Review: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

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“I did not start this war. I offered you peace. I showed you mercy. But now you’re here. To finish us off… for good.”
– Caesar

SYNOPSIS: After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. – via IMDB

Oh yeah! Went to see this the a while ago (my first official trip to the cinema in London) and I had a blast. Actually, I don’t know if that is the right phrasing. Either way, we are going to roll with it. Andy Serkis returns as the most amazing Caesar, and is as honourable as ever. War for the Planet of the Apes really goes for certain themes, and the conflict and strife between the apes and the humans reach a peak.

Woody Harrelson steps in as the truly reprehensible Colonel McCullough . Like I mean really. The man waltzes in and just destroys things all round. Harrelson was good, if underused, which was the same complaint lodged against Oldman in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. There is so much more potential here, but it doesn’t come. Serkis completely owned in his role of Caesar, but I expected no less from him on that front. His portrayal is brilliant, he really has made Caesar his own. Naturally the movie was visually stunning, too, because these movies have all just looked fantastic from the beginning. It definitely has heart and is excellent. I must be honest and say that Dawn is still my favourite.

The plot progression is also good here. It rapidly brings you up to speed with where everything is now in the world, and then it hits the ground running and it does not let up. You feel the fear and the anger here, and I would like to give the movie credit for that. The score also works hand in hand with the visuals to set the mood and tone for what it to come. I was also super pleased to see Maurice, Luca, and Rocket all together here, and I also found Bad Ape to be an amusing and yet sad (his backstory and the lasting implications on his psyche) addition to the movie. This movie didn’t really go between the two sides, as we have become accustomed to, giving us the first movie that is more about the apes than anything.

I feel this movie was totally worth the excitement I had stashed away for it. It totally had that Logan vibe going for it, like this was the last stretch, and it was most certainly serious. It was grim and heavy and it was not out of place. These movies started at a lighter area and have progressed through a whole array of emotions and settings, and have not once stumbled. These movies are a great example of how a film franchise, and especially a reboot franchise, should be handled. War for the Planet of the Apes is definitely worth watching!

Review: The Long Hard Road Out of Hell – Marilyn Manson with Neil Strauss

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SYNOPSIS: In his twenty-nine years, rock idol Manson has experienced more than most people have (or would want to) in a lifetime. Now, in his shocking and candid memoir, he takes readers from backstage to gaol cells, from recording studios to emergency rooms, from the pit of despair to the top of the charts, and recounts his metamorphosis from a frightened Christian schoolboy into the most feared and revered music superstar in the country. – via Goodreads

GRADE 9This is a book I have read a few times over, and I enjoy it every single time I read it. The first time I read it, I was about 17. I was so excited, being a Manson fan and all, and my husband and I lay sprawled on the couch all day, reading together. It is a mark of the book that it is, because my other half will not willingly read, but he read it in an afternoon. It was good. It was interesting. But let’s talk about the book.

Manson has always been a controversial figure. He freaks a lot of people out, others think he is some god, I don’t know. I think he’s a talented artist that had a message to share and found a slid way to do it. I find him to be highly intelligent. He is a nihilist, has an ego, sure, but the man is also exceptionally interesting. I enjoyed that this book handles a bit about Manson and a bit about getting the band together, the blood, sweat, tears, narcotics, and lunacy it took for the band to make it, and how that all came to be.

My husband and a group of friends had a band when they were younger that did really well for themselves, and I know how crazy some of the stories get of playing shows and the people you meet, so I could totally see some of the stories in this happening. Rock/metal is such a different type of genre and the people attached to it see life differently, so I thoroughly enjoyed that. The Long Hard Road Out of Hell is smartly written, and it flows pretty well. It jumps here and there for things, but it all just fits. You cannot help but be drawn in to read more of the depraved work. It is a shocking novel, which I am pretty sure was the intent from the outset, but it is engaging, and it is smart.

I really liked the layout of the book, too, what with the colour photo inserts, as well as the art, sketches, photos, interviews, diary entries, etc. that were littered throughout the book. It made for the book look cool, because the layout is so different from your average biographical book. This makes it a memorable read. It’s also quite a quick book to work through. It pretty much deals with Manson before the super big time, all the way until the release of Antichrist Superstar, which was the band’s ticket to the big time, and how it went with that. I appreciated this. It didn’t carry on for forever and twelve days about decades worth of material. It picked a time frame, and then got on with it. Much appreciated.

Okay, as you can all tell, this is a book I enjoyed. There’s a lot to like about this, even if you don’t like the man. There are some really humorous sections, and others that are really dark and honest, and plenty pages dealing with the depravity and insanity that comes with that world, but it all just works. If you like being shocked, or you enjoy Manson, or think that some of these bands have some crazy stories to tell, then this is definitely worth checking out.

Daredevil: Season 2 (2016)

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*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher was beyond freaking epic. He was amazing, but also the portrayal of his backstory was so good. I am a fan, obviously.

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  • The dark, gritty, brooding, dripping intro and that damn theme that builds with it. I watch it every single episode (provided I can keep the remote safely away from my husband).
  • The brutality of this season. It really just went all out and upped the game. No punches were pulled, and it makes for some heavy, yet very rewarding, watching.
  • The friendship between Matt and Foggy, even though it definitely did see some harsh and difficult times this season.

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  • The cinematography is, as always, wonderful. It sticks to the brooding, gloomy, washed-out settings the show became famous for, and it just serves to make this show super gritty.
  • How much Foggy grows in this season, really gets ballsy and takes a stand.
  • How Frank and Karen sort of come together as a team.
  • The score for the show is so good.

What I didn’t like:

  • Elektra. The one word that sums up all that is wrong with this season, and that crushes me. She grated on my absolute last nerve – every time she came on screen, she just pulled the whole season back.
  • Sometimes it felt that too much was happening at once, but in the end it comes together nicely.
  • Matt and Karen come together and then splinter apart. It just sort of felt like an unnecessary development, it happened and ended so fast – but it was nice to watch while it lasted!

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Rating:

GRADE 8.5Ah guys, here we are, yet another season, and man oh man, I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Who knew that Daredevil was going to become the series to keep your eyes peeled for? This season starts with a bang and pretty much doesn’t let up. It comes back with all that was amazing in season one, and just adds to it. I think my favourite addition to the whole show was The Punisher, hands down. Speaking of, let’s get into that.

Right from the off, we have a new big bad in town, mysterious and all, and he is soon revealed to be The Punisher. I have mad love for this character, so naturally I was beside myself with anticipation. The big thing was just to see how the character was going to be handled. For the record, Jon Berthal absolutely nails this character. I mean wow. He is, without a doubt, my favourite rendition of The Punisher ever. He was so bloody brilliant he actually overshadowed Matt/Daredevil, and all his shenanigans for me! He was brutal, unforgiving, driven, broken. I can go on for ages about this, so I should probably stop. I am beyond excited about the standalone series. I NEED MORE!
#obsession

A major theme throughout this season was the vigilantes, and how they go about getting things done, as well as what their values and mores are. Technically they aren’t being policed, and they can do things however they want. This was constantly evident when Frank and Daredevil were with one another, and their drawn out ideological conversations. Frank is so blunt about things, the realist, that Matt’s arguments of “hope” seem to just fall right out the window. These conversations were such a highlight of the season for me, and I was totally enthralled. There was also Elektra (more on this in a few), who was also trying to (again) convince Matt that her way, to kill, was the right way, and he was (again) warring that nobody needs to die, the justice system will handle it.

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Okay, so to elaborate on Elektra, she was the biggest drawback of the season for me. Every time I saw her on screen, I was like this:

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Okay, so the mere fact that this woman breathed pissed me off. I thought the actress was annoying, I thought her character was annoying, she did not grow (personally), and I did not warm to her one little bit, though I really tried. Every time I thought this season was set to surpass its predecessor, this bitch came on screen, and it detracted from being better, for me. I swear, she peeved me on a Carrie Mathison level, and that is saying something.

The choreography was really good, once again, though there were a few times were things looked a little off and a little dodgy, but nothing overkill. The show sticks to the darkness, gloominess, and washed-out settings from the first season, and it works. It definitely ups the ante this time around when it comes to the bloody brutality of it all, but this was a definite winner in my books.

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I particularly enjoyed how the interpersonal relationships shifted and changed in this one, for better or worse. Karen grows even more as a character, and then there is Foggy, who is totally changing, and I still adore him. Karen shifts away from the legal offices and more into journalism, and Foggy learns to stand his ground. Matt gets seriously annoying at times in this, because he can be really preachy. The addition of Frank Castle is beyond awesome, because his character alone starts to make the other characters question themselves, and that is always interesting.

It was also cool to see that old characters were brought forward again, as though just to remind us they are there, and some new ones were introduced, although sometimes this made things feel a little messy and cluttered. Not a big deal though, because aside from that and Elektra, there was very little to complain about in this season.

What this all boils down to is that this is another fantastic season, a worthy follow up to season one, even though it was held back by Elektra. That being said, it is propelled with a ferocity by Frank Castle. This show is dark, gritty, and brutal, and absolutely worth the watch, I highly recommend it.

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Rapid Review: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

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“If you want to stay handcuffed to your dead brother, that’s fine. But you’re not dragging me along. Not anymore.”
– John

SYNOPSIS: Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8Heck yeah! I really liked this one. I feel that the sequels in this canon have been okay, but I outright loved this one again. I had a total blast. Michael Myers was sort of a different kind of beast here, different than what we have seen from him so far, but creepy as heck. I liked the story and the plot progression, even though I feel there were flaws. It took a moment to get used to this working in a different timeline from the last, but in a way I thoroughly enjoyed it because it meant no messy explanations trying to shoehorn Jamie in, or how Laurie wasn’t around, or why the son got preference. It just makes for neater storytelling. I really didn’t like Michael’s mask in this one – it made him look super stupid. It was the eyes. The pacing was good for this, and keeps you hooked from the off. The setting was also fantastic – rich boarding school? Heck yeah! I was also a fan of the throwbacks that were in this film, always worth it, and I enjoyed the little bit of humour that was mixed all about in H20. A lot of focus is placed on the emotional issues of actually surviving Michael (explored using Laurie), and how her trauma has affected those around her (son and relationships). It was quite something to see her come out of her shell a bit and fight back against Michael. Goodness knows this is a showdown we have been holding out for! Anyway, I thought that H20 looked good, it was entertaining, had all the relevant tributes, was creepy and had more scares, was pretty well acted, and most importantly, it was fun. Worth a watch, and an awesome memorial movie.

Review: The Kept Woman – Karin Slaughter

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Will Trent #8

SYNOPSIS: A body is discovered in an empty Atlanta warehouse. It’s the body of an ex-cop, and from the moment Special Agent Will Trent walks in he knows this could be the most devastating case of his career. Bloody footprints leading away from the scene reveal that another victim – a woman – has left the scene and vanished into thin air. And, worst of all, the warehouse belongs to the city’s biggest, most politically-connected, most high-profile athlete – a local hero protected by the world’s most expensive lawyers. A local hero Will has spent the last six months investigating on a brutal rape charge.

But for Will – and also for Dr Sara Linton, the GBI’s newest medical examiner – the case is about to get even worse. Because an unexpected discovery at the scene reveals a personal link to Will’s troubled past. The consequences will wreak havoc on his life and the lives of those he loves, those he works with, and those he pursues.

But Sara’s scene-of-the-crime diagnosis is that they only have a few hours to find the missing woman before she bleeds out . . . – via Goodreads

Ah man, it was like Christmas when I saw that there was finally another Will Trent novel! The man is just phenomenal, and I am always itching to read about him. This book? No exception! I have to say, I really wish the characters in this series (and I am not talking about that bitch Angie) would stop telling Will that Sara is too good for him. I mean come on! They are both human, and he is not a person who is “not good enough” for anyone, or not allowed to have someone to love him. Pfffffff.

I am also not pleased with how Sara treats Will – really. The man has had it rough in life, and he loves the heck out of her and will do anything for her, and she is trying to make him jump Jeffrey hoops, and carry on as though he has never had an issue in life, and it is not fair. Anyway. Coming back on Will and his crazy past, that also brought that nasty piece of work, Angie, back. I was not pleased when I saw how large a part of the book she got, especially when the story flipped to a telling from her side. I swear, I like her about as much as I like Lena Adams. In fact, I like her less, and that is not an easy jump to make. While Angie took up way too large a part of the book (for me), I was glad to see that she had finally pushed Will far enough, and that he finally saw her as others see her – a horrible person, terrible, cruel, and nasty. Dangerous.

I really do enjoy any books that feature Amanda – call her what you will, I think that woman is sassy, badass, and a touch crazy, but I thoroughly enjoy her. It was really nice to see a return of characters we all know and love. The pacing and story for this are both good, and they keep you hooked and engaged the whole way though, and the novel barrels along. I was pleased to read a little about Jeffrey Tolliver again – I know it was nothing in depth, but that he finally breached into Sara and Will’s relationship was a relief. He is an issue that has always been skirted. I wish Sara would stop being a bitch and just come out and tell Will how she really feels about him, and about how special he is. Nobody has ever done that for him, so why can’t she?

Anyway, The Kept Woman was another solid entry to the Will Trent series, and definitely worth checking out.