Review: The Guilty Die Twice – Don Hartshorn

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Two attorney brothers. Two bullet-riddled corpses. Two sides to the story.

Ten years ago, a capital murder case in the heart of Texas split the Lynch family in two. Now, estranged lawyer brothers Travis and Jake Lynch find themselves on opposing sides of the courtroom in a high-profile, grisly double murder case—with another accused criminal’s life on the line. Conscience-stricken Travis left his high-powered law firm to become a public defender, while bullish Jake rose to become District Attorney. The case pits brother against brother in a contest of wits, wills, and legal savvy that will shake the justice system to its core: both Lynches are convinced they’re in the right, but the truth turns out to be more complicated—and deadly—than either could have possibly imagined. A drug deal double-cross turns lethal, leaving two corpses and one victim paralyzed for life. The victim never saw the gunman, but he knows one name: Sam Park. Travis defended Sam’s brother years before, and his heart won’t let him turn down the case, even knowing it’ll bring him face-to-face with Jake after ten years of cold silence. Jake, meanwhile, runs afoul of the Austin political machine and needs a high-profile conviction to win a tough upcoming election. And Sam, the star witness and prime suspect, won’t talk—not to Travis, and certainly not to the high-and-mighty DA—and time is running out. Can these feuding brothers put aside a decade of enmity in the name of true justice? Or will the truth of what really happened that bloody night go to the grave with Sam Park? – via Amazon

So. The Guilty Die Twice had me convinced to give it a try based on the synopsis. I do quite enjoy a legal thriller, so I was all for it. Also, the case being carried out by two brothers on opposing sides seemed like it could be interesting.

The story is split between the past and the present, and again between the two brothers. However, I found that the pacing of the book was excruciatingly slow, especially for such a short read. I also never connected with the characters. Shirley came across as a cold hearted woman, Jake was toxically angry, Travis was stubbornly all for throwing everything away to help the downtrodden, Christine was a bloodthirsty reporter, and Velasquez was just a vapid, unconvincing phoney. Then there was Sam, and he is just a grade A piece of work.

So it was difficult having no characters I liked or could root for. I also found the setup for the story to be quite confusing initially as there were a ton of characters to try and keep track of. Later you do make sense of it all, and there is a decent story buried under it all. The book obviously has a lot to say about the death penalty, which is interesting to read.

The Guilty Die Twice is a short book, but it does feel slow. It features a lot of childish characters and focuses on a heavy issue. It’s not nearly as thrilling as I was hoping, but it wasn’t an awful read. It kept me reading, though not obsessed. People that enjoy legal thrillers will likely enjoy this.

JB & The Chop Do: Scream 4 (2011)

JB & THE CHOP SCREAM

After taking such a long hiatus – and relieving the public of my constant shame – I want to say that I have had a shitload of fun doing this again, JB. Thanks for not giving up on me :  ) I haven’t exactly loved these Scream movies BUT I didn’t grow up on them like you did. I wonder what we can pick next… maybe something older – like ME! I remember the 90s as my young 20s when I moved out of my mom’s and went to college and had to start paying bills and shit and working 90 hours a week (for real). Those aren’t my fondest memories CRY CRY CRY. But, with that, I had to say this was probably my favorite one of the bunch… *walks slowly backwards out of the room….

scream 4 poster

SYNOPSIS: Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together thanks in part to her writing, is visited by the Ghostface Killer. – via IMDB

CHOP SCREAM

What made me like it the most out of the four? It came out in 2011 so it was a little more modern. It was definitely much  more gory,  #guts . Dewey seems to be back to his role as an inept #dingdong . I know the cast is principally the same but I liked the cameos. This came out right when True Blood was popular so I wonder how much they had to pay Anna Paquin and her #legs to be in this for two minutes? I also liked the fact that the killer made sense this time even though I still think the costume is not #tits . If you don’t get that reference, you can search my site for the three page explanation of how that term came into my life. Searching that word on my site will take you to probably 1000 of the 1300+ posts out there. Go find it and get back to me here. Maybe you’ll win a prize! A #booby prize!

Plus – Marley Shelton??? #??????????? any movie with her in it gets extra marks from me.

I also like Emma Roberts. I don’t think JB does but I do – I really liked her in Scream Queens.

You know what I didn’t like? This asshole’s hairdo. (Not the chick). A man’s hair should never blow in the wind! #fuckinhippies

I also really liked the publicist:

Where have I seen her before??? OH YEAH! She’s one of the leads from GLOW!

I loved that show! Bring on season two! More #spandex and #chickfights and #cleavage and #bighair and #showerscenes . #hashtag

I always try and end these runs with a nice thank you to the beloved JB, not that that happens consistently but… even though JB and I live on different continents, if it ever came down to it, and I was a zombie:

It gives It permission to end It without repercussions. It does not want It to end It in any way, but It saw this image and it made It think of It.

Always love,

It

JB SCREAM

And here we are, the final movie. Thank you all for sticking with us, reading, commenting, everything. As always, we appreciate it! It’s been a blast, and hopefully we will be back soon with something new!

I think that this is a damn fine entry to the series, especially after so many years passing in between. More solid than the last, that is for sure, and I really liked how it took the concept of Scream and modernised it to cellphones, vlogging, etc. So much has changed! I will always be a fan of the fact that the same cast has always returned for their roles, it just gives the whole experience a more cohesive and authentic feeling, which is awesome. I really like how these movies are all solid – truly, how many franchises can say that they have so many entries and that they are all well worth watching? *cough* Amityville *cough*

scream 4 don't fuck with the original

Thank goodness Cox’s hair was sorted out – Scream 3 did her no wonders whatsoever, and whoever styled her hair with that fringe should have been shot. Seriously. Her and Dewey being together is adorable, and I will not lie, that blonde woman, Hicks, who was hitting on Dewey? Really made me angry :/ Stay away or go find an available man, hooker! Even though the Chop thinks she is hot. Which is fine. But she must back off the Gale/Dewey thing!

And yes, the Chop is 100% right – I am still not sold on Emma Roberts. Even her face just looks like a spoiled brat to me, and she always comes across like that, too. Ugh. She isn’t even that great an actress (or I have yet to see her in anything where she wows me, at any rate).

Scream 4 brings on the slashing, the guts, the gore, some humour, more movie references than you can shake a stick at and all most all of our favourite characters. *cough cough* no Randy ;( The rules have been updated, too, for a more modern set, and it works for this. When this first came I just didn’t watch it, because… well… what if it didn’t end well? When I finally got to it I was pleasantly surprised, and definitely rank this over Scream 3.

scream 4 i'm gay rule

I almost died when they tried to call Rory Culkin’s Charlie Walker this generation’s Billy Loomis. Are you freaking kidding me?????? Are you?????? I mean I get the updating and all of that but… but… yeah. Still not, though I did like how he was worked with in this.

scream 4 ghostface door

Hayden Panettiere (who I am sure will always be Claire, the cheerleader, for me) initially struck me as potentially out of place in this, but fast becomes a fan favourite, she’s awesome.

scream 4 trying to do ghostface

Anyway, after all is said and done, I just want to thank Eric from the bottom of my heart for doing these movies with me! I am glad to see you liked them, even if you didn’t love them! I am so excited for any and all future projects that we will do together (and damn, those Amityville movies are racking up again). This is always fun and you rock 😀

PS: It loves Its picture, but It will not be ending It in a hurry!

Top Ten Movies of 2015

Man, I have to say that while 2015 had some decent movies, it was quite the bland year for cinema overall. Really now, I mean it. I was quite disappointed with the pickings all round. In 2014 I had to split the list up into two parts, it was crazy! This won’t be a conventional list, that’s for sure, but I had a great time with these movies… well, most of them. Some really only just made the list. Without further ado, here’s a look at the movies I enjoyed the most this year!

10. Tie between The Martian and Sicario

martian_ver5

I definitely did not love this movie like most people did, though I found it to be a decent watch. In fact, I was a huge fan of everything that was happening in space, on Mars. It was fascinating, and Damon gave one heck of a performance, he was brilliant. I loved the disco music and the geeky humour, I enjoyed all the little things. But then there is the Earth aspect, and that brought the whole film down quite a bunch for me. However, it is a nice return to form for Scott.

sicario poster

Again, maybe not a film that I obsessed about, but I enjoyed it well enough. It looked stunning and Benecio Del Toro gave one heck of a performance. But then there were the drawbacks, like the whiny character Emily Blunt played, making me dislike her (super shocker o.O), not to mention that the movie really strives to come across as smarter and more in depth than it actually is, which means there is this disjointed feeling you experience.

9. Spectre

spectre poster

This was one of my most anticipated movies of 2015. I was freaking out about it, I needed it. Immediately. I am almost glad we got it a little later than other people – that allowed me to get my expectations in check. The trailers were marketing a Casino Royale 2, which is most certainly the furthest thing from this movie. Spectre returns to some old school Bond cheese, for better or worse, but it is not nearly as supremely a crappy movie as it is painted to be. I had a good time with it, though it certainly isn’t my favourite Bond movie. There were things Spectre did right, and other places where it floundered. Uneven doesn’t make for terrible, though, and it is a fun watch.

8. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

the man from uncle poster

Oh yes. I had an absolute blast watching this. I knew from the trailers that it would likely be fun, especially with Ritchie’s name attached to it, but when I watched it? I had a ball. It was much better than I was daring to hope for, and by having the genetic jackpot winner Henry Cavill on screen opposite a worthy Armie Hammer was beyond fantastic. The duo shared great chemistry, the humour is highly entertaining, Alicia Vikander is gorgeous, and while there was nothing new to be garnered from the movie, it was stylish to boot.

7. The Final Girls

the final girls poster

So much awesomeness! I watched this between exams when I desperately needed a moment to breathe, and I am so glad that I chose this. The Final Girls is smart and has heart, too, and is hilarious – especially if you are a big fan of old school horror, which gets plenty of homages here. The performances stand out in this movie, and the script is bold and endearing all at once, and everyone just looks like they are having the time of their lives. Horror comedy? Not so much, but a damn fine comedy with horror throwbacks for sure, and the execution is beyond brilliant.

6. Bone Tomahawk

bone tomahawk poster

Western horror. Those were the two words that intrigued me and sold me on this. I had to know how it was going to be done. Let me tell you, Bone Tomahawk is excellent. A horror opening, a western film beyond that, and it closes out with horror again. Yes, the balance is perfect, the performances were awesome, the movie was shot well and is bloody, brutal, violent. I fell in love with this, and I think it is a movie I am going to return to a few times.

5. Mad Max

mad max fury road poster

I didn’t expect to enjoy this one nearly as much as I did, but the minute this movie started up, I knew I was in for something special. The film is an assault on the senses and balls to the wall crazy – just as you think they cannot top the bizarre that has just been displayed on your screen, think again! The insanity never wears thin, and it looks amazing and is well acted. The movie looks and sounds phenomenal, too. Let’s also not forget the fact that Theron did not irritate me in this (super unusual) and the movie carried a strong feminist message, even for a movie that is essentially a two hour car chase through the desert.

4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

day 25 the force awakens poster

I went for this. Twice. I finally reviewed it. I didn’t expect to, because I never know just what to say when it comes to major favourites of mine. I had fun with this. When Disney bought out Lucas, I was worried, especially when they announced a new installment to the franchise. My fear was not allayed when Trevorrow dropped out, but my heart soared when I heard that J.J. Abrams was to helm the film. Why? Because he just gets sci-fi, and he totally knows how to reboot… and he is a Star Wars fan. After watching it? All I want in life is a BB-8 and I just want to say that Adam Driver was looky as hell. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously, that hair ❤ I don’t want to go into another crazy geek out session here, so you can just head on over to the review if you want to know exactly how I felt about this.

3. Ex Machina

ex machina poster

Ah, this. This was something I threw in to watch with my other half, seeing as he enjoys the whole concept of AI, etc. What I did not expect, however, was the perfect union between psychology and AI, something that is usually overlooked in these types of films. Also, the movie is quite ambitious, and when that happens with a film like this, someone usually ends up dropping the ball, leaving behind a bitter taste due to the botched affair. Ex Machina, however, did not suffer from this. It has a tiny cast, but each one of them delivered perfectly, the film looked beautiful and really makes you think when all is said and done. The best part? There was no disappointment by the end of it, it definitely delivered the goods.

2. What We Do In The Shadows

what we do in the shadows poster

I know, many of you are going to wonder why the hell this ranks so highly… but I loved it. I freaking loved every damned second of it, and in my ten million rewatches? It remains a classic, priceless, hilarious gem. It appealed to every silly sense of my humour, and is way smarter than it is given credit for. #VirginSandwiches #EighteenthCenturyDandy #WearwolvesNotSwearwolves #DarkBidding

1. John Wick

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This. Hands down. The style… the awesome, the beauty, the thrill, the colours, the choreography, Keanu Reeves… John Wick just blew my mind. The second I saw the trailer, I knew we were in for something insane, but I had no idea that it would win me over quite the way it did. It also doesn’t get old. Repeat viewings have kept me engaged and happy and even more excitement was to be had. Plus the soundtrack was fantastic. Too much style, too much awesome, too much love!

Review: Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

Sharp-Objects

Journalist Camille Preaker gets sent to her hometown of Wind Gap by her boss Frank Curry, much against her better judgment. There are strange things going on in the town. A little girl, Ann Nash, was kidnapped and murdered the previous August, and all her teeth were yanked from her mouth. Camille returns to investigate a new story for her paper, and has to go stay with her mother Adora Crellin for the duration. She revisits many old memories she has no use for. Another young girl, Natalie Keene, turns up strangled and missing her teeth, just like the previous little girl.

Camille has a half sister, Amma, who is spoiled, nasty, shallow, false and bitchy. She lives in their deceased sister’s shadow. Marian was always the favourite, though she died decades ago. Camille needs to prove herself back in Wind Gap. The desperate cutter she used to be, the one that was hospitalized and treated, needed to be firmly placed back in the box. She has to find out what the hell is going on, and starts to slowly dig away at family, friends, and the Kansas detective that was brought up to work the case, Richard Willis. Being a local of the town (even though she has moved away) does not make the task of getting people to talk one iota easier.

However, Camille realizes there is something truly wrong with her younger half sister… something that makes her somewhat sick and disturbed. She start paying closer attention to Amma and her actions, and Amma starts paying attention right back at her. The town is breaking Camille. What is going on around here? Who is responsible for the grotesque brutality visited on these two young girls? Camille’s investigation into the story brings her closer to Richard,  but also closer to all the things she fled when she ran off to Chicago. Is she strong enough to beat survive the ghastly little town again?

GRADE 4I don’t know, I read so many rave reviews about Gillian Flynn’s writing, and I have heard what the stories should be about. Right up my alley, I would assume. But no. Everything is so messed up. It is like she glibly adds nasty scenes or inexplicable events to the book solely for shock value. If it contributed to the story in a more real way then it would be fine, but more often than not it is just thrown in haphazardly or just because. Everything is so melodramatic in this book, and unbelievable. Not in the good way, either. The writing style is also jarring, it does not really… flow, per se. It is also written with no real finesse. The self pity that permeates these pages drives me insane – I don’t really have time for people that don’t want to do something for themselves. Everything also feels rushed, and halfway through the book I still felt nothing was happening. It is like it had potential, but there was so much unbelievable crap stashed in it. I could not take Amma’s behaviour seriously at all, far too bizarre and all that. I think that the book’s setting was very depressing, not just the story, but how it was all written about. It had a very melancholy and overly miseralbe and disheartening feel, and that is not always nice. The book was also written first person, which is never really a winner for me unless you are writing an autobiography – it has other times it works, but more often than not it just doesn’t. There is no chemistry between the characters at all, nothing to relate to and get attached to. What a horrid book to work through, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. It irritated me at every word. Not the world’s worst book, it is readable, but something about it just didn’t gel with me.

Review: Iron Man (2008)

Iron Man Movie Poster

“We’re iron mongers, we make weapons.”
– Obadiah Stane

Tony Stark Jericho
“They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.”
– Tony Stark

Billionaire engineering prodigy and playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) lives quite the charmed life in his Malibu mansion. Rich, arrogant, cocky, self-assured and spoiled, Tony heads off to Afghanistan with one of his only friends, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Terrence Howard), to introduce his latest weapon: The Jericho. Things do not pan out as he had planned, and his convoy is attacked by a terrorist group, the Ten Rings. Tony is caught in the cross-hairs  and is shredded by shrapnel from a Stark Industries weapon.

Iron Man first suit
A desperate escape plan by a genius

Waking in a dingy, dark cave, he meets Yinsen (Shaun Tomb). Yinsen saved his life by building the device which is pretty much just an electromagnet hooked up to a car battery which will keep the shrapnel that could not be removed from reaching his heart. The head terrorist, Raza (Faran Tahir) demands that Tony build them a Jericho missile, too. Tony starts his first rough draft of the Iron Man suit (Mark I) while conning them into believing he is steadily working on the missile. Yinsen has given Tony hope. He has seen that his weapons are used for war profiteering at the hands of the enemy, his weapons are being used against the very men they were designed to protect. In the cave, Tony creates a mini arc reactor to keep him alive and the shrapnel at bay, as well as the iron suit they need for escape. Their escape goes mostly as planned, and Tony destroys

Returning to America after three horrifying months, Tony meets back up with his loyal assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) and his right hand man and father’s old partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). At a press conference, he announces that they will cease all weapons development effective immediately until he can decide what is going on. Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) from the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistic Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) approach Pepper to make an appointment to see Tony to debrief him about his capture, and he is continually blown off by Pepper and Tony.

iron-man-downey-jr
Working out the minor kinks of the suit

Tony is on a new mission. He needs to look after people. At the end of the day, it looks like he is a war profiteer, and what with the Stark Industries board members filing injunctions against him, even his company looks set to belong to someone else. Angry to find out that Obadiah is the one that is causing the major difficulties for Tony, he decides to make a difference in the world, and not just sit back. This is how Iron Man is born, and Tony works tirelessly to perfect the suit he so haphazardly built in the Afghanistan deserts.

However, his latest piece of technology, the one he built for the intent of saving people, and correcting mistakes, can also be the most dangerous weapon the world has ever seen if it falls into the wrong hands. Can Tony protect it, as well as redeem himself due to Obadiah’s mistakes and greed?

Iron Man suitI score Iron Man an 8/10. Robert Downey Jr. really was the most amazing pick to play Tony Stark. He is Tony in each and every aspect. Again, he is simply just a joy to watch, the attitude, the acting, the way he handles things is so typically Robert Downey Jr. you can’t help but love it. The film style was also great, especially for what they were presenting us, and I think that this film did Marvel amazing justice, it was just so cool. The humour is pretty sharp, as well as sweet, overall just a pretty good package. Terrence Howard was definitely worth watching, as he gave his character amazing life, and the sarcasm bouncing between him and Tony is just brilliant. This movie was extremely well cast, and the effects, dialogue, etc. was amazing. I have seen it enough times to know I still enjoy watching it, so that has to speak for something! One of the better superhero movies, of its time and now, so definitely worth the watch if you have not seen it. Who else is gearing up for Iron Man 3?

A nightmarish box set

So for Christmas I finally got the A Nightmare On Elm Street collection from my boyfriend, Ricky, and I am thrilled. I love it! This is really old school, B-movie horror. The amount of cheese in it actually tends to just rectify it all and make it brilliant.

Nightmare on Elm Street DVD Box SetSoon, my friends, there will be extensive reviews on all seven of them included in the box set… for now, I am savouring it!