Sunday, 30 April 2017

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

Another week down. Life just keeps on going doesn't it. I don't have many updates this week to be honest. I'm trying to turn my life around by not being so financially irresponsible so I'm on a full buying ban unless absolutely necessary. Of course, my idea of absolutely necessary seems wildly different to most peoples but I'll get better. I'm also getting better at reading during my normal week. I'm not sure if it's down to the reading material or just because I'm finally out of my slump but something's working. I'm loving it. Maybe I can finally start reducing the size of my TBR? I mean it's doubtful if my past is anything to go for but, as Aragorn says, "there is always hope".

Thursday, 27 April 2017

TBT - To Rome With Love (2012)

I said this last week to but I always struggle to find something relatable to review for TBT when my Tuesday post is about a book. Without any real ideas of my own I madly searched Netflix for any film with "love" in the title. The one that jumped out at me the most was the Woody Allen film from 5 years ago. I wanted to see it when it came out but I don't think I have any friends who still have hope that Allen can produce a film worth paying to see. I understand where they're coming from. The last few years really haven't shown the great director at his best. I've also struggled to keep my faith alive over the years. It's only thanks to his random successes (Vicky Christina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris) that keeps me coming back. For every film I love there's at least 2 duds. Still, I like to think that one of my strongest attributes is unflinching and, potentially, misguided loyalty so I'll always keep getting drawn back in.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - First Love by Gwendoline Riley

I've not read any of Gwendoline Riley's previous four books and, really, only picked up her most recent one because it was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. It sounded so amazing that I couldn't resist. I bought this one and The Power as soon as the list was up because I'll do anything a bunch of literary prize judges tell me to. I've been in a bit of reading slump lately so as soon as I finished The Best of Adam Sharp I decided to try and to read Riley's novel. It's pretty short and something I've been keen to read. Thankfully, this weekend I was in London visiting a friend so I had a train journey to fill with reading. I managed to finish it by the second day. My friend works in publishing so is as obsessed (if not more) with books as I am. So she's always interested to hear what I'm reading. The trouble with First Love is that I find it so hard to explain what's going on. I managed to garble out a nonsensical plot summary that really didn't do the book justice so, when I'd finished it, I decided it was worth another go. Therefore, my Tuesday review this week is either going to be great or just a terrible mistake. We'll see.

Monday, 24 April 2017

MONDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

Eagle-eyes readers will notice that my Sunday rundown is a day late. I've spent the weekend in London with my friend so haven't had time to keep up with my schedule. I meant to have this ready to post but, as usual, I left my packing until the last minute and ran out of time. So I'm doing it now. On Monday. It still counts if it still rhymes. That's always been my motto.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

TBT - Shrek Forever After (2010)

Sometimes I hate this blog, specifically the TBT feature. It forces me to remember how quickly time is passing. I remember seeing Shrek Forever After with my friends from University and, it turns out, that was about 7 years ago. It feels like yesterday. I came to re-watch this after finding it on Netflix recently and having no clue what to write for today. I try to link my Tuesday review with my Thursday one but I was finding a companion for The Best of Adam Sharp a bit of a pain. I think the fourth Shrek film works though: instead of a man looking back on his life and imagining "what if?" it's an ogre. It was also a rather easy thing to watch when I got home from work yesterday. It'd been a hellish day and all I was really capable of was watching a short film intended for children. Although, I do quite like this series of films. The first one is really good and came up with an interesting twist on the classic Disney fairy tale romance. The second film was equally fabulous. Then there was the third film, which super sucked. There's always something funny to be found though. So, it wasn't the worst film I could sit down to watch for your benefit I suppose.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Tuesday's Reviews: The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

I read The Rosie Project about a year ago I think and I did quite like it. I wasn't sure I would because a girl at work who really doesn't have the same reading tastes as I do was raving about it. It turned out to be a pretty adorable romantic-comedy. However, I wasn't exactly sure about it's representation of Asperger's. I liked that it showed the potential for love and typical relationships but also felt it was kind of romanticised. In the same way the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope irritatingly draws up this image of a wild and free young woman who will turn a young man's life upside down, The Rosie Project presented Autism as another thing women should be adding to their lists of desires in a mate; like it was something up there with good sense of humour or ability to put the toilet seat down. I understand that Autism doesn't mean a person can live a "normal" life but I felt that it was treated more like a quirk than a real issue. Whilst The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time explored the consequences of Asperger's The Rosie Project just used it as a gimmick. So I never read the sequel. However, I was intrigued enough by Simsion's writing to be excited by his first non-Don Tilman related novel: The Best of Adam Sharp. It took me a while to get through because I'm easily distracted and useless but I've finally done it.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you've had a wonderful day full of chocolate and whatever other Easter traditions you may have. I basically just ate too much food and did nothing else. It's like Christmas or, you know, any other day of the year. Still, we had a family get together, which is always lovely. I meant to do some reading this evening but I, inevitably, got distracted and haven't. Although, I'm feeling kind of smug because I have a couple of things to add to my just finished list. So I feel as though I can take a bit of a break today. The book I'm currently reading is pretty small so, once I get my arse in gear, it should be an easy enough read. I hope.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

TBT - Ghost in the Shell (1995)

I'm super late getting this post up today because I basically fell asleep as soon as I got home from work today. I've basically been fighting to stay awake since about 5pm and I totally forgot it was Thursday. Still, better late than never, right? After watching the remake of Ghost in the Shell last week it seemed only fair to watch the classic 1995 anime for my TBT post. As we saw with Beauty and the Beast last week, the problem with remaking films that are pretty much perfect is that you just remind people of all the great things about the original. The scenes that the newer version lifted directly from the anime just made me want to watch that instead. I understand that the budget and approach were different but it still felt too similar. It's not that the new films are bad it's just that they are too tied to what has come before. It's the thing that made the Ghostbusters reboot so frustrating: it could have been so great but it was too preoccupied with making references to the first film. We almost need these franchises to do what JJ Abrams did with Star Trek and just start completely from scratch. Reset the clock and try again a different way. The only thing these half-arsed reboots are going to do is make the original films all the more popular.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Ghost in the Shell has certainly made an impact, one way or another, since its release. The film was already under an immense amount of pressure to follow on the popular Manga and Anime film. Hollywood don't have a great track record when it comes to re-imagining foreign cinema at the best of times but when you add the whitewashing controversy it makes it worse. Much has already been said about the casting of Scarlett Johansson in the role of Motoko Kusanagi. In interviews before the film came out Johansson promised that she would never play a character of a different race but the film continued to face criticism for her placement in the role. Figures from Ghost in the Shell's opening weekend suggest that American audiences can't forget about the issue and are avoiding the film at all costs. However, there is less controversy in Japan with most people not seeing an issue with Johansson's part and audiences have praised many aspects of the new film. I don't really want to go too far into this issue because much better people have said much cleverer things than I could. I agree that there is an issue within Hollywood as a whole with whitewashing but there are interesting arguments both for and against the casting of a popular, White actor in the role of Major. The question I'm most concerned about here is: has Ghost in the Shell shot itself in the foot by making this decision and is a gem going to end up being something of a failure?

Sunday, 9 April 2017

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

Today was my first day back at work after a week off and it was dreadful. I've forgotten how difficult it is and, to make things worse, it's so much busier than it was because it's the Easter holidays. Still, it's nice to get back to see everyone again. I'm also experiencing that similar post-holiday feeling that I've wasted the week. Answering the question "what did you do on your week off?" just got boring. I went to the Doctors, had my two-yearly eye check, and did a load of cleaning/sorting. It was fun fun fun. Still, I read a bit and got some photos taken and I feel a bit ahead on my blog posts. So it feels like some pressure if off at least. I was beginning to feel like I was drowning under my schedule but now I'm breathing again.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

TBT - Beauty and the Beast (1991)

I went to the cinema with a friend today and she happened to mention that she'd just seen the remake of Beauty and the Beast. When I asked her what she thought about it her answer was "I really liked it because it's exactly the same." Anyone who has read my review from Tuesday will know that, whilst I didn't hate the film, I didn't exactly feel blown away by the new film. Especially after we'd been promised such great things by its director, Bill Condon, and its star, Emma Watson. My issue with the film is exactly the reason that people love it so much. The reviews have been great because it is exactly the same as the film they love. The film took no risks and added nothing new to the narrative, except for a wife for Cogsworth and a husband for Mrs Potts. There's been great feedback from audiences but it's mostly because it just reminds them how good the original film is. It feels like cheating. Why would you want to watch an imitation when you can still watch the real thing? It's like tribute bands to real bands that are still touring. Yeah, it's fine in a pinch but you'd much rather see the real deal. So, for TBT this week, I did.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Saddest deaths in Harry Potter

About a week ago, I came up with a great idea for what to do this month's Top 10 on. I'd been re-watching the first seasons of Black Mirror and decided that I would rank the episodes from best to worst. I mean it was perfect, 3 seasons plus the Christmas special equalled 10 episodes. Well, thanks to fucking Netflix, the 3rd series of Charlie Brooker's amazing TV show had more episodes. There are, in fact 13 episodes of Black Mirror to date so doing a Top 10 didn't seem right. It'd be okay if there were way more than 10 but leaving off 3 seemed unnecessary. "So why didn't I just do a Top 13?" I hear you cry. Because that wouldn't rhyme. So, I've spent the last hour or so despairing and trying desperately to come up with something else to write about. I've found something. It came about after I was taking some Instagram pictures today. I was looking through The Deathly Hallows for a quotation and ended up getting engrossed in the Battle of Hogwarts. I then found myself weeping at moments that I'd forgotten/blocked from my memory. So, in honour of the fallen, I've compiled a list of the worst deaths in the Harry Potter series. By the way, I've seen some lists that include Lily and James. I find this to be cheating because, though seen in memories or whatever, these don't actually occur in the book's narrative.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I won't say that I was predisposed to hate this film from the moment it was announced but I was always incredibly sceptical about it. The original animated version of the story is my favourite Disney film, one of my all-time favourite animated films, and, quite probably, one of my all-time favourite films... ever. It is superbly animated, well voiced, and pretty much perfect in every way. I love it... even with its questionable view of a woman's role and the dodgy central relationship. As long as the pictures are so pretty I can work with it. So, it was always going to be a tough sell when it was being remade starring one of my least favourite actors ever. No offence to Emma Watson, who is a fantastic, intelligent and brilliant woman, but I just don't think her acting has ever been anything to get excited about. So to have her taking the role of the Disney Princess that I idnetify most with kind of pissed me off. Especially when the audio of her 'singing' was finally released. Not the finest actor and in need of autotune to get through the songs? Who decided she should play Belle again? Anyway, I needed to see this film before I decided whether I disliked this film or absolutely detested it. So I did.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

Yesterday marked the start of my holiday from work and I'm really looking forward to it. I've needed some time off and am planning on making use of it whilst I can. Knowing me, though, this will actually entail me sleeping til noon every day and then wasting my days in front of Netflix. Hopefully, I'll get some reading done and some actual stuff accomplished. I'm definitely planning on seeing The Ghost in the Shell later on this week. I'm not sure how I feel about it but have some faith in it. I feel pretty safe with Scarlett Johansson but the film hasn't done well so far. I can't tell if that's because it is genuinely bad or because people are just boycotting because of the whitewashing outrcry. I understand why people are pissed, obviously. There is a problem with casting white actors in roles that should be filled with Asian actors and Hollywood continues to deny that that problem exists. However, I'll give the film a chance because that's what I do. And because my friend really wants to go and see it. No doubt you'll see my thoughts on here very soon.

 
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