Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This was my first book in awhile. I was doing so well in January and February, but things went to the wayside I guess. The dragging winter has made me more lethargic.

In any case, I finally read this on a tired Friday evening. It was due soon and I have not read a novel in a little bit. This is Young Adult so I knew it would go quickly.

I have never read Diana Wynne Jones that I can remember. I love the movie from Studio Ghibli and I’ve been rewatching many of the movies the last couple of months. I wanted to read this novel finally in preparation,

This started off well and there was some slowness in the middle I think, but the ending was lovely and showed how much the characters loved each other. It was a more clear cut good vs evil fairy tale than the movie one. There are more characters in the book though.

This is a series, but a friend of mine told me that the other books were more about stories in the same universe. While the book was a nice read and the ending was satisfying, I don’t really feel the need to read more form this universe.

Coincidentally got the movie a day later from the library and love the movie even more in some ways having read the book.

Read March 24, 2017

Monthly Movies – Autumn 2016

Dark Shadows (02 10 2016) – I was feeling under the weather and nothing was on. I am over Depp and Burton films, but I do like Eva Green and Michelle Pfeiffer. It was an alright movie. Meh.

Maleficient (02 10 2016) – Only watch 2/3 of this film. I like Angelina Jolie.

The Vow (20 11 2016) – Romantic drama staring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. This was only interesting to me because I like the actors, but plot was a bit thin and slow.

The Secret World of Arrietty (24 12 2016) – REWATCH. Oh Ghibli.

Finding Dory (27? 12 2016) – Enjoyable sequel. There are many worse sequels out there.

Zootopia (01 01 2017) – Most of the movies I’ve been watching lately are meh, but this one was definitely one of the best. One of the most subversive and well done animated movies I’ve seen in a long time. I really hope there is a sequel.

Monthly Movies – Summer 2016

JUNE 2016

The Decoy Bride (09 06 2016) – In attempt to watch something after Jessica Jones where David Tennant is not a psycho, I had this in the queue. Tennant and Kelly Macdonald in Scotland can’t go wrong? Well, the script is not great. This is he kind of romantic comedy that could have made more money ten or twenty years ago, but is very much out of favour. There were trite and cliche situations. I really like the actors, but my mind wandered. My favourite moment was when an older deaf couple dance. That made me tear up. At least Tennant did use his soft romance eyes rather than his psycho ones.

JULY 2016

I can’t remember if I watched any movies. It was the summer of sports with Euros and the Olympics.

AUGUST 2016

Sophie’s Choice – I can’t remember when I watched this, but it was one of the most depressing movies I have seen in a long time. It took me two days to finish because I was bored during most of it. I did know the ending, but it took forever to get to that point. All the while, you have to watch some very unhealthy relationships. It was miserable. I like Meryl Streep and she was great in it, but I also get the criticisms of the book and the movie.

The Martian (30 08 2016) – Reviewed here.

Captain America: Civil War (30 08 2016) – When this movie first came out, I thoroughly spoiled myself. Usually this does not bother me, but it did feel like I had already watched the movie when I saw this one. Entertaining enough. Villain was largely forgettable again. Looking forward to Black Panther, Spider Man and Infinity Wars.

The Martian by Andy Weir

This was a fun and exciting page turner. There is something about this novel that does feel different to recent novels I’ve read. Part of it was the focus on space and the excitement from the extreme plot of being stranded on Mars.

The book has urgency and suspense. It pulls the reader in even though after disaster and bad news #4566, it gets a little tiresome watching everyone be able to make it through. There is no way this book could be popular without a happy ending. There were too many catastrophes along the way for that to happen. It had to have somewhat of a good ending.

Mark is likeable though sometimes a little too snarky to be true. I liked almost all the characters, but few of them got thorough development. There were many notable characters. I liked the dialogue in the book. I wish we more on the characters. It does feel more like a plot book rather than a character book which is alright in some ways.

Read August 29-30, 2016.

Continue reading “The Martian by Andy Weir”

Monthly Movies – May 2016

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (03 05 2016) – I’m long overdue to watch this, but I do not like Apatow humor most of the time. I do like Steve Carell and Paul Rudd. Carell works for me because there is such a sweetness to him that works really well here. I did not find a lot of the humor funny, but I think the actors did well.

Hackers (07 05 2016) – So 90s. This is movie is only 21 years old and I remember 1995, but it feels even older than movies I’ve seen from the 80s or before. The fact that it heavily features technology and that the lead actors involved do not even look that old makes it feel oddly removed. The technology is so out dated compared to what we have now. Angelina Jolie looked like an elf. I’ve adored Johnny Lee Miller for years so he was cute in this too. I was a bit bored during some parts of the movie though since it got overly campy at times.

Deadpool (10 05 2016) – There was so much hype and good reviews about this that I was expecting more. Since I followed the media around it, I felt I had seen most of the movie already. Some of the humor was so-so for me, but I liked the fourth wall breaks and the meta jokes. Plot was formulaic. I do think Ryan Reynolds is meant for this role. I liked the soundtrack too.

Brooklyn (13 05 2016) – I enjoyed the book and as predicted, I liked this movie. With Nick Hornby adapting and starring Saorise Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson. I like the whole cast and loved the setting. The ending is more satisfying too.

Crimson Peak (15 05 2016) – Not enough Hiddlesbum. I do not really like horror, but I like Guillermo del Torro’s style. Good cast and everything was super creepy and stylistic. Plot was alright. It was nice seeing Charlie Hunman in a role where he’s a hero without really being the typical Hot Guy physical though.

Walk in the Woods (28 05 2016) – As someone who is a fan of Bryon’s writing, I wanted to watch this for him and the book, but also this cast. Robert Redford, Emma Thomspon, Nick Nolte, and Mary Steenburger are all in it. I do not think you see Redford in these quiet kind of roles anymore. Even though this movie has a lot of humor and talking, it is very much a “quiet” movie where not much actually happens and the pace is slow. You could almost say Thompson was wasted, but she is lovely in anything. Her and Redford had lovely chemistry too. I laughed a coupe of times, but this kind of movie is not for everyone. I think Bryson lovers will appreciate some of it. The book was funnier in other ways though.

Monthly Movies – March/April 2016

Beyond the Lights (02-03 03 2016) – Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a chameleon. She really sinks into her roles. She is beautiful too and it’s amazing seeing her range from Belle here. Nate Parker is very handsome in this, but it’s all Gugu. Goodness they had great chemistry.

Ant-Man (16-18 04 2016) – Watched this movie on and off for three days because my schedule was packed that weekend. I liked this. The humor worked all around. Good dialogue. I adore Paul Rudd and have since Clueless. I like that his was a heist movie in a lot of ways. I look forward to see more of the character.

Monthly Movies – February 2016

Movies In Theatres

The Monkey 2 in 3D (16 02 2016) – My Dad wanted to see this when he heard it was screening in our town. He and I have not seen a movie since the 1990s. We went on the night after a snow storm had dropped 50cm. The cinema was not empty, but our theatre only had three other people in it which I had foreseen, snow storm or no. I don’t like 3D and it did not add much to this movie either. It was an OK movie. The stories are from my own childhood and so interpretation has varied. I found the monkey character slightly too muscular oddly enough. I guess I’m use to the leaner renditions of the monkey. Gong Li was very pretty.

Movies at Home

Out of Sight (03 02 2016) – Why can’t JLo be in good things like this anymore? The chemistry she had with George Clooney in this was stellar. I am surprised they haven’t been paired together again. Great cast all around and plain ol’ fun. I’d definitely rewatch most of it except Don Cheadle’s gang parts.

Monthly Movies – January 2016

Movies in Theatres:

For some reason, Wordpres didn’t save that last month I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on 29 December 2015. I enjoyed it. I really look forward to rewatching it on DVD and the next episode in the series.

Movies at Home:

Belle (16 01 2016) – Period piece. If you like Amazing Grace which is also another Georgian abolition movie, this is it. Honestly, gorgeous period details and wonderful acting. I liked Gugu Mbatha-Raw in “Doctor Who,” but she is deservedly breaking out in the last couple of years. She was just wonderful in this. All the rest of the cast were British and excellent. I like Sam Reid a lot as well and look forward to seeing more of him. Not enough Matthew Goode who looked fantastic in his navy uniform. I do wonder if Tom Felton will be cast in things other than as British Douchebag #1. Going to try and see Beyond the Pines for her.

Little Women (17 01 2016) – 1994 version. Lovely movie overall and a good adaptation of the book. It brought me memories of how I felt reading the book. Not enough Beth though. I was not really fond of the Amy/Teddy ship and watching the movie, even more so. Christian Bale was quite dreamy in that role though.

American Psycho (18 01 2016) – Darkly funny and engaging. Christian Bale is excellent in this. Unhinged and fully invested. A good cast too. I did get a bit tired 3/4 of the way through of the gore. The ending is almost a bit too subtle for people to realize the post-modern take on it. I definitely recommend it as a way to not be in life.

Gone Girl (22 01 2016) – See here.

Weekend at Bernies (22 01 2016) – I laughed once. It had amusing moments, but I didn’t really care for it. I found the two protagonists too stupid especially Andrew McCarthy’s Larry. He looked and acted really differently from when I first saw him in Pretty in Pink. I had to rewatch some of the latter’s scenes to remind myself how much cuter he was with Molly Ringwald.

Les Poupées Russes (23 01 2016) – I saw the first movie Auberge Espangole ages ago. Xavier is an idiot. I did like how these movies have so many varied settings and is multilingual. I loved the lines, “How can many sincere moments make so much misery?” and “I love you for your imperfections.” So French and European.

Casse Tête Chinois (24 01 2016) – The final movie in the Xavier trilogy. I think this was the best movie in terms of plot and character moments. Xavier was much less annoying and the setting of New York City worked really well. I’m sad he didn’t work out with his wife, but at least he ended up with one of his first loves.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (25 01 2016) – I went in with low expectations knowing that the reviews were bad. It was not too bad the first half and I really liked the Little China Girl. However, I really became bored when Mila Kunis became the Wicked Witch. I queued this movie in large part because I adore both Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. I wanted them to win, but they didn’t. The main protagonists were uninteresting. Not recommended really.

Napoleon Dynamite (28 01 2016) – Amusing and cute. It was strange and quirky. I enjoyed it but it’s not something I feel I need rewatch.

Rewatched Movies:

The Princess Bride (09 01 2016) – Always makes me smile and swoon and laugh. For my review of Elwes’ memoirs on making the movie, go here.

Gone, Girl by Gillian Flynn

This post will contain spoilers for the book and the movie. I generally do not do big spoilers, but the novel and the movie relies heavily on twists.

Overall, while the book and movie were not perfect in terms of storytelling, they were still engaging and interesting. I think there is a lot of commentary on the media and bad romantic relationships in general. I would not necessarily recommend either of them to everyone though I think lots of people would enjoy it or find it interesting.

Continue reading “Gone, Girl by Gillian Flynn”

As You Wish by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden

An actor friend of mine recommended this book to me. I am glad for the recommendation and I was going to read this book any way. The Princess Bride is one of my favourite movies.

For any fan of the movie, some of the stories here about making the movie are not new or a surprise. However, it’s still lovely to read the stories about this movie. It seemed like a great cast, crew, production, and all around great movie experience. What I liked most was the stories about André the Giant. He really exemplified his character more than any other as a gentle giant.

After I read this book, I immediately rewatched the movie and that always makes me smile. As Reiner and Elwes discuss in the book, the movie worked largely because the cast played it so straight and so sincere. There is straight forward story telling that comes off so well.

Read January 7-9, 2016.

Monthly Movies – December 2015

Inside Out (03 12 2015) – I really wanted to see this when it was released in theatres. I knew I would like this film. I think I hyped it up, but I did get the emotional reaction that I hoped for. I’ve been having a rough couple of months. This past week, I’ve been particularly sensitive so I cried a lot during the Bing Bong scene. I did manage to laugh not too long after. I liked the world building of this movie and a sequel is something I’d like.

Click (17 12 2015) – The premise of this show would be even funnier and more endearing if it weren’t an Adam Sandler movie. Not to say this movie is without merit. It has a great cast, but the humor does not work for me. It feels like it could be so much more. Not awful, but not great either.

Ex Machina (17 12 2015) – An incredible film. I adore Gleeson and Vikander from other films so watching them in this was wonderful. Isaacs is chilling as well. I loved the writing and how it was shot. It’s a testament to all involved that it did so well on such a low budget. It was imaginative and well done. I’m glad Vikander is getting the accolades she deserves for this as she is one of my favourite young actresses. I am left unsatisfied with the ending, but it’s definitely a more British/European rather than a neat, hopeful Hollywood ending.

Anna Karenina (18 12 2015) – I only watched this for Gleeson and Vikander who were playing my two favourite characters from the novel. I never wanted to watch this film because I am not a fan of Joe Wright’s style. I find it more style over substance and it lacks a certain level of depth. It’s pretty, but that’s it for me. The cast was great here; there were amazing sets, costumes, and cinematography. Everyone works except I’m not sold on the Vronsky. Law’s Karenin even more sympathetic than he was in the book and Knightley’s Anna wasn’t sympathetic enough. Then again, I’ve never been a big fan of Knightley which is another reason I avoid of Wright. All in all, a good looking movie, but not one I’ll yearn to see again.

Frank – (21-22 12 2015) – The Gleeson marathon continues or rather, ends. This is the least likable of all Gleeson’s characters. This movie had many cringe worthy moments as a result of this blind protagonist. It’s a quirky film. Michael Fassbender is simply wonderful in it though. I wish he would do more comedies. The whole cast was good, but Fassbender as Frank carried this film with the pathos.

Monthly Movies – November 2015

Spy (09 11 2015) – Saw this in Berlin with my friend. She highly recommended it and wanted to see it again. It is indeed funny because all of the cast were firing. Pairing McCarthy with Melinda Hart, Stratham, and Bryne was brilliant. I’m not a fan of crude humor so those jokes didn’t always work with me, but in general, this was a funny, satirical spy movie. Hope the sequel is just as fun.

The Hundred Foot Journey (17 11 2015) – Plane movie. Lasse Hallstromm always directs this cute European Anglophone movies. I liked the book, and as an adaptation, it mostly got the spirit of the film. It’s hard to go wrong with Helen Mirren in the French countryside with food. Wish I knew more about Hassan’s family though. Charlotte Le Bon looks lovely though.

The Second Best Marigold Hotel (17 11 2015) – Plane movie #2. Cute to see the same characters again and I adore most of the actors involved. The inclusion of Richard Gere was actually a bit random though. Ending with all the couples was on the cheesey side. Bless Maggie Smith though. Her snarky and poignant role stopped the ending from being over the top corny.