Review: The Rosie Project – Graeme C. Simsion

9

the-rosie-project

 

Don Tillman #1

SYNOPSIS: Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper. – via Goodreads

GRADE 8Abbi recommended this read for me (of course she did), and it was yet another awesome pick. Thanks lady! I had inordinate amounts of fun with this book. Within the first few pages I knew that this was my cup of tea. We are introduced to Don, and he is weird, most likely suffering from Asperger’s. As a psychology student, I delighted in reading about Don, his Standardized Meal Systems, his rituals and lack of social skills, and how he just managed to step on other people’s toes and not mean to. Simsion did a fantastic job with the writing style, which made this read that much more enjoyable and realistic. It is written in a cold, clinical sense. You cannot help but laugh when you see how Don’s reasoning works, what he perceives to be “minor” social mistakes that he makes but are absolutely unacceptable actually, and get sucked into his life story. Don is funny and entertaining, but he is cut off from the norms of society, due largely to the fact that his skills of empathy are completely non-existent. The moment Rosie entered the equation I was grinning. She was so not what Don had set out to find when he conceived of the Wife Project, and was, in actual fact, not even a candidate, but she sure as hell gave him a run for his money, and that was just something else. Their interactions were amusing, and Rosie’s exasperation at time was perfectly executed. Claudia and Gene were more side characters than anything else, but that also gels with the whole story being told from Don’s perspective, and he is pretty absent around and toward other people. Watching him grow and change, question his life and learn new skills was an absolute joy. I had plenty moments where I just laughed out loud, and other times where Don made realisations that were rather sad. Reading this tried to put you in his shoes, and while we still get the social norms, it was also a great way to identify with Don’s struggle. There were flaws with the book (that end got pretty rom-com like but it was fine, and Don changed a lot of things really quickly with minor distress), of course, but nothing so bad as to cripple the experience. Overall I reckon it is an excellent read that is engaging and zips by, I would highly recommend checking out The Rosie Project.

Rapid Review: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

16

lethal weapon 2 poster

“You are not dead until I tell you!” 
– Roger Murtaugh

SYNOPSIS: Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities. – via IMDB

lethal weapon 2 nail gun

GRADE 8I must say that I enjoyed this one, though I was shocked, too. Now that I am older and I understand the nature of my country, to see a film focused so heavily on South African baddies pre the fall of Apartheid was heavy. Now, if you’re from South Africa, just about any movies that refer back to our country way back in the day are bound to peeve you. They are usually stacked full of white guilt and terribly done, too, or done by people that don’t get the history so it becomes a hollow experience. Well, Lethal Weapon 2  didn’t try to be a very serious drama or anything. In fact, it took South African dudes as the bad guys and their awful racial biases and gave us a comedy. There are ridiculous accents (yes, Luke, it is an age old problem) to boot, though they did get some of the pronunctiation down, and I laughed at the Afrikaans tossed in there. I was shocked at the rate the k-word was dropped because here, by us? Say it in the streets. I dare you. Either you are going to get your ass handed to you or you are going to land up fighting a massive legal battle. True story. The plot was alright here, and I liked the small little things that they did to make it authentic for the South African bad guy – how dangerous the country was then (when Murtaugh went with Leo to “move” to SA) and the shipping containers being “Transvaal Lines” and the Afrikaans cussing… very cool. I actually laughed with Murtaugh at his final joke for the movie – racial punning but it was funny. I am probably going to be shot. I liked the reveal of more of Riggs’s past and the death of his wife, that was a little heavy. I was a huge fan of the partnership between Riggs and Murtaugh, obviously, and there were so many things that made me laugh (that commercial!), which is something I really value in a movie. Joe Pesci is introduced here, and while his character irritated me at times, I think he worked really well overall. It is such a cool thing for me to see how tight Riggs and Murtaugh are, and how Murtaugh’s family has taken Riggs in. He really is a part of them. The humour was good, the action was well worth it, there was some cheese, pretty fucking thin ideas and crazy shootouts and investigation techniques. The plot wasn’t bad either, and there were some pretty intense South African throwbacks. Overall, I think that this holds up really well after all the years, so definitely an action film to check out and enjoy!

For Science: Top 10 Pictures of Luke in a Suit

22

Hello, all. The Oracle of Film here. I have been perusing your blogs for some time now (some of them are even legible), and I have noticed a trend that I have not been keeping up with. Hot people. Vinnieh’s site has turned into NSFW, Zoë is fascinated with hot men in suits and the IPC… well, I can’t tell if the IPC is also doing this trend, or if he is just doing what he normally does, but still… I seem to be all alone when it comes to the ‘Hot Actors in Suits’ lists. Then, it occurred to me. I’m an actor. I have a suit. So, below, are the top ten photos of me in a suit, hopefully helping you – and any actors watching – learn how to pose in a suit properly.

10th – The Standard Suit Pose

10th

9th – The Scruffy Bad-Boy Suit Pose

9th

8th – (A and B) The ‘I’ve done my buttons up wrong’ Pose.

8th A8th B

7th – The photo with a cute animal Pose

7th

6th – The ‘Hey look, no matter how famous I am I can still pull a funny face and be like you civilians’ pose

6th

5th – The Sexy Pose

5th

4th – The ‘How To Properly Have an Understanding of Chairs’ Pose

4th

3rd – ‘FFS!!!’

3rd

2nd – The Getting Trapped in an Oven Pose (Classic, amirite?)

2nd

1st – Katy Perry

1st

Rapid Review: Life After Beth (2014)

28

life after beth poster

“There’s just like so many things that I wish I had told her.”
– Zach

SYNOPSIS: A hike alone in the woods ends tragically for Beth Slocum with a fatal snake bite. Her death leaves her parents and boyfriend Zach reeling. After the funeral, Zach tries to make friends with Mr. and Mrs. Slocum, but even they reject him, and he’s determined to figure out why. Then he sees Beth. Her parents are trying to keep her resurrection a secret, but zombie Beth provides Zach with the opportunity to do everything with her that he didn’t get to do while she was still alive. But with Beth’s increasingly erratic behavior and even more strange occurrences around town, life with the undead Beth proves to be particularly complicated for her still-living loved ones. – via IMDB

Just sharing some arb scenes from it, I liked it!

This scene… oh man!

life after beth scarf 1 life after beth scarf 2 life after beth scarf 3 life after beth scarf 4 life after beth scarf 5

Just every scene with DeHaan was awesome, he was so weird.

life after beth sneaking

This one is for me… #ForScience

dane dehaan smoking

DeHaan and Gubler were exceptionally amusing together.

life after beth back away from the door dehaan gublerlife after beth hands up

Zach and Beth get a second chance… though it is a little dodgy!

life after beth draggin zachlife after beth you're so beautifullife after beth you don't really want to eat melife after beth2

Apparently the sweet things aren’t the same anymore when you’re dead…

life after beth i wrote this for you

Undead takes fighting to a whole different level of issues to deal with…

life after beth i'm a zombie zach

If you thought you had family problems before, date your now-deceased girlfriend.

life after beth matthew gray gubler

GRADE 7

So I know this ultimately came back with mixed reviews and all, but I liked it. A large part of the movie was based on Dane DeHaan’s performance, and he did not disappoint at all. I absolutely loved how it all came together. I really wish Matthew Gray Gubler had gotten more screen time, but just having him and DeHaan in a movie together was good enough for me. He was such a toolbag – and I totally just wanted to have him grow his hair out a little more! He got some extremely entertaining scenes though, even if he was underused. I thought the cast all did a great job with their roles, and they were terribly entertaining. Zach’s extremely mixed feelings over Beth and her return were funny – he had some serious adjustment issues. Aubrey Plaza was amusing and extremely good as Beth, and the dynamic between her and DeHaan was great. The way the story was told worked for it, too, as it was funny and humorous (for me) in a slightly darker and sillier way. Watching Zach’s plight was comical, and Maury’s reaction to Zach’s relationship with Beth as well as how he didn’t want to hush up about it all was also something that gave me giggles. Beth’s disintegration into full-fledged zombie was something to watch, it was a pretty gradual progression. I thought it was really sweet how Zach grabbed at the opportunity to do all the things with Beth he never got around to doing when she was alive, and their relationship decomposed at the same rate that she was, creating even more hardships for Zach. The Orfman family was just plain down bizarre, but it isn’t as though the Slocums were a step up, either. I loved the way the apocalypse so gradually started happening, as well as the zombie types that were featured. The smooth jazz that popped up from time to time cracked me up. Naturally, the movie has flaws, but overall I had a good time. The end is a little bit of a let down, but nothing too serious. Anyway, Life After Beth is a darkly laughable affair, a different look at the zombie romance thing that seems to be popular at the moment, and well worth the watch if you like anyone from the cast, or enjoy that slightly crooked sense of absurd comedy, even if it has moments where it gets a little slow.

Rapid Review: The Theory of Everything (2014)

31

the theory of everything poster

“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
– Stephen Hawking

SYNOPSIS: A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. – via IMDB

the theory of everything kiss colourthe theory of everything turn back the clockthe theory of everything married

GRADE 8I have been waiting to see The Theory of Everything for a while, I really have, but we get things late. However, this was something I truly feel was well worth the wait and it was an amazing watch. Eddie Redmayne deserves his Oscar, no doubt. His portrayal of Stephen Hawking was simply astounding, you cannot deny that he went to great lengths to learn all he could about Hawking as well as the disease, and then realise it. There were times where I could easily mistake him for being the real Hawking in his youth. Redmayne had a demanding presence on screen, and he worked wonderfully with Felicity Jones. She truly held her own alongside him, and they had the most arresting chemistry, too. They played off one another perfectly and I was just taken with them every second they were on screen together. Now, this movie does not really deal with the science and the physics of Hawking so much, which I initially thought would hold the story back. However, instead of doing that, it focuses on Stephen Hawking, the man. We all know about the insanely brilliant physicist and his disease, but we don’t really know too much about Hawking, his life, his family, his struggle. The story is astounding, and it is told here with style and feeling. Obviously the physics and science gets touched on – you simply cannot extricate Hawking from his work, but his marriage is the biggest focus of the movie. I know this bothered a lot of people, but it was just fine for me. Redmayne and Jones give it their everything, and it shows. The pacing is fine, and the length didn’t bother me one iota seeing as it managed to fit everything it needed to into the given time. The supporting cast all did a good job with their material. There are so many scenes here that are just shot so well and so arresting, and the way that colour was used and changed throughout the movie also made it beautiful. I had so much fun with the humour in here, it was sharp and witty and fast and sweet, so definitely makes it worth the watch. It was also painfully adorable to watch Jane and Stephen meeting each other, and watching them grow, the changes and challenges they faced, was absolutely stunning. It is a heavy story to tell, and I know people have flaws with the film, and there are a few things that niggle, but overall it is a wonderfully constructed film with an awesome cast and score to carry it. James Marsh really knew how to handle the material, and gave us a visually stunning and heartfelt love story and a bit of biopic in between it, and I, personally, felt that it worked. I was captivated from the off, and never once did my attention wander or dwindle, it was beautiful and inspiring and crushing all at once, even while it gives in to clichés at times, and even though the end was slightly rushed.

Rapid Review: Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

25

kick ass 2 poster

“You don’t have to be a bad-ass to be a superhero, Dave. You just have to be brave.”
– Mindy Macready

SYNOPSIS: The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows. – via IMDB

kickass chin upskickass and hitgirl

GRADE 7After loving Kick-Ass so much, I was wondering if this was going to reek of sequelitis (thanks Tom). I was surprised. It was by no means as good as the first one for me (though my other half preferred the oodles more action in this one), it was not a flop, either. I had a good time with it. There were plenty laughs, but I found this one to be so much less awkward and embarrassing than the first (something I thought was excellent for it), but more forced at other times. Big Daddy may be gone, but it seems that Colonel Stars and Stripes was there to take up the mantle of father figure. He was by no means as organised or as odd as Big Daddy, but it works on some level. I didn’t like the fact that Evan Peters didn’t come back to play Todd (but I can deal, American Horror Story was way more important), and I found Augustus Prew (his replacement) to be really bland. What I did like, and it had me in stitches for hours after, was McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse putting all that bondage gear on, and not having the boobs to fill out the rack space (bwahahahaha, it looked hilarious). I was really glad that this one scene that could have potentially ended in rape didn’t go there. It would not have gelled with the movie, and would definitely have left a sour taste in my mouth. There was definitely far more action in this one, definitely some more cheese. I had a good time watching John Leguizamo here, he had his head more together than most, though he humoured Chris way too much. The inclusion of so many superheroes didn’t really work all too well, but they had their moments, and the plot was a little all over the show at times. I think I am being significantly less harsh on this than most people (I don’t get the really bad rap this film has), but maybe because I saw these movies directly after one another over two nights, I didn’t have time to forge expectations, and I knew that no matter what, it was going to be lame, silly, over the top and not as good as the first. Maybe that’s why I still had fun.

Rapid Review: Stretch (2014)

32

Stretch-Poster

SYNOPSIS: A hard-luck limo driver struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie takes on a job with a crazed passenger whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals. – via IMDB

stretch patrick wilson and chris pine

GRADE 8I hadn’t actually heard much about it, but I liked the cast, and decided to give it a test. As you guys know, I am not really one for comedy or anything, but this was Patrick Wilson guys, come on! Deciding to give it a watch, I found myself laughing throughout the majority of it. What a winner. It was fast, and even though it was predictable, it was funny and witty. Chris Pine makes an uncredited appearance, yet whenever he is on screen he steals the show in a role that is so extremely uncharacteristic of him, and he makes it work. This is typically a movie of everything goes from bad to worse for our lead, Stretch. But he is desperate to make his six grand, settle his debt, and somehow start his life from scratch. Naturally, things won’t be as simple as he was hoping, but alright. Taking a shift with Stretch for the most ridiculously awful evening of chauffeur work you have ever seen is endlessly amusing. Ed Helms was very entertaining as Karl-with-a-K, who kept popping up in Stetch’s mind to have some really whack conversations and I-told-you-so moments with him. There were some awesome cameos littered throughout the movie, what with Norman Reedus, Ray Liotta and an especially bizarre chat with The Hoff, they were definitely worth being featured. Stretch was shot well, had witty dialogue, good performances, some great laughs, some hilarious sequences, some action crammed in, and was just seriously fun overall. I would highly recommend looking into this one if you like some slightly offbeat comedy.

Rapid Review: Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

37

edge of tomorrow poster

“Come find me when you wake up!”
– Rita Vrataski

SYNOPSIS: An alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop-forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Blunt). And, as Cage and Vrataski take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy. – via IMDB

edge of tomorrow

GRADE 8Let me just say this: this movie was infinitely better than the trailer I watched all those months ago suggested it would be. I actually had quite a bit of fun, and there was some humour sprinkled through this too (particularly looking at the first roll-under-the-truck scenario). Tom Cruise handles his material well, and takes Cage from some ridiculous television persona in a military outfit that has no idea what wearing that actually even means, and creates a character we actually start rooting for – after we’ve had a good cackle over his predicament a few times… and his ability to still feel his toes! Emily Blunt also gave a solid performance, and while I enjoy her work, I do not understand the raving about her all the time. She and Cruise work well together, and he is a great sport on being knocked on his ass quite a few times. Blunt portrayed a great character: she was strong, confident and capable, and she was nobody’s bitch. It was a refreshing change, and one I appreciated. I was not particularly a fan of the romance that cooked up between Cage and Rita, though it is a stock standard formula I expected from the action film. It was certainly handled better than most. I know that there is a lot of repeating going on in the movie, and it speaks volumes about the way it was dealt with in that it never actually gets old, and I appreciated that. Edge of Tomorrow was a bit of a different concept (for me, at any rate) and I actually thought it was entertaining, and a pretty good action flick. It manages to bring in a slightly deeper side, too, but that’s never really the most important of it. The effects were terrific, and this film oozed blockbuster, but definitely on the superior side of the spectrum. Doug Liman did a wonderful job directing this, bringing it all together, and maintaining a certain standard. The dialogue was fun, and the camerawork was very good, too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sword that Rita hauled around – I just thought that it could have been way more awesome and brutal. As it is, it is not the worst weapon, it is just a bit chunkier and more bland than I would have liked. Edge of Tomorrow was clever, slick and above all, entertaining. I had a blast with this, and I was shocked by how much better it was than I expected it to be, definitely my surprise for the year (seeing as I had written it off).

Review: About A Boy (2002)

24

about a boy poster

“It happens, and I wish it didn’t, but that’s life, isn’t it?”
– Marcus

SYNOPSIS: Will, a rich, child-free and irresponsible Londoner in his thirties who, in search of available women, invents an imaginary son and starts attending single parent meetings. As a result of one of his liaisons, he meets Marcus, an odd 12-year-old boy with problems at school. Gradually, Will and Marcus become friends, and as Will teaches Marcus how to be a cool kid, Marcus helps Will to finally grow up. – via IMDB

about a boy shake yo ass

GRADE 7.5So a few months back I read Dan’s review of this film, and it got me thinking back on it. There was not a lot that I remembered about it, but then I was like 12 or 13 when I last saw it. I decided that it was time to check this out again, and I am glad that I did. About A Boy is an incredibly depressing film, but also inspiring and hopeful. I got so crushed and angry watching Marcus because kids are cruel, and I was peeved as sin at his mother. It is never the child’s job to look after the parent. However, there were a few things that niggled at me. For instance, it was never explained why Fiona was so depressed, and why she attempted suicide, little things like that. Then again, I was not watching this for Fiona. About A Boy is all about the relationship that forms between Marcus and Will in both of their lowest and most desperate moments. The change that comes over Marcus is astounding now that he just has someone that takes an interest in him. He is such a sweet and adorable young boy. I think that Nicholas Hoult did an amazing job with his character. I don’t know when last I have seen Hugh Grant in a movie, and probably the first time I have watched him in anything as an adult. I don’t think I will ever understand why this man was so popular when I was younger. He sort of slipped off the radar, too. Aside from all that, I really liked what he did with his character in this, and it was lovely to watch him grow, too. Will and Marcus provided beautiful things for one another. There were a few scenes that had me laughing here, and I was particularly amused by the “Watch Yourself” bit at school, that was one thing I always remembered clearly from this. If you have never seen About A Boy, I would recommend you check it out, and if you have, it’s probably not too crazy to consider a rewatch!

Review: 22 Jump Street (2014)

27

22 jump street poster

SYNOPSIS: After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them. – via IMDB

Well, the boys are back for a second outing, and I have been looking forward to this for months, since I saw the first one. I was duly rewarded for my wait, too!

22 jump street we're back

It played relentlessly on the fact that it was not about to offer up anything new.

22 jump street do the same thing

Getting into some more ludicrous situations.

22 jump street octopus attack

Definitely still have the moves!

22 jump street dancing

This whole argument of Jenko was just a thing of beauty… though by the end of it they had to run away, anyway!

22 jump street danger

Dickson was really not a fan of Schmidt. Ever.

22 jump street dickson throwing up

The inability to even co-ordinate a door correctly.

22 jump street door fail

The inability of these two to think through what they say or how they demonstrated has not changed much at all.

22 jump street burst through our ceiling

Their little bromance was hitting a snag again.

22 jump street psychology

They might be making the realisation that they aren’t as young as they used to be anymore.

22 jump street returning to college

The epic prepare to kick ass.

22 jump street spring break motherfucker Jenko growing up… 22 jump street want something more

Getting roped into another hairy situation by Schmidt – Jenko cannot win.

22 jump street improvising

The extremely expensive getaway chase.

22 jump street helmet car

GRADE 7Now, as much fun as I had with this, I cannot deny that it just didn’t tickle my fancy on the same level that 21 Jump Street did. Not to say that it wasn’t funny, because it was, it just wasn’t that amazing. The humour was great, I mean especially with Jenko’s reaction to the predicament between Schmidt and Dickson, I seriously could not stop laughing, that kicked it for me good and proper. Probably because, even though I saw it happening that way, my reaction was so similar to Jenko’s. It was not afraid to be itself, and it made jabs at the fact that it is just like its predecessor – and you know what? That doesn’t hurt it at all! Naturally Hill and Tatum are still working their bromance wonderfully, and these two are just hilarious to watch together. Sequels are usually not an easy thing to pull off, and ultimately end in disappointment, but the same cannot be said of the Jump Street films so far. They know exactly what they are, and work it to their advantage. Do not go into this thinking you are going to get some life changing event or an entire revamp of the franchise, because you will most certainly be in for a disappointment. However, if you want more of the same you got in 21 Jump Street, you have come to the right place. Instead of working against it, like it should, in all theory, you have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs once again. I loved some of the other humour in it, like Dickson’s office being a cube of ice (hehehe, small things, I know). The supporting cast was great again, which is nice. Overall, a good time if you are looking for decent comedy, which has become extremely rare, 22 Jump Street provides the good laughs and a show worth going back to at some stage.