Review: Calling Major Tom – David M. Barnett

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SYNOPSIS: We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world. – via Goodreads

So, it did take this book a while to actually become something to me, but it finally did ramp up from the slog it was initially. While it did not hit the heights of the claim of being “the feel good novel of 2017”, it certainly was a decent read, and it was a quick one, too.

The plot is absurd, and it is good. A lot of time is spent in the beginning of the book telling us a little bit about Thomas and then the Ormerod family, and it isn’t happy, pleasant stuff. Not super dramatic either, it just feels like filler, even though it is important to set up the remainder of the novel. Necessary, though. Then the novel just dives in. The whole story is built on a wrong number call made by Thomas Major, and from there, things snowball.

I really like Gladys. She is sweet and endearing and it is really sad to know that she has knowledge of the fact that dementia is taking her. Ellie is a character that did not grow on me, not at all, no matter what was happening. James is a cute and confused little boy, and Delil is the comic relief we need in this whole thing. I really enjoyed the interactions between Major Tom and James, super sweet.

The book is a bit predictable though, not going against anything in the heartwarming formula, and that is okay. Once you accept the premise, it gets rolling, and when you start wondering when the humour is going to start kicking, you get some particularly juicy Taxi Driver, ninja granny moments, and it is great. Calling Major Tom also plays heavily on Thomas Major’s name and mission in connection to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, and it works for this. It is just enough to not be too much. It also has a pretty decent message it presents, never too heavy handed about it, either.

While not my favourite book, Calling Major Tom is a decent read and is very sweet. Characters you don’t expect to grown on you do (like Craig), and the story is fun to follow. I liked it, even though I didn’t love it. Others will likely enjoy it more than I did if this is their genre – let’s not forget mine is mind games, gore, and twisted killers.

Sporadic Scene: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015) – Hit Me Baby One More Time

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Man, this sure was a movie that knew what it was about and how to embrace it. There was tons of silly stuff going on and giggles to be had, but a standout scene from this is hands down the Britney Spears/zombie sing out that happened. Oh man, really now. It seriously cracked me up as everything about the scene is insanely ridiculous, and yet it feels right at home in this movie.

Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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“We have to stop her here and now, and prevent Ragnarok, the end of everything! So I’m putting together a team.”
– Thor

SYNOPSIS: Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. – via IMDB

Well, it’s no real secret that I haven’t enjoyed a single Thor movie so far. They aren’t terrible (who am I kidding, what was that Dark World kak?!), they are just… wasted potential. Seriously, all that lore and everything to work with and we got the two movies we did? Oh well. However, then Taika Waitit directed Team Thor, and I had a renewed interest. The man’s brand of humour appeals to me, and the short made me laugh. We all know I love his other work, so how would it go when he took over the reigns of a massive Marvel production?

In a word? Great. Really. Waititi breathed life into an Avenger that really needed it. Two, actually, because one cannot forget the Hulk in this one. Hemsworth is way more comfortable than ever before in his return as the Son of Odin, and he works so well with Mark Ruffalo, so easy and comfortable. Jeff Goldblum has an absolute ball as  Grandmaster, and Tom Hiddleston is, as always, supremely entertaining as Loki. Hemsworth and Hiddleston play together well, too, and continue to impress us with their hilariously dysfunctional relationship.

The humour is, as I was hoping, top notch. It’s hilarious, and there were a few scenes my husband and I laughed so hard at we went back to rewatch them a few times (Thor’s explanation of the dirty snake trick Loki played on him when they were eight and Loki and Thor with their “get help” skit are prime examples). It truly had me laughing. I have to admit, Korg (Waititi) had me in stitches a few times, what a character!

Thor: Ragnarok is more than just silly entertainment and solid humour though, and it must be noted that the movie looks great and has some solid effects, which I enjoyed a lot. The colours I truly loved, as it just fit the whole vibe of the movie. The soundtrack, too, works all the way through. This is not to say that the movie is without flaws. I, for once, could have done without the whole Doctor Strange bit, as I seriously felt it did not advance the narrative in any way, and was just there to fill time. I was also not a particular fan of Tessa Thompson in this, though eventually you warm up to her a little more.

All in all, I found Thor: Ragnarok to be a highly entertaining, funny film that just goes ahead and does what it wants, and it works so well. It doesn’t matter what you do/do not know about the MCU, you can still enjoy this regardless of.

Review: Role Models (2008)

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“No, venti is twenty. Large is large. In fact, tall is large and grande is Spanish for large. Venti is the only one that doesn’t mean large. It’s also the only one that’s Italian. Congratulations, you’re stupid in three languages.”
– Danny

SYNOPSIS: Wild behavior forces a pair of energy drink reps to enroll in a Big Brother program. – via IMDB

You know, I watched this movie when it came out and I have gone back to it a few times over the years and I still thoroughly enjoy it. No, it isn’t a perfect movie or anything like that, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

First and foremost, Paul Rudd is absolutely fantastic in this. I adore the man, so will pretty much watch anything he’s in. I think he’s sweet and hilarious and so dry, which works for me. This is no exception, he is plenty entertaining, and works wonders with Stifler Seann William Scott. Scott provides just the type of role you would expect from him, but he does it well. McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse entertains endlessly as awkward Augie. Another hilariously awkward character is cocaine-crazy Sweeny, and Jane Lynch has a ball with the role. As you can tell, the movie hinged quite heavily on the actors having fun with the material, and it works. 

The humour made me laugh, too. It’s witty, dry, sarcastic and crude at times throughout, and it totally works. The movie also doesn’t drag out the run-time, so it plays it out and does its thing but doesn’t overstay its welcome, which is great. You just have fun, and then it is over, before it wastes away and tries too hard to be something it isn’t. The story, while not new, is handled deftly. There are a lot of crappy movies in this genre, but every now and then there is one that stands out, one that tries to and succeeds to be more. This is one of those. It has a lot of heart and a lot of humour, knows what it is and goes for it, without being apologetic.

I really enjoyed some of the situations the characters found themselves in and I liked how things were handled. There was even character growth to be found throughout here, which is more than I could have asked for. The soundtrack and score worked, not once taking over and becoming the focus, which is just fine.

So, all in all, if you haven’t checked out Role Models before and feel like a good, light comedy with plenty of heart, I can highly recommend this one, it is quite fun. I don’t really know what to say other than I like this one and I find myself returning to it time and time again and enjoying it without fail.

Review: Hot Fuzz (2007)

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“You do know there are more guns in the country than there are in the city?”
– DS Andy Wainwright

SYNOPSIS: A skilled London police officer is transferred to a small town that’s harbouring a dark secret. – via IMDB

Man, you gotta hand it to this movie, it totally goes for the entertainment factor, and is so heavily laced with dry, witty humour throughout. So, let me get right down to it: Hot Fuzz is fantastic comedy, and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost work absolute wonders together to bring this story to life on our screens.

Nicholas Angel is not the most sympathetic character out there, and most often you laugh at him while he is being a pain in the ass. Soon, though, his life is upside down and he is essentially banished to the countryside, and that is where the adventure begins. Hot Fuzz paints this little town as super non-descript and bland, but something’s cracking here. The colleagues Angel gets at the new police station are great, and nobody is mincing about that they don’t like him or his big city-ness.

Angel and Danny Butterman become fast friends, but it takes time for their relationship to develop, and it is a friendship that grows that is so sweet to watch, and super hilarious, too. Another point of entertainment is, without a doubt, their pub trips.

Hot Fuzz is also really well made, too. It looks and sounds good, even if it is a little choppy at times and not as smooth as you would hope. Timothy Dalton makes his appearances here, of which I am quite the fan. Bill Nighy is dangled in front of us and snatched away super fast, as is Martin Freeman, but it all works. While Nicholas Angel is a bit uptight and a pain initially, you cannot help but root for the guy throughout.

Eventually the movie devolves into all out hilarity and utter lunacy, and you are so drawn in. All the jokes are hard hitting and fast, they land well, and the movie is completely aware of how totally over the top it has gone and embraces it, owns it, drives it all home. You cannot help but have a laugh. The violence is over the top, the fights are insane, every cliché you can shake a stick at has been dragged up, and everyone is having a right time of it, and that is evident.

Review: Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

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“You want a killer hillbilly? I’ll show you a killer hillbilly.”
– Dale

SYNOPSIS: Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students. – via IMDB

I remember when this came out, I was dead set against watching it. One part was being contrary about watching a recommendation from someone I was a) peeved with and b) I considered to have sketchy taste. I did not feel like a stoner movie (his forte). Ultimately I was roped into this by my now-husband, and I was pleased I was. What I thought this movie was and what it turned out to be? Two totally different things. Horror comedy. Why didn’t someone just open with that? You know I would have been all over that!

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is conscious of what it is, and owns it. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are perfectly cast as hapless hillbillies Tucker and Dale. Like, really. The movie gets right into the plot, no dilly dallying, and I am good with that. The run-time is also perfect, so before anything (read: humour) gets the chance to become stretched out and stale, the movie is over, leaving you with a bundle of laughs and pretty damn good comedy throughout. There are so many memorable lines that will stay with you, and silly little scenes.

The movie is smarter than you initially think, but still not necessarily a sharp comedy, if that makes sense? It is a bundle of fun, and genuinely gets you laughing at times. Unfortunately, it is not perfect. The final act is a bit messy, and the humour not as fast of quick or as frequent as before, and comes across as trying too hard a little. Not to say it isn’t funny anymore, it is just not as hilarious as earlier.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil was an unexpected gem for me back in the day, and a movie I still reap quite a bit of enjoyment from. If you are into horror comedy, this certainly leans more on the comedy side, though it has plenty of gore to keep the bloodlust of a horror viewer at bay. I would definitely recommend giving this a spin, especially if you are in for a good laugh, misunderstood hillbillies, and some icky deaths.

I would like to say that the trailer is a spoiler, so if you have not seen this, skip the trailer and just go straight on to the movie. Trust me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1t8OZn_uhE

June Blind Spot Review: Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

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“When you separate an entwined particle and you move both parts away from the other, even at opposite ends of the universe, if you alter or affect one, the other will be identically altered or affected.”
– Adam

SYNOPSIS: A depressed musician reunites with his lover, though their romance – which has already endured several centuries – is disrupted by the arrival of her uncontrollable younger sister. – via IMDB

You know, this was an odd one. Even after all these years, I was not quite sure what this was all about, only that the characters were vampires. I was pleasantly surprised with the movie, after I had spent some time chewing on it, that is.

Okay, right off the bat I want to say that the film was extremely visually appealing. It was all shot at night, and everything looks dark but never really dreary, just sort of… I don’t know, typically that dark and romantic vampiric vibe. It really was pretty to look at. The score, too, complements the film every step of the way, and the sight and sound combining like they do really set the tone and the atmosphere for the movie, and then the rest is up to the cast, and boy, they really work that. The comedy in this is also very sharp, and delivered effortlessly throughout and never comes across as jarring, yet it is also extremely subtle.

Tom Hiddleston is fantastic. Really. His Adam is quite a complex character who truly entertained me. He is reclusive, haunted and depressed, yet brings massive amounts of humour to the table, which I thoroughly enjoyed. He is classy to boot, and absolutely gorgeous. Tilda Swinton, as always, delivers a solid character, and Eve is one that I quite liked. She gets this almost childlike joy out of things in the world still, despite having been around so long. Adam and Eve perfectly complement each other, and are just this incredibly beautiful, mysterious couple. Hiddleston and Swinton worked wonders together – they just click, everything falls into place when they are together. There is this comfortable, passionate energy between them.

Wasikowska, while breezing in and out, irritated me, and yet provided comedic scenarios in the midst of all the heaviness that was present. Hurt, of course, is excellent here, and his character is a good one, one I could definitely have seen more of. Naturally Yelchin shone here, as expected. While Adam might hate the “zombies”, he has quite the appreciation for Ian, and I liked how that was handled.

Only Lovers Left Alive is dark, haunting, comedic, sophisticated, and most certainly well worth a watch. It’s a movie you chew on after the fact, and that is something that I appreciate. Definitely a different kind of vampire film, and I liked that. This movie is not going to appeal to those who do not enjoy a slow burn film though, or a movie which is not spoon fed to you. There are a lot of little nuances here, things that make the bigger picture that much better.

Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

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CRAZY STUPID LOVE_COMBO BD (1000250398).indd

“I have loved her even when I hated her… only married couples’ll understand that one…”
– Cal Weaver

SYNOPSIS: A middle-aged husband’s life changes dramatically when his wife asks him for a divorce. He seeks to rediscover his manhood with the help of a newfound friend, Jacob, learning to pick up girls at bars. – via IMDB

You know, the more I watch this movie, the more I enjoy it. I watched this years ago at the behest of Natasha, who knows I cannot really stand rom-coms, but does know what type I can deal with. When she told me to check this out, I figured why not? She won’t just recommend me anything in this genre, so it had to be decent. Plus two, the cast is fantastic. Let me tell you, this movie is great, and I grow constantly more fond of it. It is just so much fun.

I enjoyed that this was not some stupid, soppy, desperate love story. This looked at people who have lives that fall apart – midlife crises that aren’t dealt with, cheating, insecurities, all of it. It explores embracing yourself, letting other people in, dealing with issues head on, so many things. I enjoyed the themes of this movie. And yes, love is an extremely prominent theme, but it does not make you want to retch, so that is a good thing! Crazy, Stupid, Love knows what it is and what it wants to be, and goes with it. It is smart, funny, witty, and sweet, and I appreciated all those things.

Let us not even remotely forget the cast. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are absolutely phenomenal here, and have ridiculously amazing chemistry. Really, I could watch them all day together. This is one of two movies where Steve Carell does not grate on my last nerve, and Julianne Moore is, as always, well worth the watch. Kevin Bacon’s moments were also those of pure entertainment, especially as the movie progresses. What a boring man! Also, everyone worked well together. I particularly appreciated Jacob taking Cal out to begin their main training. Oh boy!

There were plenty awkward moments, plenty funny and plenty sweet, but everything works. This is the kind of romantic movie I can revisit without feeling just plain down ridiculous. There is a lot to like about it, and a movie you can get away with watching with your other half without them wanting to slit their wrists. As you can tell, I quite like this one for a variety of reasons, and I can highly recommend it.

Oooh, oooh, before I go. Women across the globe will thank Hannah for not letting him put his shirt back on after assessing his Photoshopped beauty. For science…

Skip the trailer, just go straight to the movie.

Music Video: My OCD – Rhett and Link

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Okay, not technically a Sporadic Scene, sure, but holy crapsticks man, I love this! My dear Chop, I am sure that you will find the same type of satisfaction in this, you and I can be so bad. This speaks to my soul. Anyway, I will stop waffling, check this out if you haven’t already, lots of fun and totally worth a few minutes of your time 🙂

Review: The Duff (2015)

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the-duff-movie-poster

“It’s not like a big deal, every group has one, you know the one who doesn’t look as good , thus making their friends look better. The one whose easy to talk to because no one’s trying to get with them.”
– Wesley Rush

SYNOPSIS: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts. – via IMDB

the-duff-drink-toss

GRADE 8All I know about this film is that is was based on a book, and that it didn’t do so well, and got a bit of flak. Having seen it, I don’t get why it wasn’t too popular. I thought it was pretty funny, a little silly and cheesy, but overall not bad. Just remember to check your brain at the door, it might frustrate you if you try to get too complicated. And I haven’t read the book, so for once I am not too concerned about the parallels. In fact, even after seeing this, I don’t think I will be heading out anytime soon to read the book. I enjoyed just watching it, scoffing, and enjoying how light it was.

Anyway, it isn’t earth shattering or super different, but it is done really well, and carried by a pretty good cast and feels fresh. I absolutely loved watching Robbie Amell and Mae Whitman together. They were just too darn cute, and came across as pretty comfortable with each other. Really great chemistry. Also, I truly appreciated Bianca’s character. She was just so damn cool. I was pleased with the message behind this movie – it wasn’t this whole “change yourself to get the guy” thing, and it also wasn’t all about some dude and how a girl just couldn’t live without him. Man, so over that.

Bianca and her situations can also be so damn relatable, which is really funny and really awkward, all at once. I like that. You can totally get how and why some of these situations would arise, or how one would feel about them. That’s something not all movies get right. I had a particularly good laugh when she achieved something and this went down (we have all had a moment when we felt this):

the-duff-fireworks

I also like that the movie is actually a lot smarter than you would think it would be. I appreciate the fact that it successfully balanced humour and heart, as most other movies go one way or the other. It’s also sassy at times. The movie is predictable, but it is fun. I actually enjoyed this a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. It’s a good coming of age movie that is funny, identifiable, sweet without being sickening, and something that I would actually recommend.