Review: The Chestnut Man – Søren Sveistrup

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

SYNOPSIS: If you find one, he’s already found you.

A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen.

His calling card is a “chestnut man”—a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts—which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

Examining the dolls, forensics makes a shocking discovery—a fingerprint belonging to a young girl, a government minister’s daughter who had been kidnapped and murdered a year ago.

A tragic coincidence—or something more twisted?

To save innocent lives, a pair of detectives must put aside their differences to piece together the Chestnut Man’s gruesome clues.

Because it’s clear that the madman is on a mission that is far from over. – via Goodreads

I got access to a copy of this awhile ago. The write up looked like my cup of tea, and a Scandinavian thriller/mystery is totally something I am on board for. As Jade said the other week, this is typically that story of a cop who neglects their home life in favour of saving other people and their loved ones. No different, box standard formula. Which would have been okay, except that it wasn’t.

I thought the story was going to be… more. So much more. But it was seriously bogged down by the writing, or (and I will freely admit this) the translation. There were plenty times while reading where I was like “oh dear, that could have been edited better, or translated more smoothly”, and it kept jarring me out of the story. I also feel that there is a ton of filler stuff, and that the book is filled with flat, bland characters. They are really by the numbers, nothing special… okay, except maybe for the fact that they were really daft. Almost wilfully stupid. I mean really. I know I am just the reader, but they were clunky and blind and, honestly, came across as incompetent more often than not. And I don’t mean the higher ups – I mean Thulin and Hess, our main pair.

Not only that, the author Søren Sveistrup weaves in a totally unnecessary and bland romance. It just came across as forced. I didn’t like that at all, and it pops up out of nowhere, and nothing comes of it. I mean they are trundling along, and all of a sudden they just want each other, then they don’t? What? Just, no. No.

So I am in the minority apparently about how I felt about this book – it seems other readers loved it. It just didn’t work for me. I didn’t like the characters or care about them, the book was very predictable in places, there was too much filler stuff between happenings, the logic is a little questionable, and the experience overall was not that great. The book felt like a super long read, so I didn’t love that, either. I just didn’t love The Chestnut Man, overall.

Review: Abducted in Plain Sight (2017)

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway. WHAT THE FUCK?!

Rapid Review: The Conjuring 2 (2016)

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The-Conjuring-2-Poster

“I know your name, demon, and that gives me dominion over you!”
– Lorraine Warren

SYNOPSIS: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by a malicious spirit. – via IMDB

the conjuring 2

GRADE 2What. The. Heck. I mean really! This movie was hyped up, it was raved about, people adored it, it got compared to the first. Let me tell you what it has in common with the first – Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. That’s it. I am telling you. When The Conjuring was released, I really liked the movie, up until the final third. It relied on atmosphere and was well acted, all of that. Upon rewatching it, I found it to be quite the hollow experience, and felt that I had scored it too highly. It was definitely a one hit wonder for me, and had no rewatch value. However, it was crafted well. As for The Conjuring 2? Unimaginative title and a terrible film all around – and not a good sequel, as so many have lauded it. This is not a good example of a sequel done right, in my opinion. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga are good, but come across as limited due to the script. The script also tried to force emotion into it in places, and it fell flat and was terribly awkward. Let’s talk about how heavy handed and over the top this movie was. I mean seriously folks. There was no time to get freaked out or vested in what was happening because there was no grace, no elegance, no mystery, no finesse. It was just in your face, no subtlety, and felt like you were being force fed this horror. There was potential when The Crooked Man came to life – instead of scaring the socks off of me (as he rightfully should have), he was this terribly animated character that looked beyond stupid. Ugh. Let’s not forget how conveniently everything worked out for the Warrens – yes, it just so happened to be the same thing that they picked up in the Amityville house, all the way out in England? Puh-lease. I have no time for this movie, and cannot believe I had been looking forward to it for another solid horror. It didn’t deliver on any front, and was certainly a massive waste of my time. Ugh.

Rapid Review: Lovely Molly (2011)

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lovely-molly-poster

“What ever happens, it wasn’t me.”
– Molly

SYNOPSIS: Newlywed Molly moves into her deceased father’s house in the countryside, where painful memories soon begin to haunt her. – via IMDB

lovely molly

GRADE 1.5So I couldn’t even remember where I had seen a review of this and decided to check it out. I found out after the fact that it was something that dear Eric liked a lot (this after I told him I was sure I had stumbled upon my next Shitfest entry – when is that happening again???). Well. Pretty much from the off I knew that there were going to be problems with this. And I mean a lot of problems. All good and well we get Half Sack back for something, but it does not mean something good will come for it. For one, I was no fan of the dancing between found footage and regular shot movie. Well, I don’t like found footage usually ever, at all, but really, it was pointless here. The movie was slow, and it never actually divulged anything. It set up for jump scares that never happened, but this wasn’t done successfully where it keeps you on the edge of the seat. Oh  no, this is done in the way where, finally, for half a minute, your interest is piqued for a moment, and then there is no payoff. Meh. Also, nothing was explained. Now, I am not one that likes too much revealed usually. Seriously, less is more at the best of times. I was all good for that, but then you look at certain incidents (a real rapey looking scene against a work wall, a priest dropping to his knees to eat out a naked girl on a porch) and all I can do is wonder why and how we got to this place. It doesn’t even make sense! Not to mention that the performances leave a lot to be desired, and the logic encountered in this film? Next level crazy I tell you! Now, something else that really got under my skin? The character inconsistencies. There is the dear husband, Tim, who seemingly adores his wife. They have no problems, they are happy, not once has there been alluded to that something might be wrong, so when we get to a random scene where he is, uhm, overly cuddly with the neighbour, it just doesn’t make sense at all. I could totally have gotten on board with the concept of her potentially being crazy or the house was crazy or there was some haunting, really, it could have been interesting but it was handled terribly here. I didn’t like any of the characters, so I couldn’t care for them. The movie also felt like it was only about a half century long. Ugh. So much wasted potential. I really thought it would be more (sorry Chop). I was peeved but oh my goodness, my husband was livid and hopping, ready to go out and decree that all filmmakers producing crap like this should be shot, and was ready to start with the guilty parties of this. Luckily, I talked him down. Luckily. He was more pissed about this than It Follows. I didn’t even see the whole “From The Makers of The Blair Witch Project and The Lord of the Rings” until later, but that second name dropping part just pisses me off – this is totally not in the same league. Don’t put it up there. Thank goodness I didn’t see that before I watched it. I am sure that it would have, if possible, just have made this worse than it already was. Somehow, I am sure of this.

Rapid Review: A Good Day To Die Hard (2013)

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a good day to die hard poster

“What’s with the “John” shit? What happened to “Dad”?”
– John McClane

SYNOPSIS: Iconoclastic, take-no-prisoners cop John McClane, for the first time, finds himself on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack – unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes. – via IMDB

a good day to die hard

GRADE 2Are you kidding me? Oh my goodness! I mean I have always heard that this one was the worst of the lot, I have read the rages, I have gone through it all, but I did not think it would be this bad. Hell, I had a friend who went out while he was in England to see this, paid in pounds and got up and left because he could not bear to suffer but one more minute of it. I think I am wholeheartedly in agreement there! Wow, what a pile of crap movie! Everything about this sucks. Let’s start with Jai Courtney… no wait, I will backtrack to this. Let’s start with  McClane’s kids… they are total freaking ingrates, rude to boot, and annoying as heck. Well, Junior more so than sister Lucy, but not by much. Goodness! I mean I know people have issues with their folks, most do, and I get that he was a relatively absent father and a douche, but come on! If they had set the premise up better for the both of the kids and McClane, I could have gotten more on board with it. However, it was not. Moving along from that back to Courtney… no. Just no. I have not seen a single thing with him in it yet where I thought he was alright. This was no exception. The story is a dreadful mess, and the humour is awful, not funny, forced and awkward I didn’t like it. Let’s not even talk about the sketchy as hell effects that are all over display here, I actually cringed. The dialogue… oh my goodness, why?! I see absolutely no reason why this movie needed to be made, nary a one. What a waste of my time. Ugh. There was like no chemistry between Willis and Courtney, and I cringed watching them together, and my eyes rolled at the shallow story that was predictable right off the bat. There was nothing that really had me rooting for anyone, I was over it within the first ten minutes, and the story makes these huge leaps and bounds that just don’t fit it. What a mess! I seriously cannot think of any redeeming factors, and I am going in loops here with all that I did not like, so maybe it is best I stop. I see what they were trying to do here, but they should have just left it well enough alone.

Review: New Moon – Stephenie Meyer

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stephenie meyer new moon cover

Twilight #2

Bella Swan is being all moody and sour with her sparkling vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen on her birthday and is still miffed that he won’t turn her. His brother Jasper tries to eat her, and the Cullens move away. Nasty breakup ensues between Bella and Edward, she spirals into a deep depression like her family has been massacred, not like she has lost her boyfriend whom she has only been with for a few months. Months of obsession and depression after all that, eventually she starts hanging out with Jacob Black, an old friend. They get very close. He is in love with her, she cannot think further than Edward, but has no qualms crushing Jacob’s heart. Eventually Jacob goes on the fritz and she gets sour that he, too, would leave her. Turns out he is actually a werewolf (seriously). Huge misunderstanding at the end causes Edward to try out a suicide mission, and Bella runs with his sister Alice to stop it. Seems they just go back to normal, doesn’t matter about Jacob anymore, who is bitter because the Cullens are his tribe’s sworn enemy and he is in love with Bella, who loves his natural enemy, and he is a werewolf and has to protect his people from them.

GRADE 1Blah, blah, blah. Bitch, bitch, bitch. Moan, moan, moan. Me, me, me. Turn me, turn me, turn me. CRY CRY CRY. Breakup ensues. Depression. Mope, mope, mope. Edward, Edward, Edward. Longing. Suffering. Torture. Pain. CRY CRY CRY. Selfish up the wazoo. Bad writing. Descend on Jacob Black. Use him. Use him some more. Tug at his heart strings. Vampires, werewolves, panic. Edward, Edward, Edward. Mess Jacob around some more. CRY CRY CRY. Betrayal when Jacob has personal issues to deal with that don’t involve her. Sulk, sulk, sulk. More bad writing. Do some stupid stuff. More me, me, me. More moan, bitch, sulk, cry. Obsession, obsession, obsession. Depressed. Suicidal thoughts (because all these books seems to highlight is that losing a love is worth popping yourself over – especially after a few months). Bad writing. Romeo and Juliet references for Africa. CRY CRY CRY. Panic, panic, panic. Discard Jacob. Run to Edward. Edward, Edward, Edward. Obsession. Unhealthy. Unhealthy. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Fuck it. I will never get any part of my life back over this.

Salem: Season 1 (2014)

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salem season 1 poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked: 

  • The intro song being a Marilyn Manson track. Yes, fan. Also, the intro itself was alright.
  • The animals that Petrus (the seer) has, and their crazy stitched up eyes. Creepy stuff I tell you.
  • Some of the effects are pretty good and the show can be surprisingly graphic.
  • Isaac Walton. Probably the only character I liked. He was so childlike and innocent, and always being used and walked over, which was really sad. But he was sweet, and passionate, and always did the best he could.

salem face cutting for necromancing

What I didn’t like: 

  • I was not a real fan of Shane West as John Alden. I think my biggest issue here was the fact that he plays someone so badass and it really, really doesn’t suit him – he comes across as a sissy trying too hard.
  • We all know Mary went all darkside and all that, but it was just so abrupt and sudden, not a fan of that. She’s also so completely darkside, which just seems a little sketchy.
  • The dialogue is just ridiculous, and cannot decide if it wants to be modern or traditional or what. No idea.
  • There are no characters that I like and that I am rooting for or anything like that.
  • The potential that this show just wasted.
  • The casting really sucked. And I was pretty excited to see Xander Berkeley in here, especially after The Mentalist. No such wonderful winning. Seth Gabel, too, whom I absolutely adored in Fringe felt so wasted and weak here, though he is one of the better characters, to be sure.
  • No real progression. Everything went in circles and was ridiculously predictable. Plus, no plot twist or revelation was ever delivered with any finesse, so it all just felt hollow overall.
  • The whole character progression of Mercy. I mean how the hell did she get so strong and knowledgeable so quickly? Pffff, it was just frustrating.

salem zombies

Rating:
GRADE 4
Well, it is rather evident that I was not a fan of this. I don’t know why my other half insisted on watching this. He was told by some colleagues/friends that it was really good and really interesting and blah blah blah. Now, we have never actually gotten anything good to watch from them before, or a great recommendation that stood out, and all I really wanted was to watch Deadwood, but this was short, so if not, why not? Right? Pffffff. This was such a painful experience for me to get through, but because it was only a thirteen episode long season, my OCD would not allow me to simply stop watching and move on. I hate that about short seasons sometimes. Dammit. Well, I figured that once I had started, I may as well invest some time in this, even if just to bitch and moan about it, and trust me, I will. The casting just felt all wrong, really. From the off. Like none of the characters was suited for their role… I know we are supposed to identify with Alden and all that, but I just wanted to cut his hair (the long hair didn’t suit him – and I am sure you all know how much that must kill me to admit it) and I thought he was such a sissy pushover. Not to mention my excitement levels went through the roof when I saw Seth Gabel as a cast member, I like him, and thought he was simply superb in Fringe. Queue a teeth kicking, cause that’s what this show was. There are so many holes in it, and so many stories that get introduced and forgotten and rushed away from. It’s like… why?! The worst is this show had potential. Like the concept, and the fact that the effects were halfway decent and there was some impressive gore. I was like yeahhhhh, let’s have a lookie here, and then this is what we got. There were moments that were pretty good, albeit predictable. It’s like Salem never catches, never finds itself, never draws you in, which is a pity. Also, I didn’t appreciate Janet Montgomery in the main role of Mary one little bit. Logic also makes some impressively confusing and mind-numbing leaps and bounds, which just adds to the irritations within this show. Also, the pacing was terrible. Something would happen and only be addressed again much later on, undecided as to whether something was relevant or not. Make up your minds, people, it can’t be that hard… The camera work was also incredibly sketchy, and sometimes the way it would rapidly flick between two characters in a single room made me think of a soapie. Meh. As much as Increase Mather was a twit, he was one of the more entertaining twits, and Stephen Lang had more screen presence than anyone I had actually seen this season. The one great thing about this show is the amount of laughter it provided for me and my other half due to ripping it to shreds and taking the Mickey out of it completely. I cannot, with a clear conscience, recommend this show – it could have been so much more if it wanted to!

salem reading