Review: The Perfect Date (2019)

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SYNOPSIS: To save up for college, Brooks Rattigan creates an app where anyone can pay him to play the perfect stand-in boyfriend for any occasion. – via IMDB

Having an apathetic vibe about picking something to watch one weekend, I figured that The Perfect Date might be the perfect movie because it would require absolutely no investment on my behalf, and probably no need to think, either. The movie absolutely delivered on all fronts in that regard.

The movie totally does not come along and revolutionise the genre. Not even close. This doesn’t make it terrible, it just makes it… ordinary. It’s like… I don’t really have much to say about the movie. I know that sounds bad, but it is true. So this dude essentially sells dates to girls, and falls for the first girl he took out, the one who started the idea. Generic recipe follows of strife with friends and strife with the girl and then happy ending. There. Boom. That is the whole movie, and nothing more. There are no characters that shine above others, there is no conflict that you can really sink your teeth into, there is no meat, essentially, and because it fails to present you with something new, it has absolutely nothing that sets it above anything else, or make you remember it.

The Perfect Date is a simple, straightforward movie. Nothing we haven’t seen before, and that can be comfortable, although not thrilling. What the movie does have going for it is Noah Centineo, as he really is a chilled and charming lead, and slips on the character effortlessly. He is pretty much what keeps you watching. The movie is cheesy, at times boring, at all times predictable, but it is not the worst movie you will ever spend your time on. It is so generic that it won’t stick with you for very long at all, but won’t crush your soul while watching it. There are too many other movies that have done this story before, and done it way better (read: 10 Things I Hate About You).

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: Shazam (2019)

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“Billy Batson, I choose you as champion.”
– The Wizard

SYNOPSIS: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM. – this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the grown-up superhero Shazam. – via IMDB

I caught this on opening weekend and have just been faffing around about publishing. This wasn’t really on my radar until Zachary Levi was cast in it, and then I was sold. I mean really? Chuck Bartowski? Beyond sold! Then it was forgotten until a few months ago and I saw the trailer, and it looked like plenty of fun. When it was released, it was legitimately the first movie in months I was willing to go to the cinema to see. Glad I did.

Shazam certainly is a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it. It is not the greatest movie of all time, but it is an easy watch. Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer have fantastic chemistry, and you can certainly tell that Levi is having a total ball. Asher Angel, too, is quite sweet as the young Billy Batson. I really liked how Victor and Rosa try to make a difference in these kids’ lives, and they seem to be such genuine, sweet people.

The third act of the movie is just a little bit too cheesy for my taste. It got a little bit too much and was a bit cringy, but not so much that it spoils the movie. I also feel that Mark Strong’s villain was very flat and generic and not really developed as much as he could have been. Also, some of the humour was most certainly geared at kids, but that isn’t really a problem because I think this is a great movie for kids.

Anyway, while Shazam has some issues, it is still amusing, and was certainly worth a watch.

Review: Jeepers Creepers (2001)

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“You know the part in scary movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates them for it? This is it.”
– Trish

SYNOPSIS: A brother and sister driving home through isolated countryside for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature which is in the midst of its ritualistic eating spree. – via IMDB

I remember this movie being a pretty big deal when it came out and I was a rugrat. I remember I watched the crap out of it, too. I remember watching it a few years back and thinking that there were a hell of a lot of issues with it, and there are a lot of silly logic issues with it. I didn’t enjoy it very much. Then I felt like watching this the other day and I enjoyed it… if you can find it in you to not look at those things a touch too closely, you might be in for a relatively decent horror.

That could also just be because I get nostalgic when watching this, I don’t know. There are flaws to be found here, sure, but that is most movies, and a problem that especially plagues horror movies. There is also a lot of fun to be had with this, too, if you let yourself have it. Justin Long is quite entertaining here, and manages to hold his own in a lead role. The characters make a lot of super stupid decisions, but are also quite aware of their shortcomings, too. I just need to reiterate how stupid these characters are, and the things that they do defy logic, but I suppose it would be a totally bland story if they saw him dumping bodies, called the cops, went home, and heard no more. That doesn’t sell movie tickets.

The monster, too, is icky. He’s a weird one, and is kak creepy in his truck and his duster, but the effect is somewhat ruined when you get to see too much of him. At least the movie doesn’t insist on this. But seriously, initially out in the country and being chased by a crazy trucks, one you later see the occupant of dumping bodies and then hunting you down? It works so well. Gets a little deliberate after that, but it’s okay. It’s a crazy ride. There are a lot of things that remained unanswered when watching this, and things that aren’t really addressed. The characters are not overly complex, neither is the story, it just wants to give us some screaming college kids running (unsuccessfully) for their lives, and it works for some light popcorn entertainment.

Overall, Jeepers Creepers might be flawed, but it is also a fun horror to watch. It’s a quick one, too, and doesn’t overstay its run time, and has a very high school horror night feel going for it, which is great. Sometimes that is all you want. If you aren’t looking for horror movie classics, this should be entertaining enough for you. If you can overlook how ridiculously stupid it can be. I guess that’s what makes for the love/hate relationship one can have with this movie.

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: Legally Blonde (2001)

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“I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
– Elle Woods

SYNOPSIS: Elle Woods, a fashionable sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend. She decides to follow him to law school, while she is there she figures out that there is more to her than just looks. – via IMDB

Yes. The nostalgia man. The nostalgia. I cannot tell you how many times I watched the silly movie growing up, and I have no regrets. I decided the other day to trip down memory lane as rewatch Legally Blonde, and I am glad I did. It is a silly fluffy film for sure, but it has heart, some spunk, and quite a solid message to it, and all this makes for an enjoyable watch.

Reese Witherspoon is the perfect Elle Woods. Like seriously, she just pulls of that totally ridiculous blonde with all the aplomb you would hope that goes with it. She comes across as a totally shallow, brainless airhead, and yet she is not slow. She is just interested in other things – like makeup, beauty, fashion, hair care, and her handbag dog. I love how sassy she is, too, and she has some really priceless lines (like getting into Harvard not really being that hard xD). But when her asshat boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, rips the rug out from under her, Elle goes above and beyond to win him back, and instead proves to the world that she is more than the stereotypical dumb blonde.

Disclaimer: check your brain at the door before you head in for this. If you try to take this too seriously or apply this all as happening in real life, you are going to be in for a bad time. Reality suspension, to be sure. Now, back to the movie. Harvard changes Elle, and in a good way. She gains more confidence than ever before, and feels like she is useful and applies herself, she makes a difference. She also makes real friends that side, and watching Witherspoon’s Elle and Jennifer Coolidge’s Paulette together is something else altogether. I quite enjoyed the little awkward side story between Paulette and the delivery guy, and I thought that Luke Wilson’s Emmett was terribly sweet. I also really liked how much heart Legally Blonde brought to the table, and the strong messages peppered throughout it.

Legally Blonde is a charming, light, fluffy film that tackles some strong issues and actually has quite a good, solid message that it conveys. It also helps that it is really fun and has moments that will stick with you (I mean who is in a hurry to forget the ludicrous bend and snap?!). Also, it’s totally nostalgic, and that wins points for me. It’s such a chick flick, this cannot be denied, and is cute in that slightly sickening way, but you gotta love it.

Review: Abducted – T.R. Ragan

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Lizzy Gardner #1

SYNOPSIS: Elizabeth Gardner (Lizzy) is seventeen-years old when she tells her parents she’s going out with her girlfriends. Instead, she meets up with her boyfriend, Jared Shayne. As she walks home beneath an inky black sky, her perfect night becomes her worst nightmare.

Fourteen years later, Lizzy is a licensed PI known as the ‘one who got away’. When she’s not searching for runaway teenagers, working on insurance scams, or talking to her therapist, she’s at the local high school teaching young girls to defend themselves. But her world is turned upside down for the second time after she receives a call from Jared Shayne. He’s an FBI special agent now and he needs her help. Lizzy has no plans to get involved. Not until Jared tells her the kidnapper left her a personalized note. – via Goodreads

I picked this up recently on an Amazon deal, and figured it might be worth a read. Not wasted money, that’s for sure, but a lot tamer than I thought it would be. Well, I suppose it was never going to be a Karin Slaughter novel (so few are), but I didn’t expect it to be so romancy. For reals. But okay, we will talk about all these things.

The concept of a girl being trapped with a serial killer for two months before escaping is quite heavy, and there could have been so much more material to work with there. Ragan plays it safe, however, and gives us just enough for our imaginations to cook up the rest of whatever happened to Lizzy while she stayed with Spiderman. The aftermath is also never really addressed, which would be fine, but more about her parents and what happened after would have been something. Also, Cathy’s lack of empathy and support for her sister is shocking.

An issue I had with the book is how one dimensional all the characters are, which is a pity. The only characters you can really feel for are Hayley and Lizzy, no more, no less. Oh, and Jess also had quite a bit going for her. Jared, the love interest, the boy who carried guilt about what happened to Lizzy as well as a torch for her all the way into his adulthood never really becomes real, if that makes sense. Jimmy, the FBI agent who has worked the longest and hardest on Lizzy’s case is a side character who rarely gets brought up, and is supposed to have such a close relationship with Jared,  yet it is never showcased.

I liked the fact that the book was a really quick read, and despite being predictable and not really shocking, it definitely keeps you interested enough to see where it all goes. I felt that the ultimate explanation we got for the Spiderman and his antics was a bit of a cop out, and was also glossed over so quickly. I was not particularly thrilled with how quickly Jared and Lizzy picked up some sort of a relationship, despite having been in one when she was a teen and abducted. It just felt a little far fetched and forced for me. The logic was questionable, and the writing sloppy at the best of times, too.

Abducted may not be the strongest entry to a series of books and is predictable, but it was enough to entertain me (and frustrate me with the ridiculous logic) and convince me to give the next book a shot to see how it works out.

Review: The Girl On The Train (2016)

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“My husband used to tell me I have an overactive imagination. I can’t help it. I mean, haven’t you ever been on a train and wondered about the lives of the people who live near the tracks? The lives you’ve never lived.”
– Rachel Watson

SYNOPSIS: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life. – via IMDB

As some of you may recall, I recently read the book and I was totally not a fan. At all. I decided to watch the movie just because I wanted to see if it could convey better to screen, because surely there would be a better way to tell the story than the way it was presented in that absolutely godawful book. Well… right and wrong.

The way the movie was presented and the story told was better than the book. It wasn’t the same frustrating back and forth jumping in time, leaving you lost and confused. You get the story told from the perspective and times of three different women, but it is so much easier to follow. So much of the excess crap and internal monologues of the book are cut away here, so things definitely flow better. That being said, that is probably the only good stuff to note from this disappointing outing.

I couldn’t stand any of the characters. Again. No shocker, I expected this, but still. I really didn’t want to compare this to Gone Girl, especially with all the comparisons that exist, but now I can see it. While reading the book, I didn’t necessarily see the parallels too much (make no mistake, they are there at times), but this movie just felt like a cheap, sad knockoff. Tate Taylor definitely tried to pull a David Fincher with a washed out palette, a dark story, and a solid cast. Instead of any of that working, it falls apart here, and the cast just fails to make the boring material any more acceptable. Their performances just feel hollow. The story is not smart and unpredictable and twisty – its just bland and average.

I also found that the movie pushed to put a lot of sex in this, but it comes across as really unsexy, not the dark, forbidden, screwed up sex it tries to be. It fails miserably there. Also, how do you manage that with Luke Evans on screen? Unacceptable. I was not engaged once throughout the course of this movie, and I was frustrated watching it because I was bored beyond belief. I thought we were nearing the end (and how sad is that, considering I have actually read the book) and say that we were only a hour and five minutes in. What the heck?

The Girl On The Train features deplorable characters, a dull story, absolutely zero tension and atmosphere, and will leave you feeling disappointed and robbed of your precious time. It’s an absolute snooze fest, one I would highly recommend you skip and stay away from.

Review: The Boy (2016)

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the boy poster 2016

“Be good to him and he will be good to you.”
– Mr Heelshire

SYNOPSIS: An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive. – via IMDB

the boy 2016 chair cry

GRADE 4Okay, so I wasn’t expecting greatness from The Boy. I was expecting a run of the mill horror, as it is so rare to find a great one nowadays. I know the reviews for this came back harshly, and now I can totally understand why. Initially I was thinking it couldn’t really be that bad. Wrong. It can be. It starts off as nothing too serious, and it is okay, nothing we haven’t seen before, but enough to keep you entertained. However, before you can blink your eyes and catch up properly, the movie has totally derailed into something so ridiculous and absurd, you can’t even suspend logic for the sake of the horror movie. For reals.

I am all on board with trying to do something a little different and all that, but come off it! This was one movie in the first half and another in the second, and it was so stupid, no less. Plot twist my foot! Ugh. I get what they were trying to go for, I do, and I get why they would have wanted to, but this was just not right, it wasn’t handled well (in my opinion, that is). It could have played off in so many different ways. The writers never really embraced their concept and didn’t go all out for it – the premise is bizarre as is, they should have just gone for it, used it! Instead, it just falls flat, something that technically could have been so much more. What a waste of time.

Cohan does what she can with the role, but the script is so uninspired as it is, there is not much you can really do with it. Then there is Malcolm, and he and Greta seem to work well, but nothing special. The movie is predictable and lives on a ton of horror clichés, until it tries to break the mould, and that is where things just backfired. Badly. Initially you do wonder about this doll, about Greta, about her psychological state, about the supernatural. Then the movie breaks from this, and it gets ridiculous. Ugh, I was just irritated with this silly movie by the end, and it was a supremely unsatisfying watch over and above it.

The Boy really had no idea what it actually wanted, and if the execution is what it was going for, it failed. I regret having wasted my time. Again, I didn’t expect the next Babadook or anything, but I didn’t think it could be that dreadful. It is. Skip it, if you are one of the lucky few that has not lost time on this crappy movie.

Rapid Review: Gone (2012)

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gone poster

“Adults have the right to disappear.”
Lt. Ray Bozeman

SYNOPSIS: When her sister disappears, Jill is convinced the serial killer who kidnapped her two years ago has returned, and she sets out to once again face her abductor. – via IMDB

gone i'll sleep when he's dead

GRADE 4I didn’t necessarily think that this was awful, per se, but it was a long way off from great. This successfully passes Anna’s vacuum test, in that I was doing my own thing, not particularly invested in the movie yet managed to follow it without putting too much thought or energy in it. I looked into this mainly for Amanda Seyfried, as well as some Sebastian Stan perve time (mmmmhmmmm, I am that petty). I didn’t want an intense movie, or something that was too serious or that would make me think too much, and this seemed to fit that bill. This movie is just fine for whiling away some time, but don’t take it too seriously, it won’t be fine then. There are holes and there are flaws, and the storytelling is all over the show, and that did detract from this being better than it was. It had the potential to be more… okay, maybe not too much more, but more than it ultimately was. Some things irritated me when I thought I was going to take this a little more seriously, and I had to remind myself to leave my brain at the door. Seyfried does the best she can with what she has been given, and Sebastian Stan was (super unfortunately) not around as much as I was hoping he would be, so I didn’t even get any major perve time. This movie is quite forgettable at the end of the day, so if you really have nothing else to watch this should be alright, or if you want some background noise. I didn’t completely hate this, but I will not be wasting my time on it again – I am pretty indifferent towards the film. If you want a thriller to dig your teeth into, it is totally not going to be this.