, albeit a little thin. There is the Elvis angle, and then there is Odd himself, who is truly just a sweetheart, simple and pure. There is the whole backstory with his mother that could legitimately be way more messed up than was delivered here (who knows, it might be different in later books), but I just felt it was a little flat, like just glossed over? Plus two, what a hideous woman. His dad, too, was no real great shakes.

I enjoyed the story well enough, and as I said, it breezes by. It was an easy read, nothing too hectic to commit to, nothing too major to sink your teeth into, so that means you feel that you have missed a little by the end of it. It leaves you feeling a little wanting. That being said, I had a good time reading Odd Thomas and will read more of the books at some point, though I won’t be rushing for the next in the series anytime soon if I’m being honest. I suppose Odd Thomas prescribed to the typical Dean Koontz recipe of being entertaining and fun and all that, but not really staying long after as it doesn’t pack a major punch.