Monthly Archives: April 2014

“The Other Woman” movie review

To me, comedy’s come down to one question. Are all the good jokes already exposed in the movie trailer? Or are there more? Well, “The Other Woman” hits this cliché on the mark. Yes, all the good jokes are in the trailer. Watch the trailer, and you’ll hear the good jokes, learn the plot and save yourself from the boring two hours of fluff.
The worst part of this movie was that they would present a good joke. But then the scene would just keep going… it was funny for the first five seconds, but did we really need three minutes of the actresses playing in the bushes? Or Cameron Diaz hiding in the other girl’s wedding skirt? This trend started within the first five minutes of the movie and continued to the end. It was like when a guy tells a funny joke, everyone laughs, but then the guy keeps talking about the joke… and it just gets lame. That’s this movie.
The ending is just atrociously cliché; the cheating husband gets so messed up, its unbelievable and stupid. They went too far, for a few minutes I thought I was watching a horror movie. Then everyone else gets a cheery happy ending. Of course.
Now what I did notice was the people laughing in the theater where all over forty-five. So I’m guessing that is the target audience for this movie. Personally, I would have thought it was bitter women who have been cheated on and have no soul…
This movie is not a heartwarming comedy like “Bridemaids” and “The Heat”. I thought it would be, but no… so if you’re over forty-five. Go see it, cause apparently you’ll laugh a lot. Otherwise, I stand by my previous statement, just watch the trailer and call it good. Men who might be wanting to go for the eye candy… don’t. The nudity is minimal, and the boring women drama will put you to sleep, long before you reach the few cleavage exposed scenes. No joke, I saw men sleeping in the theater.

“Heaven is for Real” movie review

“Heaven is for Real” delivers exactly what you would expect. A review isn’t really needed, if you’ve seen a trailer for the movie, you know what the movie is about. I have not read the book, so I cannot say if the movie stayed true to it.

The movie was slightly slow in the beginning but that was okay with me because I was the edge of my seat waiting for the “near death” experience to happen. Everything is so calm that you don’t know when the tragedy will strike. The audience is not left waiting for long and then things unroll much like you’d expect. A lot of the scenes are very emotional, the actors do a great job, especially the children.

If you want to go see an emotional and inspiring movie about faith and religion, this is the movie to go see. Although it will most likely make you cry, it will also leave you with that warm fuzzy feeling by the end. Let’s just say, at the end of the movie, the entire audience applauded.

Allegiant (Diverent 3) book review

The first book in the Divergent trilogy was so bad, it was entertaining. The second continued the trend and became annoying, hence my expectations were low for the third book. Now there’s a chance my brain just adapted to her writing, since I read all three books in a three day span. But, to me, Veronica Roth found her stride in Allegiant. This book is actually well written. It’s just sad that one has to suffer through two bad books to finally get to the good one.

Now when I say it’s good, I am only talking about the style of writing. The plot still has problems, there are things being repeated and contradicted. Again, most won’t notice unless you are like me and read them all consecutively and in a three day span. For example, in book two Tris is taken captive, she says she forgot to wear her watch. But then in book 3, she says they took her watch from her. A small thing, yes, but still… And I wouldn’t have even noticed it if I hadn’t been so annoyed in book 2 by her lame excuse of forgetting it. I’d thought at the time, that it would have made more sense for them to take it or for it to have accidently gotten broken. Guess the author decided that too, but by changing it she is now creating a whole new problem.

The book did take on a very strange “Truman Show” feeling, when it’s discovered that the entire town is covered in surveillance cameras that are being monitored constantly. I don’t know why this has become so popular, but at least it made sense in “Hunger Games”. I find it hard to believe that people were living completely unaware of the cameras in their homes. It just made everything very strange, maybe if the cameras had only been in public areas, more like what we have today. And not in private areas, it would have been more believable and would have gotten the same result needed for the plot.

The couple’s quarrels between Tris and Four are better in book 3, but they still seem to fall short. They could have been more heated and I saw opportunities where more drama could have been added but it felt like the author was still shying away from wanting to venture into any uncomfortable areas.

There were some added things, like some of the characters were hinted at as being homosexual, but there was really no point for it. All it did was distract me from the story. People’s sexual orientations played nothing into the story, so why bring it up?

What ruined this book for me was the politics of it all. I’ve never been a fan of books focused on conspiracy, corrupt governments, uprising, ect, and that is really what this book was about. And it was majorly overdone. I don’t know if the goal was to make some comparisons to the real world and open our eyes to how corrupt all government is or not. But it definitely felt like it. It was not done in a subtle way at all.

So some spoilers, turns out the world Tris lives in is all an experiment. People were genetically altered, and now have behavior problems. Hence why they were put into factions, to try to help them cope. Once they start being divergent, this means they are “healed” and can become be part of the regular world. The whole purpose of the experiment is to keep people alive until they are able to evolve and start producing “healed” or “divergent” offspring. So now, all the people we thought were sick are actually the healthy ones. It’s an interesting twist in power between the main characters.
Now I like this twist, the only problem I had with it is, if the goal was to create these divergent people. Why did the people who set up the experiment not set it up in a way that people who were divergent got rewarded instead of oppressed? This seems like a simple solution and I don’t know why we are supposed to believe that no one in the book realized this. No explanation was given, like even a, “we tried this in a different city and it didn’t work,” would have helped me believe it.

So there has been a lot of controversy regarding the ending of this book. The fans of course, did not like how Tris ends up dying. I dislike the ending, because it’s so unbelievable. Basically a few people manage to erase the memory of those running the compound that controls the experiment. Now I’m sorry, but if this were to happen, I would think there would be a bunch of government officials showing up to contain the situation. I don’t think the rebels would actually have the time to reset everyone’s memories and train them to believe what they want. Why would the government not show up and be like, hey these people are messing with you? So to me the ending is pure fantasy.

Now as for Tris’ death, it was actually the first time I felt any emotion while reading these books. How Tris experienced her death feels very real, and then the mourning that Four goes through, also something that is told very well. Like I said, this book is very well written. So yes, it sucks the main character dies, but I was okay with it, because it finally made me FEEL something.

All I can say is, if you made it through the first two books, you should read this one. But is it worth reading the other two to get to this one? No, not at all. Hopefully Veronica Roth keeps writing, because based off this book, I think her next novel will be vastly better and I’ll look forward to reading it. Hopefully she learns her lesson and simplifies her plots though.

“Insurgent” book review (Divergent sequel)

I read “Insurgent” directly after “Divergent” and one compliment I have is that the books do flow together nicely. But that also means that a lot of the problems I had with the first book, flowed into this second.
I still wish they would have invented some healing potion to make people heal quicker. Since people tend to get injured but then be okay a few hours or days later. But unlike every other injury, apparently bullet wounds take MONTHS to heal. Tris has a gunshot wound throughout the book and it is a constant hindrance to her. She suffers other injuries and bounces right back, but not from the gunshot. And it gets ANNOYING. It keeps getting brought up over and over… awkwardly interrupting the story line each time.
There’s a few other things that get mentioned so often its annoying; like how Four is always bending over and exposing the small of his back. Please, just get a shirt that fits you.
A lot of characters are introduced, mostly so they can get killed off. And there are a lot of pointless scenes that lead nowhere. There are little lovers quarrels between Four and Tris, that never feel natural. I keep wanting to feel something when they are fighting, usually that is the easiest emotion for you to get a reader to feel. But no… it never happens. Even at the end when Tris big time betrays Four and you think, this is going to be bad. There is all this build up, and it fizzles into nothing, he forgives her and all is well.
The story continues to go back and forth about the whether is divergent rare or not. And in the end, I guess its not. So then Tris is given a little “extra” so she can continue to be special. In the first book she was special because we all think she’s the only divergent. But now, I’d say one out of three people are divergent. (I guess everyone but her was good at keeping it a secret) So now she is divergent but in three factions, everyone else is only divergent in two factions.
Oh, and of course, because the “Twilight” books made this so popular, Tris is suicidal for most of this book. Totally putting herself in danger because she has no regard for her life. It made sense in the story, kinda, but it was so similar that I felt I was reading the “Twilight” books for a few chapters.
I was able to get some amusement out of book one, but I was just annoyed while reading book two. And it’s a hundred pages longer than the first one. So yeah… I don’t suggest reading it. Even if you read the first, don’t bother with the second. It’s just about a girl who is afraid to shoot a gun and keeps betraying her boyfriend. Yet… everyone rallys around her and forgives her.

“Divergent” book review

I’d heard the novel “Divergent” was worse than the novel it was based on. I found this hard to believe, since I’d seen the movie and thought it was very bad.

See my review for details. link to review

But as my curiosity grew, I realized I was just going to have to read the book myself and find out. I’m a quick reader and its a young adult novel, so it wasn’t a huge time commitment. As I began reading it, I found the novel highly amusing, because it was so absurd.

A quote, “He has a spare upper lip and a full lower lip. His eyes are so deep-set that his eyelashes touch the skin under his eyebrows, and they are dark blue, a dreaming, sleeping, waiting color.” I have absolutely no idea what this guy looks like, (maybe a Neanderthal?) But I’m confident he is the love interest. And don’t worry, his eyes are described again later, in case you wanted more detail.

After I read the part where they learn to shoot, I love their method of teaching, btw. Zero safety or orientation, just, watch me shoot this gun once, then here, you do it. I didn’t understand how there was 400 more pages… they should all be dead after that shooting lesson… and the gun safety issue came up again later as Tris is running and its stated, “with her hand on the trigger” and she’s running behind her friend. Yup, they really should have covered gun safety.

The book also has underage drinking, cause why not? And of course, the student Tris is infatuated with her teacher. Total cliché, student in love with her teacher. The attempt at the whole, this is wrong, this is favoritism, is done sloppily. And no one mentions that this love is also statutory rape, since she is sixteen and he is eighteen. I think we are supposed to believe that in this dystopia world a person is considered an adult once they are sixteen.

The characters are pitted against each other in fights, and there is no real reason behind this. Weight classes are discarded and the strongest seem to be paired with the weakest, the goal being to knock the other unconscious. They literally can’t stop until they accomplish this. What exactly does that teach you? Maybe I could believe this, except the students are forced to do this three days in a row, and some of them are suffering some serious injuries. All of them lose fights, and to me, none of them should have been capable of still fighting or even getting out of bed by day three. I think the Seal training the military goes through is less brutal. But these kids (all sixteen) continue to go about their day to day lives, as if having their ribs and noses broken is something you can recover from after a good night’s sleep. One easy fix to this problem would have been if the society had some technology that can heal you rapidly, like they did in “The Hunger Games.”

Another random and pointless scene that made no sense, (there were a lot of them) was when Four takes Tris on a train ride, just to show her a building that has its lights on at night. He then explains the big conspiracy going on. But I couldn’t help thinking, uh, why did he have to show her that? I’m pretty sure she would have believed him if he’d said, hey these guys leave their lights on. If I was Tris, I would have been pissed that he’d drug me out in the middle of the night to show me something that stupid. They didn’t even explore the building or anything.

Not only were there the unrealistic items I mentioned above. But the book itself is poorly written. Maybe its because I read the entire book in one setting, but I was able to notice that things conflicted with each other from chapter to chapter. Some examples:

Tris apparently forgets and then learns again, reacting as if it’s new news, that her mother grew up dauntless. She is told to not stand out and score in the middle, but she scores number one in the rankings after she is told this. She is a bad liar one minute, then a good one. She’s told they will discover her if she uses her divergent abilities during the simulations, so what does she do? On the final exam, she totally uses her abilities to manipulate the test. But then, she is congratulated for doing so, by the same people we’d been told would kill her if they found out. Huh. The bad guys go on little rants explaining to her their plans, very convenient. And I keep getting told that dauntless is rare, but then on the next page it will say there are a lot of divergents. So which is it?

The only good thing about this book, is that it makes the movie seem GREAT. They really did improve the movie by leaps and bounds over the book. Both are still horrible. And I suggest staying away from both.

“Noah” 2014, movie review

There has been a lot of controversy regarding the movie, “Noah.” I was unsure exactly what to expect when I went to view the movie, but after seeing two flops in a row, both of which had gotten good reviews, I figured I’d just have to see for myself. And I am happy to report, I am glad I did. “Noah” is, in my opinion, the best movie that has come out in 2014, thus far, that I have seen.
The plot starts off with action right from the start, the actors are amazing, the effects are good, although you can tell the animals are mostly CGI. I did not see it in 3D, but I imagine it would be good. The characters are so well defined that you will find yourself cheering and crying right along with them. Especially if you are an animal lover, expect to shed some tears. Noah, is very kickass, not your normal crazy prophecy guy, nor is he a saint. He was “humanized” which made the movie all the more real.
Yes, there is a science fiction element to the movie, but quite frankly, the bible has miracles that if put in a realistic environment, take on a magical or science fiction aspect. So to me, it was an acceptable interpretation.
There is a consistent level of suspense that will keep you engaged. You think you know how the story of Noah ends, but as you start watching this movie you realize, you don’t. It is a movie about survival, and you don’t know who will survive.
So yes, I highly recommend seeing “Noah”. Just go with an open mind. If the story stuck exactly to the bible story, we’d all be bored because it would be predictable. So just go and enjoy it, don’t ruin it for yourself by comparing it to other versions. Give it a chance, and you will be amazed, I promise.

Movie Review for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

Ever since the Marvel movies started the endeavor of interlinking different movies together, I have been impressed at the seamlessness of it all. I’ve even gone so far as to re-watch all of the movies before I go see the new edition. No joke. But as more and more Marvel movies come out, and now there’s even a television series… the task of keeping up with it all took more effort than I was willing to give.
I’ve seen a few minutes of the television show, here and there, but didn’t find the motivation to watch it. Right there, I knew I was going to be at a disadvantage watching the new Captain America movie. But I still went, because the first one impressed me. And even if you don’t catch all the tie ins that the diehard fans do, you can usually still enjoy the movie.
But, for me, this movie focused too much on explaining a very complicated and twist filled conspiracy. I liked the heartwarming moments, the little side puns, even though some were a little cliché, the actors still did a good job delivering them. But so much effort was put into explaining the big conspiracy, that I found myself bored with it all. I’m all for a good “thinking” movie, with an unpredictable ending. But not when its hashed together with elaborate fight scenes. I felt like the whole movie was overthought, like the directors put too much effort into EVERYTHING. We were supposed to be trying to solve the mystery, but we weren’t given the tools to do so, and instead had to wait for the long banter filled scenes to come and explain it to us.
Don’t get me wrong, the movie wasn’t bad. For what it is, it was a good movie. Nothing near the first Captain America, or Iron Man, but it’s still worth seeing. I did see it in 3D and I liked how some of the scenes were shot from angles that amplified the 3D effect. It wasn’t your typical, throwing things at you, like most do. It was much more artful and subtle.
So yes, I’d say go see it. Especially if you like action scenes, because there are plenty of those. But if you get bored… don’t say I didn’t warn you.

“The Great Gatsby” 2013 version, seen on DVD

I hadn’t intended to watch “The Great Gatsby”. The trailers I saw really didn’t make it seem like the kind of movie I would enjoy. But when a friend said it was good and loaned me the DVD, I decided to give it a try.
The first ten minutes went about as I’d expected, and I was barely paying attention to the movie. But then, once the narrator of the movie started writing his memoir—I was hooked. The movie was still very flashy, and exaggerated. But since it was being told from a specific person’s perspective, the skewed view was acceptable.
Not only did I end up liking the movie, but, I was able to overcome my mindset that I was not going to like it. Usually when I think I won’t like a movie, I am not proven wrong. Overall the movie was very well told, and I would recommend seeing it. Don’t let all the “flash” mislead you into thinking the movie is cliché. The plot is very good, and if you pay enough attention, you’ll even learn a little history! And yes, the movie did seem to stay very true to the book, if you were curious.